Roman Catholic Diocese of Oradea Mare
The Diocese of Oradea (Latin: Dioecesis Magnovaradinensis Latinorum, Hungarian: Nagyváradi Római Katolikus Egyházmegye, Romanian: Dieceza Romano-Catolică de Oradea) is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory in Romania, with the episcopal see in the city of Oradea. It covers most of Crişana—the counties of Bihor and Arad, 10.5% of which are Catholic. Its adherents are predominantly Hungarian. It is subordinate to the Bucharest Archdiocese. Its bishop since 1990 has been József Tempfli.
On 23rd December 2008 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr Laszlo Bocskei, vicar general in Timisoara, bishop of Oradea. The bishop-elect was born in Gataia, Romania, in 1965 and was ordained priest in 1965.
Oradea has been, under the names of Várad (Nagyvárad since 1872) (in Hungarian), Veľký Varadín (in Slovakian) and Großwardein (in German), the see of several major denominational Christian church communities during its history.
A diocese of the Latin Rite in the former Kingdom of Hungary, the Diocese of Várad/Grosswardein was suffragan to the Archbishopric of Kalocsa-Bács. The foundation of the see is ascribed by the historian György Pray to King Stephen I of Hungary; the seat of the diocese, however, was then Byhor (Bihar), whence it was transferred by King Ladislaus I of Hungary to Várad (Oradea). The statutes of the chapter of 1370 explicitly attribute the founding of the see to King Ladislaus. The year 1083 is the accepted date of the foundation. The patron of the diocese is Ladislaus. Sixtus (1103-1113) is said to have been the first bishop.
In 1241, the bishopric and the city were devastated during the Mongol invasion of Europe. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the diocese developed considerably, and as early as the 14th century embraced six archidiaconates, with over 300 parishes. Bishop Andreas Báthori (1329-1345) rebuilt the cathedral in Gothic style. Jotram (1383-1395) erected the famous equestrian statue of King Ladislaus. From that epoch dates also the Hermes, now preserved at Győr, which contains the skull of King Ladislaus, and which is a masterpiece of the Hungarian goldsmith's art. Bishop János Vitéz (alias Johann Vitíz von Zredna, 1445-1465) was one of the most distinguished and active promoters of Humanism in Hungary. The political dissolution following the Battle of Mohács in 1526 and the spread of Protestantism caused the rapid decline of the diocese. After the death of György Martinuzzi (1535-1551), the greatest of the bishops of Várad and the advisor of King János Szapolyai and Queen Isabella, the see deteriorated.
Protestantism continually gained in extent, and even the establishment of the Jesuits at Großwardein/Várad in 1579 could not save the Catholic religion in the diocese. In 1606 the last Catholic priest left the city. The old cathedral fell into disrepair, and in 1618 the walls which still stood were torn down by Gabriel Bethlen. In 1660 it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire which ruled until 1692. Upon their departure, the reorganization of the diocese was begun under Bishop Gosf Imre Csáky (1702-1732). The foundation stone of the present cathedral was laid in 1752 by Bishop Gosf Paul Forgách (1747-1757). From then onwards the condition of the Catholic religion improved.
The diocese was established within its present boundaries, drawn by the Communist regime, on 18 October 1982.
- (Hungarian) Official site
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