The Episcopate of Szeged was formed during Saint Stephen’s reign. Around 1030 a new episcopate was established wit
h its seat in Marosvár-Csanád and a Benedictine monk from Venice, Saint Gellért was appointed as bishop. After the 1552 Turkish occupation of Temesvár, the seat of the episcopate got under Ottoman rule. For 150 years the pastoral care of the population was provided by the friars of the Szeged-Alsóváros Franciscan Monastery. The situation changed from 1702 only and Bishop István Dolny could govern a part of his diocese from Szeged. (Moreover, in the Middle Ages the town of Szeged did not belong to the Episcopate of Csanád but to the Archiepiscopate of Kalocsa. It was attached to the Diocese of Csanád by Pope Pius VI in 1775.) Therefore from 1738 Temesvár became the seat of the bishops of Csanád.
According to the Trianon Peace Treaty the bigger part of the episcopate was ceded to Romania, the smaller one to Yugoslavia and only 33 parishes remained in Hungary. By the beginning of 1923 the situation of Bishop Gyula Glattferder (1911–1942) became so intolerable in Romania that on 25 March he had to move to Szeged in a hurry. The Vatican took note of the situation and established an Apostolic Administration in Yugoslavia, based in Nagybecskerek, and another one in Romania, based in Temesvár. Later these became dioceses with full rights. In 1952 the Holy See appointed the Bishop of Csanád as governor of that part of the Episcopate of Nagyvárad, which remained in Hungary. In 1982 this territory was finally attached to the Episcopate of Csanád and the diocese was renamed Szeged-Csanád. In 1993 Pope John Paul II altered the borders of the diocese again, and since then it mainly has involved the territory of Békés and Csanád Counties.
The history of the Archives of the Episcopate of Szeged-Csanád began in 1930, when the bishop’s residency was completed. The predecessor institution, the Archives of the Episcopate of Csanád was in Temesvár. In 1923 Bishop Gyula Glattferder had to leave Temesvár forever and he could take with him only his personal belongings; thus, among others, most of the archival records remained in Temesvár. Only the records concerning those parishes that remained in Hungary and several other records were transferred from Temesvár in 1925. The archives were placed in 1930 in the new Bishop’s Palace in Szeged. At first there were just a few dossiers, kept in a cabinet in the room of the secretary. In the course of time more and more records were collected, so a separate room was prepared. The archives functioned here until December 2008. The classification of the material started in 1979 by Antal Lotz, Professor of Theology, who worked on it with tremendous dedication until his death in 1997.
The records of the newly organized diocese can be found in the archives from 1928 onwards. Apart from it, there are the records of the meetings of the governing body that administered the Nagyvárad and Szatmár episcopal and prebendal estates (1930–1939) and the documents of the Vicariate of Debrecen, governing the Hungarian part of the former Diocese of Nagyvárad (1945–1952). The archives of the episcopate preserve the archival material of the Diocesan School Inspectorate, the Seminary and the Cathedral Chapter (the latter had been established in 1941).
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