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  • The principles of Lutheran church architecture and an example from Kőszeg

    Text by Dr. Zoltán Lőrincz

    The study seeks to answer the question that about 80 percent of the 138 Reformed churches built after the political change (1989/90) show a strong historicism. The Reformed believe that the church is not a holy place, yet in practice they make it so, making it a “house of God”. They had to give the impression that their churches were of the same quality as Catholicism.
    The Reformation initially took over existing buildings and built few. It adapted medieval interior architecture and generalised it for new buildings. In churches with a basilica structure, the choir, which is blocked by the sanctuary apse, is now superfluous, as the whole service takes place in the nave. The pulpit is placed at the east end of the nave, usually in front of a column or pillar on the south side. In the case of village churches, after the rearrangement (it is usually a creation church), the place of the elders, singers or simply the men is moved to the choir, from where the altar and baptismal font, placed in the middle of the nave, are clearly visible in front of the choir.

    By placing the other, non-worship functions on the ground floor and the preaching space on the first floor, the church of George Csete separated the different functions and at the same time unified them. The doctrine of the Reformed Church: universal priesthood, the synod-presbyterian principle is also reflected in the fact that the pews, the pulpit, the altar are all on the same level. There is no prominent sacred priesthood function and its spatial assignment. The central space would be emphasized by the synod-presbyterian principle of “democracy”, there is no subordination and supreordination in the space. Reformed churches are used for one or two hours a week. The question remains as to how this space could be used several times a week in a way that is sufficiently ‘appropriate’ for Sunday worship, but could be adapted to multi-functional requirements where appropriate. Where is the boundary between the need for ‘sacred’ church space and the need for ‘profane’ occasion space? And how can all this be defined in the light of the Gospels, the Creeds and biblical scholarship? György Csete’s church in Kőszeg is a good example of our questions.