“The Second Vatican Council emphasizes the importance of the evangelization of cultures. The receptivity to cultural and spiritual values is a preparation for the acceptance of religious truth. As Jesuits we would like to be both critical of the mentality of our age and to offer proposals for the future.” – claims the 2012 Pastoral Plan of the Hungarian Jesuits about intellectual apostolate.
In this spirit, we have recently started to improve our Archives as well. Due to the stormy history of the Society of Jesus in Hungary, mainly the 1773 suppression and the communist persecution, the historic documents of the Hungarian Houses and Province became scattered and decreased. For this reason, one of the first tasks after 1990 was to recollect the records and reorganize the Archives.
The collection originally created by András Gyenis SJ and revived by László Lukács SJ is now under conscious development, thus facing the technological and archival-scientific challenges of the 21st century. The employees of our Archives have been collecting, organizing and exploring the documents about the past of the Province for decades now making the collection more and more available for researchers.
The new millennium, however, brought new challenges as well as new opportunities. As online communication became increasingly unavoidable, archives needed to find their own place in the virtual space, too. The imprints of the past needed to be made available through the devices of the present. The Jesuit Archives’ staff realized the growing importance of online presence; their website and Facebook account made them easily available for a wider range of visitors.
Although the Jesuit Archives counts as a smaller collection inside the Hungarian archives system, even among the ecclesiastical archives, the diversity of its documents made it sought after by not only historians but also by researchers of local history and genealogy. For this reason we launched the E-Archives website of the Jesuit Archives where we publish the material of former Jesuit schools (Kalocsa, Pécs) kept in our collection, our pre-1773 documents, the series of Historia Domus as well as the memoirs and diaries of certain members of the Society.
It is a great pleasure that, in relation with the commemoration of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, we managed to digitalize the documents of the exile Hungarian Jesuits (namely Section II) from the years 1948–1957 and to make it available online for free.
Asking for God’s blessing on your work, I wish you fruitful research.
Budapest, 7th September 2016, on the feast day of the St. Martyrs of Kosice
Tamás Gergely Forrai SJ