Lectori salutem! Welcome to our research group’s blog, which we have recently launched and which we will use to share the “work in progress” of the project’s members. We seek to keep our readers informed about our research and the practical experiences of source exploration in the archives and also to share glimpses of the results of the work of the research group by presenting single sources and exciting and interest cases before publishing our findings and insights in scholarly journals and monographs. Our work touches, in broad strokes, on the cultural history of oaths of loyalty, the relationship between the Church and the state, the relationship between Catholicism and emerging nationalism, and the challenges posed by a transnational institution to modern state sovereignty.

Given the cultural and linguistic complexity of the region, our research group addresses these research themes according to geographical-linguistic-cultural regions and, partly, chronology. In this way, each project member is responsible for a geographic-linguistic-cultural region in one or more of the longer chronological periods. Katalin Pataki, for instance, is pursuing research on the first period, which goes from roughly 1780 to 1855. During this period, a new model oath was prescribed by Emperor Joseph II and later changed in response to pressure form Pope Pius. As this oath was relevant to the relationship between the Church and the state in the Habsburg Monarchy, Pataki’s research focuses, from a regional perspective, on the Kingdom of Hungary and western territories of the Habsburg Monarchy. Tomasz Hen-Konarski is studying Church-state relations in Galicia and Polish regions outside the Habsburg Empire (Prussia and Russia) for the whole long nineteenth century (up to 1918). His work will further a more nuanced understanding of the specificities of Greek Catholic communities in the context of national movements and the multinational empire. Miklós Tömöry is responsible for the Kingdom of Serbia, Croatia, and the (Habsburg-)Balkans in the same period.

Other members of the research team are focusing on Church-state relations in the new states which emerged following the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy at the beginning of the twentieth century. Emilia Hrabovec’s research focuses on Czechoslovakia, with particular consideration of Slovak Catholicism and the First Slovak Republic, but she also seeks, more broadly, to identify the main characteristics, from the perspective of religion institutions and state power, of the Slovak, Czech and Moravian territories in the late nineteenth century. Anca Șincan is focusing on Romania, Željko Oset on Yugoslavia, and Przemysław Pazik on Poland in the short twentieth century (which we define, differing slightly from Hobsbawm, as the period between the end of the First World War and the end of the Cold War in 1990). In Central Europe, these decades bore witness to the rise of new fervent nationalisms and national movements followed, after 1945, by state socialism. I will be in charge of Hungary, and I will focus in particular on the twentieth century but will also covering nineteenth-century issues related to the Hungarian Kingdom and Transylvania.

While we all focus primarily on one region, our aim is by no means to tell parallel stories. The members of our research team are constantly discussing their research and their findings with one another, and we are constantly looking for common threads in the various trends, laws, movements, and events in any given period. We also seek, in our research, to identify common tendencies and issues that transcend eras, ideologies, and regimes. Thus, on our blog, we will publish comparative entries alongside individual case studies.

András Fejérdy

PI of Sovereignty project