Day of Religious Freedom—13th January 1568

In 1568, on January the 13th, the Diet of Torda (Transylvania) proclaimed: “… in every place the preachers shall preach and explain the Gospel each according to his understanding of it, and if the congregation like it, well. If not, no one shall compel them for their souls would not be satisfied, but they shall be permitted to keep a preacher whose teaching they approve.” This proclamation was the first of its kind in history; the right for individuals to believe and worship according to their own understanding; for clergy to preach and teach the Gospel as they too, understood it. This moment marked the beginning of what we Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists understand to be a foundational right of our human existence: to believe as we wish, to worship accordingly and to practice our faith as we determine right and proper. The Edict of Torda is one of the cornerstones of our modern understanding of religious practice and belief.

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