Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Alapítvány        Amerikai Magyar Klub

Pro Ecclesia Hungariae - In Honor of Hungary




After the failure of the 1848 revolt against Habsburg rule, Hungarian refugees began settling in New York. They started Magyar Szamuzottek ("Hungarian Exiles' News"), the first Hungarian American newspaper. The community grew again in the 1880s when immigrants began coming to America for better economic opportunities. Most settled along Second Avenue, either between 1st and 10th streets or 55th and 72nd.[1]

In 1895 The Rev. Bertalan Demeter established the First Hungarian Congregation, holding services in the Hope Chapel on 4th Street. Three years afterwards, in 1889, a new pastor, Zoltan Kuthy, led the congregation into joining the Hungarian Reformed churches that had already been established elsewhere in the U.S. The church grew, and bought a house on East 7th Street for services.

The 1910 census indicated that over 75,000 New Yorkers identified as of Hungarian origin. Most were from the regions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that, in addition to modern Hungary, include portions of the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia. Ethnically some were Romanian, Slovak and Croatian. They were of diverse religious background, most Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, but with significant Protestants and Jewish populations.[1]

In 1914 the church sold its house and bought the three lots on East 69th Street. Two of the existing houses were demolished to clear a site for the church; the one that remained was renovated for use as a parsonage. Emery Roth, a Hungarian immigrant from Gálszécs, was retained to design the new building. It was only his second religious building, and the only Christian building ever for Roth, who designed several synagogues in the city. Since he was Jewish, it is likely that he was chosen for his familiarity with Hungarian vernacular architecture and close ties with the Hungarian community.[1]

Roth's design reflects many Hungarian church building traditions, in keeping with the practice of many immigrant communities of the time. The stucco exterior is accented with inlaid faience tile, overhanging roof with rafter tails, and clay-tiled conical tower. Inside, the coffered ceiling is a common element in churches in eastern Hungary and Transylvania. Its 322 individual coffers are handpainted with Hungarian folk motifs. It has been called "a charmingly exotic adaptation of Hungarian vernacular architecture".[1]

The new building was consecrated in early 1916, using the bell from the old church. Since then there have been few changes other than the remodeling of the parsonage. The columbarium was added to the nave in the 1950s, and the basement was remodeled at some point. Old photographs also show all roofs having the same clay tiles as the tower.[1]

New York's Hungarian community reached its zenith of almost 125,000 in the middle of the 20th century, the largest of any city in the nation. The area around the church had a strong Hungarian presence, with many bookstores and restaurants catering to its tastes. It declined over the rest of the century as the descendants of the original immigrants gradually assimilated and moved to Queens or the suburbs.[3] New immigrants attended the church but often settled outside Manhattan as the area had begun to gentrify.[1] The church continues to serve them, holding services in Hungarian every Sunday.[4]


  • Current leaders Rev. Nt.Fogarasi Anita and Deák Lehel
  • Chief Elder: Balla István