Roman Priest Admitted (1921)

On Thursday, June 9th, in the chapel of the Diocesan House in Baltimore, the Rev. John W. Török, D.D., former Roman Catholic Monsignor, was received as a priest into the ministry of our Church by the Right Rev. John G. Murray, D.D., Bishop of Maryland. The Rev. W. M. Dame, president of the Standing Committee, presented Dr. Török. All the members of the Standing Committee were present; and also the two recommending priests, the Rev. Thomas Burgess, Secretary of the Foreign-born Americans Division, Department of Missions, and the Rev. George E. St. Claire.

The service, which was made wonderfully impressive, included the reading of the canon and an address by the Bishop to the applying priest, who then made a formal declaration and was formally received into our ministry by the Bishop, after which the Holy Eucharist was celebrated.

Dr. Török, who was a Greek Catholic (or Uniat) and a professor in the Uniat College in Rome, where he was in touch with the people of many races, is well-known in Europe as a Hungarian patriot and scholar. He came to this country in 1920 by permission of the Roman Propaganda Fidei Congregacio for the purpose of lecturing to the Hungarians on anti-Bolshevic propaganda. He has taken out his first papers as an American citizen. Dr. Török takes his place as a special assistant to the Rev. Thomas Burgess in the Foreign-born Americans Division of the Department of Missions, where he will prove of great value in helping to lead the Americanization and religious work among the unchurched immigrants from Middle Europe in the United States and where he will be of great assistance in many ways in addition to his particular work among the unchurched Magyars in America. Enormous numbers of these have left the Church of their native land and are out of touch with all religion and isolated from American life. They are thus a natural prey to Bolshevic propaganda.

Born in Hungary in 1890, after acquiring his lower and middle education at Budapest, studying law and philosophy at the Universities of Budapest and Tübingen, and receiving his theological training at Budapest, Eperjes, and at Rome, where he was ordained priest in 1914, Dr. Török in the year of his ordination was appointed chaplain in the Cathedral of Nyiregyhaza. Early in 1915, he was appointed professor of Canon Law in the Greek College at Rome, where he remained until 1917. When the Greek College was temporarily transferred to Switzerland on account of the war, he kept up very strong anti-German and anti-Hapsburg policies, and for this the Magyar Government instituted against him a suit for his “entente-friendship.” His case was heard directly at the outbreak of the revolution, and because all historical facts were in his favor, he was, of course, exonerated, and, consequently, considered a national hero. Under Bolshevism, they tried to hang him and he had to seek refuge from prison, in reality from the scaffold. Dr. Török was appointed Consistorial Councilor in 1919.

The Living Church, June 18, 1921, p. 232.

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