Winter 2000
Volume 4 Number 3

In Memoriam
Alexander Czegledy 1909 - 1998


Czegledy studied theology in the Reformed College in Papa, established in 1531. He continued his studies in Budapest, in Dayton, Ohio, in Princeton, and at Halle-Wittenberg. He was extremely proud of his Princeton Seminary Master of Theology degree and often said that it was the basis of his solid reputation in theological science. In 1936 he received his doctoral degree in systematic theology from Debrecen University and later earned a degree in practical theology.

In 1938 Czegledy was elected professor of practical theology in Budapest and in 1940 was elected professor of the Reformed Theological Faculty of Debrecen University. The Debrecen faculty was the strongest theological school in Hungary in the area of Reformed spirituality. During his lifetime, Czegledy taught one hundred semesters at the university level.

During his later years, after the death of his beloved wife, Aranka, he lived with the family of his younger daughter, Maria, in Debrecen. His older daughter, Judith, and her family also visited him often. In that family environment, he enjoyed a very happy and quiet period surrounded by loved ones in his last days.

Czegledy was one of the most characteristic and determinant Reformed theologians of Hungary in the twentieth century. His theology was deeply biblical and was influenced by the great Reformers Luther and Calvin. He faced the most burning and important theological and ecclesiological questions of his age in Europe and Hungary. His theology was characterized by his colleagues and students as “biblical realism.” Karl Barth’s theology also played an important role in his scientific endeavor. His books Faith and History and The Chosen People contain timely messages even today.

Although Czegledy suffered some rejection by church and political leaders during the Communist era, he helped to instill hope in the lives of many by his presence, his steadfast Christian standpoint, and his great knowledge. In spite of the fact that he was put aside for many years, his person was a very strong link between the Hungarian Reformed Church and European and American Christianity. 

In 1992 he visited Princeton Seminary for his class’s sixtieth reunion. It was his last trip to his alma mater. His joy was made more complete because his family was present to share in that special celebration.

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