Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, KY

Our Partner Church in Transylvania

Our partner church  is located in the village of Nyomat, in a beautiful valley in the Transylvanian region of Romania.  It is about 10 miles from the city of Targu-Mures, also called Marosvasarhely. The population of Nyomat is a little under 400.

A video greeting and thanks from Bela-Botond Jakabhazi and our partner church. 

As in the majority of Transylvanian villages and towns, the ethnic and religious composition is diverse. The majority Nyomat’s residents are Hungarian, but the village also has a very important Roma community, and a few Romanian families live there.  Our partner church, (Unitarian of course), is the largest church in the village with about 110 adult members, but village residents include members of Reformed, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches.  Almost all of the members of the Unitarian church are ethnic Hungarians.

According to the oral history told by the elders, about 800 years ago a monk named Moniat came into the valley in the middle of a dense forest and built a chapel.  As the years passed, many people came into the valley, and from his name the small village became Moniat.  According to the registry from the year 1567, the village had 9 "gates," meaning 9 powerful families with wealth.  Over time, the Latin name of Moniat became Monyat, and by the 18th century the official name had become Nyomat. Today the official Romanian name of the village is Maiad, but its residents prefer the name Nyomat.

The oldest part of our partner church’s building was constructed in the 1300s, as Catholic church.  When the population of Transylvania became Protestant and Unitarian during the Reformation, it became a Unitarian church. In 1735 the church was rebuilt, but the older part still remains.  The bell tower was built later in the 1700s, and has two bells, dated 1777 and 1782.

Listen to the bells.

A recording of these bells is played every Sunday at the start of our own services.

Our partnership with the Nyomat Church was formed in 2004 as part of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Program.  Members of our congregation have visited the church on several occasions.

The minister of our partner church is Rev. Jakabhazi Bela-Botond.  In the Hungarian language and culture, one’s full name is stated with one’s family name first, so formally he is “Rev. Jakabhazi” and informally he is “Bela”.  Bela, who has furthered his ministerial studies in the United States, has visited our church on several occasions.

Our minister, Rev. Cynthia Cain, assists
Rev. Jakabhazi, (Bela), with communion.


Members of our church meet with Bela's family. 
Bela's grandfather, Nagy Ferenc, (front center), is
the oldest living Unitarian minister in Transylvania.

Members of our partner church.

Our Partner Church Committee greets Bela at
Lexington's Bluegrass Airport.


Bela talks to our youth about his church as
Religious Exploration Director Stacey Stone watches.

The beautiful covers that decorate our hymnals were handmade by members of our partner church.


You will find additional videos of our Nyomat friends here: