Interethnic marriages: between an exercise of tolerance and a modern expression of indifference. 1895-2010

Scientific report

regarding the project's implementation in the period October - December 2011

The first objective of the project Interethnic marriages: between an exercise of tolerance and a modern expression of indifference. 1895-2010 consists in discovering the evolution of the phenomenon of intermarriages in Transylvania in the period 1890-1910 by taking into account the different historical, political and cultural contexts. Within the framework of this general objective we have defined the following specific objectives:
-Estimating the impact of the various historical events on the evolution of mixed marriages (peaceful periods as compared with the periods of social and political turmoil such as the revolutionary movements);
-Studying the influences of the dominant ideologies during certain epochs;
-Identifying the elements pertaining to intermarriages in the lay and religious legislation;
-Analysing the manner in which mixed marriages were perceived at the level of the collective mentality (as portrayed in the press, literature, memoirs, ethnographic sources).
During the three months that have passed since the project's start the team has begun the identification and the analysis of the indirect sources regarding intermarriages: literature, memoirs, journals, correspondence, collections of ethnographic texts, juridical literature, the press and others. In order to accomplish this stage's objective, we have read extensively 10 volumes of the work Bibliografia Istorică a României (Romania's Historical Bibliography) in order to select the titles referring to the attitude of the main denominations from Transylvania with respect to the mixed marriages contracted within this province during the 19th-21st centuries. As a result of these activities, we have elaborated a number of 55 bibliographical records that reflect various historical, theological, sociological and anthropological aspects concerning the manner in which the principal three ethnicities and five denominations from Transylvania have regarded the conclusion of interethnic and interdenominational mixed marriages during different historical moments.
At the same time we have begun the operation of identifying as many sources pertaining to this category as possible in libraries and in the electronic resources made available through the ANELIS project; in this phase of the project, we have focused on the period 1895-1948 (until the Communist regime's instauration).
We have analysed a series of articles referring to the problem of intermarriages, written especially by foreign authors (and available in international databases), in order to determine the best methodology for approaching and using the information that can be found in the published sources; so far we have studied and put to good use the information from a number of 35 articles. Moreover, we have also closely followed the Romanian publications so as to keep abreast of the issuance of studies or volumes regarding the already mentioned topic.
In this stage of the project, we have evaluated and kept in view, with the purpose of a detailed analysis, the following published sources, which can be consulted at the Central University Library of Cluj:
Buletin eugenic și biopolitic (Eugenic and bio-political bulletin), Cluj, 1927-1947 (journal published by the medical and bio-political section of ASTRA);
Cultura Creștină (The Christian Culture), Blaj, 1911-1944 (journal published by the Greek-Catholic Theological Seminary of Blaj);
Cultura poporului (The people's culture), Cluj, 1921-1930 (the gazette of the "Cultura poporului" society);
Curierul creștin (The Christian Courier), Gherla, 1922-1940 (official organ of the Gherla Diocese);
Familia (The Family), Oradea, 1865-1944;
Gând românesc (Romanian thought), Cluj, 1933-1940 (magazine published by ASTRA);
Luceafărul (The luminary), Budapest-Sibiu-Bucharest, 1902-1945;
Răvașul (The billet), Cluj, 1903-1910;
Românul (The Romanian), Arad, 1911-1938;
Societatea de mâine (The society of tomorrow), Cluj, 1924-1945;
Telegraful român (The Romanian telegraph), Sibiu, 1853-1948;
Transilvania (Transylvania), Brașov, 1868-1946;
Țara Bârsei (The Bârsa Country), Brașov, 1929-1938;
Țara noastră (Our country), Sibiu, 1907-1938;
Unirea (The Union), Blaj, 1891-1940;
Vestitorul (The harbinger), Oradea, 1925-1940.
When researching the contents of these publications we will have in view the conceptions regarding mixed marriages/families of the educated environments, which had access to printed culture.

Collections and journals of folklore:
Anuarul arhivei de folclor (The annual of the folklore archive), Cluj, 1930-1945;
Comoara Satelor: revistă lunară de folclor (The Villages' Treasure: a monthly journal of folklore), Blaj, 1923-1927;
Culegătorul: Buletinul Arhivei etnografico-folclorice a Muzeului Etnografic din Cluj (The Gatherer: the Bulletin of the Ethnographical-Folkloric Archive of the Ethnographical Museum of Cluj), 1933;
Folclor din Transilvania (Folklore from Transylvania), vol. 1-10;
Hora satelor (The villages' round dance), Brașov, 1948;
Izvorașul: revistă de muzică, artă națională și folclor (The little spring: a journal of music, national art and folklore), Bistrița, 1922-1939;
Vlăstarul: revistă lunară de folclor și artă populară a comunei Cojocna din jud. Cluj (The scion: a monthly journal of folklore and popular art of the Cojocna commune from the Cluj county), 1932-1934.
Amongst the titles examined in order to attain the project's first objective, we can mention the following: Radko Poptodorov, Intermarriages in the Orthodox tradition and practice of the Slavic Churches, in Kanon, VI, Wien, 1983, pp. 109-114; Constantin Vavouskos, Les mariages mixtes d`apres le droit en vigueur en Grece, in Kanon, VI, Wien, 1983, pp. 102-108; M. Vernus, Mariages et noces d'autrefois. Rites et traditions, Cabédita Publishing House, 2002; M. Fize, La Famille, Le Cavalier Bleu Publishing House, Paris, 2005; Anne-Françoise Praz, "Politique conservatrice et retard catholique dans la baisse de la fecondite: l'exemple du canton de Fribourg en Suisse (1860-1930)", in Annales de demographie historique, 2003, no. 2; Jan Van Bavel, Jan Kok, "The role of religion in the Dutch fertility transition: starting, spacing, and stopping in the heart of the Netherlands, 1845–1945", in Continuity and Change, 2005, no. 20; A. Janssens, Family and social change: the household as a process in an industrializing society; Bastardy and its comparative history. Studies in the history of illegitimacy and marital nonconformism in Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, North America, Jamaica and Japan, Peter Laslett, Karla Oosterveen, Richard M. Smith, London: Edward Arnold, 1980; R. H. Graveson, F. R. Crane, A Century of Family Law, 1957; Hans F. K. Günther, Formen und Urgeschichte der Ehe, Göttingen, 1951; John Broad, Transforming English rural society: the Verneys and the Claydons, 1600-1820, Cambridge University Press, 2004; Barry Reay, Microhistories. Demography, society and culture in rural England, 1800-1930, Cambridge University Press, 1996; Joanne Bailey, Unquiet Lives. Marriage and Marriage Breakdown in England, 1660-1800, Cambridge University Press, 2003; Handbook of International Historical Microdata for Population Research, Edited by Patricia Kelly Hall, Robert McCaa, Gunnar Thorvaldsen.
Fromthe viewpoint of the historical and cultural context we have followed three chief directions in our research activity:
Firstly , we have analysed the manner in which the Evangelical Church from Transylvania/Romania has perceived the problem of mixed marriages after the civil legislation came into force. In order to achieve this we have especially scrutinised the collections of two periodical publications edited by the Lutheran ecclesiastical authority, namely Kirchliche Blätter and Jahrbuch für die Vertretung und Verwaltung der evangelischen Landeskirche A.B. in Siebenbürgen. From the viewpoint of the official stance, we have found a single reference to intermarriage: in 1932 some modifications were brought to the Matrimonial Code that had come into force in 1870. On the other hand, several references to interdenominational and interethnic marriages appear in the two mentioned publications; however, these articles do not reflect an official position, but appreciations set forth by personalities belonging to the Lutheran community.
Secondly, we have begun to inventory the references to intermarriages from the literature meant to disseminate general information (Kronstädter Kalender, Kalender des Siebenbürger Volksfreundes and others), as well as those from the German-language press (Siebenburgisch-Deutsches Tageblatt).
Thirdly, we have begun gathering the bibliographical material for a study regarding the evolution of mixed marriages in an urban context (the case of the town Cluj). In the same context, we have started to accumulate archival material about the interwar period. We are referring to the collections of civil status registers, kept in the archive of Direcția de Evidență a Persoanelor (the Directorate for Persons' Records), Cluj-Napoca, from which, up to this moment, we have researched the marriage records for the period 1919-1922. The partial conclusion drawn after examining these files suggests the large proportion of mixed marriages in the town Cluj. During this period, over 50% of approximately 1,000 marriages per year recorded in the documents of civil evidence involved a partner with a different denomination.
As for studying the civil legislation regarding intermarriages we had in view the contouring of the general legislative framework that governed the matrimonial life of Transylvania and Romania, by using Romania's Legislative Annuals, the Decisions of the Council of Ministers or those of the Great National Assembly, which are all preserved at the Romanian Academy Library from Cluj. It is known that separate legislations have functioned in the two parts of the country until 1943. Up to the birth of the modern unitary national state after World War I, the legislators and laws were different for the intra- and extra-Carpathian areas. Even after this moment, regardless of the institutional and legislative unification which occurred during the 20's, separate laws have functioned in matters of civil life. In Transylvania, for instance, the Civil Laws of 1894 remained in effect until 1943 and only the articles that concerned the documents of civil status were abrogated. The Civil Code, which was in force since 1865 in the extra-Carpathian area, was introduced in Transylvania by Ion Antonescu in 1943, at the height of the war, and remained in use until the Communist authorities elaborated the Family Code (1954). It is only after 1943 that we can talk about the same legislation in matters of civil life on both sides of the Carpathians.
With regard to the dissemination of information and the evolution of this project, besides creating the project's site – which can be accessed at the address, we have accomplished two other activities, although they were not initially set as objectives: a scientific communication with the title "Statistică și ideologie la românii din Transilvania în epoca modernă" ("Statistics and ideology at the Romanians from Transylvania in the modern epoch"), presented at Al XX-lea Simpozion al cercetătorilor români din Ungaria (The 20th Symposium of the Romanian researchers from Hungary), organised by Institutul de cercetări al românilor din Ungaria (The Research Institute of the Romanians in Hungary), Budapest, in the period 25-26 November 2011 and, secondly, we have published the book Ortodoxia în Transilvania. Aspecte istorico-statistice privind orașul Cluj în anul 1922 (Orthodoxy in Transylvania. Historical-statistical aspects regarding the town Cluj in the year 1922), Presa Universitară Clujeană, Cluj-Napoca, 2011, 114 p. (Ioan Bolovan and Alexandru Morar).
As a conclusion, having in view all the activities that have already been mentioned, we consider that we have fully and completely achieved the objectives we have taken upon ourselves for these 3 months.

Project director,
Prof. Dr. Ioan Bolovan

© 2011 by Luminita Dumanescu
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