We learned this week that, sadly, Rev. Levente Kelemen, the minister of our partner church in Oklànd, Romania, has died. Rev. Kelemen was diagnosed with stomach cancer in January 2017, and he began a long hard battle with this disease. Much of the last year he spent in Hungary where he felt better medical care was available. In the last few days of his life he returned to Oklànd, where he was surrounded by family in his final days.
For roughly 30 years, our Fellowship has partnered with Rev. Kelemen, his wife, Eva, and the members of the Unitarian Church in Oklànd, in the Transylvania region of what is now Romania. Members of our congregation have visited Oklànd numerous times over the years, and the Kelemens have visited Athens several times, often accompanied by village youth or their own children. Our deep and enduring friendship has given us a chance to learn more about our historic Unitarian roots dating back to the 1500s in Transylvania, as well as the ways Unitarians were oppressed for generations by a changing cast of governments.
Our hearts are with the Kelemen family and the people of Oklànd who will miss Rev. Kelemen’s leadership, compassion, and love for Unitarianism. We in Athens will also miss his laugh, his passion for lifting up traditional Székely culture (ethnic Hungarians living in Romania), his joy of being a Hussar, and love for his family.
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