B bábi, Tibor

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Bethlen, Count Miklós (Nicholas) (Kisbun, 1 September 1642 - Vienna, 27 October 1716) – Chancellor of Transylvania (Erdély, now in Romania), writer. He completed his studies in Gyulafehérvár (now Alba Iulia, Romania) and Kolozsvár (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania). He was a student of János (John) Apácai Csere. He continued his higher education in Heidelberg, Germany, Utrecht and Leyden, Holland between 1661 and 1663. He was an eyewitness to the fatal hunt that ended with the death of Miklós (Nicholas) Zrinyi. Later he went to Venice, Italy. After returning home he lived at his Bethlenszentmiklós estate as Captain-General of Udvarhelyszék, where he built a self-designed castle in Venetian style. He distributed many pamphlets against Habsburg suppression and the persecution of Protestants following the Wesselényi movement. Together with Pál (Paul) Béldi, he was imprisoned for suspicion of organizing an uprising against the Habsburgs in 1676. He was released from Fort Fogaras in the Southern Carpathians after a year. He became supporter of the reigning dynasty in 1689; and after the battle of Zernyest (now in Romania) he took a significant part in publishing the Diploma Leopoldinum that more or less secured religious freedom. In 1691 he became Chancellor of Transylvania. In 1696 he was given the title of Count. He received an introduction of the Habsburg Counter-Reformation policy in Transylvania with disapproval and blamed it for the outbreak of the Prince Ferenc (Francis) Rákóczi II’s Freedom Fight (1703-1711). He published another leaflet, the Noah’s Pigeon Carrying the Olive Branch… (Olajágat viselő Nóé galambja…) against the Habsburgs and was captured by General Rabutin. After having been transported to Vienna, although acquitted from the charge of treason, he was not released. He died in prison. He wrote his memoirs (Mémoires historiques…des dernier troubles de Transylvanie) (Bethlen Miklós emlékiratai) (1864) in prison. His autobiography written in excellent composition is a literary masterpiece and also a valuable historical source. His Prayer Book is a pinnacle of Hungarian laymen’s prayer literature. He was protector and promoter of the Reformed Church, helper of the persecuted, and patron of the Reformed Colleges in Transylvania. He was one of the outstanding personalites of his age. – B: 0883, 1257, T: 7668.→ Apácai Csere, János; Zrinyi, Count Miklós; Rákóczi, Prince Ferenc II; Diploma Leopoldinum.

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