A few days ago our family was having some vacation days in the White Carpathian Mountains, in the Czech-Slovak border region, one hour drive north of Bratislava. During one of the days we went to Stara Tura, a lovely and historical town and saw a decent crowd at its main square, TV crew, some officials speaking in front of a covered bust.
Then, in the crowd, we saw some familiar faces from one of Bratislava churches and realized this was not only just a public event, but a commemoration of one great Slovak, prof. Jozef Rohaček, and his work.
Prof. Rohaček (1877-1962) was born in Stara Tura, but lived and worked in Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, and nowadays Serbia, in Vojvodina. As a Lutheran missionary, later pastor and teacher, he spent five years in Kisač and surroundings, teaching Slovaks to write and read in their mother tongue, from 1906-1911. Also, while in Kisač, he published the first ever Slovak translation of the Gospel of Mark in 1910. The whole Bible was published in 1934, and was translated from the original languages. His church, however, did not endorse his work… but when the Bible was printed eventually, the first 5,000 copies were sold in less than four months. Such was a hunger for the Word of the Lord in Slovak language.
Our family felt honored that we, even accidently, participated in such a spiritual and public event. Far too often in Europe, Christians are being pushed aside, even if they contribute to the society as a whole.
“He was working on socio-theological concepts as a solution to the social situation of the Slovak nation… he had worked on a translation all of his life while working as a teacher, pastor, assistant, friend and brother. With all his family he founded the orphanages, elderly homes, hospitals, schools, chapels and churches… He challenged the theology of that time because he saw that theology was soaked with evolution ideas so it had a questionable direction… Jozef Rohaček himself was a representative of the social dimension of the biblical testimony…”
I wish you a nice Reformation Day.