Archive for June, 2011

Finding the Anabaptists in Slovakia and Moravia

Monday, June 13th, 2011

On a recent trip across Europe, from one weekend of ministry in Dijon, France to another in Lanckorona, Poland, I took the opportunity to visit some of the sites associated with the Anabaptists in Zurich, Innsbruck, Vienna and in Moravia and Slovakia.

In particular, visiting the Anabaptist Quarter (Habánsky Dvor) in Velke Levare, north of Malacky in Western Slovakia, a beautifully preserved example of a Hutterite bruderhof dating back to 1588, I was amazed to be introduced to a descendant of a Hutterite (Habáni) family in the village there, still living in the neighbourhood and looking after the (now Roman Catholic) chapel of the original settlement. Mr Kleinerdle’s German name marks him out from his Slovak neighbours, and he is one of a number of families who, whilst converting to Catholicism in the eighteenth century, kept many of their Hutterite traditions, including the council of elders and a school there until into the twentieth century.

In speaking to friends in the Catholic Communities I was visiting in Bratislava, I was surprised how many folks were also claiming to have ‘Habáni’ ancestors. One woman in a small group I visited still has family in Sobotište, which some from IBTS have visited to see the Anabaptist house there, and a friend in the Roman Catholic Calvary Community, in Bratislava tells me that her mother’s family, also from Sobotište, had the German surname ‘Baumgartner’, one common around Lucerne, whence the first settlers possibly came.

I was also delighted, crossing over the border into Czech Republic, to get a chance to visit the original seventeenth century vaults of the ‘Habánske Sklepy’ (Anabaptist Cellars) winemakers at Velke Bilovice, established by the Anabaptists in 1614. This is definitely worth a viewing, if you are in the area, and I have also come home with a bottle of their late-gathered 2009 Chardonnay to sample into the bargain!

For any wishing to visit the Anabaptist Museum at Velke Levare, in the Anabaptist Quarter there, details can be found on the Zahorskie Museums website (Slovak language) and the Anabaptist Cellars website can be found here (Czech language).

– Colin Symes

Teaching Theology

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

An interesting new blog by Graham Cheesman, for the reference especially of those of you engaged in teaching theology (although I suspect those who are ‘being taught’ may also have a thing or two to say!).

– Lina

Prague’s Golden Lane

Monday, June 6th, 2011

If you are currently in Prague, then you can visit it immediately, and for others, this is an activity for your next time in Prague/IBTS! Prague’s Golden Lane inside the Prague Castle has reopened after a major reconstruction. But whether you’re in Prague or not, you can enjoya really cool virtual tour with a 360-degree panorama of the Golden Lane here. Enjoy!

– Lina


Friday, June 3rd, 2011

…has come fast and is gone – together with many students, and some more to leave over the weakend. It’s always a bitter-sweet time: on the one hand, gladness to see them having advanced in or completed their studies and having grown so much during the time here, and on the other hand, sadness of good-byes and missing their presence…

Well, but some community members never go away! Like this one, for example… In case you haven’t met her, it’s Gabinka, who works as an Assistant to our IT Manager, Ivan, who’s posted this video.


Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

'Kittens' with the Academic Dean, EBF Gen Secy and Rector

Well, we pulled it off again – that mix of formality – processions, Academic robes, the European Anthem, formal address – this year from the Revd Tony Peck, General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation, who had done his homework, referring to the time of study of the students, pointing out the wide variety of backgrounds of the students and topics of dissertations and theses and commending the students for the development, both spiritually and intellectually, that he had observed in them over their time of study at IBTS.

Then Parush, our dear Pro Rector and Academic Dean, introduced each of the the Graduating students, who were handed their diplomas by Tony Peck and congratulated by the assembled company. Not all students graduating were able to be present because of travel or visa difficulties but students from fifteen countries were part of the ceremony.

Master and Magister graduates

Within the Certificate in Applied Theology programme twelve students were present to receive their relevant certificates. Three students were gowned and hooded Master of Theology coming from Israel, Brazil and Kazakhstan. One student from the Ukraine was gowned and hooded Magister in theology and one student from Poland present to be robed and hooded as Doctor of Philosophy.

Zbigniew, our PhD graduate

Mixed with the ceremonial and the formal were relaxed moments and then immediately after the ceremony the general melee with family, friends, community members taking photographs, offering individual congratulations and all. Eventually, we all repaired to the Dining room for a festal buffet which was shared by the students, Faculty, family members, friends and officials. Thus, our 62nd academic year concludes.

An excellent day for all concerned.

– Keith