1568: The Edict of Torda

Aladár Körösfői Kriesch (1896): “The Proclamation of the Act on Religious Freedom at the 1568 Session of the Transylvanian Diet.


The Edict of Torda is one of the first edicts of religious freedom in European history. Issued by the Transylvanian Diet in 1568, it recognises the legal status of Lutherans, Reformed, Catholics, and even the persecuted anti-Trinitarians.


“Ministers should everywhere preach and proclaim [the Gospel] according to their understanding of it, and if their community is willing to accept this, good; if not, however, no one should be compelled by force if their spirit is not at peace, … no one is permitted to threaten imprison or banish anyone because of their teaching, because faith is a gift from God.”
– The Edict of Torda, 1568


Three years later, the edict is expanded with an amendment declaring that:


“the word of  God shall be preached freely everywhere. No one, neither preacher nor listener, shall come to harm on account of his confession”.