Ferenc Dávid (c.1520 – 15 November 1579), also known as Francis David and Frances David, was the founder of the Unitarian Church in Transylvania, and highly influential in encouraging King John II Sigismund Zápolya of Hungary to issue the Edict of Torda (1568), also known as the Patent of Toleration.
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- There is no greater mindlessness and absurdity than to force conscience and the spirit with external power, when only their creator has authority for them.
- As quoted in "The Transylvania Journey" by Rev. Michael McGee (25 July 2004), and in Whose God? and Three Related Works (2007) by Benjamin C. Godfrey, p. 61
- Neither the sword of popes, nor the cross, nor the image of death — nothing will halt the march of truth. I wrote what I felt and that is what I preached with trusting spirit. I am convinced that after my destruction the teachings of false prophets will collapse.
- His last message, carved onto the walls of his dungeon cell, as quoted in For Faith and Freedom (1997) by Charles A. Howe, p. 109
Quotes about Dávid
- The Unitarian Church in Transylvania still survives on the thought that may be regarded as part of our historical heritage, first uttered in 1568 at the Parliament in Torda. There and then, under the influence of Ferenc David, for the first time in the world, tolerance and the freedom of conscience were proclaimed. This edict became the basis of Transylvanian spirituality. It has survived centuries — and is still vivid — due to the recognition of interdependence and a correct interpretation of the word tolerance. When, in the 18th century, the very existence of our Church was in danger, after the peril disappeared a saying spread among people: "they love one another as the Unitarians do."
- Dr. Arpád Szabó, Unitarian Bishop of Romania, as quoted in "From these Roots" (Archive 2006) (a PDF document). The edict of 1568 he refers to stated "It is not permitted for anyone to intimidate anyone with captivity or expulsion for his teaching." This is considered by some historians as the first legal guarantee of religious freedom in Christian Europe.