Francis Balázs Scholars Program History

Nearly every year since 1994, the Francis Balázs Scholars Program has brought a Unitarian Transylvanian minister to study at Starr King.

(Read about each of the Balázs scholars and watch interviews with them on Balázs Scholars Biographies).

The program was named for a young Unitarian Transylvanian minister who graduated from the school in the 1920s. He became minister in Meszko, the “Alabaster Village,” where he wrote, mentored seminary students, ministered to the residents, brought health programs and economic development to the impoverished local valley, and, with his American wife Christine, restored the historic Unitarian church.

View a video documentary below, “The History and Modernization of the Unitarians in Transylvania“.

Today, Balázs scholars are committed to not only improving the lives of their fellow congregants in Transylvania, where Unitarianism began over 400 years ago, but also to sharing with North American Unitarian Universalists the breadth and depth of their passion and caring for their homeland and for our common faith tradition.

Balázs Scholars’ participation in Starr King classes, chapel services and informal conversations enriches the life of the school. Through preaching and lectures, these scholars share their wisdom, deep faith and commitment throughout the Unitarian Universalist movement in the United States.

At Starr King they study theology, ethics, counseling, preaching, practical ministry and non-profit organizational skills to enhance their parish ministry in Transylvania, as well as in their work in the community and the larger church. Donations from individuals, congregations and the Partner Church Council, honoraria and special collections from churches where the scholars speak, and fund-raising activities provide the support that sustains the program.

The Balázs Program is immensely successful, providing meaningful educational experience for Transylvanian ministers, making lasting connections between Transylvanian Unitarians and UU ministers and congregations in the US, educating US congregations about Transylvanian Unitarianism, and Starr King Students about Transylvania, Romania, and the reality of living as an oppressed minority. Balázs Scholars add vitality and breadth to Starr King classes. They help to strengthen Partner Church programs.

Your financial help is needed to sustain this important program. Please visit our Support Balázs Scholars page for more information.


The History and Modernization of the Unitarians in Transylvania
a video documentary by Dakotta J.K. Alex,
edited by: Zoltán Varró-Bodoczi

Learn more about how Balázs Scholars are reshaping Unitariansim in Transylvania in this video documentary produced by Dakotta J.K. Alex, M.Div. student at Starr King. Dakotta is the third SKSM student to participate in the Transylvanian Immersion. He interviewed past Balázs Scholars and directed and produced this documentary during his travels in Transylvania.

Watch the trailer below (3-1/2 mins) or watch the full length video (65 mins) on Starr King’s YouTube channel.