The Church of Thanksgiving
The Church of “Thanksgiving”, which is situated approximately 2 km from the city center, lies on the Pest bank of the Danube, north of the Margaret Bridge, facing the Margaret Island. The main church building with a full-façade portico in classical Greek style crowned with a cross in the middle, and the imposing tower that rises somewhat apart from the main building are connected with several service buildings in use by the congregation.
The first permanent meeting place in the Tutaj street, which was built on an estate donated by the city of Budapest, was the cradle of the congregation. No sooner had the meeting house been consecrated in 1926, the idea of a true church and a set of buildings that could be the home of the congregation as well as several church groups and missionary activities, was already born. Fundraising had started: the first donation was offered by a Dutch reverend, Willem Decker. He was followed by the council of Budapest, the mayor, and believers from Budapest as well as other regions of the country. The architectural tender to design the church building was announced in 1935. The architect Imre Tóth won the first, while Jenő Halász the second prize, but they cooperated in the final design. The construction was contracted by Henrik Wanner. The foundation stone was laid ceremoniously on April 25, 1937 by the bishop László Ravasz.
The construction lasted between November 1936 and October 1937, hampered by unforeseen architectural challenges and a serious economic situation. The gates of the church were opened on the second Sunday of Advent in 1940. Reverend Albert Bereczky (later bishop and the “founding reverend” of the church) played a prominent role in saving numerous lives during the Arrow-cross era.
The World War inflicted severe damage on the building, which had been renovated only by 1972 from the congregation's own resources with the exception of a completely destroyed pillar of the façade, which was only restored for the 50th anniversary of the church.