Who was Peter Bod?

The reformed reverend from Ighiu, (Magyarigen, Grabendorf) Péter Bod (1712-1769), is considered by the specialty literature to be the foremost Protestant scientific figure of the 18th century in Transylvania. Péter Bod was born on February 22nd 1712 in Cernatul de Sus (Alsócsernáton), in the Seklar region. (Székelyföld, Secuime) His parents, Márton Bod and Euphrozina Sólyom, came from noble families. Péter Bod’s great grandfather, Pál Bod, received his ennoblement diploma from the Protestant Prince of Transylvania, György Rákóczi I, in 1640. Bod attempted to renew the diploma because of the fashion and of the benefits that the Hapsburgs could offer; however, it was no use to him. At the age of 7, his father passed away. His mother had to raise her children in extremely difficult times. In 1724, at the age of 12, he was enrolled at the Bethlen College from Aiud (Nagyenyed, Strassburg am Mieresch), where he raised some founds and acted as a student-servant, studying and serving the children from wealthier noble families. In 1729, at the age of 17, he was invited to teach at the Schola Rivulina in Baia Sprie (Felsőbánya, Mittelstadt), where he saved enough money to improve his living standards while also beginning to study Theology and History. In 1732, he came back to the Bethlen College from Aiud (Nagyenyed, Strassburg am Mieresch) to study Theology and Philosophy and in 1736, as a reward for his diligence, he was named College librarian. In this quality, he began his lifelong training and built his own library organization system, which he applied later in his work that set the bases for Library Science in Transylvania, as he organized and catalogued the personal libraries of Countess Kata Bethlen and count Sámuel Teleki of Şard (Sárd, Kothmark). Meanwhile, he improved his knowledge of Hebrew language and was named assistant teacher in Hebrew Antiquities and especially taught Hebrew grammar. Mihály Türi, the College administrator, helped him receive a stipend of 30 forint, offered by the Countess Kata Bethlen to eminent students. As his merits were early acknowledged, he was invited to fill the position of rector at the Reformed College of Orăştie (Szászváros, Broos). He did not accept this position because he wanted to continue his studies in the Batavian Republic, at the University of Leiden. His objective was to improve his knowledge in Theology, but he was also interested in studying History and namely Research Methods, as well as buying books. In the three years spend at the University of Leiden, (1740-1743), Bod was an eminent student, as the five reference letters that he brought back home with him certified. On July 24th 1743, with the recommendation letter, salvus conductus awarded by the University and a considerable amount of books, he came back to Transylvania, where he arrived on November 29th, at the invitation of his patron, Countess Kata Bethlen (1700-1759). He became a court preacher in the citadel of Făgăraş (Fogaras, Fogarasch). In 1746, after he was ordained as a reverend by the Synod of Băţanii Mari (Nagybacon), he was also named reverend of the community in Hoghiz (Olthévíz, Warmbach), both domains of the countess. In 1748 he married Mária Enyedi, daughter of the administrator of the Brâncoveanu family domains in Făgăraş (Fogaras). In his years of activity as a reverend in Făgăraş (Fogaras), he organized the countess’s valuable library several times, relying on his Library Science knowledge acquired in Aiud (Nagyenyed) and Leiden. In 1749 he was invited by the Reformed Community of Ighiu (Magyarigen, Grabendorf), a place close to the princely city, a position that he filled in from December 5th 1749 until the day he died - 2nd of March 1769. His tomb is in the courtyard of the Ighiu Reformed Church (Magyarigeni Református Egyház).