Tradition has it that the founder of Remetea was a Franciscan monk called Bonifác Kendeffy. Previously, he had been a page in the service of the governor of Transylvania, Cardinal György Fráter, and later became a clerk. In December 1551, György Fráter was assassinated, and Kendeffy went into hiding in Székelyland. He settled on the left bank of the river Mureș, where he became a hermit. This is where the village’s name, Remetea, comes from (in Hungarian, “remete” means hermit). The first written mention of the village dates back to 1567, when there was a census of the population. In that document, Remetea is registered as having 6 gates and 30 souls. The first church here was built, according to certain opinions, in the sixteenth century, and to others, in the beginning of the seventeenth century. The village became separate from Ditrău later, in 1726, and it was only then that it had its own parish. The inhabitants of Remetea took part in all the battles that influenced the destiny of the Székely people. There were people from Remetea in the army of Prince Imre Thököly. In the time of Prince György Rákóczi of Transylvania, they fought in the campaign in Hungary. They fought against the Tartars and the Turks. In 1704, they were among the freedom fighters of Ferenc Rákóczi, who tried to stand against obligatory enrolment in the border guard regiments (1762 to 1764). At least 90 soldiers from Remetea fought in the Hungarian War of Independence between 1848-1849, as majors, captains, lieutenants or ordinary soldiers. In the autumn of 1848, the first attacking forces came from theMureș-Turda direction, and reached Székelyland nearby the villages of Remetea and Ditrău. Several thousand Austrian, Romanian and Saxon soldiers fell upon the town of Gheorgheni. On May 28th 1892, a devastating fire broke out in the centre of Remetea and burned-down almost the entire village. News coverage from those days tells us that more than 1,000 buildings were destroyed, and almost 500 families were made homeless. The first official data talks of 3,000 people being left without lodging. On August 30th 1913, torrential rain caused devastating flooding: 116 families were left homeless, 194 buildings were destroyed, and two people died. During this period, poverty, misery and shortages were part ofdaily life for most of the people of Remetea, and the First World War only made things even worse. According to historian Dezső Garda, during the first battles of the war, more than 180 Remetea men died. Their names are inscribed on the Hero’s Monument. Before the First World War, many people had already been driven to leave the village to seek a living elsewhere, but this trend increased even further during the post-war period. Between 1926 and 1928, 150 families moved away. Later, in the forties, during the Second World War, drought and the famine that followed obliged hundreds more families to depart Remetea and settle either in Biatorbágy (in Hungary), or around the townships of Reghin, Târgu-Mureș and Orăștie.
The fighting that took place in the autumn of 1944 in Székelyland did not overlook Remetea. According to information gathered by Endre Laczkó-Szentmiklósi, “Along the front near the cemetery, Hungarian and German soldiers with trench mortars and medium artillery shelled a narrow pass through which Russian army units were advancing. British reconnaissance planes were overflying Remetea, and sometimes laid down intimidation fire on the village. The population had dug out underground shelters (bunkers), but many people took refuge in the heights of the surrounding mountains.” After 1945, the situation of the people of Remetea, as well as that of all people in Székelyland, deteriorated because of the co-operativisation, which led to a halt in agricultural production in exchange for employment by the State, which seemed to be safer but obliged people to leave the village to fiind jobs. The history of Remetea in the 20.th century still needs further research.
THE ARMENIANS IN REMETEA
In 1820, Armenian families settled in Remetea and, soon after, were at the forefront of the forestry business and other trades linked to it, such as logging. They bought-up property from indebted families, accelerating the break-up of the rural community. The arrival of the Armenians also had a positive effect on the village’s development: commerce flourished, the village’s cultural life was enriched with amateur theatre, a reading circle was founded, a village library was opened, and the Armenian families built imposing houses in the village centre that bestow their hallmark on the architecture there even today.