Emanuel Titus Dan: A Memoir

Emanuel Titus Dan & family
Emanuel Titus Dan & family in Charlotte, NC, 2015

As I have announced already, Emanuel Titus Dan, one of the veterans of the Romanian Baptist community in America, went to be with the Lord. May God rest him in peace, with the saints!

I have received recently, from his daughter, Stefana Dan Laing, an autobiography. Here is the beginning of it.

* * *

“Fear not for I am with you,
Be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you,
I will help you,
I will uphold you
With my victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

Emanuel Titus Dan: A Memoir

I was born in Cluj, Romania on May 15, 1933. My parents, Ioan and Ana, both Baptists, took great pains to rear me and my five siblings in the church and in accordance with the Word of God. My father was converted to a living faith in Jesus Christ in the trenches of World War I, where he received Christ through the preaching of a German military chaplain. When he returned home, he became one of the promoters of the Baptist faith in the city of Cluj and the surrounding area, putting forth a fruitful effort in the establishment of the first Romanian Baptist Church of Cluj. Today there are three Baptist churches in Cluj, and dozens of others in the neighboring regions, many of which my father planted. Through his work and activity among the Baptist brotherhood, he was highly esteemed and appreciated, and in 1928 he was elected as the President of the Baptist Young People’s Union in Romania. In 1945 he was elected as the President of the Baptist Union in Romania and re-elected in 1948 to the same position. During this entire period until 1963 when he retired, he worked to support our family and the church as an administrator of the Regional Laboratory of Hygiene in Cluj. After his retirement he continued to work within the Baptist Association of Cluj which comprised several districts.

My mother, as I remember, worked for the state as a bookkeeper and chemist, while also helping my father with his ministry. She was our Sunday school teacher and our true educator every day, teaching us how to behave among people and about the Christian life according to the Bible.

In my seventh year, World War II broke out in Europe, affecting Romania as well. Due to the conditions created by the war, in 1940 my entire family took refuge in another part of the country, in the city of Sighisoara. We remained there until 1945, when we returned to Cluj. During the years in Sighisoara, I completed my first four elementary grades, then I took my remaining education in Cluj, graduating eight years later with my baccalaureate in 1952.

This was a time of political upheaval and social turmoil and transformation in Romania. An atheistic government had won the leadership of the country. This caused many of the believers’ children difficulty in obtaining university admission, and sometimes they were not admitted at all but were totally denied. I myself have experienced these difficulties. The Lord helped me to enter the Polytechnical Institute of Cluj (now Universitatea Tehnica din Cluj-Napoca). Here at the Institute, aside from learning about the wonderful advances in science, I also had a chance to taste the bitter cup of religious persecution. Sometimes this oppression was openly manifested, while other times it was hidden behind the most clever forms of perpetration. Despite these hardships, God helped me complete my education there and graduate with one of the highest grade point averages in my class. In June, 1958, I received the degree of Mechanical Engineer. During my studies at the Polytechnical Institute I was recruited into the military (like all other students) to discharge my service in a tank unit for five years. After my graduation as a mechanical engineer, I was awarded the rank of Captain reservist in the Romanian Army.

God’s care and sustenance throughout these years made me see clearly His great love for me, and I decided to follow Him faithfully for the rest of my life. This decision led to the public act of declaring my personal faith and receiving New Testament baptism in the summer of 1958, on the 27th of July.

My difficulties did not end there, however.   At a time when engineers were very much in demand, my application was constantly rejected. The reason was that I was a Baptist, and Baptists were perceived as a kind of cult. Thus, it was necessary for me to leave my native city and seek employment in places where I was not so well known. These were the circumstances in which I began my work as an engineer. Things did not settle down, however, and I could not stay hidden for very long. As Jesus told his disciples, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do men light a lamp and place it under a bushel” (Mt 5:14-15). Due to my church involvement, I was discovered and during a meeting of the staff and employees of my workplace, I was publicly reprimanded and told that I could not continue to work there unless I abandoned my “obsolete” and “backward” religious convictions. I was given several weeks to think it over and then the “ultimatum” was handed down. Since I answered that I intended to remain faithful to my religious convictions and also to continue to be active within the Baptist church, I was excluded from the youth organization of which I was a member and was transferred to another company. The job I was assigned was harder and was totally inferior for my educational training. Since the pressure on me continued for reasons of religion, I decided to leave that place and relocate to another part of the country (1962).

You may read the rest of this story in the PDF file attached below.

Emanuel Titus Dan – A Memoir


Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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