Literatura religioasa de colportaj in perioada comunista

coperta
Coperta uneia dintre primele brosuri de colportaj
(o colectie de versete pentru hrana spirituala zilnica)

Aceia dintre evanghelicii romani care s-au nascut inainte de 1960, cunosc, din experienta, penuria de Biblii si de literatura religioasa din acele decenii ale perioadei comuniste. Lucrurile aveau insa a se schimba radical, in contextul unor inundatii catastrofale care au avut loc in Romania in 1970.  Continue reading “Literatura religioasa de colportaj in perioada comunista”

Michael Bourdeaux – Keston College and Romania – Lecture notes – 3

9. 1977 “Call for Truth” from Ton, Pavel Nicolescu and four others. Latter now emerged as leader and set up Romanian Christian Committee for the defence of Freedom of Religion and Conscience (ALCR). 24 demands. 27 signed, including one Orthodox. Ton did not – said would detract from pastoral work. Huge scandal in Caransebes – fully documented. 1979 Nicolescu emigrated.

10. Suppression of Eastern Rite – story of Cardinal Alexandru Todea. Interrogated by Securitate in 1979, he said, “You have no power to fight me. I risk nothing, because I have nothing to lose – not work, not money, not even my freedom. After 1989 began new life… Continue reading “Michael Bourdeaux – Keston College and Romania – Lecture notes – 3”

Michael Bourdeaux – Keston College and Romania – Lecture notes – 2

4. Keston began 1969 – Alan Scarfe to Bucharest seminary – got to know Baptists as well as Orthodox. On his return we became main spokesmen in West for them – at an exciting time. He began systematic reporting on all aspects of church and “neo-Protestant” life. For example, he told us about evangelical revival within the Orthodox Church. Fr Tudor Popescu in 1920s began a Bible-based revival, concentrating on a new translation. Eventually unfrocked for bringing “Protestant” influences into RomOC  Iosif Trifa in 1930s instrumental in establishing Lord’s Army (Evangelical movement within Orthodox Church) in 1930s). No one had ever heard of “Oastea Domnului”  – but we publicised the life and work of Trifa. He died in 1938, stripped of priesthood, but movement carried on – even strongly in communist period, despite official church’s efforts, backed by State, to extinguish it. Right to Believe 2/78: “The Army of the Lord Marches on” – story of Traian Dors (1914-89) – never lived to see religious liberty, but fearless ministry. Joined Lord’s Army at 16; movement outlawed 1947; seventeen years in prison, then house arrest from 1964. Unceasing writer of hymns – thousands. Deserves greater recognition.

5. The Baptists – Alan Scarfe’s most important contribution to work of Keston and to religious liberty. My personal involvement goes back to meeting Iosif Ton in Oxford in 1969, when he came to do a three-year course for the prestigious Oxford degree in theology. He sought me out to discuss book on Russian Baptists (Religious Ferment in Russia) published 1968 and which he had read. Tells the story – in academic detail – of schism between state-registered Baptists and “Initsiativniki” – those who opposed state interference in church affairs. Iosif told me situation similar in Romania, except no schism. Continue reading “Michael Bourdeaux – Keston College and Romania – Lecture notes – 2”

Rev. Cannon Michael Bourdeaux’s Visit to Iasi, Romania

Here are a few pictures from the recent visit of Michael Bourdeau in Iasi, where he lectured on church in communism.

Dorin, Michael, Danut
Dorin, Michael, Danut – mission accomplished Continue reading “Rev. Cannon Michael Bourdeaux’s Visit to Iasi, Romania”

Michael Bourdeaux – Keston College and Romania – Lecture notes – 1

1. 9th visit – June 1990 – just passing through – but already rich experience after 10 months of denuded shops in Moscow. Longer in 1977 – taking American tourists by bus on wonderful route from Bulgaria – Bucharest, Sinaia, Brasov, Cluj, Oradea and into Hungary.

2. Last two weeks of August 1978. Sadness in my life. Invite “to come on holiday with your children” via Fr Lucian Gafton (d.1996) from Patriarch Justin (elected 1977). Graciousness, universal kindness – but another side: “Let’s take a closer look at this man”. Convoy – Sinaia, Paltinis, Iasi, Suceavita, Black Sea. 3 cars in Moldavia! “Dorin” who couldn’t see watchtowers. Last night – answered desperate plea from Fr. Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa to visit him and wife. He knew his time at liberty was up. Arrested 10 March 1979. Part of what I wrote for The Guardian when he died in December 2006: Continue reading “Michael Bourdeaux – Keston College and Romania – Lecture notes – 1”

Michael Bourdeaux – The Role of Religion in the Fall of Communism – 4

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10. These events led directly to the fall of the Berlin Wall – and you know the rest of the story. I want to pause just for a moment to point out that the continuing power of the Christian faith was playing its part in other communist countries, too. For example, in Hungary the example of the imprisoned Cardinal Mindszenty was just as inspirational as Cardinal Wyszynski. In Germany Lutheran pastors provided a safe haven in several churches, especially Leipzig, where discussions on freedom – and not just religious freedom – could take place in an environment where the Stasi (secret police) did not dare – in later years – to interfere. Romania – well, that could be a whole lecture to itself – indeed, I plan to give just such a lecture tomorrow. There were heroes and martyrs in the Romanian Orthodox Church. Perhaps the best known was Fr Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa. Continue reading “Michael Bourdeaux – The Role of Religion in the Fall of Communism – 4”

Michael Bourdeaux – The Role of Religion in the Fall of Communism – 3

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7. The other Baltic States, Estonia, and Latvia, were less outspoken in their growing demands for freedom, but their inner determination proved just as effective in the end. In both countries the (Protestant) Lutheran Church played a role. Even Ukraine, which had seemed so sovietised in many ways, produced a strong movement for religious liberty – and eventually independence. Here the Soviet authorities in 1945 made a serious mistake in abolishing the Byzantine- or Eastern-rite Catholic Church or forcing the Orthodox Church to take it over (as happened also here in Romania). It maintained itself underground – or rather in the prisons to which its bishops and many of its priests had been condemned. But in the 1980s it came more and more out in the open and appealed to Rome to help its cause. Eventually, after huge public demonstrations on the streets in Lviv and elsewhere Gorbachev recognized that a grave injustice had been done. He visited Pope John Paul II in Rome and announced that the Ukrainian Catholic Church was legal again. It became a major factor in Ukraine’s move for independence from Moscow. Continue reading “Michael Bourdeaux – The Role of Religion in the Fall of Communism – 3”