BUCHAREST, Romania (EP) – In a week of violent uprising in January, the iron-fisted rule of Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu came to an end. Now Christian missionaries are rushing to bring physical and spiritual relief to Romania, as the nation struggles to cope with its newly won freedom, and with the terrible price that was paid to attain it.
Ceausescu and his wife were captured and executed after secret trial by a revolutionary tribunal, and members of the secret police are being sought and captured.
Churches in Romania played a significant role in toppling the government. As demonstrations grew in the city of Arad in December, Baptist leaders preached sermons calling for liberty. Hundreds of church members knelt to pray and chanted, “God is with us! God is with us!”
Along with calls for freedom, Christians called for an emphasis on the Gospel. “Every home must have a Bible and we must build many churches,” said one speaker. “We must build more churches – not more bars!” Many churches were destroyed in Ceausescu’s so-called “urban renewal” programs.
Romania is the last Warsaw Pact nation outside of the Soviet Union to overthrow its government. The only remaining Communist government is Albania, which is not a member of the Warsaw Pact and continues to be the world’s leading oppressor of the Church.
Now that the armed struggle is over in Romania, Christian ministries are working swiftly to bring aid to those afflicted by the war. Christian Mission to the Communist World (CMCW) was one of the first relief teams to bring medicines, food, clothing heating materials, and Bibles.
Dr. Hans M. Braun, international secretary to CMCW, observed, “The Romanian people celebrate a measure of freedom they have not known in 40 years. Their joy is tempered by a sadness as they count the thousands who have died violently in this week of terror.” He called the end of the Ceausescu regime an answer to prayer.