Romania derives its name from the Romans who occupied its land and made it a Roman colony in the first century before Christ. Throughout its history Romania was regularly occupied by foreign powers before becoming a sovereign nation in 1878. After World War II, Romania was ruled by the Communists. In 1989, the people revolted and the Communist leader of Romania, Nicolae Ceaucescu, and his wife were executed. A new constitution was adopted in 1991 and free elections have taken place regularly since then.
The Pentecostal Movement in Romania began with one simple tract. Paul Budean, an Assemblies of God minister, sent a Pentecostal pamphlet to a family in Romania with a wife who was near death. They prayed for healing, received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and she experienced a miraculous healing! They began evangelizing in their community, and soon after, a thriving church existed.
Religious freedom has had a difficult history in Romania. In 1925, the government outlawed Pentecostal churches, but believers were not deterred from evangelizing and regularly meeting together. When Communism took over Romania, it did not have the same hard-line opposition to religion that neighboring Communist governments did, but the church still endured much persecution. In 1950 the government recognized the Pentecostal church though their activities were limited. All Pentecostal groups were required to join one Pentecostal Union. A Pentecostal Bible school opened in 1973 and became a four-year seminary in 1976.
The Movement Today
Pentecostal churches in Romania freely and boldly proclaim the gospel message now. The Pentecostal church in Romania is one of the largest in all of Europe, with over 2800 churches and 350,000 adherents. There are also numerous ministry training schools. The US Assemblies of God works in Romania with the historic Pentecostal Christian Church. Christian education institutions, Teen Challenge, Life Publishers, Book of Hope, JBQ, King's Castle, church plants, youth, children's and women's ministries, community outreaches, Christian printing and media production, camp, the Pentecostal foreign missions agency, and other entities work to increase the harvest in Romania.
Additional Facts About Romania
- Capital: Bucharest
- Area: 92,043 square miles
- Population: 19.9 million
- Urbanization: 53%
- Ethnic Groups: Romanian (89 percent), Hungarian (6.5 percent) and Gypsy (3.3 percent)
- Languages: Romanian (official), Hungarian, and Vlax Romani
- Agriculture: Grains, grapes, sugar beets, and potatoes
- Industry: Mining, construction materials, metals, machinery, oil products, chemicals, and food processing.