20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago today the fuse was lite that ignited the powder keg that became the bloodiest revolution in Eastern Europe. On December 16th 1989 hundreds if not thousands of people from the Northern Romanian Town of Timisoara poured into the streets and gathered outside the house of Laszlo Tokes, a Protestant clergyman who had received orders to leave the city and move to a remote rural parish for criticising the Ceausescu regime. Events quickly rose to a fever pitch and it turned the tide in Romania and began a brush fire that in a few short days would light the whole of the Country and free her people.

The Ceausescu regime was one of the most brutal on the face of the earth and most of Romanian’s 23 million people were enslaved by this mad man and his equally mas wife Elena. On December 22nd the fire reached the Capital Bucharest and the couple, who lived like Royalty, had to flee for their very lives. They were eventually captured and violently executed on Christmas Day 1989.

I remember that night. It was the same year, and the same month, that the United States invaded Panama to free her people from another Dictator. I had relatives living in Panama at the time and since the US was involved all eyes were focused there. The era of 24 hour news just just getting started and all of the attention was focused on Panama. Here is a clip from CBS News as the Walton’s was interrupted to bring the news to the world:


I was not even sure where Romania was nor did I understand the full impact that the events of those days would have on the rest of the world. Whilst this was happening in Romania Communism began to crumble all over Eastern Europe. I also had no idea that 20 years latter I would be pastor of a Romanian Orthodox Church. Funny how things happen.

I have been to Romania on several occasions the first time in 1992 but I have not been back for more than 10 years. I understand things have changed in many ways. For the first time in more than 40 years the people of Eastern Europe started to taste freedom. As the years past more information came out about the reason for the Romanian Revolution but those cannot deny the spirit of those who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom.

People were meant to be free and no matter how long it takes people will win their freedom. Is Romanian a better place today? I am not Romanian nor do I live there but I would say that freedom is better than the alternative.

We will never know the names or the number of those who gave their lives during those days but we can never forget them nor anyone who fights for freedom around the world.

During the Orthodox Divine Liturgy there is a part where we pray for those who have died. We ask for God to grant eternal repose in blessed sleep to the souls of your servants who have fallen asleep and make their memory eternal. May their memories indeed be eternal!


Vesnica pomenire!

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