Recent Posts
Lowell Brueckner

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

A Romanian Hero


Nicolae Moldoveanu (1922-2007)
Romania is rich in heroic Christians. Usually we look for outstanding men and women of God in the distant past, centuries ago, in times so different from our own that it is difficult to identify with them.

However, in Romania some of their heroes are still alive and others have not left this world so long ago. We know of them from the testimony that they have obtained in the middle of the Twentieth Century. Who has not heard of Richard Wurmbrand, the Romanian Lutheran pastor of Jewish descent? He was tortured for his faith for 13 years in a communist prison, while his wife worked like a man in the construction of a state canal.

Songs composed without paper or pencil

I listened today to an interview with Nicolae Moldoveanu. Observing the man in the video, he probably would not have liked the title of this article. I would explain that I did not write it for him, but for the legacy that he left behind, demonstrating the fact that God is still doing His work of grace in the lives of individuals and the glory goes entirely to Him. Outside of Romania, he is not as well-known as Wurmbrand, but just the same, he is a hero of the faith. He was born near Sered River in Moldova. In the year 1938 at the age of 16, he was converted to Christ. In 1940, he wrote his first Christian poem and began to arrange songs, as well. Still a teenager, his compositions were used in Christian songbooks.

When Romania came under the severe hand of communism, Nicolae was accused in Cluj of publishing “propaganda against the state”, that is, he wrote Christian songs. The judge said that he was not against art, unless it became a threat to the state. He was sentenced to twelve years in prison.

Of course, in the Cluj prison no pencil or paper was given to a man accused of publishing propaganda, but soon a new melody passed through his mind. He asked the Lord for words to go with the tune and soon he composed a stanza. He continued to seek God until he had a complete song. He stored it in his mind.

All of his songs are taken from the Word of God. “I did not have a Bible,” he said, “but I did have the Word.” Before his prison sentence, he had spent much time studying the Bible and now, he meditated on the Word that remained in his memory and, according to Nicolae, the Holy Spirit helped him to remember. “However,” he advised, “if one does not study, there is nothing to remember.”

Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001)
author of "Tortured for Christ"
They kept changing the prisoners’ cells, because they didn’t want them to form lasting friendships with others. One of the punishments was to lie on their stomachs over the cement floor for hours. One day in December, 1959, he received this punishment with another prisoner, a man named Richard Wurmbrand. In that lying position, God began to give him a new song. At the end of the punishment period, he had composed seven stanzas and the chorus. You can imagine how much time he was in that position. He recited the words to Wurmbrand, who said, “Hopefully they will put us back on our stomachs, so that you can compose more songs like this!”

Asking him how he was able to endure so much suffering, he humbly answered that all have to suffer in one form or another, but that he did not receive strength in his cell, but he received it from on high. Then, an edict was formed, freeing all the political prisoners, even those accused of murder, and Nicolae was set at liberty after serving five years. The reason was that Romania was looking for a place in the United Nations and they could not enter if they kept political prisoners.

Songs released from prison

He now had hundreds of compositions in his mind and he began to publish them. He said that he never counted how many songs he had written, as David did not count his soldiers. A woman listening to the interview (I suppose his wife or sister) said that he had published sixteen songbooks with 400 songs in each one. 361 songs came from his time in prison. 

Perhaps the most well-known of the songbooks was Songs of Grace… Songs Released from Prison. I like the idea that the songs were bound and waiting in prison until someone entered to free them.

The principles that governed his life

More than the testimony, I liked the principles, by which he lived, and the advice that he gave. One of his songs proclaim, “I don’t only want to talk about You and Your Word; but that Your life would be IN ME, as when You lived on earth.” He said, “In everything I seek that the Lord Jesus be seen and I want to be like Him. I don’t want to be part of a group, because they would control me… they would enslave me. But in the Lord Jesus, Who is the Truth, there is liberty. The truth will set you free. Who can understand this, if he does not belong to Jesus? All that comes into the Christian life is a plan of God. You walk and the Holy Spirit guides. I am human: I can be wrong (he said it so humbly). I ask that I will not hinder the unfolding of His plan.”

His songs are biblical, composed from his meditations in the Word. In the morning that he was interviewed, he had written a new song from Psalm 110:7, a Messianic Psalm… “He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head.”

Some words to Christian young people in the western world

I want to direct some words to the youth that may read this article. The young girl, who was interviewing Nicolae said, “We always sing your songs in each meeting.” Well, I can give testimony that there were not many meetings that I ever attended in Romania, in which one of his songs was not sung. Many times, because of the quality of the words, a translator would translate them for me, mentioning that it was one of Nicolae Moldoveanu’s songs. I listened to a concert, a tribute to him after his death, consisting of various choirs from different parts of Romania; there was even an orchestra playing his compositions.

I think it very egotistical, when I hear young Christians from the western world say, “We want to sing OUR music”, as if they were singing for their own pleasure… singing to themselves. Have we forgotten that the praises are for Him, with music that He wants to hear?” As Christians, OUR music should be that which God has given us to sing over the years, even taking in centuries. Some of OUR music is 500 years old.

Nicolae Moldoveanu’s songs are sung in all the evangelical denominations in Romania, by young and old. Most of what I have learned about this man, was told me by young people and I have heard them sing his songs. It does not bother the Romanian youth that his music is not contemporary. It is THEIR music, given to them by God, by means of a man, who suffered much to release these songs from a communist prison cell, so that the youth could have them and sing them.

This link is a video of the interview, from which I obtained the information for this article. It has English subtitles. 


Post a Comment