Romania's nationhood began around 1856 when Wallachia and Moldavia - sovereign states ruled by monarchy - secured their autonomy from the Turkish Ottoman Empire, under which they were subject for centuries. In 1859 they unified and later adopted the name of Romania. It joined the Allied powers in World War I and the Axis powers in World War II. A post-war Soviet occupation led to the establishment of a Communist government and in 1965 dictator Nicolae Ceausescu took power, who with the aid of his Securitate police state "became increasingly oppressive and draconian through the 1980's". (CIA World Factbook) By the end of that decade, Ceausescu was overthrown and executed; by 1996 former Communists who had still dominated the government were swept from power.

Romania borders the Black Sea and its neighbors include Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine and Moldova. Population: 22 million. Religion: Just over half are Romanian Orthodox. Economy: GDP is only $1600 per head per year. According to CIA World Factbook, "Romania's macroeconomic gains in recent years have only recently started to spur creation of a middle class and address Romania's widespread poverty. Corruption and red tape continue to handicap its business environment."

I still remember watching the 'trial' of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife on Christmas Day 1989, and their summary execution by firing squad. (Grizzly images for holiday broadcast!) The execution of this ruthless dictator marked the entry of Romania into a new age, and yet there remain many prayer needs for this great country.

Please remember your brothers and sisters in prayer.

This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2003. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.