Uncivil War

Romanian immigrants are having a hard time finding refuge in their own house of God

One of Elim's newer members was Jacob Cotan. Cotan had known Druhora in Romania, and at first had respected the pastor's oratorical and leadership prowess. In November 1999, the church elected Cotan as an associate pastor, an honor he embraced.

But Cotan was one of a growing number of parishioners soured by what he considered Druhora's machinations: "The lies, the manipulations of good people, the twisting of things by this guy became apparent to me. He was keeping a grip the Communist way, Romanian-style, which is something else again."

Then, that December, a Romanian evangelist named John Pop sent the first of three inflammatory e-mails to the Elim church. He alleged that, while in seminary school during the late 1980s, Pastor Druhora -- a onetime colleague -- had spied on fellow students and others for the Securitate.

Ted Oprea helped start the Elim church in the early 1980s.
Dan Huff
Ted Oprea helped start the Elim church in the early 1980s.
Elim church pastors Dorel Michula, left, and Dorin Druhora baptized Eva Farkas during a 1997 ceremony at Estrella Lake.
Elim church pastors Dorel Michula, left, and Dorin Druhora baptized Eva Farkas during a 1997 ceremony at Estrella Lake.

Pop claimed he'd happened upon Druhora's name while researching old Securitate files in Bucharest. Someone at Elim later distributed an anonymous letter that summarized Pop's allegations:

"Mr. Pop found out from the secret police files that Mr. Druhora was not a true brother in Christ, but one that betrayed so many of their [religious] meetings, brothers and sisters and, ultimately, Christ to torture, prison, loss of employment, and public shame."

Druhora's woes were escalating. On September 8, 2000, a daily newspaper in Romania's Transylvania district ran a front-page story headlined "The Red Reverends Incriminate Each Other: Feud Among Security's Evangelists."

The story said former Securitate officer Marius Matei had filed a court "declaration" saying he had been in charge of working Druhora as a spy. Matei was a former chief of the Securitate's "Neo-Protestant cults department," and his allegations carried weight.

"Mr. Druhora was admitted to the Seminary under the condition of informing, working for the secret police," Matei wrote in an affidavit. "Under the code name, 'The Hawk,' [Druhora] supplied, over the four years as student at the Pentecostal Seminary, activities of the seminary . . . and of foreign evangelicals and dignitaries. . . . The information provided about them was used to blackmail, to compromise and recruit them as informants."

Matei later retracted his statement, allegedly after one of Druhora's supporters paid him to do so.

On December 3, 2000, tensions at Elim escalated to a new level. As often happens in highly charged situations, almost everyone has a different spin.

Druhora and his supporters say a pack of parishioners barred him from entering Elim for the 6 p.m. Sunday service. The pastor claimed one detractor, Emanuel Farkas, told him, "You're going in over my dead body."

Farkas admits he said that, but only after Druhora allegedly "charged into me like it was a football game." To the contrary, Alex Westwood, one of the church's founders, later testified at a court hearing that Druhora literally had crawled under his foes into the church.

The mood at Elim was anything but pacific.

"They call you a crook and they call you pig," recalls Druhora supporter Leo Isfan, speaking of the pastor's enemies. "A church relationship is to love and trust each other to the death. But once you say, 'I'm right, and nobody is right but me,' there are problems. How can people who worship the same God who loves them be pushing, shoving, taunting their pastor over and over?"

Within days, Druhora requested a court injunction against harassment against eight members of Elim. He alleged that, on December 2, 2000, his enemies had held an "illegal meeting inside the church . . . rebelling to overthrow the pastor (me)."

As for the December 3 clash, Druhora accused his adversaries of "pushing the pastor, to stop him [from going] inside the church to start the service."

The injunction form included a standard question, "If the Court does not grant your request today, what serious harm may occur?"

"More emotional and physical harassment," the pastor wrote. "Potential for violence."


Phoenix city court judge Karyn Klausner had a daunting task on the morning of January 7, 2001. Her job was to decide whether to order the eight parishioners -- including the Oprea brothers, Ted and Zack -- to stay away from the church and from Pastor Druhora.

"This is a very sad day for the Romanian community here, for the church, and for the Gospel of Christ," Jacob Cotan testified during the tempestuous hearing.

Cotan told the judge about eggs and stones that someone -- he suspected the pro-Druhora camp -- had been hurling at his home, and of vicious late-night calls from the pastor's supporters.

Druhora's 16-year-old daughter sobbed from the stand as she described how an adult parishioner had berated her in the parking lot on the evening of December 3.

"He said, 'Aren't you ashamed of your father? Aren't you?'"

Later in the hearing, Rad Vucichevich, a Phoenix attorney representing the anti-Druhora camp, raised the specter of the pastor's alleged stint as a Romanian spy.

"Everyone is free to write whatever they want in the newspaper," Druhora responded during his cross-examination. "It was proven I wasn't a spy. I was found not guilty."

After eight hours, Judge Klausner announced her decision.

"This is a very sad time for this community, no matter which side you fall on," she said. "At the minimum, it's a hostile environment. I'm not trying to say what should be done. The peace is not being kept at the church. People are on the verge of being hurt because tempers are hot. The situation is so at the risk of becoming riotous. I feel it could endanger other people at this point."

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6 comments
NihilSineDeo
NihilSineDeo

Its so sad that this story still lingers on the internet. I would be curious to see what all those people quoted in the article would say today about what happened that year. What would the Opreas say or the Farcas say? What about Cotan? What would you all say today about what happend? It might not mean a lot to most of you but it's sad that because of this article, people who don't know the facts, random people who were not part of what happened, will never know the truth about Elim and brother Druhora yet each time they will do a google search on "Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church" one of the first things that pops up is this "Uncivil War" article that is filled with lies. So much of the information in here is twisted and 

I was there when all these things happened and SO many people that were there know the truth and can testify to it and its too bad that they don't. It's sad that so many members sat silent in fear of a small group of people. What a shame! I no longer want to sit silent and im sorry that I did for such a long time.

I remember pastor Druhora when people would accuse him or say bad things to him, he would just say 'God is my justice" and surly we can all see that God was his justice. Even if his name is stained by this twisted and biased ariticle, written by someone got got paid well to write this, his character is not stained. 

Please ask yourself and do some reasearch - where are all the trouble makers? what are they saying today? what are they doing, where are they? As for Elim, it's sad that they did with pastor Lascau what they did to Druhora (except Lascau was gutty enough to tell them all off carelessly and Lascau did not get beat up at church as it happened to Druhora). 

I do not want my hands to be smeared with innocent blood so i testify today that the majority of this article is filled with lies. One day, we will all see the truth (if we haven't yet).


Luminita_simi09
Luminita_simi09

I can testify that Druhora is not the one that called the police (there are documents for all those who are really interested...not just empty words or guesses). Second of all, what the so called "Mr. Pop" declares, is a lie. It has been established in the court of law in Romania that all Mr. Pop said was a lie. I would be very careful to make such unlawful allegations (for which he almost went to jail if it wasn't for Mr. Druhora pleading with the judge). It's a HUGE thing to accuse someone of such things and I'm struck by the fact that Phoenix New Times keeps this article up. In a way I'm not surprised because many people today don't check their facts before posting something. Please people, check before you make statements that can stain someone's name for a long time...or more than that, that can harm the Church!!!

Luminita_simi09
Luminita_simi09

I agree with Noprea and the other two below as well. So much of what is written in this article is untrue!!! But there will be a judgment day one day and all the truth will be revealed. I was there and saw what happened to Druhora and it's quite a different story than what is written in this article. I wonder how much Paul Rubin got paid to write this or where exactly he received this information.

Noprea
Noprea

Unde sunt cei care au luptat impotriva lui Druhora ; Basa, Gimon, Tavi, Cotan, Ciurdar,Goman, Olariu, etc.??????????????????????. -Sa ma fereasca D-zeu sa ma ating dwuasul D-lui. About YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul
Paul

As I do not know the details of the allegation against Dorin, nor do I have the capacity to investigate them, I can not add any meaningful support or defense against or for the allegations.

However, what I will say is that I have had long talks with Dorin and gotten to know his family personally in the past. I have found him to be an outstanding person with character, sound mind, balance and wisdom. He is able to understand both the Romanian culture and the American culture. If he has intentionally done harm, it would be the greatest surprise of my life. We all do make mistakes, and I'm sure he has as well, but I would be extremely hard pressed to believe that he had done intentional personal, physical, political or financial harm to anyone.

I hope that all the churches and members are doing well.

mircea volosen
mircea volosen

Druhora Dorin was a clasmate in high school .He came from a well educated family .His father was a scool superintendent .I took Dorin to a penticostal church in Timisoara and God changed his life forever . He was persecuted by the school , secret police, communist party and his family. He was expeled from the school because he became a christian . His name was all over the romanian newspaper and given as an example of somebody who lost his mind becaming a penticostal . It is so sad to see all this lies . Dorin is my hero . 6825570686

 
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