Uncivil War

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

Klausner then granted civil injunctions against six people, including Emanuel Farkas, his wife, Margareta, and the two Oprea brothers. Citing a lack of evidence, she declined to issue injunctions against two others.

Though they were barred from initiating contact with Pastor Druhora, the Farkases drove to Elim the following Sunday morning, January 14, and stationed themselves across the street. Their 19-year-old daughter, Eva, entered the church more apprehensive, she says, than contemplative.

"We have been living a soap opera," Eva Farkas explains. "In soap operas, lots of stupid things can happen."

Eva Farkas spoke to Elim's congregation shortly after a near-riot at the church last January. Pastor Dorin Druhora, right, confers with church secretary Leo Isfan during the contentious session.
Eva Farkas spoke to Elim's congregation shortly after a near-riot at the church last January. Pastor Dorin Druhora, right, confers with church secretary Leo Isfan during the contentious session.

The church board that day had hired two off-duty Phoenix police officers as security guards. Shortly before 9 a.m., a church usher told officers Carlos Rodriguez and Garrick Ward that three men inside Elim weren't members, and were trespassing. Officer Rodriguez cornered two of them before they entered the sanctuary.

Officer Ward says he was told Jacob Cotan was the third alleged trespasser: "I caught up with [Cotan] before he entered the sanctuary of the church, at which time I grabbed the coat arm of Mr. Cotan just as he entered the sanctuary, and he retracted and pulled away. . . . I didn't realize that I was that far into the sanctuary during services."

As it turns out, though Cotan despised Druhora by then, he still was a member in good standing at the church.

The cop had collared the wrong guy.

A potential riot ensued.

"I tried to calm everyone down," Ward wrote, "but it was not working. . . . [It] appeared to be out of hand on the part of the church members, because there were various members saying that the pastor was a Communist security agent from Romania and was acting as a dictator. The entire situation was a complete hazard to officers for at least 15-20 minutes."

Cotan told the cops he wanted to go to an emergency room for his injuries, which the officers later suggested he'd exaggerated.

Cotan's version goes like this:

"I'm with my wife and my 1-year-old daughter, who's in a stroller. Police are patrolling the premises. The scene is rather more like a Gestapo movie than a church. You must remember that we Romanians obey the law, but we are suspicious of authority. Imagine how I felt when I saw the cops there. Is this America?

"I told [Ward] that I was a member and a pastor of the church. Inside the sanctuary, I felt someone grabbing my arm, twisting it, and pulling it toward my upper back. I tried to resist, and I heard a crack in the lower part of my shoulder. [Ward] led me out by my vest . . ."

About a dozen police officers responded to Elim, leaving only after being convinced that tempers had cooled. They were wrong.


A few hours after the January 14 disturbance, Pastor Druhora addressed his parishioners from Elim's pulpit.

"The church cannot tolerate this anymore," he said. "Today, we need to reestablish order and discipline."

Druhora invited those who wanted to speak about the goings-on to raise their hands. He didn't specify men only, but that was implicit in a church where women are not allowed to preach (though they may sing and read poetry to the congregation).

Eva Farkas and her grandmother took a seat in the front row.

Eva is an earnest young woman who writes poetry, is a popular employee at a West Valley home-furnishings store, and is fiercely loyal to her family.

Now 19, she came to the States when she was 8, shortly after the 1989 revolution in Romania that ended with Ceausescu's removal and execution. She says that, during the uprising, she saw the burned bodies of a chief of police and a security agent on the streets of her native Cojia.

The Farkases proudly became American citizens in 1996. The next year, Eva was baptized in a ceremony performed by Pastors Druhora and Dorel Michula at Estrella Lake.

"When I came to God, you could say I was gullible," she says. "I thought everyone was godly. Elim used to be such a loving church, not hateful like it got. Druhora preached so good -- I thought it was God himself talking. Gradually, another influence got to him. I have wondered, how could I have been that wrong?"

The young woman instructed her grandmother how to operate a video camera -- point, shoot, and hold steady. Then Eva asked to be put on the list of speakers.

"Only men can talk," church secretary Leo Isfan brusquely told her from the pulpit, a few feet away.

"What is this, Communism?" Eva retorted loudly. "Please let me talk up there. Is this discrimination against women now?"

Her grandmother added, "This is Communist church. Not Pentecostal church."

After huddling with Druhora on the altar, Isfan added Eva's name to the list of speakers.

First, longtime church member Nelu Serban said mournfully, "Where are we now? My child said to me last night, 'Do we not pray for the Holy Spirit?' I said, 'No, we don't have prayermeetings anymore. We just have meetings.' I was walking on the streets the other day, and I told God, 'Take me, because I can't take this anymore.'"

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
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

 
Loading...