1939-45Opportunities for evangelism
During World War II, Richard and Sabina saw opportunities for evangelism among the occupying German forces. They preached in bomb shelters and rescued Jewish children out of the ghettos. Richard and Sabina were repeatedly arrested and beaten and, at least once, nearly executed. Sabina lost her Jewish family in Nazi concentration camps.
1945'Congress of Cults'
After the Communists seize power in Romania, Richard and Sabina set up an underground church to minister to the Romanian people and to witness to Russian soldiers. They attend the ‘Congress of Cults’, an event staged by the authorities to invite religious leaders to swear loyalty to the Communist regime. Richard stands up and tells the 4,000 delegates that their duty as Christians is to glorify God and Christ alone.
(Picture: Auditorium of the ‘Palace Of The People’ in Romania)
1964Richard released and granted amnesty
Richard is released from prison, as part of a general amnesty in Romania, and resumes his gospel work. In Bucharest he meets the Rev. Stuart Harris and the Rev. John Moseley of the European Christian Mission and tells them of his experiences. This is the first contact the Wurmbrands have had with missionaries from outside Romania since their arrests.
1965Move to USA. Richard testifies in Washington, DC, before the Senate’s Internal Security Sub-committee
The Wurmbrand family is ransomed out of Romania for $10,000. Reluctant to leave his homeland, Richard is convinced by other underground church leaders to leave and become a “voice” to the world for the underground church. Richard, Sabina and their son, Mihai, leave Romania for Norway and then travel on to England. Before leaving the Romanian secret police warn Richard not to speak about his experiences in prison. In England they again meet Stuart Harris and then continue to the United States. Richard testifies in Washington, DC, before the Senate’s Internal Security Sub-committee, famously stripping to his waist to reveal eighteen deep torture wounds on his body. His story spreads rapidly.
1967Publication of 'Tortured for Christ'
Richard’s book, Tortured for Christ, is published. He would say of it, “This book is written not so much with ink, as with the blood of bleeding hearts.” It would go on to be a hugely influential book, translated into many languages (Available from our eStore here).
1968Creation of CMCW
Richard’s meetings with Stuart Harris lead to the establishment in the UK of Christian Mission to the Communist World, which would become Release International in 1994. All around the world sister missions are established, all tracing their heritage to Richard’s life and witness.
1994Opening of Agape Children's Home in Romania
Richard and Sabina return to Romania to officiate at the opening of the Agape Children’s Home, a place for Romanian orphans and street children to receive love, care and to hear about Jesus Christ. At the opening ceremony Richard states the home was built with the “tears of the martyrs”.