Baptist Union of Romania

The Baptist Union of Romania (Romanian: Uniunea Baptistă din România), officially The Union of Christian Baptist Churches in Romania, is a Baptist Christian denomination in Romania affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance.

The Union of Christian Baptist Churches in Romania
Uniunea Bisericilor Creștin Baptiste din România
TypeWestern Christianity
PresidentViorel Iuga
SubdivisionsConvention of the Hungarian Baptist Churches of Romania
LanguageRomanian, Hungarian
HeadquartersStr. Dâmbovița nr. 9-11, Sector 6, Bucharest
Recognition1948 (by the state)
Merger ofIndependent baptist churches
AbsorbedHungarian Baptist Union of Romania (1922)
Members118.003 (in 2011)[1]
Secondary schools8
Tertiary institutionsUniversity of Bucharest,
Emanuel University
Other name(s)Baptist Union of Romania


Baptists in Romania (2002 census)

The first modern-era Baptists in Romania were of German extraction. Karl Scharschmidt came to Romania from Hungary in 1856 and settled in Bucharest.[2][3] Scharschmidt, a carpenter by trade, had been baptized by Johann Gerhard Oncken in Hamburg in 1845. By 1863 enough converts had been made to form a church, and Oncken sent August Liebig to serve them as pastor. This church, the oldest Baptist church in Romania, in still in existence and meets on Popa Rusu Street (Bethany Baptist Church). Russian Baptist immigrants, mostly from the southern Ukraine, came to Dobruja around 1862 and founded a church in Cataloi in 1869. Hungarian Baptists formed a church in Transylvania in 1875.

Baptist witness did not enter Old Romania until the 20th century, and Orthodox opposition was strong. Nevertheless, a church was organized in Jegalia in 1909. An ethnic Romanian church was formed in Bucharest in 1912 by Constantin Adorian (1882-1954), a Romanian who had joined the German Baptist church in Bucharest. Adorian led in forming the Baptist Union of Romania in 1920.[4] In 1930, it had 45,000 members. [5] Before 1944, the legal status of evangelical groups such as the Baptists was not well-defined. Due to World War II and the military dictatorship of General Antonescu, laws were passed in 1942 and 1943 dissolving all religious associations in Romania. As a consequence, Baptists could not meet, worship or evangelize. On August 31, 1944 these laws were abolished, and the Baptists (and others) could once again engage in religious activity legally. In 1948 Baptists were recognized as a legal cult[6] (the generic term used by the Romanian government to describe any officially recognized religious body).

In 2017, the union had 1,614 churches and 84,915 members.[7]

Relation with the stateEdit


Out of the 18 officially recognised denominations in Romania, the Baptist Union is one of the only three which do not accept subsidies from the government for the salaries of its clerics, believing that it is the deliberate duty of every believer to financially support the activities of his church.[8][9] However, the Union accepts subsidies from the local authorities for the construction or reparation of its churches when their funds are insufficient.[10]




Being part of the baptist tradition, the Baptist Union of Romania affirms believer's baptism (as opposed to infant baptism). Baptism is done by complete immersion in water, one time, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". Baptism, in itself, is not seen as necessary for salvation, but rather as a public declaration of faith following a born again experience. Thus it symbolizes the death of the old self and the emerge of the changed man in Christ.[11]

Lord's SupperEdit

The Lord's Supper, also known as the Eucharist or "Holy Communion", is a symbolic ordinance done in remembrance of the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus Christ. The eucharist is given to every baptised christian who has made a declaration of faith. Every believer has the responsibility to examine his life before partaking communion as stated in "1 Corinthians 11:28".[12]


Calvinist-Arminian debateEdit

Historically, the baptist churches in Romania were very much influenced by calvinism. This was no surprise given the fact that the church had German roots. According to the romanian baptist historiographer, Alexa Popovici, early baptists had a "Calvinist inclination". There is evidence to suggest that, at some point, calvinist soteriology, including double predestination, was preached in some congregations in Transylvania. However the church would experienced a shift towards arminianism during the interwar period.[13]

Educational institutionsEdit

The Union has 8 theological high schools and 2 post-secondary non-tertiary educational institutions,[14] as well as 2 tertiary institutions: The Baptist Theological Institute in Bucharest (accredited by the University of Bucharest)[15][16] and the Emanuel University in Oradea, Bihor.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ (in Romanian) Comunicat de presă privind rezultatele preliminare ale Recensământului Populaţiei şi Locuinţelor – 2011, at the 2011 census official site; accessed October 28, 2012.
  2. ^ John H. Y. Briggs, A Dictionary of European Baptist Life and Thought, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2009, p. 436
  3. ^ (in Romanian) Florin Mihai, "Cum s-a format comunitatea baptistă din România" Archived October 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Adevărul, October 7, 2012; accessed October 18, 2012
  4. ^ C. Douglas Weaver, In Search of the New Testament Church: The Baptist Story, Mercer University Press, USA, 2008, p. 234
  5. ^ Robert E. Johnson, A Global Introduction to Baptist Churches, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2010, p. 316
  6. ^ english equivalent: religious denomination
  7. ^ Baptist World Alliance, Statistics Archived 2016-06-18 at the Wayback Machine,, USA, retrieved April 9, 2020
  8. ^ "Statutul de organizare și funcționare a Cultului Creștin Baptist - Uniunea Bisericilor Creștine Baptiste din România din 16.01.2008" (in Romanian).
  9. ^ "Statul și cultele religioase" (PDF) (in Romanian). p. 99.
  10. ^ "Statul și cultele religioase" (PDF) (in Romanian). p. 153.
  11. ^ "SIMBOLELE NOULUI TESTAMENT - Botezul". Mărturisirea de credință a Cultului Creștin Baptist (in Romanian) (2009 ed.). Bucharest: Editura Uniunii Bisericilor Creștine Baptiste din România. 19 February 2009 [1951]. pp. 21, 22.
  12. ^ "SIMBOLELE NOULUI TESTAMENT - Cina Domnului". Mărturisirea de credință a Cultului Creștin Baptist (in Romanian) (2009 ed.). Bucharest: Editura Uniunii Bisericilor Creștine Baptiste din România. 19 February 2009 [1951]. pp. 22, 23.
  13. ^ Nicolae Chiciudean. The History of Calvinism and Arminianism among Romanian Baptists (PDF). p. 8.
  15. ^ "Baptist Theological Institute of Bucharest prepares pastors to serve in Romania".
  16. ^ "The Faculty of Baptist Theology".

External linksEdit