1648) Fifty Years Ago This Month

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Richard Wurmbrand  (1909-2001)


From the Voice of the Martyrs website, http://www.persecution.com:

     Pastor Richard Wurmbrand left his apartment and headed to church as usual one Sunday morning in February 1948, but he never arrived at church that day.  Instead, he was kidnapped off the streets by Romanian secret police.  He would spend 14 years in Communist prisons.

     When he came down with tuberculosis and appeared close to death, guards moved Pastor Wurmbrand into the “death cell.”  But he didn’t die.  Instead, he survived and was eventually ransomed out of Romania.  After arriving in the West, he immediately began to tell the story of his imprisonment and the many Christians still suffering in Communist prisons behind the Iron Curtain.

     In October 1967 — 50 years ago this month — those stories were typed up and mailed out to Christians who wanted to know more.  It was the first issue of what later became the Voice of the Martyrs newsletter.  A ministry was born.

     Today the ministry that Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand founded is actively helping Christians in 68 countries, providing direct aid to the persecuted, sending Bibles to those in hostile areas and restricted nations, and assisting front-line workers.

     The ministry also continues to tell the stories of these believers, just as Richard did.  Each year we tell one story in a video created specifically for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).  This year, in honor of VOM’s 50th anniversary, our IDOP video tells a story from Richard’s personal testimony of years in Communist prisons.  It is a story that reminds us to pray not only for our persecuted brothers and sisters but also for their persecutors.

     Select one of the links below to watch the powerful five-minute video (and preview of upcoming full length movie) :




Matthew 5:10-12  —  (Jesus said), “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

John 15:19-21  —  (Jesus said), “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.  Remember what I told you:  ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.  If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.  They will treat you this way because of my name,for they do not know the one who sent me.”

Matthew 10:28  —  (Jesus said), “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

I Corinthians 4:12b-13a  —  When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted,we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly.


Almighty God, you have taught us through your Son Jesus Christ that those who follow Him may be persecuted.  Strengthen, comfort, and encourage all those who suffer harassment, violence, imprisonment, and even death for being followers of Jesus.  We pray also for those who persecute your people.  May their hearts be turned towards you through the faithful witness of those they persecute.  Protect members of the families and church communities of those who are persecuted, and bless the work and ministry of the organizations that support them.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.