Romanian priest, Father George Calciu, and thousands of other young, talented, intellectual and Christian men and women were targeted by the Communists during the post-WWII years. They were imprisoned and tortured. Unmercifully, inhumanely tortured at the notorious Pitesti Gulag in Romania. Their crime? They held first allegiance to Jesus Christ, and not the Communist State or ideals. To learn more about these suffering martyrs you can find several videos online titled: "Beyond Torture: The Gulags of Pitesti.
Father Gheorghe Calciu - Dumitreasa
Somebody once asked me if my sufferings in prison helped me in any way. I answered, “It is not that they helped me in some way, but I am the product of these sufferings.” If I do something, if I am something, if somebody sees anything in me, know that it is due to suffering.
Without this suffering I am nothing!
“Why is suffering necessary?" I lived an experience of suffering which enriched my soul, and I believe that suffering is necessary for me. But it is very difficult to accept this thing. When I was in prison, we were asking each other, all of us brothers, “Why suffering? Why us? Out of all the millions of Romanians, why were we chosen to suffer? Where is the sense in it all?” And God did not reveal any of His intentions to us. We cried out to Him every day to decrease our sufferings, but it seemed that He loaded us with more instead. Ever since I was released from prison I have carried with me this sign of pain which seems to have marked my entire life.
During the moments in which we were crying, when we were revolting, or when we shouted, “Lord, what are You doing with us?!” He was in us more than in all the others, even with all of our sins and weaknesses. But our great realization through all of the pain, and suffering was this single truth:
He filled our suffering with His presence.
Then I understood exactly the deep meaning of this suffering: God is present in us! When everybody abandons us, when our life seems to be lost, yet still God opens His arms and receives us. This is an extraordinary mystery.
+ Glory to God for All Things +
Father George Calciu: First Century Christian in the Twentieth Century
Father George was a Romanian Orthodox priest who spent a total of twenty-one brutal years in prison—tortured and subjected to brainwashing—for his belief in Christ, and his outspoken evangelism, and his criticism of communism.
Beyond Torture documents the persecution of Romanians under the communist regime. Electrical shock, hallucinogenic drugs, near starvation and fatal beatings were daily rituals in the prison of Pitesti, Romania. But this sadistic story goes beyond torture: this was an attempt to totally destroy a people’s culture and faith.
In 1949, Stalinist Soviets began a systematic sweep of Romanian college campuses. Their purpose was to imprison and transform young Romanians into a communistic way of thinking. One prisoner describes this re-education as the most vile tortures imaginable. Orthodox priest Father George Calciu says, They tried to destroy our souls. But he and others survived this gulag, lived to tell their stories and even forgave their captors.