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130 Years of Publishing Work in Romania

130 Years of Publishing Work in Romania

On Saturday, June 12, 2010, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Piteşti, Romania, celebrated 130 years of the publishing work by the Adventist Church in Romania. During the ceremony the church reviewed the challenges of the mission in the city by launchin

August 06, 2010 | Lucian Ştefănescu, Forin Bică/CD EUD

On Saturday, June 12, 2010, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Piteşti, Romania, celebrated 130 years of the publishing work by the Adventist Church in Romania. During the ceremony the church reviewed the challenges of the mission in the city by launching the June issue of the Romanian Signs of the Times magazine (Semnele timpului).

One of the most important years in the history of Adventism in Romania is the year 1870, when Michael Belina Czechowski, after a year of missionary work, organized in Piteşti the first company of Sabbath keepers.

The Sabbath-keepers in Piteşti were the first Romanian Adventists mentioned by the official church press in America. The oldest report is dated November 1, 1879: “Our dear Brother Bertola writes very pleasing news from Piteşti, near Bucharest... A little church of twenty Sabbath-keepers has been formed there; it is increasing in numbers, and he baptized several new members during his visit.”

Piteşti became the launching pad from which the Adventist message spread to various parts of the country. According to evangelist Bertola, the church in Piteşti increased mainly due to the use of the Les Signes des Temps magazine – the French edition of the Signs of the Times, which was published by John N. Andrews, the first official missionary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Europe. At that time French was considered the second language for educated Romanians.

Later, the merchant Thomas Aslan, one of the first converts, translated from French and published tracts about the three angels’ messages. Piteşti is also where the first Romanian missionary magazine and the first brochures were published. The first literature evangelists started to work there as well.

In December of 1883 the official church paper Review and Herald reported: “There is a small church in Romania which embraced the Sabbath from hearing M. B. Czechowski some years ago. Brother Thomas G. Aslan has acted as leader among them. He is a man of intelligence, and has translated several tracts from French into the Romanian tongue at his own expense. He was very anxious to have a paper for circulation among his people, even if it was no more than quarterly.”

A few weeks later, in January 1884, the Review and Herald informed: “The first number of the paper which is to bear the message to the ten million inhabitants of Romania has come to our table. Its title is Adevărul Present or Present Truth… and is issued from Basel, Switzerland and Piteşti, Romania. Sixteen pages neatly printed on good paper. We hail its appearances as another addition to the agencies which are fast bearing the truth to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”

The first Romanian Signs of the Times magazine – Semnele timpului – was published in 1908, and printed in Hamburg. It is the oldest publication of the Adventist Church in Romania that is still being published today. From the beginning, Semnele timpului aimed to provide its readers with a Christian perspective on important contemporary events, serving as a missionary tool. It aimed to make the Romanian readers aware of the fact that they live in the last days of this world and that they must prepare for the second coming of Christ. In addition, the articles address various topics on family and health.

After the minority churches were banned in 1942, the Semnele timpului ceased to be published. Also during the communist regime it was not allowed to appear. This situation persisted until the end of the communist regime in 1990.

The current Semnele timpului is designed primarily for the urban audience – active and informed, interested in opinions and debates. Its content is divided into two major sections which address current and perspective issues. Religion, politics, economy, culture, family life, health and education are areas most often covered by the magazine. The 48-page magazine is published monthly and its 5,000 copies are read by approximately 20,000 people. During the last 12 months, the editorial office published two special issues, one on the family and the other on the Passion Week. Both issues were presented in the Romanian Parliament, in the presence of important personalities of the Romanian political scene.

The magazine’s web version (www.semneletimpului.ro) was launched earlier this year. In addition to the articles included in the printed magazine, the website offers daily news, reviews and editorials. The visitors can access the digital archive which contains the issues published in the recent years.

During the last 130 years, the Romanian Adventist publications in general and Semnele timpului in particular have been a special tool in communicating the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and His imminent return.

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