Moldoveanu and Dorz in The Lord’s Army

In the book by Michael Card, Scribbling In the Sand, there is an introduction and letter from Nicolae Moldoveanu on pp.147-151.

Nicolae Moldoveanu died on July 12, 2007 at age 85. He was a Christian songwriter since at least 1959. I heard a concert of his music once at a Romanian Baptist church in Beaverton, Oregon. It was a mainstream worship group with a keyboard as I remember. It was made-up, in part, by the pastor and his wife from Sibiu, Romania. There was also a taped message from the composer.

I can kind of tell a song is his by the sound of it. There’s a distictiveness in his melodies. From 1959 till 2000, he had written 5143 songs. [Some say he had written over 7000 songs.] He had written music for all of the psalms. There’s a set of self published books, Cantarile Harului (tr.: Grace Songs), that have all these songs (one line melody and all lyrics, no chords). Another approx. 400 songs are in the latest volume (v. 15) of this set. About 150 of all these songs with accompaniment are published in other Romanian songbooks. He also had a set of bible commentaries on several books of the Bible.

Michael Card explained that Nicolae was put in prison for writing Christian music. He was sentanced for 12 years under the Communist regime. He contiued to write songs in prison by soaping-up a window and using that to write with. By memorizing each song he wrote, he was able to collect over 300 songs in memory by the time he was released.

Another, Romanian songwriter, Traian Dorz, also did prison time for writing Christian music. He was a poet or lyricist; sometimes colaberating with Moldoveanu or other composers. His songs (poems) are in the thousends. He was born Dec. 25, 1914. He became a leader of a reform movement within the Romanian Orthodox Church, The Lord’s Army (Oastea Domnului). After the Communists came to power, he had a series of imprisonments. He had a total of about 17 years of prison. Soon after his first imprisonment, he witnessed all of his work and belongings being burned, over 20 years worth of work. Six times his work was burned. In prison, he put some dust on a piece of glass and every 30 days recreated one of his poems from memory, and then, rememorizing them. He would be tortured daily, and then afterwards, work on his poems. He died shortly before the Revolution. [Many songwriters say they can’t not write; their driven to it. I think it shows that songwriting is an activity which builds one up in order to endure such hardships.]

Both Moldoveanu and Dorz were in The Lord’s Army. This is a back-to-the-Bible movement which has preaching and fellowship from fellow church-goers rather than priests. They hold the Bible above church dogma. They and the Romanian Protestants concider this movement as evangelical, but there is some resistance from the Orthodox church in this direction. This also depends upon the priest. This movement is OK with some priests and not with others. Both of these guys’ songs are commonly sung in the Romanian Baptist churches. Richard Wurmbrand (a Lutheran pastor) in Tortured For Christ (pp. 135-136) mentions that many Orthodox believers were in prison and had to adapt to not having priests and their rituals. Not only did this tend to make them more fundamental and evangelical, but also, closer to God, resulting in a spiritual awakening.

Dave Davis


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