Two prominent Romanian friends, who remember how tough it was to be a Christian during the Communist era in their country, took time out from their schedules today to reunite in Port Elizabeth. Romanian Consul General Dr Silviu Rogobete flew in from Cape Town to catch up with prominent pastor and academic Dr Paul Negrut, who is talking in PE tonight in a brief stopover during a Southern Africa visit.
The friends, who were at university together in London in the 1990s, last saw each other at a conference in Romania six years ago.
“When I found out he was not coming to Cape Town I decided to meet him at the nearest place, which was Port Elizabeth,” said Rogobete. Negrut, who received a knighthood in Romania in 2000 for standing up to the oppressive Communist regime during the Cold War years, has addressed several meetings in Durban, and speaks at St John’s Anglican Church, PE tonight and in Windhoek, Namibia, on Saturday and Sunday.
Rogobete said he became a Christian in his teen years after his father, Elijah Rogobete, who was a senior Communist official, took the brave step of becoming a Christian and joined the Baptist Church after a deathbed conversation with his stepfather who was a Christian leader.
“It was the end of his political career,” said Rogobete. “But it was the beginning of our new life as a family and as members of the family of God.”
During his university years in Romania in the 1980s Rogobate became involved in an underground Christian movement. He studied in Romania and Britain. During the 1990s while he was a political science university professor in his hometown, Timisoara, he established a Christian organisation called the Areopagus Centre for Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture. Areopagus aims to present the Gospel in a relevant way to the contemporary society and culture.
In 2006 he was invited to join the Romanian Diplomatic Corps and he has been in South Africa for the past five years. He is married with two sons, aged 19 and 21. As a Christian he says he his committed to fulfilling his work ethically and righteously.
Academics and achievement clearly run in the family, and Rogobete quipped that his psychologist wife, Ileana, has been busier than him during their time in South Africa. He said she served in St James Church in Kenilworth, Cape Town, where she has established and trained a team of family counsellors. She was also actively involved in FAMSA and has recently completed a PhD at the University of Cape Town, with a thesis on “The Psychology of Trauma and Recovery in a Post-Apartheid Society”.