A year Without Pater Don
Three days after Pater Don Demidoff's death on June 27, 2011, not only the whole village, five priests and representatives of various confessions came together for his burial ceremony, but even a lot of friends and supporters from Romania and other European countries. A real ecumenical farewell for Pater Don Demidoff.
After the funeral the bereaved Romanian members of the foundation and the foreign supporters of Pater Don Demidoff spent the night discussing the continuation of his work.
Basically, there was no doubt that the humanitarian work built up during 20 years by Pater Don Demidoff must go on. Different opinions and concerns about the legal status and the continuation of all activities came up and had to be discussed. Pater Don had very many tasks on his schedule, far too many for a single person. But most of them he managed on his own and there were only very few who knew about or even had an overview.
Minodora Stanut, the bookkeeper and local managing director, and Sabin Muntean, are the new chairpersons of the renamed foundation "Social-Humanitarian League Pater Don Demidoff" and the heart of the activities in Iacobeni.
As it turned out already in fall 2011, the Protestant Church in Romania A. B. insisted on declaring the lease contract concluded with Pater Don Demidoff invalid on his death.
Despite of meetings of the members of the Ecumenical Service in Germany with the staff of the responsible consistory, when all the demanded data like business plan and lists of the investments made for the reconstruction of the Basilica in Iacobeni were submitted, there could not be achieved an agreement. For some inexplicable reason, the church refused cooperation without explanation as well as payment of compensation and finally sent the action for eviction a few weeks after Pater Don Demidoff's death.
Since that time the lawyer of the successor foundation has been carrying on two lawsuits on its behalf against the protestant church based in Sibiu - one for compensation for investments made by Pater Don and one against the action for eviction of the property, which is the registered office of the foundation.
Threats and reprisals by the church affect the humanitarian work of the foundation, which is going on to weekly distribute bread and other foodstuff to the poor of the surrounding villages, which cares for the medical supply and transports of the needy people and aside from that has to ensure the funding of this work by donations.
When the mayor of Iacobeni asked, if the foundation could organize the by the day accommodation and feeding of school children of families without income in the house of silence, this had to be refused with a heavy heart due to the doubtful situation regarding the contractual relationship with the church.
Shortly after and despite the two pending legal proceedings concluded a new lease contract for the basilica, which had been renovated by Pater Don at great expenditure of money as well as of time and which so much testifies his dedication to God in the name of all religions.
The new tenant, a German speaking and obviously in Sibiu living Transylvanian Saxon, who also plans to take the rest of the property in possession, behaves himself uncivilized and arrogant like a communist agent, introduced himself only incompletely and makes false pretences. He launched threats against the staff of the foundation and continuously puts them under pressure by permanent unannounced entry into the rooms of the foundation.
After all, for lack of other legal options the delivery of the renovated basilica was executed on May 4, 2012 - including the new windows, the renovated roof and the reconstituted crypt.
The new tenant illegally made use of the electricity and water supply of the foundation, being paid by donations, until that could be prevented by a locking. Rights of ownership were violated and access was gained illegally.
Despite all these experiences the continuation of Pater Dons work undoubtedly is on a good way due to the practical and emotional support of a Danish/German/Romanian family from the neighbor village, due to the intensive moral support from abroad, due to various visits of supporters, due to the active help of the lawyer Aneta Vovca and most of all due to the endurance of the members of the foundation - educated in the spirit of Pater Don Demidoff - especially Minodora Stanut and Sabin Muntean.
The successors of Pater Don Demidoff have proved to be worthy, the donors have remained faithful, and the poor children from the villages around Iacobeni are grateful that they may continue to harvest what Pater Don has sown with the help of Jesus Christ. The good will prevail, the morale and conviction of those who help are greater than the grudge of those who only ever just take instead of give.
On the first anniversary of Pater Don's death, on June 27, 2012, a tombstone was set up for him. Pater Don Demidoff will be in our hearts forever, for he has saved hundreds of street children with the Help of God. He was redeemed by Jesus Christ.
Pater Don Demidoff, our friend, our guide, the benefactor of the poor. His spirit is alive and among us.
You can visit him on the old graveyard in Iacobeni in Transylvania/Romania and of course assure yourself that the successors continue the task against all resistance, against greed and grudge, against disbelief, selfishness and poverty, for the children who are the future of their homeland.