Mark A. Kellner/ANN Staff
Seventh-day Adventist Church members in Spain are mourning the loss of at least two of their fellow believers who are among the nearly 200 killed in coordinated bomb attacks in and around Madrid on March 11. One member, 27-year-old Nicoleta Diac, was identified late on March 12. The other, Emilian Popescu, married with two children, has not yet been identified, according to Pastor Adrian Bocaneanu, president of the church in Romania, who is currently in Spain. However, Popescu has not been heard from since the attacks, and his papers were found at a blast site.
“Yesterday (Sabbath) on two different live transmissions from Madrid, a crew from the only news channel in Romania, Realitatea TV, featured members of the Adventist churches in Madrid who have been injured by the blasts or were on board one of the death trains,” Bocaneanu said in an e-mail to church leaders. “They also carried a report on church meetings on Sabbath and the way the church responds to the crisis.”
Adds Pastor Ulrich Frikart, regional president of the Adventist Church, “The Seventh-day Adventists of the Euro-Africa [church region] feel indignation, abhorrence and sympathy about the terrible attack of Madrid. Our deepest interest goes for the families and relations of the victims. We are mourning with the Spanish people and our church members and pray for those who are affected by this absurd act of terrorism. These sad occurrences put us in mind of our savior, Jesus Christ, and of his soon return.”
In a message to fellow believers, Spanish Adventist Church president Pastor Alberto F. Guaita expressed his deep emotions over the attack and its aftermath.
“As any citizen, I want God to deliver justice, not only this time but in all injustices, crimes and wickedness which surround us,” he wrote. “I beg our God not to fill our hearts with hate to the unknown guilty parties, whoever they might be, but [I ask that] His peace and His promises compensate the suffering and sorrow of so many families that also are mine, all the victims of one or other, who suffer without knowing why and for what.”
Church leaders have had reports of 14 members who either are hospitalized with injuries from the bombings, or were treated in the hospital and released. The attack, whose source has not yet been positively identified, is being called one of the worst terrorist attacks in Europe’s modern history.
There is a large Romanian population in Spain, and the attacks come during a time when the Adventist Church is holding special meetings for Romanians, with Pastor Bocaneanu as a speaker. Bocaneanu said local pastors and members are forming prayer groups and offering help to victims.
There are 10,000 Seventh-day Adventist Church members worshipping in 80 congregations in Spain. Approximately 4,000 Adventist members are in Madrid, while there are more than 72,000 church members in Romania.