It was with great sadness and shock that the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) leadership received the news of the death of our dear friend and colleague, Prof Dr Corneliu Constantineanu, in Romania. Corneliu passed away on March 17th after just a few days of fighting the effects of COVID-19. He was 53 years old and leaves behind his dear wife, Ioana, and daughters, Carmen and Anamaria.
Corneliu was a trusted member of the WEA’s Theological Commission and had been active also in the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), the International Fellowship for Mission as Transformation (INFEMIT), the Central and Eastern European Association of Mission Studies (CEEAMS), Langham Partnership International, and many other organizations.
Most recently he pioneered important post-graduate programs in Christian public theology at Arad State University in Romania and mentored students at various other institutions around the globe. Among his many publications, he served as general editor for the Central and Eastern European Bible Commentary and as co-editor for Mission in Central and Eastern Europe: Realities, Perspectives, Trends (Regnum Press). He also wrote in the areas of theology, mission and justice for children at risk and on Paul’s theology of reconciliation.
“Despite his many accomplishments, Corneliu was a true servant of God who lived with great integrity, always witnessing to the good news of the kingdom of God with joy, strength and humility. His unmistakable laughter will be sorely missed,” said Dr Rosalee Velloso Ewell, Executive Director of WEA’s Theological Commission. “All of us in the WEA pray for Corneliu’s family, his friends and collaborators who are left behind and who now seek ways to carry on the work he started without their trusted friend and leader. As we approach the Easter season, we are reminded that our hope is in Christ alone, in His cross and resurrection, and that like Corneliu, we are called to witness to this hope in all that we say and do.”
“Corneliu was a valuable member of the WEA Theological Commission always emphasizing that the gospel transforms individuals, nations and the world. As I have been teaching in Timisoara, 60 km away from his university in Arad, I could also see how respected he was among Christians and non-Christians in Romania. He is a real loss to the church in Romania and the global body of Christ,” said Bp. Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the WEA.
“Corneliu has been one of the most prolific evangelical theologians in Eastern Europe, a great networker and to many of us a great friend. His wisdom and experience was greatly appreciated by many of us and he will be greatly missed,” said Rev. Dr. Frank Hinkelmann, Vice-Chair of the WEA International Council and President of the European Evangelical Alliance.
”Corneliu was a man of remarkable academic and managerial skills, but also a person with special human and Christian qualities. We are confident that the life and example of Corneliu will continue to be a landmark and a source of inspiration for many of those who have known him – in person or through his publications,” said Rev. Prof. Alexandru Neagoe, President of the Areopagus Centre, Timișoara, Romania.
“A dear friend and colleague in the Networking Team of INFEMIT for over a decade, a passionate, creative and dedicated pioneer in theological education, Corneliu brought laughter and depth, energy and perspective to our life and work together. His gusto for life and his tireless and fruitful dedication to God’s work were contagious, a gift and inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him,” said Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Networking Team Coordinator, International Fellowship for Mission as Transformation, INFEMIT.