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Good News for 2 Chicago Churches Fighting 'Mob Action' Charges: 'Romanian Churches Understand Communism'

Image Source: Facebook Screenshot/Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church
Image Source: Facebook Screenshot/Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church

The city of Chicago has now dismissed charges against two Romanian churches for holding worship services during May 2020 amid the pandemic.

Pastor Cristian Ionescu of Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Pastor Florin Cimpean of Philadelphia Romanian Church were cited for "disorderly conduct" and mob action" last year for having more than 10 people attend worship services.

A court order released on Monday reveals that the houses of worship will not be penalized.

Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit religious rights law firm, represented the churches in their legal proceedings against the city.

"After 52 Sundays, the city of Chicago has finally dropped these outrageous 'disorderly conduct and mob action' charges against Romanian pastors for simply having more than 10-people in their church services," said Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver on Monday.

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On Sunday, Elim held a ceremony dedicating its new building, which seats 1,200 people. Liberty Counsel Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel Horatio G. Mihet spoke during Sunday's service and was given a plaque in recognition of the law firm's defense for the church.

The following Bible verse was engraved on the plaque: "I can testify that by their own free will they have given to the utmost of their ability, yes, even beyond their ability. They begged us earnestly for the privilege of participating in this ministry to the saints. We did not expect that! They gave themselves to the Lord first and then to us since this is God's will." – 2 Corinthians 8:3-5.

The executive order issued last year by Chicago's Democratic Gov. J. B. Pritzker, indicated that churches could have an unlimited number of people for nonreligious activities to feed, shelter, and provide social services to others. But religious gatherings, in the same church and with the same people, were limited to 10. 

"The pastors and the Romanian churches understand communism and they are resolved to continue to fight for religious freedom," Staver added.

In a Facebook post, Philadelphia Romanian Church thanked Attorney Mihet for his dedication to fighting for religious freedom. 

"A year ago we were charged with disorderly conduct, unlawful assembly and mob action for holding church services," the church wrote. "Today, the charges were dismissed. Thank you, Attorney Harry Mihet for fighting for freedom and Praise the Lord!"

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