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A Church for the Roma

Caterina Clerici | Romania

Guests paying their last respects to the body of Florin Cioaba, the former International King of the Roma, who died of a heart attack on August 18, 2013, while he was on holiday in Turkey. After days of wake and mourning, his funeral was celebrated on August 23, 2013.

 On August 23, 2013, the self-proclaimed “International King of the Roma” Florin Cioaba was laid to rest in the municipal cemetery of the Transylvanian town of Sibiu, in Romania. On the very same day, his two sons Dorin and Daniel were crowned, respectively, “International King of the Roma” and “King of the Roma in Romania.”

While Cioaba will most likely be remembered, particularly internationally, for the scandal he caused in 2003 by marrying off his 12-year-old daughter to a 15-year-old relative, one of his biggest achievements in the fight against his community’s marginalization was building the Filadelfia Pentecostal Church of Turnisor for the Roma of Sibiu in 1997. Over the last two decades, the growing Pentecostal movement among the Roma in Romania has been providing a sense of unity and identity for a minority group that has been struggling to find a voice and a place among both religious and political institutions in the country.

This work documents Cioaba’s funeral and the life of the community where his legacy survives.



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