He was a volunteer firefighter before being ordained to the priesthood and sees a very close connection between the two missions. He says he never feared the flames, being always protected and strengthened by God, and the hardest situation he went through was hearing that his grandmother’s house was on fire.
In the context of the National Day of Romanian Firefighters and the commemoration of Saint Joseph the New of Partos, protector of firefighters, Father Dorin Giurgiu from Rasnov, a city in Transylvania, agreed to share with us details about his double mission as volunteer fireman and clergyman.
Basilica.ro: What determined you to work as a firefighter, besides your priestly ministry?
Fr. Dorin Giurgiu: The desire to become a volunteer firefighter came after a fire broke out at the heater of a neighbour’s house, who happened to be at that time the head of the Volunteer Fire Service in Rasnov.
Coming home after being notified that there was a fire at my house and finding that the fire had started on the neighbour’s roof, my first impulse was to climb the stairs as close to the fire as possible and intervene by using the extinguisher.
Meanwhile, the volunteer firefighters from Râșnov arrived, and later also the professional ones, the two teams collaborating in an exceptional way managing to extinguish the fire.
At that time I was not yet ordained a priest, I was only an employee of the Bran – Zărnești Deanery of the Archdiocese of Sibiu, the Metropolis of Transylvania, as a social worker.
Basilica.ro: Can this activity be called a mission too? Is it more than just a job?
Fr. Dorin Giurgiu: This activity can also be called a mission, because it supports those in distress, those who are perhaps on the verge of losing everything they have gathered and whose life is in danger.
Basilica.ro: Do you see any connection between priesthood and firefighting?
Fr. Dorin Giurgiu: There is certainly a link between the two jobs. Both the priest and the fireman come to the aid of the people, they do these jobs with love and dedication, always trying to straighten or save souls.
Basilica.ro: This work always puts your life in danger. What is your greatest satisfaction in fulfilling this mission?
Fr. Dorin Giurgiu: The volunteer firefighter puts his or her life in danger in the fight against the flames, but I have personally been protected and strengthened by God and I have never felt my life in danger. Neither that of my colleagues.
We have the greatest satisfaction when we manage to prevent a fire from spreading, when we manage to put out a fire before there is too much damage, when people are safely out of their homes and in all their fright and distress, one can see a flash of gratitude in their eyes.
Basilica.ro: Can you tell us about an occurrence when you felt more intensely God’s help during a fire?
Fr. Dorin Giurgiu: I have always felt the help of God, not only when I was on duty, but a moment when the Heavenly Father strengthened me was on a spring night when I was called and announced that my grandmother’s house, which actually was my home until the age of 13, caught fire.
I went Fundata (a village in Brașov county), in my firefighting uniform, not knowing what to expect.
On the road between Bran and Fundata, we passed the professional firefighters crews from Zărnești who were getting on the difficult road with vehicles full of water. Arriving there, I was glad that my grandmother had been safely removed from the house and I joined the volunteer firefighters from Fundata, who were trying to prevent the fire from reaching the main building, two meters from the rooms where my grandmother was sleeping.
Together with the volunteers and the career firefighters, we managed to put out the fire after several hours. Fortunately, no one’s life was in danger, although a part from the main building was completely destroyed.
Fr. Dorin Giurgiu is a volunteer firefighter since the fall of 2010 and works at the Râșnov Volunteer Fire Department of the Râșnov City Hall, in a group of 42 people.
He was ordained a deacon in May 2011, and two years later he became a missionary priest in the Bran-Zărnești Deanery. Since 2018 he has been a parish priest at Râșnov V Orthodox Parish, where he is taking steps to build a church.
Photography courtesy of Fr. Dorin Giurgiu
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