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Thread: Who are the Gypsies? What are their spiritual beliefs?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Who are the Gypsies? What are their spiritual beliefs?

    To me, one of the most mysterious people groups that I can identify is the Gypsies. Who are they? Where do they live? Where did they originate? What do they believe?

    I could look this up on Wikipedia, but it is more engaging to interact with you all.
    Tim Lindsay
    member, Southfield RPCNA, Southfield, MI

    "in the center of the continent, on a river flowing toward the inland sea, not far from a great northern forest"

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  2. #2
    All I know is this:

    My wife's Italian family members can point them out in restaraunts and they hate them. They say they are nomadic, even in these modern times. They dress extremely flashy and have very expensive cars and jewlery, but live in mobile homes in trailer parks. They say they travel the country and move all of the time, and that you have to keep your eye on them, because they will steal anything right from under your nose.

    Now, I know probably about 99% of that is just prejudice on the Italian's part, but I always think their depiction of gypsies is so funny.
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    Member, Independent Presbyterian Church (PCA)

  3. #3
    Without using wikipedia, my recall is that they are considered to be of Indian descent, and live throughout Europe. They are sometimes called Roma, have been semi-nomadic, and have suffered pretty severe persecution over the years. Not certain of their religious beliefs other than the fact that they are often associated with fortune-telling and other mysticisms, and have a reputation for being conmen and thieves.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    My adopted daughter is 1/2 gypsy (Romania). They are supposed to have migrated into Europe from Northern India about 1000 AD. They look very similar to the Indian population...dark skin, facial structure.

    "Hate" is mild. The emotion is worse than white KKK towards blacks a century ago. They trend to be utterly loathed. Under communism they were assimilated to some extent, but now that is reverting. In Romania the gypsy poverty is terrible but there is a revival going on with many getting saved in the Arad region ( northwest).

    As a race due to centuries of extreme poverty they have bred physical strength and good immune systems (only the strong survived). They seem to have an inbred cunning. My girl is now 13 and loves the Lord, but for years, no matter how behaved she was in every other area, she was so sneaky. She'd be racked with guilt but steal anyway. We got her when she was almost 3 and it is freaky to see how a sterotype seems to be inbred in the genes, but yeah, by reputation they will steal anything. They are very artistic and musical as a race. Pray for them. We are on a mailing list for a Romanian ministry newsletter and with the economic collapse the gypsies are being plunged into hellish poverty. They need the Lord!

    Attending Jacobstown Baptist

    Central NJ

  5. #5
    No, it's just factual, at least among those who haven't assimilated. There was an old 60 minutes program with Diane Sawyer who interviewed a bunch of Gypsies in France, and when she asked a large group of youngsters if stealing was good or evil, they all shouted "C'est bon!"

    I saw my first here in California as a young man. I was doing some contract work for an owner of a trailer park, and some Central Asian looking people asked if there was any vacancy, and he said no. After they left I questioned him, since there was plenty of space, and he told me how they'd come in and steal blind everyone in the park. Same thing with rental yards. Gypsies come in with false paperwork and never come back with the equipment.

    DNA and language says they come from north west India, but there are so many legends about them most of their history is guess work.

    The last group I saw was in Ireland several years ago where I was at a big beekeeping convention, and some Gypsy women were walking the streets of Dublin, and their boys were spitting on every place people would put their hands, like traffic meters, and the women thought it was cute.

    Religiously they're usually nominal Catholics, but it varies tremendously with the individual groups, and it gets even more complicated with other similar groups like the Irish Travellers, who were in the news recently here in the US for using their kids and pretty young women for shoplifting scams. A google news search will provide anyone interested with that story with a lot of background. Ethnically they seem Celtic and proto Celtic, but they've taken on Gypsy culture. There's a big community in Texas.

    On a persecution note, Rudolph Hoess, the second to the last Commandant of Auschwitz has a really interesting section on them in his memoirs that he wrote in Poland, right before the Poles hung him. It can also be found googling. Historians say the percentage of Gypsies killed during the war was the same as for Jews, and like the Jews and others it varied according to the country.

    More recently Romanian treatment of Gypsies was in the news, IIRC about 2 years ago, when Romanian border guards were turning back Gypsies who wanted to leave Romania, and the story was that it was due to European pressure to prevent large scale Gypsy migration into NW Europe.
    Tim Vaughan
    Member, Redeemer Presbyterian, OPC,
    Santa Maria

  6. #6
    I had experience with the Irish Travellers. They will move into an area and go around to businesses offering various services like home repair under the story that they are doing some work elsewhere and have left over materials they could use on your property. Typically they want money up front to buy supplies and will never return. If they actually do any work, it is pretty shoddy.

    After a few weeks, they move on.

    To answer your question, spiritually, I guess they would have to be mammonists!
    Last edited by MMasztal; 10-09-2009 at 10:43 AM. Reason: clarification
    Michael Masztal
    Ruling Elder, Chapel By The Sea, ARP
    Melbourne Beach, FL

  7. #7
    i will never forget reading about Gypsies in Lucky Luciano's bio...
    he claimed that gypsies were taught at an early age that God has given them special permision to steal
    the legend says that at Christ's crucifiction there were actually 4 nails... a little gypsy boy, feeling bad for Christ, tried to steal the spikes but was only able to steal one.
    Christ looked at the young boy and told him "for what you have done, it will never be held against your people when they steal"
    i read that book at least 20 years ago and never forgot that stupid story!
    but i'll bet it has an element of truth and it is probably still being told to gypsy youth
    thomas harvey
    husband & father
    nashua NH

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    We've currently got Irish travellers in the church I attend. They do seem to be nominal catholics until conversion. The biggest challenge is their culture. It is quite different to ours, since they don't discipline their children the same way we might, and they regularly have to be prevented from running riot in services or sunday school. Only last Sunday, one of the little girls tried repeatedly to go through my pockets after the service to find money to "put in the offering bag".

    Having said that, they are actually nice people... just different to us.
    Reformed Baptist
    Kent UK

  9. #9
    Heartcry Missionary Society has a ministry among the Gypsies of Romania and there seems to be a real awakening of some groups to their need for the Lord. Here is a link, or do a google search of Heartcry and Gypsies: Issue 16 HeartCry Missionary Society

    "If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
    -- David Livingstone
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Calgary, Alberta CANADA

  11. #11
    I've had experiences with Romas or Romanies in several European counties - most of them unpleasant. Native populations shun them, despise them, and avoid them. Even in the churches when they are brought up there is great discomfort. Christians don't want to evangelize them for fear they'll be converted and become part of their congregation.
    Curt Lovelace
    Director, Lifework Forum
    Somewhere in New England, USA

    Attending Limington OPC, Limington ME

    webpage at
    Author: Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship

  12. #12
    Experience with them in Spain - one smacked me around a bit when I was 10 (it was a mother and daughter begging and my father wouldn't give them any money). Another time was in Madrid, when I saw an American girl from Oklahoma actually opened her wallet to them when they wanted to 'see' American money, and was shocked when they cleaned it out.

    I lived in Spain in the mid-80's and saw plenty of less-than-savoury behaviour from them.
    Kevin, husband of a truly angelic woman, and father to twelve.
    Zion United Reformed Church of Sheffield
    Ontario, Canada

  13. #13
    National Geographic Magazine

    Gypsies The Outsiders

    Good quick summary of the Roma.
    Christ Presbyterian Church (OPC)
    Salt Lake City, Utah

  14. #14


    We actually have quite a lot of gypsies in the part of Finland where I live. There is a kind of love/hate-feeling towards them here, they are often involved in crime but on the other hand you can often get things from them at a good price...

    I used to be friends with some as a kid, brought them over to our house now and then. My parents hated it, I couldn't understand why.

    Today I know that they are completely non-adjusted to finnish society. They have their own values and I frankly have never ever seen a Roma doing a regular job. They say that Roma don't think one ought to work for a living, that is an evil invention of western civilization. Take that for what it's worth... this is only my experience.

    Except for those that have become christian. There has been quite a revival among them and you can find groups of them in pentecostal churches here and there.
    Christoffer S.
    Member of the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran church
    Husband&father to three
    Living in Vaasa, Finland

  15. #15
    My experience with Gypsies was in central France in the mid-1980s. The group we encountered came through once a year, usually in the summer months. They lived in tents and RVs just outside of town. They would come to your house and for 5 francs trade your broken chair for a chair they had repaired. During this period of time, there was a small revival among the gypsies of central/southern France, and many in this group had converted and were trying to do honest work. They were not well-liked or well-received by the local folk. The missionary with whom I was working would go out to their camp and do Bible study with the men when they were in town.

    This is truly an ethnic group that needs the Lord. It would be wonderful to see them come to the Lord, and then spread the Gospel as they travel around Europe.
    J Baldwin
    Keowee Presbyterian Church, PCA
    Pickens, SC
    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

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  16. #16
    all I know of gypsies is this..... my great great grandfather was a general in the "war between the states" as he was leading his men from the north to the south they came across a band of gypsies who were starving for food. One family sold thier 14 year old daughter to the general for enough money to buy food to last the winter... the general kept the girl and eventually married her... thus becoming my great great grandmother. that's it.
    Jessica Auner
    Wife, Mother,
    Garden City, Ga
    Ephesus Church
    (a Reformed Baptist church)

    Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Blog Entries
    I don't know too much about Gypsies. However I support a missionary family that has planted a Church in Skeuditz (E Germany) that does multiple outreaches to Romania and has planted a Gypsy Church near Gura Riului, Romania. They carry out the Great Commission and give help with practical needs. The Gypsy people of Romania fall under a cloud of generational prejudices that can only be broken by the love of Jesus Christ. The (Russsian) "Orthodox Priests" pronounce curses on the Gypsies. This is sick and non-Biblical.
    Rich Koster
    Browns Mills NJ USA
    Member of Covenant Baptist, Lumberton NJ (1689ers)

    Thankful that I'm not saved by merit badges
    Romans 7:14-25

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Curt View Post
    Christians don't want to evangelize them for fear they'll be converted and become part of their congregation.
    That is really, really sad.
    Mark Hettler
    Maranatha Christian Fellowhip (non-denominational)
    Central NJ

    God answers prayers in one of two ways: "Yes," or "I have something better."

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hettler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Curt View Post
    Christians don't want to evangelize them for fear they'll be converted and become part of their congregation.
    That is really, really sad.
    Yes it is, and it takes place here in the good ol' USA too.
    Rich Koster
    Browns Mills NJ USA
    Member of Covenant Baptist, Lumberton NJ (1689ers)

    Thankful that I'm not saved by merit badges
    Romans 7:14-25


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