Born in Bad Deutsch Altenburg, Austria, he left for the Romanian Kingdom together with his mother, a widow, and his brother Franz, and settled in Iaşi (1895). He completed his primary studies and lyceum in Iaşi and in Bucharest, and, in 1906, joined the Roman Catholic seminary. In 1906, he continued his studies in Rome, attending the College of St. Thomas in Rome, the future Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum, and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (earning degrees in Canon Law, Philosophy and Theology, including two doctorates).
Ordained a priest in 1910, Durcovici returned to Romania, and was appointed, successively, schoolteacher at the Bucharest seminary and parish administrator in Tulcea. After Romania entered World War I on the Allied side, he was sent to an internment camp – being an Austrian citizen –, until being freed on the orders of King Ferdinand I.
Durcovici became rector of the Bucharest seminary in 1924, and held the office until April 1948, when he was consecrated Bishop of Iaşi by the Apostolic Nuncio to Romania, Bishop Gerald Patrick Aloysius O'Hara.
As a Catholic clergyman, Durcovici had become an adversary of the post-World War II Communist Party authorities, who initially attempted to have him accept a decrease in Papal authority over Romanian Catholics. Placed under surveillance in 1947, he was arrested by the Securitate on June 26, 1949, while he was visiting the congregation of Popești-Leordeni.
He was held in Jilava, then transferred to Sighet prison together with his fellow clergymen Áron Márton and Alexandru Cisar, being the target of torture and deprivations.Stripped naked and exposed to the winter weather, and denied food and water, Durcovici died as a result of the treatment. He was buried in an unmarked grave. Communist authorities subsequently attempted to erase all evidence of his stay in prison, and most documents were destroyed.
A process of beatification was begun in on January 28 1997, with the dioceasan inquiry running from 25 March 1997 to 11 September 1999. The decree for martyrdom was signed by Pope Francis on 31 October 2013 paving the way for his beatification on 17 May 2014, held by Cardinal Angelo Amato.