Very Reverend Father Catalin Dan Mitescu fell asleep in the Lord on March 21, 2020, in California, due to complications of Alzheimer ’s disease.
Father Catalin was born on May 2, 1938, in Bucharest, Romania, the only child of Stefan and Daniela Mitescu. The family immigrated to Canada in 1948. Father Catalin graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, with a degree in engineering. He served for six months as a Guide in the Canadian Pavilion of the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958.
Fr. Catalin received his Doctorate in Physics in 1965 from the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) and was hired by Pomona College, Claremont, California, where he taught as a professor of Physics for 47 years until his retirement from the school in 2011. He was co-author of Physical Hydrodynamics, a classic work on fluid dynamics.
Father Catalin came from a long line of priests, from father to son, ending with his great-grandfather, Priest Ion Mitescu, who served at the church of Sf. Nicolae Domnesc in Iasi. Encouraged by Father Florian Galdau, a longtime friend of the family (Parish Priest of St. Dumitru, NY), and Father Richard Grabowski, his parish priest (Holy Trinity, Los Angeles), Father Catalin followed the Episcopate’s late vocations program as well as that of the OCA Diocese of the West. He was ordained by Archbishop Valerian (Trifa) to the Holy Diaconate in July 1980, at the Vatra Congress. He was assigned to serve at Holy Trinity Parish in Los Angeles, California (1980-1993). He then, together with Father John Limbeson, founded the St. John the Evangelist mission to the Claremont Colleges.
Soon after, Father John Limbeson founded St. Anne Orthodox Parish in Pomona, California. When Father John was asked to serve Sts. Constantine and Helen Parish in Indianapolis, Indiana, Father Catalin took over St. Anne and served there faithfully.
Father Catalin was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on February 15, 1987, at Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church in Los Angeles, California, by Bishop Nathaniel (Popp). He was assigned Assistant Priest at Holy Trinity Parish and as Administrator of the Claremont Colleges Mission (St. John the Evangelist) in Claremont, California. Since 1993, he served St. Anne Orthodox Parish, Pomona, California, until November 8, 2015, when with the blessing of Archbishop Nathaniel, Father Catalin officially retired from the active priesthood. Father Catalin was elevated by the Holy Synod to the rank of Archpriest in March 2007.
Father Catalin was very involved with the Southern California Orthodox Clergy Council, serving as Secretary and President of the organization. He was president of the Spiritual Consistory and member of the Spiritual Tribunal of the ROEA. He also served as the Chair of the Department of Missions and was a member of the Joint Dialogue Commission of the ROEA.
In 1972, Father Catalin married Nicole (Langley), his beloved wife and Preoteasa, by whom he is survived along with their three daughters, Anna Catherine (Mike) Plourde, Natalie Claire (David) Reinert, and Emilie Nicole (Dan) Reagan; and four grandchildren.
During his time of teaching and researching in Paris, Father Catalin was assigned by Archbishop Nathaniel to work with the Romanian parish, Holy Archangels, to regularize its status. He was awarded the Patriarchal cross by His Holiness, Patriarch Daniel (Ciobotea) for his efforts in motivating the parish to reconcile with the Church of Romania.
In 2013, while visiting Romania, he was very pleased to be able to serve at Sf. Nicolae Domnesc, the church where his great-grandfather had served as the parish priest.
Funeral arrangements are still in the planning stages, but the funeral service for a priest and burial will take place at the Vatra.
May his memory be eternal!