Rev. Fr. Costa Popescu
Fr. Costin Popescu was born on November 28, 1970 in Bucharest, Romania. As a child, he was trained for eight years as a classical pianist, but did not feel called to pursue a career in music. Instead. he became involved in Physics competitions, winning two gold medals at the International Physics Olympiads (the top competition for high-school aged aspiring physicists around the world). This opened to him the doors of the best universities around the world. He received a license diploma in Physics from Paris VII University, an A.B. in Physics, Magna Cum Laude, from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from California Institute of Technology. His studies at Harvard re-awakened his early interest in humanities and marked the beginning of a quest for God that brought him back to his Orthodox roots, suppressed by the communist regime. During his years in Pasadena, CA (1994-2001), Costin started to attend church every Sunday, guided by his first spiritual father, V.Rev. Constantin Alecse. He gathered an entire group of students who attended worship together at Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church in Los Angeles. Initially they would ride their bikes and then carpool the twenty-mile round trip. They also began to sing in the choir. Using his musical training, Costin learned the Byzantine chant from books published in Romania, and started his first Byzantine group with two fellow doctoral students.
In 1997, Costin married Irina Mihailescu, his high-school sweetheart, who had just graduated from her medical studies. The newlyweds moved to Pasadena and next summer had their first child, Malina. The turning point in Costin’s life was his ordination as a reader in November 1999. During the prayers, he clearly distinguished God calling him to full time service as a priest. After one year he completed his doctoral studies and was ready to study at Holy Cross. He received the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco, of blessed memory, who also ordained him as a deacon the following summer. The next two years, Deacon Costin and then Father Costin (ordained a priest by His grace Bishop Anthimos of blessed memory in September 2003) served the Annunciation church in Brockton under the mentorship of one of our great liturgists, Rev. Fr. John Kiramarios.
In December, 2003, the Popescu family grew to include another daughter, Ana, who thus began her life on the seminary campus just a few yards from the chapel. Fr. Costin graduated with an MDiv in three years as valedictorian of the 2004 class. He subsequently served for three years as an assistant at St. Vasilios church in Peabody, where he benefited from a plethora of great mentors and developed the choir, chanting and nursing home ministries, which came to include liturgies at three nursing homes. In 2007 Fr. Costin took over the Annunciation parish in Dover. Over the eight years of ministry, the Sunday School was rebuilt from its foundations, the choir was rejuvenated, and a new and crucial part time secretary position brought the office to life.
Fr. Costin recruited and taught chanting to a significant group of people, some of which became highly proficient in the English chant. There have been up to eight people chanting for a service, and the choir also got involved in Presanctified services, Festal Vespers (together with other churches in the area) and Akathist services. The deepest transformation was in the parish council, which was completely renewed, including four active young adults under thirty, and functioning in an environment of harmony, respect and love. As a consequence, major restoration and improvement projects were successfully completed.
In the larger Christian community, the Annunciation Church and Fr. Costin came to play an increasingly prominent role. In an effort spearheaded together with the Lutheran church, a weekly periscope study group (including pastors and lay people from different denominations) came to life, and the Orthodox Faith is at the center of attention of this group.
In 2011, Fr. Costin became the spiritual advisor of the New England Federation of Church Musicians, an organization that he was deeply involved in since 2005. Since 2015, Fr. Costin has served the Annunciation church in Newburyport, which is preparing for its centennial celebration in 2018.