“Father Dumitru Mitoiu had a great and pure soul”

In the workshop, after a while, we moved from sanding to making parts for toys. Time went by so fast, you couldn’t believe it. The food at the factory was much better.

I got to know the people there. In front of me, at the toys, there was a man working hard, thin-faced, middle-aged, with a very lively look in his eyes. There was life in him. He was very communicative and looked at me intently. After a while he asked me who I was and where I was from. With some reluctance I answered his questions. In return, he told me who he was and where he came from. It was Father Dumitru Mitoiu, a priest from Băcești, Vaslui County. About my first name, Atanasie, he makes a joke, a bit insincere, but without malice in content.

– How can you bear the name of a great saint, Athanasius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria? You don’t deserve it.

I looked at him for a long time without answering. He didn’t know that I had finished my theology degree. He realised his mistake and tried to be nice to me. He wanted my friendship. We wanted to be good friends. He had a big, pure heart. We were like two brothers, so much so that our friends said we were inseparable. He was five years older than me, born in 1916. He studied theology and law in Bucharest. His teacher was Ion V. Georgescu, whom the students called “Hunul”. His other teachers were Nichifor Crainic, Tudor Popescu, Nae Popescu and others. (…)

Father Mitoiu and I, who were not politically approved, had to do the hardest work in the factory, in the woodworking department, on the lathe. That’s how Mitoiu and I ended up working on the wheels (…).

I used to call him Nea Mitu. He was like an older brother to me. He was hot-tempered, but he also had a lot of love for people. In prison he behaved with great dignity. (…)

(Atanasie Berzescu – Tears and Blood. The Armed Anti-Communist Resistance in the Banat Mountains, Marineasa Publishing House, Timisoara, 1999, pp. 145, 147)

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