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Father Rares Claudiu Onofrei was born in Brasov, Romania on February 6, 1978. After college, Fr. Rares attended the Shanxi University of TCM in Taiyuan, Shanxi, P.R. China and in 2007 graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine. Although his whole life was molded and shaped within the Orthodox Faith, during his medical studies he felt God's call to develop a more deep spiritual understanding of the bodily disorders, and by the grace of God, he immersed himself in a more profound study of Orthodox spirituality. Becoming aware of his call to serve Christ and His Church, he decided to delay a medical career and to pursue a theological education. He was admitted to St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, New York, in 2007.
On March 29, 2009 he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at St. Dumitru Romanian Orthodox Church in New York City through the laying on of the hands of the Most Reverend Dr. NATHANIEL, Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. On October 11th of the same year he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Falling Asleep of the Ever-Virgin Mary Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio, again by His Eminence Archbishop NATHANIEL.
Fr. Onofrei graduated from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in May, 2010. Upon graduation he was assigned to Saint Anne Orthodox Church in Pomona, California, where he now serves as Parish Priest.
Along with his wife, Preoteasa Teodora, Fr Rares expresses gratitude for the Lord's guidance and love. Poignantly, he says: "Once I read that if God wills, he will make priests, even from the stones of the desert. I did not understand those words at that time, but now, due to the interesting course my life took, I am convinced of the truth of those words and grateful to God for how He directed our lives."