Benjamin of San Francisco


Bishop Boris Dies in Retirement

ESCONDIDO, CA -- His Grace, Bishop Boris [Geeza], retired Bishop of the Orthodox Church in America's Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest, died at his home here on Saturday, 30 December 2000.  He had been in declining health for several years.

Born on November 18, 1923 in Portage, PA, the son of the late Archpriest Theodore and Mary [Youshak] Geeza, he was a 1945 graduate of Columbia University, New York, NY. The following year he graduated from Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary and was married to Helen Korba.

Following his graduation and marriage, he served as choir director and teacher at Three Saints Church, Garfield, NJ until his ordination to the Holy Priesthood by His Eminence, Metropolitan Theophilus [Pashkovsky] in 1947. After serving as pastor of Saint Nicholas Church, Wierton, WV, he was commissioned as an Orthodox chaplain in the US Navy in March 1953. In recognition of his long and distinguished service in the chaplaincy, which included a tour of duty in Vietnam, he was named as the first Dean of Orthodox Chaplains in 1970 and was awarded the Chaplain's cross for meritorious service the following year.

Following the death of his wife in 1971, he continued his ministry until his retirement from the chaplaincy in 1975. Having pursued post graduate studies at Saint Vladimir's Seminary, he was appointed Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco, CA and Chancellor of the Diocese of the West.

In July 1978, he was named Bishop-elect of Manhattan, a new post created by the Holy Synod of Bishops to assist His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius. On September 16 of the same year he was tonsured into monastic orders by Metropolitan Theodosius at Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, NY and elevated to the rank of archimandrite.

Upon the retirement of His Eminence, Archbishop John [Garklavs] of Chicago in September 1978, the 18th Assembly of the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest, meeting in Madison, IL on October 1, 1978, unanimously nominated Archimandrite Boris to fill the vacant episcopal see. Members of the Holy Synod of Bishops, meeting in New York on October 17-18, 1978, formally elected him to succeed Archbishop John.

On November 11, 1978, he was consecrated to the episcopacy by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius; Archbishop John of Chicago; His Grace, Bishop [now Archbishop] Kyrill of Pittsburgh; His Grace, Bishop Firmilian of the Serbian Orthodox Church; and His Grace, Bishop Ireney, Vicar of the Moscow Patriarchate at Chicago's historic Holy Trinity Cathedral. During his tenure as Bishop of Chicago, Bishop Boris organized diocesan departments, initiated publication of a diocesan newspaper, The Vigil, and promulgated uniform parish bylaws. He also oversaw the establishment of several new missions and parishes throughout the Midwest Diocese, the OCA's largest.

In November 1988, Bishop Boris retired from active ministry, but remained active in various aspects of Church life.

In addition to one sister and one brother, Bishop Boris is survived by one son, Boris G. Geeza of Long Grove, IL, one daughter, Helena Jakubovich of Milwaukee, WI, and two grandchildren, Maria and Nicholas.

On Wednesday, January 3, a Parastas was celebrated at Saint John of Damascus Church, Poway, CA. On Thursday, January 4, His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the West, representating His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, presided at the Divine Liturgy and Funeral Service. Interment followed at Eternal Hills Cemetery, Oceanside, CA.

At the request of Bishop Boris' family, donations may be made to the Bishop Boris Scholarship Fund, PO Box 28291, San Diego, CA 92198.

May Bishop Boris' memory be eternal!

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