† Bishop Gregory Reposes in the Lord

His Grace, † Bishop Gregory (Udicky), bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America since its creation 22 years ago, fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, October 9, 1985. His Grace died of an apparent heart attack in his diocesan offices. He had suffered from diabetes for a number of years. Next year would have marked his fiftieth anniversary in the Holy Priesthood.

Bishop Gregory was born in Velika Kikinda, Yugoslavia, on January 14, 1911. He attended Sremski Karlovci Seminary and graduated from the Theological Faculty in Belgrade with high honors. Taking monastic vows at Monastery Hilandar on Mt. Athos, he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in 1936, and was appointed professor of theology at the Serbian Orthodox seminary in Bitolj. In 1938, Bishop Gregory came to the United States with Bisohp Damaskin and served the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Butte, Montana. Returning to his hometown at the beginning of World War II, he pastured the church there during the war. Leaving Yugoslavia at the end of the war, he spent time in the displaced persons camp in Italy until coming to the United States. During his time as a parish priest in America, he served churches in Lebanon and Youngwood, Pennsylvania. During this time he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite.

The Holy Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church created the Diocese of Western America on May 10, 1963 with its see at St. Steven’s Cathedral in Alhambra, and appointed Archimandrite Gregory as the administrator of the new diocese. He was elected bishop of the new diocese in July and consecrated as bishop of Western America in St. Steven’s Cathedral on August 3, 1963. The diocese encompasses 14 parishes and a monastery in the western United States, with about 8,000 persons.

The bishop’s body lay in state in the Cathedral, where memorial services and Divine Liturgy were held on Sunday and Monday, October 13 and 14. The hierarchical Divine Liturgy and funeral service for Bishop Greogry was held at the Cathedral on Tuesday, October 15. Leading the services were His Grace Bishop Irinej of Nis, surrogate for the ill Bishop Firmilian of the Midwest, His Grace Bishop Christopher of Eastern America and His Grace Bishop Georgije of Canada, with about 20 priests and over 500 faithful. Bishop Christopher offered the sermon eulogizing the late bishop at the Divine Liturgy, and Bishop Irinej, who has been named administrator of the widowed Western Diocese spoke at the funeral service. Others who spoke at the service were Proto Vladimir Mrvichin, the Bishop’s Deputy of the Western Diocese, Fr. Dennis Pavichevich, pastor of St. Steven’s and Proto Uros Ocokoljic of Chicago on behalf of the Clergy Brotherhood of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the U.S. and Canada. Responses were sung by the Cathedral Choir, and an honor guard of children in Serbian national dress accompanied the casket together with the clergy in the final procession around the Cathedral. Bishop Gregory was very fond of children and was close to many of the children form the Cathedral. Burial took place at the Serbian United Benevolent Society Cemetery in Los Angeles, where Luka Pecel, vice president of the diocesan council, spoke on behalf of the council laity of the diocese. Following services, a dacha (funeral meal) was held at the Cathedral Hall, prepared by the women of St. Steven’s and St. Sava’s of San Gabriel.

Surviving Bishop Gregory is a sister in Yugoslavia. Donations in memory of the late Bishop may be made to the Western Diocese.

The 40 day parastos is to be served at the Cathedral on November 17 by His Grace Bishop Irinej as administrator of the Diocese.

Grant rest eternal in blessed falling asleep, O Lord, to the soul of Thy departed servant, the Bishop Gregory, and make his memory to be eternal.

From 1986 Calendar
of the Serbian Orthodox Church
in the United States and Canada

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