Boris (Geeza) of Chicago

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Bishop Boris (Geeza) of Chicago (November 18, 1923 - December 30, 2000) was bishop of the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest of the Orthodox Church in America. He was one of the first Orthodox priests to serve as chaplains in the United States Armed Forces.


Boris was born in Portage, Pennsylvania to Archpriest Theodore Geeza and Mary Youshak. He graduated in 1945 from Columbia University and in 1946 from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Following his graduation, he was married to Helen Korba and served at Three Saints Church in Garfield, New Jersey as a teacher and director of the choir. (The couple eventually had one son, Boris G. Geeza, and one daughter, Helena Jakubovich.)

In 1947, Boris was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Theophilus and assigned as rector of St. Nicholas Church in Wierton, West Virginia. Six years later, he undertook the responsibility which formed the longest phase of his service when he was commissioned as a chaplain in the United States Navy. Eventually reaching the rank of Commander, he served in several assignments (including a tour of duty in Vietnam). In 1970, Metropolitan Ireney named Fr. Boris as the first Dean of Orthodox Military Chaplains for the OCA. The following year, he was awarded the Chaplain's Cross for meritorious service. However, the honor was tempered by tragedy: Matushka Mary died in the same year.

Fr. Boris retired from the chaplaincy in 1975. After undertaking postgraduate studies at St. Vladimir's Seminary, he was appointed Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco 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 Metr. Theodosius at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers, New York and elevated to the rank of archimandrite.

Upon the retirement of Archbishop John (Garklavs) in September 1978, the 18th Assembly of the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest, meeting in Madison, Illinois 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 Metr. Theodosius, Abp. John of Chicago, Bp. Kyrill (Yonchev) of Pittsburgh, Bp. Firmilian of the Serbian Orthodox Church; and Bp. Ireney, Vicar of the Moscow Patriarchate, at Chicago's historic Holy Trinity Cathedral. During his tenure as Bishop of Chicago, Bp. 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 largest in the Orthodox Church in America.

In November 1988, Bishop Boris retired from active ministry, but he still remained active in Church life. He retired to Escondido, California, where he died in 2000. Bishop Boris was buried in Oceanside, California at Eternal Hills Cemetery.

Succession box:
Boris (Geeza) of Chicago
Preceded by:
John (Garklavs)
Archbishop of Chicago and the Midwest (OCA)
Succeeded by:
Job (Osacky)
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