Innocent (Gula) of Hagerstown
His Grace, the Right Reverend Innocent (Gula) of Anchorage was a bishop of the Orthodox Church of America during the last decade of the twentieth century. He was an auxiliary bishop serving in the Diocese of Alaska.
George Gula was born on August 20, 1949 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania to George and Elizabeth (nee Baka) Gula. After completing his basic education, George entered Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from which he graduated in 1971, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Psychology. In 1976, he received a Master of Science degree in Religious Education from Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In 1977, he graduated from St. Tikhon's Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania.
Entering the Holy Orders, George was ordained a deacon in February 1979 and to the priesthood in May 1979 while serving with the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. He led the establishment of St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in Seaford, New York in 1980. In 1983, he was appointed administrator of the diocese's Annunciation Monastic Community in Tuxedo Park, New York. At Tuxedo Park, he served as instructor of liturgics in the diaconate program.
After serving as rector at parishes in the New York/New Jersey area, Fr. George was assigned as chaplain to the women's monastic Community of the Holy Myrrhbearers in Otego, New York in 1990, an Orthodox Church in America institution.
In 1994, Fr. George was assigned to St. Herman Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska where he served as chaplain and dean of students. The following year, he was elected auxiliary bishop to Metr. Theodosius, who was serving as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Alaska. Under the monastic name Innocent, he was consecrated to the episcopacy as Bishop of Anchorage at St. Innocent Cathedral in Anchorage, Alaska on September 15-16, 1995.
Bp. Innocent traveled to many distant and remote churches in Alaska during his episcopacy, and he especially loved the Yupik people.
In April 2001, Bp. Innocent was initially suspended from his duties in Alaska and later retired from active ministry with the title of Bishop of Hagerstown. On May 6, 2002, Bp. Innocent reposed of an apparent heart attack in Anchorage, Alaska. Funeral services were held in Hazelton, Pennsylvania on May 13, 2002, with burial at St Mary's Church Cemetery in Hazelton. The Synod of Bishops was meeting not more than an hour away, yet not one bishop attended his funeral, which had to be held in a funeral home as no church was made available for his funeral.