In Memoriam: Tenth Anniversary of the Repose of Bishop Boris (SVOTS '46)

Author: 
Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak

Today we commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the repose of His Grace Boris, bishop of Chicago and the Midwest (1978–1988) and St. Vladimir’s Alumnus (’46).

The son of a priest, Bishop Boris felt nurtured and called to service in the Church from an early age. “Ever since I can remember, I was in church, singing and chanting in English and Slavonic,” HisHis Grace Bishop BorisHis Grace Bishop Boris Grace recalled. "We were blessed to be in the Church as a family, in worship, love, laughter, and sadness.” His Grace entered St. Vladimir’s straight out of high school and while at seminary also completed a Bachelor's degree at Columbia University. He attended St. Vladimir’s during the difficult first decade of the school's existence, when the seminary was located at General Theological Seminary in New York City. Bishop Boris directed the seminary choir and after graduation directed choir at All Saints Church, Garfield, New Jersey.

His Grace is known for his many years of chaplaincy in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, especially during the Vietnam War. In 1971, after Bishop Boris returned from Vietnam, his wife, Helen (née Korba) passed away unexpectedly at their home in Carlsbad, California. Bishop Boris retired from the Navy in 1975. After working at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America and serving parishes in the New York area, Bishop Boris answered a call to the episcopacy, and in November 1978 was consecrated as Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest. His Grace recalls making the decision: “I spent time alone in New Hampshire, fishing, playing golf, and praying. After two months I decided: ‘I am ready. I will give a certain time of my life to the Church in whatever capacity. Use me as You want—if I am worthy enough to be bishop’."

Bishop Boris served the Orthodox Church in America and the Diocese of the Midwest until his retirement in 1988. Upon retirement, he moved to Southern California and became part of the community at St. John of Damascus Church in Poway. He once recalled his time at St. John’s in the following way, “I came to St. John of Damascus in December 1988 and chose to attach myself here. I am retired, without authority and jurisdiction, but I have found this to be one of the finer experiences of my life. I live here with the people and the priest, grow together with them, and experience joys and sorrows of life as given us by the Lord Himself. I don’t wish I were twenty; I enjoy where I am. This is life itself. Leave that which you have gone through, go on to what lies ahead. One of these days you will meet your Maker. He will accept you as you are. I rest with a good conscience."

Bishop Boris fell asleep in the Lord at his home on Saturday, December 30, 2000, survived by his daughter Helena and his son Boris, daughter-in-law Alexandra, and their children Maria and Nicholas.  His funeral was celebrated at St. John of Damascus Church.

Read a full biography of His Grace.