His Eminence the Most Reverend Archbishop Gregory (Afonsky) of Sitka was Bishop of Sitka and Alaska from 1973 until his retirement in 1995. He was instrumental in the establishment and early achievements of St. Herman Pastoral School in Kodiak, Alaska.
George Afonsky was born on April 17, 1925, in Kiev, Ukraine (which at that time was part of the former USSR). Both his father and a grandfather were priests. During World War II, his family ended up in Germany, where he labored in German work camps. In 1949, he emigrated to the United States after graduating from the Real Gymnasium. In the United States he served as a choir director for the next fifteen years at various Orthodox churches in New Jersey and Connecticut.
He began classes at St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York after graduating from the University of Connecticut. Graduating from St. Vladimir's Seminary in 1965, he was ordained to the priesthood during the same year and was assigned to St. Sergius Chapel at Syosett, New York. While assigned to Syosett, Fr. George continued his education, receiving a Master of Arts degree from Hofstra University and a Master of Theology degree from St. Vladimir's Seminary.
In November 1971, Fr. George was assigned to St. Nicholas Church in Portland, Oregon. While at St. Nicholas Church, Fr. George took monastic vows at St. Tikhon's Monastery, receiving the name Gregory. In March 1973, Fr. Gregory was elected bishop of Sitka and Alaska, and on May 13,1973 he was consecrated in St. Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka. In addition to being active in overseeing his diocese, Bp. Gregory was active in developing the St. Herman's Pastoral School, which had opened its doors near Kenai, Alaska in February 1973. The following year the school moved to Kodiak, Alaska. By 1975, the school had developed such that the Holy Synod of Bishop accepted it into the OCA seminary system and, in 1977, re-named the school St. Herman's Orthodox Theological Seminary.
On March 23, 1995, Bp. Gregory was elevated to the rank of archbishop by the Holy Synod. After twenty-two years of episcopal service, Abp. Gregory submitted a request for retirement due to poor health, which was approved on July 20, 1995. Abp. Gregory lived in retirement in Jackson, New Jersey until his repose on Tuesday, April 15, 2008.
|Archbishop of Sitka and Alaska|