Bishop Innocent Dies In Retirement

On Tuesday, May 7, 2002, the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America was informed that His Grace, Bishop Innocent [Gula], Retired Auxiliary to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his residence in Alaska on Bright Monday, May 6.

Born in Hazleton, PA on August 20, 1949, the son of George and Elizabeth [Baka] Gula, Bishop Innocent received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Psychology from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, in 1971. In 1976, he received a Master of Science degree in Religious Education from Marywood College, Scranton, PA. The following year he graduated from Saint Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, PA, where he served as editor of the Tikhonaire and president of the student council.

He was ordained to the diaconate in Feburary 1979 and to the priesthood the following May. In 1980 he established Saint Gregory of Nyssa Church, Seaford, NY. Three years later he was appointed Administrator of the Annunciation Monastic Community, Tuxedo Park, NY, where he was instrumental in initiating and directing retreat programs and served as an instructor of liturgics in a diaconate program. He also served as rector of parishes in New York City and New Jersey prior to his assignment as chaplain to the Community of the Holy Myrrhbearers, Otego, NY in 1990.

In 1994 he was appointed chaplain and Dean of Students at Saint Herman Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kodiak, AK. The following year, he was elected Auxiliary to Metropolitan Theodosius, Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Alaska. His consecration to the episcopacy took place at Saint Innocent Cathedral, Anchorage, AK on September 15-16, 1995.

In March 2001, Bishop Innocent was relieved of his duties in Alaska and subsequently retired from active ministry. Funeral Services are scheduled to take place in Hazelton, PA on Monday May 13, 2002. The Bonin Funeral Home, Hazelton, PA is in charge of arrangements. Burial will be in the family plot at St Mary’s Church Cemetery, Hazelton, PA.