Fr. Gregory Champion
Born: December 1, 1928
Died: September 27, 2014
Fr. Gregory Champion was born in 1928 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was converted to Orthodoxy in 1959. He graduated from Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown, PA with a degree in Sacred Theology. In 1963 he studied at the Orthodox Seminary of the Three Hierarchs in Verillemoisson, France and from 1971-72 at the University of Athens. On May 2, 1965 he married Georgia Balasis of Patras, Greece. On May 9, 1965 he was ordained to the diaconate and on June 19, 1965 was ordained to the holy priesthood. Before coming to Greensboro, Fr. Champion had served parished in Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Reading, PA and Mason City, IA.
In 1972, during a trip to MT. Athos, Fr. Champion visited Constantinople where he had an audience and lunch with the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.
During Fr. Champion’s sixteen years at the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church Greensboro, NC, the Parish prospered under his gentle and wise guidance.
Two notable events were the consecration by Bishop Isaiah of Aspendons, then Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Relics of St. George, St. Kyrikos and the Holy Fathers martyred in Sinai and Raitho were solemnly placed within the Holy Altar. The second milestone was the Golden Anniversary of the parish.
In recognition of their years of hard work and service Bishop Isaiah presented Presbyter Georgia with a letter of recognition for outstanding sacrifice and service to the community on behalf of Archbishop Iakovos.
Fr. Champion retired in 1997. Upon his retirement Fr. Gregory and Presbyter Georgia retired to Lake Worth, FL. In retirement Fr. Champion was able to find time to travel. In 2000 he visited the Holy Lands and made a pilgrimage to the Monastery of St. Catherine’s at MT. Sinai. Fr. Gregory continued to serve God during his retirement years. He has served as chaplain and as a substitute supply priest in southern Florida for Greek, OCA and Antiochian Churches.
Many parishioners treasure their memories of Fr. Gregory and Presbyter Georgia’s years in Greensboro and remember them with great fondness and love.