Father George Massouras was born on December 7, 1933 in Ellensburg, Washington, the son of Thomas and Chrysoula Massouras, owners of the Palace Cafe, which still exists today. His interest in the church from an early age was fostered by a kind Episcopal priest in the small town who gave him his first bible. He traveled by train twice a year to visit the nearest Greek Orthodox Church, Saint Demetrios in Seattle, to celebrate Easter and the Assumption.
In 1952, after completing his high school education in New York City, where he moved with his mother and brother after the early death of his farther, Fr. George enrolled at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. Upon graduation, he married the former Despina Besbikos of Boston. They were married for 57 years.
On December 13, 1959 he was ordained into the priesthood by Archbishop Iakovos of the Americas at St. Spyridon Church in Worcester, MA. Fr. George's priesthood ordination was the first ordination His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos celebrated as the newly elected Archbishop of the Americas. Fr. Massouras served the parishes of St. George in Pittsfield, MA (1959-1963); St. Andrew in South Bend, IN (1963-1969); St. John the Baptist in Anaheim, CA (1969-1979); St. Nicholas of Oak Lawn, IL (1979-1981); and the Assumption Church of Chicago (1981-2006). At each one of the parishes he served, he left the parishes in better condition than he found them. In Pittsfield, MA and South Bend, IN he began building programs resulting in new churches. In Anaheim, CA he began and oversaw the building and completion of a new church, gym, and Sunday School complex. In Chicago at the Assumption, he oversaw and guided the spectacular renovation of the landmark church, a historic anchor in Chicago's Austin neighborhood.
Father and Presbytera Despina have four sons and daughters-in-law; Thomas (Nikki), Theodore (Deanna), Andrew (Rebecca), and Christopher (Lara). In addition, they have seven grandchildren; Nico, Ben, Steven George, Christen, Evan, Madelyn, and Alexander. He is the brother of John (Dawn) Massouras, and fond uncle and cousin of many.
Father George completed his graduate studies in Theology at the University of Notre Dame, where he also taught. Along with leading numerous pilgrimages to the holy land, he was a student and authority on Byzantine iconography. He devoted a major part of his ministry to the welfare of his community's faithful and was concerned about the care of the senior citizens. To that end, he was a founder of the Hellenic Home for the Aged in Wheeling, IL. He will be remembered for his love of the faith, his compassion, his caring, his sense of humor, and his humility.
The obituary for Fr. George Massouras is online at GreekObituary.com. You may view the obituary and sign the guestbook.
Photo circa 1970
Full Size photo
Back row — from left to right:
George Stephens, Ralph Stephens, Mike Gallanes
Byron Mousmoulis, Jim Kezos, Fr. George Massouras, Chip Coffman, Chris Gallanes, Nick Stephens