Boris George Nicoloff

Boris George Nicoloff, son of the late Archpriest George Nicoloff—long time Rector of Saint Paul Cathedral here—and Popadia Vera [Buneva] Nicoloff and a graduate of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, January 31, 2016.

A highly talented musician and artist, Boris was an exceptional student.  He received a full three-year scholarship at Cranbrook School, a prestigious college-prep high school outside of Detroit, from which he graduated in 1960.  He then won a full scholarship for one year of study in England at King’s College.  During that year, he travelled to Bulgaria and Macedonia to meet his extended family, which was a very significant time for him.

He majored in Russian and Slavic Studies at Harvard University, where he formed the Harvard-Radcliffe Byzantine Russian Liturgical Choir in 1965, teaching over 30 students (and some professors) to sing Orthodox hymns in both Church Slavonic and Greek.  Over the three years of his direction, the choir performed concerts, which were also recorded, with very positive reviews in The Harvard Crimson.

He received his Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in 1969.  He directed the seminary’s Summer Octet, served on the editorial board of “Concern” magazine—the seminal publication of the Orthodox Christian Campus Commission—and organized numerous college retreats led by Fathers Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff.  After his graduation, he became full-time choir director at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Chicago, IL, and was actively involved with Chicago’s Orthodox Christian Fellowship.  During those years, he had several contracts with the United States Information Agency to travel to Bulgaria and Russia with exhibitions on life in the US, using his knowledge of the Bulgarian and Russian languages.  He also was a member of the chorus for the Chicago Lyra Opera Company and the Detroit Opera Company.  He eventually resettled in the Detroit area to care for his aging parents, offering them peace and security in their final years.  He continued to use his talents by painting the entire iconostasis at Saint Paul Cathedral, pursuing other artistic endeavors, and singing in the cathedral choir.

He is survived by his brother Nicolas and wife Elinore [Eftimoff], their son George and daughter Christine [Frank] Gajor, and children Christian and Alexandra; his brother Deacon Clement and wife Audrey [Brewer] and their daughters Nicole and Mara [John] Benz; and his sister, Mary Ann [Nikita] Lopoukhine, their daughters Sofia and Alexandra and son Raphael [Melissa].

Visitation will begin at Saint Paul Cathedral, 700 North Beech Daly, Dearborn Heights, MI at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5.  The Panikhida will be celebrated at 7:00 p.m.  Visitation will resume on Saturday, February 6, at 10:00 a.m., followed by the Funeral Service at 11:00 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Boris’ memory be made to the “Father Nicoloff Scholarship Fund” at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, 575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707.

May Boris’ memory be eternal!