Basil Kissal, Greek Orthodox priest

February 17, 2012

The Rev. Basil Kissal, 68, a Greek Orthodox priest who was the former chief pastor at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Washington, died Jan. 28 at Montgomery Hospice’s Casey House in Rockville. He had Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Rita Kissal.

Father Kissal was a native Washingtonian who in 1988 became associate priest at Sts. Constantine and Helen, his home parish as a child. He presided over a major renovation program and was president of the Washington chapter of the Orthodox Clergyman’s Association. He was director of an ecclesiastical court that addresses religious matters.

In 1997, Father Kissal received the Patriarchal Cross for his service to the Greek Orthodox Church in America.

In 2002, he became dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Charlotte. He later served Greek Orthodox churches in Jeffersonville, Pa., and Bel Air, Md. After retiring in 2008, he settled in Rockville.

Victor George Kissal was born in Washington and graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville in 1961.

He studied for the priesthood at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Mass., from which he received a bachelor’s degree and, in 1968, a master’s degree in theology.

Later, he taught at a high school in Massachusetts and served as a team statistician for the Boston Celtics basketball team.

He was ordained as a priest in 1973 and took the clerical name of Basil. He served at Greek Orthodox churches in Bangor, Maine, Manchester, N.H., and Rochester, N.Y., before returning to Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Rita Christakos Kissal of Rockville; two sons, George Kissal of Germantown and Constantine Kissal of Rockville; and two grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes

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