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Former vice-chairman of the Department for Ex…

Former vice-chairman of the Department for External Church Relations passed away in the Lord

On December 30, 2021, Archpriest Prof Nikolay Gundyaev, honorary rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration, vice-chairman of the Department for External Church Relations from 1973-1977 - the elder brother of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, after a serious prolonged diseases passed away in the Lord at the age of 81. 

The renowned pastor well-known to his contemporaries and church diplomat was born on 18 November 1940 in Leningrad to the family of future Archpriest Mikhail Gundyaev (1907-174), a priest in Leningrad, and Raisa Gyndyaeva (born Kuchina, 1909-1984), a German language school teacher. His grandfather, Rev. Vasiliy Gundyaev (1879-1969) was a confessor of faith, and his younger brother - His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and his younger sister Yelena Gundyaeva, pro-rector for culture at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, have become continuers of the family tradition of the lofty service of the Church.

During the Great Patriotic War, Nikolay and his mother lived in blockaded Leningrad. In 1963 he graduated from the Leningrad Theological Seminary, and in 1967 - the Leningrad Theological Academy with the degree of Candidate of Theology and was kept in the academy as a professorial scholar. From 1972, he was an associate professor, from 1975 - professor at the theological academy, until September 2004 he taught patrology. 

Nikolay married in church and begot a son, Mikhail, who is now an archpriest, rector of the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Geneva, representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the World Council of Churches and other international organizations in Geneva. 

In 1966, Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod ordained him as deacon and in 1967 as presbyter. In 1971. Father Nikolay was elevated to the rank of archpriest. 

In 1972, Archpriest Nikolay Gundyaev began working in external church relations. From July 1972, he was secretary of the Holy Synod Commission on Christian Unity and Inter-church Relations. From February 13, 1973, to April 4, 1977, he occupied the post of vice-chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. In those years, Father Nikolay was actively involved in the developing of the Russian Orthodox Church’s contacts with Christians Churches and international Christian organizations and attended inter-Christian and interreligious symposia and meetings. 

From 1977, Father Nikolay was an adviser of the Department for External Church Relations. In the period from 1976 to 1977, he was the head of the Moscow theological Academy post-graduate course attached to the DECR. 

The new Leningrad period began for Father Nikolay in May 1977, when he became rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration and from March 1986 an acting rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy and Seminary, and later, the rector of the Leningrad Theological School until 1987. 

From August 11, 2014, he was the honorary rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration in St. Petersburg. 

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, its leadership and staff take in Archpriest Nikolay Gundyaev’s death as a great loss for the Russian Orthodox Church and preserve the grateful memory of the years of his service at the synodal department. 

DECR Communication Service

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