St. Petersburg, January 3, 2022
Archpriest Nikolai Gundyaev, the rector emeritus of the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in St. Petersburg and the older brother of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, reposed in the Lord on December 30 at the age of 81, following a long illness, reports the St. Petersburg Metropolia.
In his condolences, Metropolitan Barsanuphius of St. Petersburg spoke of Fr. Nikolai’s “selfless service to Christ” and his “deep knowledge and rich life experience.”
Fr. Nikolai worked tirelessly during the long years of atheism, turning Holy Transfiguration Cathedral into a spiritual center in Leningrad, Met. Barsanuphius recalls.
Pat. Kirill served the funeral for his brother yesterday at Holy Transfiguration Cathedral. The Divine Liturgy and funeral were attended by a number of hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful who came to bid farewell to Fr. Nikolai.
Before the start of the funeral service, Pat. Kirill spoke about his brother, recalling him as a very meek and humble man, who was a gifted writer. According to the Patriarch, many Churchwide documents were actually written by Fr. Nikolai, though he remained “in the shadows.”
His Holiness also spoke about Fr. Nikolai’s preaching abilities, which brought many to faith.
“In a sense, Fr. Nikolai was an example for many of us—those who knew his inner state, who knew his way of life,” the Patriarch reflected.
After the funeral, Fr. Nikolai’s body was taken to be buried at the Holy Trinity-St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg. A memorial meal was then held at the St. Petersburg Diocesan administration, where all shared their memories of the late Fr. Nikolai.
Fr. Nikolai was born into an Orthodox family on November 18, 1940, in Leningrad. Both his father and grandfather were priests, and his younger brother is Pat. Kirill. His son Michael is also a priest.
He graduated from the Leningrad Theological Seminary in 1963, and from the Academy four years later. He then taught Patrology at the school until 2004.
He was ordained to the diaconate in 1966, and to the priesthood the next year. He was elevated to the rank of archpriest in 1971.
He served as rector of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Leningrad from 1977 to 1986, then as rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy until 1987, and then again as rector of the cathedral. He has been rector emeritus since 2014.