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Meyendorff, John Church. Personalities Anthony of Sourozh

Vsevolod Shpiller

Vsevolod Shpiller (1902-1984) was an elder, a spiritual director, a theologian, and a preacher.

Born: July 14, 1902; Kiev
Died: January 8, 1984; Moscow

He studied at the Vladimir Military School. From 1918 to 1920 he served in the Volunteer Army. In 1921 he emigrated. In late 1921, he made his way through Constantinople to Bulgaria. In 1927 he enrolled in the University of Sofia. In 1934 he was ordained a deacon, and then a priest. During the years 1934-1944 he served in the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God in the town of Pazardzhik, and from 1945 to 1950 in Sofia.

In 1950, Fr. Vsevolod Shpiller moved from Bulgaria to the USSR. For over 30 years (1951-1984) he served in the Nikolo-Kuznetsk Church, in Moscow. He was a remarkable preacher and theologian, and brought up a large group of noted priests and theologians.

In the 1950-1960's, Fr. Vsevolod Shpiller managed to establish a large parish, attended by a multitude of young members of the intelligentsia. Tape recordings of Fr. Vsevolod's homilies would be widely distributed among the people. He became one of the most respected and enlightened of Moscow's archpriests. The life of the parish went on peacefully and quietly, and the religiosity and intelligence shown by its clergy made a good impression on people. Thus it remained until 1965, when the parish starosta [warden] perished in an automobile accident. His successor immediately began to follow a new policy. He replaced all of the church support staff. The newly hired workers did not consider it necessary to even make the acquaintance of the rector, and behaved in a crude and confrontational manner with the clergy. The starosta introduced a new order: antireligious "activists" from a neighboring commercial institute, began to visit the church, check documents, and attend all meetings of the [parish council].

Fr. Vsevolod began to receive "proposals" that he stop giving homilies. These proposals would come to him both directly and through his relatives. Fr. Vsevolod began to protest the new order, and [as a result] was removed by a personal directive from the Patriarch. His replacement, Archpriest Constantine Meschersky, died on August 19, 1966 just as he was about to become the new rector. As a result, Fr. Vsevolod remaind the rector of his parish until his death in 1984.

Fr. Vsevolod reposed on January 8, 1984, in Moscow. He was buried at the Kuzmin Cemetery.

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