Holy Hieromartyr Mikhail (Gusev)
Holy hieromartyr Mikhail (Gusev) was born on October 25, 1890 into the family of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery’s priest John Gusev. In June of 1912 he graduated from the Nizhny Novgorod seminary and entered the medical school of the Imperial University in Warsaw. However, after his first year, his father would not give him his blessing to continue the studies because he wanted him to become a priest. Mikhail Ivanovich married a daughter of Protopresbyter John Kasatkin from the Onuchin village, located 25 km from Diveyevo. Remembered for his kindheartedness and fairness, Father was treated with love and respect by his parishioners and the sisters of Diveyevo.
In 1927, the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery was closed. On the eve of the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, a policeman barred the nuns from their customary ringing of the bells before Vigil. Father Mikhail was getting ready for the service at the time and stepped out of the church to find out why there was no usual bell ringing. He was immediately arrested and taken to Arzamas jail. Concerned about her husband’s fate, Nina Ivanovna hurried to visit blessed elder Maria Ivanovna in Puzo village. The elder told her: “He will serve again, at a place with the tall smoke-stacks.” In two weeks, Father Mikhail was released and soon appointed a senior priest at St. Nicholas church in Kulebaky, next to a large steelworks. That is when the meaning of the blessed one’s words became clear.
On the eve of his final arrest, father Mikhail was summoned to NKVD twice and received an offer to defrock himself, which he turned down. He left a note to his wife: “Neither cry nor grumble for the time is near. We lived to see the fulfillment of the Savior’s words.”
The arrest followed on August 31, 1937; father was only 47. Father Mikhail was charged with the organizing, heading and recruiting for a contra-revolutionary religious fascist group at the Kulebaky District. He was also accused of directing “religious propaganda efforts to disrupt the activities of the party and government.”
During the investigation, Father Mikhail was expected to confess his guilt and presented with the evidence: a host of “witness accounts.” All of the prosecutor’s attempts were left futile as the priest held on stoically and categorically denied charges saying: “I have nothing to confess.”
He was executed November 7/20, 1937, on the eve of his Name day, the feast of the Synaxis of Archangel Michael and other Bodiless Powers.
In 2001, priest Mikhail Gusev was added to the Synaxis of the new martyrs and confessors of Russia.