BROOKINGS – Alexander Tsutserov, president of the Moscow Seminary, Moscow, will visit Brookings from June 22-27.
Tsutserov holds an master’s of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. His transition from an atheistic KGB agent to a Christian who is now the president of a seminary is an example of conversion and transformation. Tsutserov will share his story, briefly outline the work of the seminary, and tell of his special ministry to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He possesses a great sense of humor and is fluent in English.
Since Tsutserov was appointed president, the seminary has grown from 75 to 556 full-time students, 108 of which are from Ukraine. The student body is comprised of students from six of the former Soviet republics. Graduates of the seminary are planting churches and spreading the gospel throughout Russia.
During the Communist era, over 200,000 Christian leaders were martyred and 500,000 imprisoned. In 1920, there were over 100,000 church buildings; by 1940 only 1,000 remained in use. Over 40,000 churches were demolished; thousands of others were “repurposed.” For example, the Anglican Church in Moscow was appropriated and used by Melodia, a Russian recording studio.
Larry Ort, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal, Brookings, served as provost of the Russian-American Christian University in Moscow from 1999-2003. He first met Tsutserov in 2000 at a theological conference – a good friendship ensued. While Alexander and his wife, Natasha, were at the University of St. Andrews, they invited Ort and his wife, Judy, to come spend a week with them when they had to leave Russia to renew their visas. They have remained in contact ever since.
When Ort discovered Alexander was stranded in America, he shared the information with the Rev. Pete Grasso, First United Methodist, and they decided to extend an invitation for a speaking engagement. Tsutserov will speak at the First United Methodist Church on Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m. He will make two presentations; “From Saul to Paul – From a KGB Agent to the Lord’s Ambassador” and “Ministry to oligarchs and politicians.” A beverage break will take place between the presentations. Admission is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken to promote the work of the seminary.
Tsutserov will also speak June 26 at the 8 and 10 a.m. Sunday services at Calvary Episcopal Cathedral in Sioux Falls.