On April 9th, 2020, Deacon Alexander Gousev, a cleric and founder of Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia Church in Sparks, NV, reposed in the Lord.
Alexander Gousev (Sasha) was born in the former Soviet Union on May 10th, 1962. He came to Holy Ascension Church in Sacramento, CA, in 1989. Sasha lived for some time in San Francisco and eventually settled in Reno, NV.
There was a goodness and piety to Sasha that was seen throughout his entire life, and which came across in his smile and unflagging good humor. While living in San Francisco, he was a regular member of the cathedral choir of Holy Virgin Cathedral. Later when residing in Reno, NV, he never forgot Holy Ascension Church in Sacramento and would often travel across the Sierra Nevada from early in the morning to arrive at church in time to read the Hours and the Epistle during the Divine Liturgy. Alexander felt a strong calling to serve the church and enrolled in the correspondence program at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY. In time, he brought his then fiancé Mary Burch to Holy Ascension Church for catechism and Baptism and soon they were also married there (1998). Their son Alexander (Sanchik) is now 19 years of age.
In 2000 Alexander Gousev, along with many other faithful people in the Reno area founded Holy New Martyrs of Russia Orthodox Church. At first, the community was served by visiting priests in private homes. However, over the years the community has grown to have its own church and a house for the priest who serves the small community full time. During the founding of the community Alexander Gousev was the starosta. Soon, however, he was ordained to the deaconate (2001) and has been serving and nourishing the community faithfully for 20 years.
Deacon Alexander was very active in organizing the faithful, finding locations for performing the Divine Liturgy and eventually obtaining the property that has been converted into a church. With great care Father Alexander helped to oversee the adornment of the church with holy icons and honorable relics of the Saints. In July of 2018, on the Centennial of the Martyrdom of the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia, Deacon Alexander Gousev was presented with a Benedictory Tribute from His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America for his zealous labors in serving the Holy Church.
To provide for his family, Deacon Alexander held secular job as a medical technician at the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Father Alexander was a highly valued worker as is witnessed by coworkers on a social media page:
“It was always great to see you on duty- smart, funny and a most interesting person... This hurts - you are missed. Thank you for making our days a little bit brighter throughout the years.”
“You always had a kind word and a smile, always spoke of your family.”
“Alexander Gousev was a true friend to all he met. I’ve known Alex for more than ten years and EVERY conversation was meaningful and uplifting. My heart aches for his family and the loss to the Reno VA and the veterans we serve.”
On May 10th Father Alexander would have turned 58 years of age. The Third Day from his repose was Lazarus Saturday, the Ninth Day was Great Friday. And today, May 18th, 2020, is the 40th Day from his repose.
Orthodox Christians bless an egg on the Feast of the Resurrection as a symbol of life. And two births can be taken from this metaphor. The laying of the egg is similar to our temporal life. Just as the chick within the egg feels its mother’s warmth, can hear sounds and see shadows mutely through the shell, so in our life here we perceive the warmth of God’s love and through His providence can get glimmers of something great to come. And as the chick emerges from it’s shell, leaving the limits of its enclosure, grows, learns to fly and sores, so we hope that our birth into the age to come will be one of ineffable joy and wonder.
Our hearts go out to Father Deacon Alexander Gousev’s widow, Mary, his son Sanchik (Alexander Jr.), and to his mother, Lydia Sourova. May God strengthen all of them, and all of his in-laws and the clergy and faithful of the community of Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia Orthodox Church, and all his collogues and friends.