Matushka Ellen Gvosdev

Matushka Ellen Gvosdev, 66, wife of the Very Rev. Kirill Gvosdev, rector of Saint Nicholas Church here, fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday, July 23, 2009.

Matushka Ellen was awarded a Ph.D. from the Union Institute in Pastoral Practice with emphasis on Sexual Malfeasance in the Church in 1994. Her core faculty was a professor from Yale, and her mentors included an Orthodox Christian monk with a Ph.D. in psychology and an Episcopalian priest with expertise in the same field. She also underwent training with the original experts in the field, Dr. Marie Fortune (Director, Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Abuse and Violence, with emphasis on non-denominational clerical misconduct); Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, a center for women abused by clergy; Canon Margo Maris (Episcopal Diocese of Minneapolis, Clerical Sexual Abuse Advocacy Center); Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests; Dr.Glen Gabbard, (Menninger Clinic); the Rev. Lloyd G. Rediger, a therapist to clergy abusers; Dr. Gary Schoener, a Minneapolis counselor, author, and lecturer on clerical sexual misconduct issues; and several attorneys who specialize in clerical misconduct/abuse legal issues. She completed an internship, and later lectured, at the Pastoral Counseling Center of Ft. Lauderdale. She was one of eight (from an original 42) to graduate from the first Saint Stephen’s Masters equivalency program, at that time a theological/pastoral program for priests in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

Matushka Ellen authored numerous articles for Catholic periodicals (including “Priest,” a clergy periodical); wrote for “Synergia,” the publication of the Orthodox Christian Association of Psychology, Medicine and Religion; and prepared the clerical sexual abuse presentation for the Orthodox Church in America’s Resource Handbook for Lay Ministries ( The article was referenced in official documents of the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops on sexual misconduct. She presented lectures to OCA and Antiochian clergy wives, the pan-Orthodox Clergy Association of South Florida, the Ecumenical Association of Palm Beach County, Orthodox Christian Laity, Lutheran Association of Broward County, and many other groups. She served as a consultant on some diocesan misconduct problems. Among her numerous works, she authored “The Female Diaconate, an Historical Perspective.”

In addition to her husband, Father Kirill, she is survived by one son, Dr. Nikolas Gvosdev of New Port, RI, and a grandson, Adrian Alexander Gvosdev Kranz.  She is also survived by her mother, Mrs. Elena Dobson, of San Francisco, CA.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, July 25, at Saint Nicholas Church, Fort Lauderdale, FL. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be sent to Saint Nicholas Church, 2001 N. Andrews Ave, Wilton Manors, FL. Online condolences may be sent to