TV NEWS: American Family Moves to Rostov, Russia

A Russian news TV station ran this story about the family of Fr. Joseph Gleason, an American priest who relocated to a rural Russian town with his wife and eight children. English subtitles.


An Orthodox priest from America has come to live in Russia. His family, originally from Texas (and Illinois), chose the Yaroslavl region, settling in Rostov Veliky, which is one of Russia's most ancient cities. Our reporter traveled to Rostov to find out, why did these Americans choose Russia?

Fr. Joseph and his wife came to a foreign land with eight children — many are calling it a feat. The children sing Russian songs very well, and are still learning to speak the Russian language. 

They are learning the language intensively, according to a special system. These cards have Russian words on one side, English on the other. They are focusing on the 2,000 words most commonly used in Russian.

Two-year-old Kenneth is also in the process. His little dictionary has words like "cat" and "car". And he gets a lot of help from reading fairy-tales.

Fr. Joseph received a blessing to serve as a pilgrim in various Russian churches. He is not currently working for a Russian employer.

Father Joseph runs the Russian Faith website. Fr. Joseph has talent in this. He helps many Orthodox Christians to visit here from the West, and non-Orthodox are converting to Orthodoxy. He was formerly in a Protestant community where everyone converted to Orthodoxy.

— Fr. Roman, Dean of the Rostov District

Father Joseph finds support in the past, since several Rostov saints — St. John the MercifulBlessed Isidore, and Tsarevitch Peter — also came to this land from far away and glorified it.

We came here, because if you are Orthodox, this is a better place to be.

— Kimberly Gleason

In America, the Orthodox Church is so small, that many people have not even heard about it. If you live in a city, you may know of Orthodoxy. But we were in a small town with few people. I taught my children that Orthodoxy is 2,000 years old, and is the original Faith.

— Fr. Joseph Gleason

Many friends and acquaintances keep coming to visit them in Rostov.

Near their home, a church in honor of St. Leonty, long in ruins, is now being restored. 

They are having a new home built nearby, which shows how serious they are about staying here.

Their family can been seen at the Dormition Cathedral (Assumption Cathedral) in Rostov. Father Joseph takes part in the service, and the children sing in the church choir.


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