Basil (Rodzianko) of San Francisco
His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) of San Francisco was a prominent Orthodox personality through his religious radio programs that were broadcasted to the Soviet Union over a period of forty years in the late twentieth century. He also lectured widely about Russian spirituality and Orthodox Christianity.
Born Vladimir Rodzianko on May 22, 1915, Bp. Basil was from a prominent Russian family. He was born on the family estate in Ekaterinoslav in what is now Ukraine. His grandfather, Michael Rodzianko, was the president of the Russian Imperial Duma during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II. In 1919, following the Bolshevik coup, his family emigrated to Serbia in Yugoslavia to escape the communist regime. There, the young Vladimir attended Russian schools. His two interests, as he grew up, were the priesthood and the new technology of radio. He continued his education with a coarse of study in theology at the University of Belgrade from which he graduated in 1937. Also, in 1937 he married Mary Kolubayev. He then continued post-graduate studies at the University of London.
Returning to Yugoslavia, he was ordained a deacon and then a priest in Serbia in March 1941. Fr. Vladimir served as a priest in a number of villages in northern Yugoslavia until 1949 enduring first the Nazi occupation and then that of the communists. His life was more difficult under the communists and, for preaching about the ungodly government, he was arrested. The charge against him was the crime of promulgating illegal religious propaganda. Sentenced to eight years hard labor, Fr. Vladimir was stripped of his cassock and cross and shared the hard prison life with his fellow prisoners, enduring with them a plague of fleas. While forbidden to perform any divine services but with the help of even the non-Orthodox prisoners, he was able to fulfill the requests of the Orthodox prisoners in “blessing of the waters