An American Episcopal priest fulfilling a lifelong dream of working in Russia was found stabbed to death in his Moscow apartment August 24.

Russian authorities said the Rev. Steve Charles Malcom, 49, had been dead for almost a week when his body was discovered. A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy would not give a possible motive for the killing, but said that audio and video equipment was missing from Malcom's apartment.

Malcom had lived in Russia for three years as an English instructor and tutor. He had spent the month of July teaching in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, some 2,600 miles east of Moscow. His brother-in-law, Rob Prillaman, indicated that Russia's uncertain economy had forced Malcom to take the temporary part-time position at Irkutsk.

During a June visit to the family home in Cozad, Nebraska, Prillaman said Malcom never indicated any fear for his personal safety. When family members asked why he wanted to return to Moscow, Malcom answered, "Just remember, that's where I want to be."

In his homily at Malcom's funeral, Nebraska Bishop James Krotz told of visiting a nursing home in Nebraska City with Malcom. "The people pressed on from every side to speak with Steve and touch him," Krotz recalled. "As we walked down the hall, doors would open and wheelchairs would roll and hands would reach out.

"They pressed on from every side, the lame, the halt, the lonely, and also the young, the healthy, the staff. And Steve had a word, a touch for each and all. To walk down that hallway with Steve was to know what it must have been like to walk with Jesus through the crowds of his homeland. Walking down that hallway with Steve was one of the richest, most humbling moments of my 27 years of ministry."

Malcom was born December 21, 1950, in Lexington, Nebraska, the oldest of four children. He graduated from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary at Evanston, Illinois, and was ordained in 1986. He served in several Episcopal parishes in Nebraska, as a curate at St. Andrew's, Omaha, from 1986 to 1988, and as rector of St. Mary's, Nebraska City, from 1988 to 1998. He left St. Mary's on an extended sabbatical to live and teach in Russia.

Related Elsewhere

Last week Christianity Today ran a story on the new Catholic cathedral in Irkutsk.

Click here to read more about Irkutsk, and see pictures of its Orthodox cathedrals.

Read a Catholic News story from July 21, 1999 when Weclawik blessed the foundation of the Siberian cathedral.

Previous Christianity Today articles on religion in Russia include:

'Thorny' Issue Proves to be an Obstacle for Catholic-Orthodox Commission | Fate of Eastern Catholic Churches in post-communist Europe and Russia still unresolved. (July 26, 2000)

Will Putin Protect Religious Liberty? | Freedoms may be in danger in the new Russia. (July 26, 2000)

A Precarious Step Forward | Loosened rules in Russia may mean better times for religious freedom. (Feb. 3, 2000)

Moscow Meeting Eases Russia's Interchurch Tensions | First major interchurch meeting since 1997 religion law called 'highly important.' (Dec. 6, 1999)

Russia's Minority Churches Welcome Liberal Ruling on Religion Law | 1997 ruling against 'sects' upheld, but religious groups claim victory. (Dec. 3, 1999)

A Fuller for Russia | A new home is dedicated for the nation's only graduate-level Protestant seminary. (Aug. 10, 1998)

Why I'm Not Orthodox | An evangelical explores the ancient and alien world of the Eastern church. (Jan. 6, 1997)