Šustek, Miloslav (1920–2006)

By Luděk Svrček

×

Ludek Svrcek is the Education director of the Czecho-Slovakia Union Conference.

Miloslav Šustek was a key Adventist educator and administrator in the Czech Republic.

Early Life and Conversion

Miloslav Šustek was born on August 4, 1920, in the Silesian village of Petřvald. When he became seriously ill as a child, his parents dedicated him to the Lord’s service. After finishing elementary and secondary school, as a result of the influence of his father he prepared to become a priest in the Salesian monastery. There he read a book about Adventism, and decided to leave the monastery in 1939. Like his mother, he was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Education and Ministry

When World War II ended, he went to study at the Adventist seminary in Collonges-sous-Salève (France) and then served as a minister in Prague from 1947 onwards. He continued his education at the Adventist Bible Seminary in Prague. When the Czechoslovakian government outlawed the Adventist Church, Šustek had to work in a coal mine and later as a bricklayer. He then took a position as a private language teacher, which gave him opportunity to work illegally for the church. Aware of such activities, the communist government considered him a “thorn” in its side. Šustek started organizing meetings for former ministers and administrators to prepare for negotiations to get permission for the church to operate again. Because of such efforts Šustek could not work as a minister until 1968 although the church did get clearance to function from 1956 onward. While Adventists could build new meeting places, they could not regain the buildings belonging to the Czechoslovakian Bible Seminary in Prague and taken from the denomination in 1948.1

The Theological Seminary in Prague

In January 1968, when Alexander Dubcek came to power in Czechoslovakia, it led to a brief period of freedom under the communist regime. Šustek then began working as a minister again and was appointed director of the Czechoslovakian Bible Seminary, which had reopened. However, in July of the same year, the Russian army occupied Czechoslovakia. As a result, the authorities would not allow new students to study at the seminary. After consulting with the office of religious affairs and getting approval,2 Šustek led a team that began teaching ministerial students through a correspondence school. About 90 applicants met with their teachers once a month for intensive lectures as well as practical seminars in teaching and preaching. After the weekend of intensives, the students went home and studied independently until the next such weekend.3

In 1969 Šustek and his team succeeded in securing part of the former seminary, an agricultural warehouse that they converted into a makeshift school building (with offices and classrooms). Seventeen full-time students registered4 and studied in that building until 1973, when the government once more closed the school.5 This time, the government completely outlawed the teaching of theology. Šustek and his team again resorted to the use of intensive weekends and a correspondence school. Moreover, they made a special arrangement with the Comenius Protestant Theological Faculty for such efforts. In that capacity, Šustek took part in the theological training of Adventist ministers, working as a consultant and teacher of Adventist theology. At the same time, he served as the director of education and ministerial association secretary for the Czechoslovakian Union.6

In 1980, the seminary reopened, and in 1989, after the revolution, it began operating without restrictions, although it had no building. By now, Šustek had retired (in 1982)7 from active ministry. Aside from working at the seminary, he served as a member of the Biblical Research Institute of the Euro-Africa Division in Bern. Šustek also contributed to education for local churches. The union conference commissioned him to organize consultation meetings and classes for interested people in several places in the Czech Republic. Two hundred students passed through those classes, and 40 of them became ministers after the completion of their education.

Later Life and Contribution

After his retirement in 1982, Šustek kept preaching and writing articles for the denominational magazine Znamení doby (Signs of the Times). Miloslav Šustek died on February 19, 2006.

Playing a key role in the leadership of Czech Adventism, he led the Bible Seminary during difficult times and despite restrictions, and he participated in the training of pastors who would later lead the Seventh-day Adventist Church in what is today the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Sources

Copiz, Pietro. “Church Receives Permission to Train Pastors.” ARH, July 29, 1982.

Geraty, T. S. “All-European Education Council Held in Germany.” ARH, September 19, 1968.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1985.

Steiner, Paul. “Educational Work Progressing in the Southern European Division.” Quarterly Review, June 1970.

Šustek, Miloslav, and Miloslav Zalud. “The Odyssey of a Seminary.” Mission, October –December, 1994.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1985.

Notes

  1. Miloslav Šustek and Miloslav Zalud, “The Odyssey of a Seminary,” Mission, October–December, 1994, 8.

  2. See T. S. Geraty, “All-European Education Council Held in Germany,” ARH, September 19, 1968, 17.

  3. Ibid.

  4.  See Paul Steiner, “Educational Work Progressing in the Southern European Division,” Quarterly Review, June 1970, 2.

  5. Ibid., 9.

  6.  Pietro Copiz, “Church Receives Permission to Train Pastors,” ARH, July 29, 1982, 18.

  7. See “Czechoslovakian Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1985), 105.

×

Svrcek, Ludek. "Šustek, Miloslav (1920–2006)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed June 18, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=GI83.

Svrcek, Ludek. "Šustek, Miloslav (1920–2006)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=GI83.

Svrcek, Ludek (2021, April 28). Šustek, Miloslav (1920–2006). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=GI83.