St. Petersburg

April 26/May 8, 1881

 

Your Grace,

Most Merciful Archpastor and Father!

 

Even though unfavorably formed circumstances put me a deceiving view in front of the face of Your Eminence and, denied possibility according to my strength to bring usefulness in my previous position of my service, but again I have the courage to turn myself to Your Eminence with a most humble request, that I would not dare present to You if it would be just from myself, if I had not received an agreement from others. Mr. Ober-Procurator of the Most Holy Synod, Constantine Petrovich Pobedonostsev, who was moved with his kindness and attention to my present condition, has deigned to suggest to me to turn myself to Your Eminence, in view of the vacancies in the Aleutian Diocese, with a most humble request, to accept me again into service in the Aleutian Diocese. Expressing this suggestion, His Excellency mentioned, that Your Grace is severely in need at the present time of employees, who would be useful coworkers in the Lord's field in the diocese entrusted to You by God. That kind of circumstance expresses the thought, that if Your Grace would deign to accept my request, then there would be no objections from the higher Authority to fulfill that.

I hope that Your Grace has already completely familiarized Yourself with the local conditions and characteristic differences of the country and also of the people in whose hands were the rudder of Administration, and, probably, much has become clear to You now, especially those tricks, that were practiced before among the hostiles to the undermining of mutual reputation. Time has cleared for Your Eminence the moral principles of those people and without external suggestion, You Yourself, have made accordingly your position to those people corresponding to their activity and, by such facts have determined the real knowledge and relative usefulness or harm that these people bring to the diocese. Therefore, to talk about the past, that is about myself: to make excuses for myself or to accuse others, I consider as unnecessary as the Lord will wish to have, will it happen. But I have however to bring to the attention of Your Eminence the circumstance, that from the quantity of all accusations, that were collected against me, those, that came for inspection, outside of the Alaska Ecclesiastical Administration, to the S. Petersburg Ecclesiastical Consistory, were completed with my full acquittal, even the notorious matter of Kashevarovs, even that one, even before my arrival here in Petersburg, was heard and it was decided by the Consistory in my favor. This circumstance gives me some right to say even one word in my defense and to guard myself from the opinion that was created with prejudice in places of my previous service. In any case, I admit in all trials that fall upon me only the hand of God that leads sometimes by a thorny and sorrowful, but true road to salvation. At the time of the misfortunes that fell upon me, I have had to think much over and rethink, and only strong faith in the Lord, Who does not wish the death of a sinner, saved me from despair. I will remember as long as I live the vital lesson, and, submitting myself under God's strong hand, I only now have the courage to raise my voice and knock at the doors of Your Archpastoral heart, not in view of material interests or some other ambitions, motives. No! From that side there is nothing have left to wish. By the Grace of the Holy Synod and by the help of Your Grace, I receive a pension that is equal in its amount to a general's in a civil department. My service record does not deny me the right to take a position in any diocese of the AlI-Russian Church, if I would have found that suitable for myself. According to the laws, by taking a position except in the Aleutian Diocese, namely in Russia, I would have to deprive myself of receiving my pension, since, according to the known paragraph of the statutes of law, it is prohibited, in the same department to receive two salaries. This prohibition is the only hindrance that keeps me away from receiving a position in Russia. Except this stated reason, the main motive for my request to enter into service in the Aleutian Diocese is that circumstance, that I feel an ability to bring greater benefit there by my service to the Lord's Church, than somewhere else in another place. The experience of many years of knowledge acquired by great work there, would be more useful there, where it would be more significant than here.

Your Grace! Give me the possibility to smooth out that impression which was created, thanks to a full disorder that reigned in the diocese until Your Eminence was appointed there, that after my long and trustful service, I must have appeared to the upper Administration, like a slave who was not truthful but cunning. I call upon the Lord as a witness, and I bring an oath to You, Lord Bishop, that I will use all my strength and all my abilities to earn the deserving attention of Your Grace by my service, morals and good relations with the co-working brothers. I will do my best to justify the confidence and trust of the Administration and Mr. Ober-Procurator: as a warrior dies on the field of honor, so I will die on the spot place rather than let myself step away from my duty and oath. I will not tell more. It will be always in Your power to be with me merciless, since if You would deign to notice any kind of deeds that were not in compliance, but I am certain that Your Grace would never have to use these means. First since I would never earn that; and secondly, it is hard to imagine a repetition of these disorders that were in the past with anarchy and composition of persons: now the diocese is administered directly by Your Eminence without outside influences, consequently already there is little space for intrigue to develop its nets.

Your Eminence! If You find my request as earning attention and would not deny my acceptance again into the service in the Aleutian Diocese, would You, Holy Bishop, please express Your Archpastoral acceptance in a letter directly to Mr. Ober-Procurator C. P. Pobedonostsev. I would like also to request Your Grace that in Your regular correspondence with the most respectful Fr. Alexander You would mention several words about this matter to let me know of Your decision. I know well a friend and acquaintance of his, Fr. loann Vostruzski, who will notify me about its contents.

Requesting Your holy prayers and blessings for my undeserving self, and for my family I have the happiness to be Your Eminence’s, most Merciful Father’s and Archpastor’s most humble novice and undeserving intercessor to the Lord,

 

Priest Nicholas Kovrigin

 

From The Right Reverend Nestor, Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska, 1879-1882. Correspondence, reports, diary. Vol. 2. Translated and edited by G. Soldatow, AARDM Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1993, pp. 269-72