Driven to Suicide on an Ocean Trip by Neuralgia.
He Prepares His Effects and Jumps from the Deck of the St. Paul A Brief Sketch of a Somewhat Eventful Career.
Right Rev. Bishop Nestor of the Orthodox Russian Church, who was well and favorably known in this community, has found a watery grave in the far north. In last May he left on board the Alaska Commercial Companys steamer St. Paul, for a visit to the churches and stations attached to his diocese in Alaska, intending to remain there promoting the interests and welfare of his church until 1883. In fact, in his last communication forwarded to one of his flock in this city, he expressed his determination to remain in Alaska all Winter if his health permitted; but it appears that in the meantime his health became poor, and he took passage on the St. Paul to return to San Francisco. For years he had at times suffered intensely from severe attacks of neuralgia, the pains of which he experienced while aboard the steamer at St. Michaels, and for which he could find no relief. So intense was his suffering that he began to act in a strange manner, which led his friends to believe that he was somewhat out of his head. On the 12th of June the vessel started on her voyage to this port, and shortly before eight Captain Erskine visited the Bishops state room and bid him good morning. He then left to attend to his duties. A quarter of an hour afterwards, Dr. Noyes, another passenger on the steamer, came to the Captain and asked him if he had seen the Bishop. The Captain explained that he had just left him in his state room. The doctor declared that he had just come from there and that the Bishop could not be found. His friends then manifested considerable anxiety, and proceeded to investigate the cause of his disappearance. A visit to his state room showed that his papers and other articles had been arranged in studious order; but what exited comment was the fact that he had left part of his robes, his watch and jewelry behind.
A FRUITLESS SEARCH.
Further search throughout the vessel served only to confirm the suspicion that the Bishop, while suffering excruciating pain, had jumped overboard. The steamer was put about and for some time search was made in the vessels former track but no evidences of the missing prelate could be found. Then the vessel put back to St. Michaels, and instructions were left with the Alaska Companys agent to make every effort to recover the body. When the St. Paul arrived in port on Sunday and the sad intelligence was announced that Bishop Nestor was no more, the members of his flock manifested sorrow and regret.
Bishop Nestor, who was born in Archangel, belonged to a noble family, his real name being Nicholas Paul Zass. His father was a Baron, the head of a very prominent family, and a Colonel on the Russian army. The Bishop, when young, was educated in the naval academy at St. Petersburg, where he had for a companion and fellow-student Admiral Aslambegoff, commander of the Russian Asiatic squadron, which visited this port about a year ago. Graduating with honors he was assigned to duty in the navy, and was a Lieutenant on board the Russian frigate Oslabia, attached to the squadron which visited the port of New York in 1852. Not a long time afterwards he resigned his commission, and turning his back upon rank and the attractions of a worldly career, he entered the church. In the church there are two classes of the clergy one allowed to marry, and the other devoted to a monastic life and celibacy. Those attached to the latter class alone are eligible to the bishoprics and the high offices in the orthodox Russian Church. To the monkish order he became attached, and dropping titles and an honored family name he
ASSUMED THAT OF NESTOR,
The name of a celebrated Russian monk, who distinguished himself by his zeal and piety in the early days of Christianity at Kieff. While the Crimean war was being waged he was ordained a deacon, and later on he was attached to the orthodox church in Pau, the capital of the old Province of Bearn, in France, celebrated as the birthplace of Gaston de Foix and of General Bernadotte, afterward King of Sweden. Having served long and faithfully in the cause of the church both at home and abroad. Nestor in 1878 was appointed Bishop of Alaska by the Holy Synod of St. Petersburg, and to this diocese were attached the orthodox Russian churches in New York and San Francisco. He made his headquarters at the Russian church on Powell street, where, about a year ago, he celebrated with much pomp and ceremony, in the presence of the officers and men of the Russian Asiatic fleet, high mass, in commemoration of the Czar of Russias name day. He was beloved by all who knew him and was of a very charitable disposition, distributing nearly the whole of his income amongst the deserving poor. He was fifty-six years of age. His relatives are all in Russia.
A requiem mass will be celebrated this morning at ten oclock, at the Russian Church, in memory of the departed prelate, after which there will be a short service, called in the Greek language Panichida, for the repose of his soul. A requiem mass will also be celebrated every Sunday during forty days.
Till the appointment of a new bishop to succeed Bishop Nestor, the Arch-Priest, Father Westhomoff, will preside over the affairs of the church in the diocese.
The Morning Call, San Francisco, Tuesday, August 15, 1882.