Copy of the report made by the All-Russian Consul General on August 8/20, 82 No. 197 addressed to the Ober-Procurator of the Most Holy Synod
I have the honor to inform Your Excellency of the following details of the misfortune that happened to the Most Reverend Nestor, Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska.
To begin with, on May 4th new calendar, Bishop Nestor left on board the steamship "St. Paul," that belongs to the Alaska Commercial Company, to learn about the condition of his diocese and to visit the Kvikhpak Mission, which he had not had time to visit during his voyage last year. At the time of his departure the bishop planned to return in late autumn. During his travel he changed his intentions and informed the Alaska Ecclesiastical Administration, that he intended to stay in Alaska for the winter and to return not earlier than in August of '83.
August 2/14 the ship "St. Paul" arrived in this port and informed, that among the passengers had been Bishop Nestor, who along the line of travel of this steamship from Michailov Redoubt to San Francisco, jumped from the ship and drowned. Having received this sorrowful news, I immediately ordered together with the archpriest the sealing of rooms that were occupied by the bishop in the local church building and made a request to the directors of the Alaska Commercial Company to give permission to go to the ship and personally collect all details of the misfortune of Bishop Nestor.
Upon my arrival on the ship, accompanied by the Vice Consul G. G. Niebaum, the secretary of the Consulate General N. N. Gray and the archpriest of the local Russian church, V. V. Vechtomov, the captain handed me the key to the cabin on the ship, that had been occupied by the bishop. He said, that the cabin had been closed by the captain personally, in the presence of all people, who were on the ship, as soon as they were convinced of the disappearance of the bishop and that all items there are in the same order as they were at the time of his disappearance.
When the door was opened we saw that the belongings of the bishop consisted of several large and small hand traveling bags and small trunks, that were locked by key and all of them were standing in order on the upper bunk. There was also laying a carefully rolled downy blanket for travel and the bishop's hood, where inside there was a pearl panagia, then there was his pocket watch and fishing rod, a silver snuffbox, silk handkerchief, purse with keys for the traveling bags and several prayer books. A rolled gutta-percha cassock was laying on the lower bunk.
Having sealed all these objects with a stamp, I sent them to the Alaska Ecclesiastical Administration where they were given over.
Having done that I began to collect testimonies from the captain of the ship M. C. Erskine, the senior navigator W. E. Erskine, the steward N. C. Askwith, and traveling on the same ship Doctor L. A. Noyes. All of them, except the doctor, had known well and liked the bishop for a long time, and the captain, besides that, was in friendly relations with him.
All the above mentioned persons made depositions in the presence of a notary public, the original depositions are in the office of the Consulate General, and I have the honor to enclose copies of them herewith.
From these statements ft is seen, that the bishop decided to return to San Francisco because of his sickness, and we know, that the bishop really has suffered for a long time, having strokes of neuralgia, and that he very often complained of having severe headaches. Besides that, from the testimonies given, and equally from private conversations with people, who were on the ship, is seen that persons, who knew the bishop well before, had noticed, from July 4 to 12 new cal. (that is from the moment of his arrival on the ship until the moment of his sorrowful departure), all kinds of small peculiarities. Such peculiarities are usually not given any special serious meaning, unless it is assumed that they are an indication of psychic disorder and threaten to have serious consequences. This usually comes to mind only then, when they become valuable as symptoms - when the consequence has already occurred that was before only a symptom. To pay attention at the right time to these symptoms is the duty of a psychiatrist, therefore it is not surprising at all, that the captain and other people, who knew the bishop, noticed that he was "unusual," not as he was before; but it did not come to the mind of any one of them, that he was suffering from a psychic disorder.
Not speaking of these small symptoms, which the witnesses indicate in their testimonies, as proof of an abnormal mental condition of the bishop, it is enough to know the personality of the departed Nestor and his strong religious convictions to state without doubt, that naturally, the bishop could not decide on a conscious suicide, and the misfortune happened to him only under the influence of a severe moment of such mental disorder or influence of such effect, when he acted completely unconsciously.
Coming to the end of my present report, I have the honor to state, that according to the laws in force here, I will be appointed as the Public Administrator for the property of Bishop Nestor and, when the decision of the court is made, the seals will be opened and a detailed list of his property will be made.
I sent the same report with the same enclosures to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Imperial Mission in Washington.
Consul General A. E. Olarovsky
From The Right Reverend Nestor, Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska, 1879-1882. Correspondence, reports, diary. Translated and edited by G. Soldatow. Minneapolis, 1993