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Nestor (Anisimov Nikolai Alexandrovich)

Nestor - Anisimov Nikolai
Aleksandrovich 1956


Nestor (Anisimov Nikolai Alexandrovich) (November 9th 1884, Vyatka, - November 4th 1962, Moscow — different chronology is given in Karaulovís article, see below). His father was a military officer (headquarters advisor), and his mother — a daughter of a protopriest. He finished the Kazan normal school and entered as a novice the Kazan monastery of the Savior. In 1907 he was tonsured into monkhood and then was sent in Kamchatka as missionary. He learned the Tungus and Koryak languages and subsequently translated into them the Divine Liturgy and the Gospel. He made a report to the State Duma about Kamchatka region. In 1914 -1915 he volunteered to the front where he organized a sanitary unit. In 1816 he became bishop of Kamchatka and Petropavlovsk.

From August 1917-1918 he was member of the Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. He took part in the discussion at the Council about the gunning of the Moscow Kremlin and the damage done this way to the Kremlin churches. As a response to the remark that Kremlin was shot at by Bolsheviks and Yunkers as well, Bishop Nestor said: “Who can claim whether the churches were damaged deliberately or accidentallyÖ Of course, not our Army shot at the temples of GodÖ It is important to us now to have every fact that can stir up among the people abhorrence against the Bolsheviks. People know that Bolsheviks are against religion. I suggest that immediately a short but poignant booklet is made where the destruction will be described in detail and the culprits for it shall be pointed. That way it will have an impact among the people used to respect the sacred.” (see Chertkov A., Krah, M., 1968, page 38-39). Bishop Nestor wrote that booklet under the title — “The shooting Moscow Kremlin” (M., 1917), in which he wrote: “Alas, a mindless strategy has become typical for all representatives of the self-proclaimed government, and what they are doing to the Kremlin are doing to all of Russia, looking for in her with their instruments of death the enemies of their deranged utopias“ (page 28). He cooperated with A. V. Kolchak.

In 1919 Bishop Nestor returned to Kamchatka via Europe, Africa and Asia because the normal route through Siberia was blocked due to the civil war. After the establishment of Soviet authority in Kamchatka, he moved to Harbin, where he set up a representation of Kamchatka Diocese. In 1933 he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. In 1945 he met the Soviet armies in Harbin.

He was arrested in 1948 and was kept in prison camp in Mordovia. In 1956 he was appointed Metropolitan of Novosibirsk and Barnaul, and in 1958 — of Kirovgrad and Nikolaevsk.

Materials were used from the article of M. E. Golostenov in the book: Political activists in Russia 1917. Biographical lexicon, Moscow, 1993.


March 1941

Metropolitan Nestor (in the world Nikolai Aleksandrovich Anisimov) was born on November 8th (according to the old style) 1885 in the town of Vyatka, and from his early childhood he was marked with deep religiosity. After finishing normal school, he became novice at the Transfiguration of Savior monastery in Kazan and then enrolled into the missionary department of Kazan Spiritual Academy.

In 1907 after his soulís longing and by the will of God, receiving a blessing from Holy Righteous John of Kronstad, he decides to devote himself to missionary work.

On April 17th he was tonsured a monk receiving the name of Nestor, in honor of St Nestor the Chronologist. On May 6th 1907 he was elevated to the rank of hierodeacon, and three days later — to the rank of hieromonk.

On June 2nd 1907 he left for the place of his missionary service in Kamchatka.

During 1907-1908, Hieromonk Nestor diligently, often even risking his own life, delivered his pastoral obligation, preaching the Word of God and urging to faith in Christ many heathens — Kamchadals. The profound respect he had towards these people, their language and traditions, the unceasing readiness to provide help to the sick, the frail and the injured secured Hieromonk Nestor the deeply felt love and respect of his flock even in the most secluded areas of the enormous Kamchatka region. Despite this, the young Shepherd was not thoroughly satisfied with his work. He understood that with his small strength he could not solve all the problems of the all-forsaken Kamchatka. It was necessary to draw the attention of the powerful of the world, of the Church hierarchy, of the honest people who wanted to help their fellow men, those suffering from poverty, illness, drunkenness and the autocracy of local officials. Thus how came about the idea to form the charitable “Kamchatkan Brotherhood”.

At the beginning of 1910, after receiving a blessing from the ruling hierarch, Fr Nestor went to St Petersburg where he faced the rigidity and even animosity of the Synodís bureaucrats and its Ober-procurator. But that didnít discourage the young hieromonk. At the price of enormous efforts he succeeded to draw the attention of the broader Orthodox public and the representatives of the State Duma to the idea of creating a Brotherhood. Also, a decisive role in this had the personal involvement of the Sovereign, Nikolai Alexandrovich, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna and the widow-empress, Maria Fedorovna.

As a result of those efforts on September 14th 1910 in Vladivostok the Charitable Kamchatkan Brotherhood was opened, and shortly after its sections were formed in St Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev and other Russian cities. The Brotherhood was substantially helped by St Nikolai Equal to the Apostles, the Archbishop of Japan, by Holy Martyr Elizabeth - the Grand Princess, Holy Martyr Vladimir - Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia. Large assistance was offered by the Royal family. The Brotherhood was given church, liturgical utensils, money, transportation privileges. Patron of the Brotherhood became Crowned Prince Alexey Nikolaevich.

During 1910-1917 at the expenses of the Brotherhood in Kamchatka there were built dozens of churches, chapels, schools, shelters, hospitals, leprosy colonies and ambulance stations.

Having learned Tungus (Evenki) and Koryak language, Hieromonk Nestor translated into the local languages the Divine Liturgy, partly the Gospel and selected prayers. For that work Fr Nestor was elevated to the rank of hegoumen in 1913.

After the beginning of the war in 1914, Fr Nestor organized and headed the sanitary unit “First Aid under fire” and personally evacuated the wounded from the battlefield, took care of their wounds, comforted them and arranged their transport to field hospitals. For his altruistic and heroic work hegoumen Nestor was awarded the prestigious religious and military honor - the right to wear a chest cross on a St Georgeís ribbon, as well as number of military medals.

At the end of 1915 Fr Nestor was demobilized form the front and was elevated to the rank of archimandrite, and finally continued his pastoral mission in Kamchatka.

On October 16th Fr Nestor was consecrated a bishop and was appointed the first ruling hierarch of the newly formed Kamchatka Diocese.

During 1917-1918 Bishop Nestor took part in the All-Russian Local Church Council and the election of Patriarch Tykhon. After the October events in Moscow 1917 he participated in the work of the commission responsible for photographing and describing the damages done to the Moscow Kremlin, which acted under the leadership of Holy Martyr Veniamin, Metropolitan of St Petersburg, and with blessing of the Council subsequently published the book “Shooting of the Moscow Kremlin”, for which he was soon arrested by the Bolsheviks, spending more than a month in jail. After the end of the Councilís work, Bishop Nestor with great difficulties managed to return to Petropavlovsk of Kamchatka, traveling on the way through Kiev, Odessa, Crimea, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, India and China. There he continued his service as a bishop. But soon enough he is expelled by the Bolsheviks from Kamchatka.

Enjoying particular trust on the side of Patriarch Tykhon, during 1919-1920 Vladika carried out number of his rulings concerning Siberia and the Far East. In 1921 Bishop Nestor opens a representation of the Kamchatka Diocese in the city of Harbin (Manchuria), and later — House of mercy and diligence, which helped preserve the lives of thousands of children and adults alike, caught in the chaos of the civil war. Being under the auspices of the Synod Abroad, Vladika painfully went through the turmoil of the 20-30-ies, subsequently supporting the idea of the unity of the suffering Mother Church. During that period, the Bishop visited many countries of Europe and Asia, meeting the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, the Heads of many local Orthodox Churches and some heterodox Churches. On number of occasions he made pilgrimages in the Holy Land. In 1938-1939 he undertook missionary work in India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

In 1946 Bishop Nestor was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan by Patriarch Alexy I and was appointed the ruling hierarch of Harbin and Manchuria and Patriarchal Exarch of South-East Asia.

In 1948 Vladika undergoes arrest and imprisonment in prison camps. He was sentenced because of his participation in the transfer of the relics of Holy Martyr Elizabeth, the organizing of the Local Council in Vladivostok 1922, the publishing of the book “Shooting of the Moscow Kremlin”, the building of a chapel dedicated to the Crowned Martyrs etcetera.

After his release in 1956, Vladika was appointed Metropolitan of Novosibirsk and Barnaul, and from December 1958 — Metropolitan of Kirovgrad and Nikolaevsk.

Vladika especially had respect for the Holy Dormition Kiev and Pechora Lavra. His first visit there in 1905 effected an unforgettable impression on him and decided the subsequent choice of his monastic name — Nestor. In the following years (1909-1918, and after 1956) Vladika visited the Lavra on many occasions and prayed in its Holy precincts. In the hard times immediately preceding its closure, Vladika several time purposely went to the Lavra in order to give consolation to its Abbot and the brotherhood and strengthen among them the hope in the unavoidable victory of the Faith in Christ.

During the last years of his life Vladika traveled a lot through his Diocese, carrying out Divine Services, preaching the Word of God and protesting the closure of churches done by the godless authorities.

Metropolitan Nestor reposed on October 22nd / November 4th 1962. He was buried in the courtyard of the church of the Patriarchal representation of Holy Trinity-Sergius Lavra in Peredelkino.

May your Hierarchood be mentioned by God in His Kingdom!

The biographical article was compiled by

Alexander Kirilovich Karaulov

Basic published works of Metropolitan Nestor

"Harbin — Manchuria."
Belgrade, 1933. pg. 3

Unpublished memoirs,
travel notes and remarks of Metropolitan Nestor


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