Your Excellency

Constantine Petrovich,

Merciful Lord!

After receiving from You positive information by a telegram of Janury 24/February 5, about permission from the Most Holy Synod to purchase the brick building, I spoke at once to the owner citizen Livingstone and on February 7/16 I moved into the brick building, into that half, which was unoccupied where I took one of the rooms of the building, to be able to better look after the work that is being done.

By March 27/April 8 that side of the building that was proposed for the church and for the apartment of the Bishop was completely finished.

In the evening of the same day there was a Vigil service and on Saturday, March 28, the day of Praising the Most Holy Mother of God the blessing of the new church took place. April 1/13 I served, and after the Liturgy I received from the post-office a package with three checks from London, for a total sum of 7858 Pounds of Sterling.

The rate of exchange on that same day was lower than normal by twenty cents. The transaction was postponed by Mr. Livingstone and his partner Mr. Triest, who lived on the other side of the building and did not move out of there until the time when he was told, that the money was already received.

They did not expect at all that the matter of the purchase of the building would be completed on the selected day or even during the 60 days time, and as it was found out Mr. Livingstone who wished to get additional time for his planned voyage to Europe agreed with a lawyer, in whose hands was the business of the sale of the building, to write a contract for the sale over to another person, who agreed to pay to him — Livingstone, money at his first request. This second person gave over his right of ownership to a third person, namely to Captain Niebaum, who is a Director of the Alaska Commercial Company and who is at the same time fulfilling the duties of the Russian Vice Consul in San Francisco. In all my life I had not encountered that kind of business! However in America such matters are considered quite normal.

April 25/May 7 I was invited to the lawyer, to whom the owners of the building also arrived at the designated time — Mr. Livingstone, his partner Triest and Captain Niebaum, from whom the ownership should have been transferred to me, as a person warranted by the Government. After the presentation of papers of ownership for the building, it was suggested to me to pay in full the money — 38.000 dollars and at the same time in the presence of all the above mentioned persons and the lawyer I was promised that after ten days I would receive all the necessary documents of the ownership of the building. For the full formality of the matter I was asked to present my Bishop's certification, which I myself translated into the English language. It was given to the lawyer through the General Consulate. After the lawyer received my certification, there appeared again some problem; namely, that according to the existing regulations the building and the lot can't be registered in my name only, since in my Bishop's certification I was named not a Bishop of California, but only of the Aleutians and Alaska. Such a statement appeared very strange to me in comparison to our Russian laws that do not prohibit the purchase of property in any Guberniia and to live in any place where the person will find it suitable.


The end of the letter is missing.-Ed.

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. 267-8