Nicholas Tolstoy

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Nicholas Tolstoy (1867, Saint Petersburg, Russia - February 4, 1938) was the first Russian Orthodox priest who solicited a union with Catholic Church in 1893. Father Tolstoy inaugurated a small Catholic community of Russian origin and was responsible by its development and its faithfuls. Father Tolstoy died on February 4, 1938.


Born into an aristocratic family in Saint Petersburg, graduated from the Page Corps and served in the Sofia Regiment. Soon after he entered the Moscow Theological Academy, while studying read all the available writings of the Fathers of the Church in Russian and " Summa Theologica, " Aquinas in Latin. On one of the social events met the philosopher Vladimir Solovyov and the cripto-catholic Elizabeth Volkonskaya. Tolstoy was impressed by the penetration of Protestant views in the teaching of Orthodox theology. In 1890, ordained an Orthodox priest in the following year taking a trip to the Middle East to become familiar with the traditions and customs of the Middle Eastern Christians. After the return of the French abbot Vivian of Saint Louis Church in Moscow he introduced Tolstoy to Dominican Vincenzo Vannutelli, who after talking with Tolstoy told him that with his views, he can consider himself a Catholic, while staying in the home of the Russian Orthodox Church. Soon Father Nicholas journey around the world taking with him marching corporal and remembering in the cities of following local bishops. In Vienna Nicholas Tolstoy first visited the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and met with Metropolitan Sylvester Sembratovich. After returning to Moscow Tolstoy wrote his thesis on the Eucharist under the leadership of Alexey Lebedev. In 1893 graduated with honors from the Theological Academy, and in November 1894 formally joined the Catholic Church. Soon Moscow Metropolitan Sergius noted the Catholic view of Nicholas Tolstoy. Nicholas wrote account of their religious views, but the Metropolitan has not given a single stroke. On his Catholic views Nikolai Tolstoy spoke with John Sergiev. In the Synod also knew about the views of Nicholas, but no action taken. After the funeral of Emperor Alexander III, Tolstoy suddenly summoned to the reception and showed to Procurator of the Holy Synod Vladimir Karlovich Sabler the latest issue of the Catholic journal " Revue Benedictine", which was published by his private letters to Father Vanutelli. Under the threat of repression and confiscation from Tolstoy was demanded renunciation of dignity. Relatives of Nicholas Tolstoy tried to persuade him to abandon his dignity for the sake of liberty and property, Abbot Vivian offered him to flee to Rome and become the example of Prince Gagarin and other Russian aristocrats Catholic "refugees". Nicholas Tolstoy went to Rome, where he met with many of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, including Pope Leo XIII. During the service of the liturgy in Rome Nicholas prayed for the Pope and the Emperor Nicholas II. Soon, the Russian ambassador Alexander Isvolsky calls to ban Nicholas in the service and deliver it to the Russian authorities, however, the Pope refused to meet these requirements. After some time, the ambassador Isvolsky deciding that Nicholas resigned to his emigration, gave the Pope, that Russia will not pursue disqualifying him by the Synod of dignity of a priest. On April 22, 1895 Nikolai Tolstoy returned to Moscow. Russian Latins were unhappy with his return, and especially his service on the "schismatic" ceremony. Father Nicholas made a small house church and served the Russian liturgy with the commemoration of the Pope. He was often visited by a Russian priest and professor of theology. The patience of the Synod out, when Father Nicholas, in Lent of 1896 attached to the Catholic Church by the Byzantine rite of Vladimir Solovyov and daughter Governor Dolgorukov. Soon the threat of deportation to remote regions of the empire by Tolstoy, Vladimir Solovyov went through Finland in Copenhagen. Cardinal Rampolla sent him to Paris to the Augustinian monastery of monks. In connection with the coronation of Nicholas II issued a manifesto, which forgave illegally left Russia. Nicholas received the blessing of the bishop went to Copenhagen, where the steamer reached Finland. Then free to get to Moscow, where he met his wife and paid a visit to the governor. Governor authorized stay in Moscow with his family for two days and then told to go to live in Nizhny Novgorod. But the next day, Nicholas Tolstoy, was arrested and escorted on a special train to Nizhny Novgorod. Tolstoy finally managed to get permission to settle in the suburbs, in Sergiev Posad. Grandparents were deprived Nikolai Tolstoy estate, under public pressure, the wife developed with it while in Gethsemane monastery, the monks asked him to bless the meal, one of hieromonk put on about. Nicholas his cross with the words:

You ought to bear, as the victim for the Orthodox faith!

After the revolution in 1919 to 1923 Nicholas Tolstoy worked as a priest in Kiev, then to 1928 in Odessa. On December 12, 1937 was arrested in Kiev. On January 25, 1938 by order of the Special Meeting of the NKVD under Articles 52-2 and 54-6 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR was sentenced to shot. Tolstoy was shot on February 4, 1938 at the age of 70.

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