[St. Pachomius Library]

Sergei Alexandrovich Nilus

XIX/XX Centuries
Deeply religious and highly eccentric, the antiquarian Sergei Nilus was responsible for the preservation of numerous documents and traditions of Holy Russia which would otherwise have been lost in the Revolution. Unfortunately, the anti-modernist stance and insistence on the need for child-like faith which enabled him to take seriously the miracles and visions of the righteous Elders also inclined him to credulously accept claims of the existence of others the reverse of righteous. Thus, the legacy of Nilus is mixed. His scholarship preserved the writings of Motovilov, including the famous Conversation with St. Seraphim which is now universally recognised as one of the most spiritually edifying works to emerge in the modern era; his gullibility made him the vehicle through which the notorious Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion came into widespread circulation. (Nilus himself, it should be mentioned, was apparently not an anti-Semite, and wrote that only a handful of Jews, in coalition with Masons and other Gentiles, was involved in the nefarious conspiracy the Protocols describe.)

Norman Hugh Redington


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