Bp. Nestor was born Baron Nikolai Pavlovich
Zass on [[December 20]], 1825, in Arkangelsk, Russia. The family was a member of the Russian gentry. His education was secular, beginning when he entered the naval program at the Alexandrovsk Cadet School on [[May 20]], 1832. On [[January 31]], 1836, he transferred to the naval cadet school. As his naval career advanced he was in turn promoted in 1842 to the rank of reefer and then to midshipman, and then on to lieutenant in 1849. Due to illness, however, he was discharged from the navy in late 1850.
After a few years he entered a [[monastic]] life when he joined as a novice the Dormition Monastery in Bakhchisaray in the Crimea on [[November 20]], 1853 . He was tonsured a [[monk]] in 1854 and given the name '''Nestor'''. On [[June 22]], 1854, he was ordained a [[deacon]] and then to the [[priest]]hood on [[July 3]], 1855. In 1857 he was assigned to serve as a naval chaplain on Russian ships. Through this service he traveled through the Mediterranean and to the shores of North America, including staying a year in American waters during the American Civil War.