AN ENGLISHMAN IN THE COURT OF THE TSAR: THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF CHARLES SYDNEY GIBBES BY CHRISTINE BENAGH
Set against the turbulent backdrop of the early twentieth century, this fascinating true-life account reads almost like a novel. Demoralized by the encroaching liberalism of the Anglican Church, Englishman Charles Sydney Gibbes travels abroad in a crisis of faith. Finding work as a tutor to the Russian aristocracy, his world is changed forever when he receives a personal invitation from Empress Alexandra Fedorovna to become a tutor to her children. His intimate connection with the Imperial Family for the next ten years carries him into their mesmerizing world of elegance and nobility, then is shattered by their brutal murders at the hands of the Red Army.
Following them to Siberia and later continuing on to China, Gibbes eventually returns full circle to Great Britain, there dedicating his life as an Orthodox priest to the memory of the Imperial Family, and the faith he discovered in their distant homeland.
"Out of the dampness of a London morning steps an elderly, white-bearded man in a threadbard cassock. He carries a walking stick in his right hand, and a tattered black shopping bag on his left arm. His name is Father Nicholas Gibbes.
Warm and affable, yet intensely private, he seldom speakes of the incredible journey which carried him from the hallowed halls of St. John`s College in Cambridge to the court of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. As one of three tutors to the Imperial Family, he had gained entrance to the inner world of the ill-fated Family. First as teacher, but soon as trusted friend and confidant, he walked with them through the dark days of their exile and eventual murder at the hands of the Bosheviks. These ten years would change the course of his life, eventually leading him back to Great Britain, where he would devote himself the rest of his days in service to the Faith he had discovered in the midst of the court of the Tsar."—from the cover flap
Centering her research around actual letters and documents from the Gibbes collections in England and numerous personal interviews with the late George Gibbes, adopted son of Father Nicholas, as well as other surviving acquaintances and friends, the author has carefully documented this fascinating story as Gibbes journeys from Great Britain to Russia, Siberia, China, the Philippines, Jerusalem, and finally back again to England. Benaugh`s account profits from newly uncovered evidence regarding the murders of the Imperial Family and offers details which were unknown during the lifetime of Fr. Nicholas. She carefully documents hitherto unpublished events of his life in England as an Orthodox priest and his foundational role in establishing the Orthodox Church in Oxford as well as his pioneering role in the development of British Orthodoxy.