Nicholas II Official Visit to France 1896 - Commemorative Piece Topic: Nicholas II
Several months after Emperor Nicholas II was crowned in Moscow, he journeyed to France for an official visit. He was accompanied by his wife, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their daughter, the Grand Duchess Olga Nicholayevna.
In recognition of their visit, the Republic of France issued a special commemorative piece which shows the profile of Nicholas and Alexandra on the front, while on the reverse is written: Visit to France of Their Imperial Majesties of Russia. Cherbourg, Paris, Chalons. 5-9 October, 1896.
Russian Orthodox Church and Ministry of Culture Sign Historic Document Topic: Russian Church
An Agreement on Cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Ministry of Culture was signed this week at a meeting held at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow.
The main point of this paper concerns the preservation of architectural and cultural monuments owned by the Russian Orthodox Church. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of Communism, the Ministry of Culture has taken an active role in the restoration of churches that were seized after the Bolshevik Revolution.
"With regard to very important objects of Russian culture, such as churches and monasteries, we are, and will continue to be a part of the restoration efforts, using only the finest and recognized experts in this field"- said the Russian Minister of Culture, Alexander Avdeev.
Further, the Patriarchal Council for Culture has agreed to create special programs for its ministers. This will include a series of lectures on the theory and practice on the conservation of cultural monuments. A special course will be developed and offered to students at the seminary.
The Patriarchal Council for the Arts has prepared a manual for churches and monasteries prepared by experts in the field of restoration. "We recognize the need for close cooperation, particularly with regard to the transfer of churches, monasteries and other religious objects back to the church"- said the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill.
The Russian Orthodox Church has already begun preparations marking the 700th anniversary of Saint Sergius of Radonezh in 2014. Currently, the focus of the ROC is a monument to St. Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, who is regarded as a symbol of the reunification of Russia during the Time of Troubles.
Miniature Portrait of Alexander II Topic: Alexander II
A beautiful miniature portrait of the Emperor Alexander II, made in 1860 surfaced this week in Russia.
The emperor is depicted in the dress uniform of the Preobrazhensky Life Guards regiment, wearing the Order of St. George of the Fourth degree, with the Stars of the Orders of St. Andrew and St. Vladimir.
The miniature is made of copper, bronze, gilt and enamel, it measures 72 x 107 mm in size. The artist is unkown.
Kremlin Looks to Nicholas II for Putin's Inauguration Topic: Nicholas II
The Moscow Kremlin’s gardens and adjoining areas are set to return to their appearance during the time of Nicholas II’s coronation to mark the return of the nation’s long-term leader Vladimir Putin as head of state.
Landscaping exerts have been working on restoring the pre-revolutionary compositions of the Kremlin and the Alexandrovsky Sad using archival materials, Viktor Khrekhov, spokesman for the Presidential Administration said.
“For these purposes, a team of gardeners together with experts are uprooting and planting new trees, bushes and flowers, checking with archival pictures form the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century,” he was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. “In some of them, the Kremlin is depicted at the time of the coronation of Nicholas II,” he added.
But making the green zones in the very center of Moscow look like they did in 1896, when the last Russian Tsar was crowned, was impossible without dealing with the legacy of the more recent past.
A vast amount of paperwork had to be done, as uprooting of every tree had to be approved by the Culture Ministry, Khrekov said. Planting new trees had also to be authorised, he added.
Altogether, over 300 trees have been chopped down, including those with various diseases, dead and damaged by storms as well as unauthorized seedlings.
“The main part of works has been completed,” Khrekov said. The lawns have been groomed and more garbage bins have been installed, he added.
Older trees, however, have all remained in their place, including 150-year old oaks and 46 chestnuts on the slope near the Kremlin wall, according the Presidential Administration spokesman.
A special department has been created in the administration to maintain the Kremlin parks and look after the plants growing there.
The autumnal look of the trees chosen for the presidential residence was also taken into account, according to Khrekov, and their foliage and fruits are to display various shades.
Russia Revives Order of St. Catherine Topic: Russian History
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree establishing two new state decorations, the Order of St Catherine and a merit badge “For Benefaction,” to be awarded to Russian and foreign nationals who have made an important contribution to peace building, charity and humanitarian activity.
According to the decree published on the Kremlin website, the Order of St Catherine features a silver cross decorated with diamonds and an oval medallion in the middle carrying an icon of St Catherine of Alexandria, a Christian saint who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius.
The decoration appears to be a reincarnation of the Order of St Catherine that existed in the Imperial Russia. The original order was established by Peter the Great in 1713 and first bestowed upon his wife Empress Catherine. It was considered an exclusively female award, and there is only one known case when it was bestowed upon a man.
On Thursday, Medvedev awarded state decorations to about 50 Russians during a ceremony in the Kremlin. He said he had already signed a decree to award first St Catherine decorations to “several very decent women.” He would not specify who those women were.
Russian Historical Society to be Revived? Topic: Russian History
A meeting of the Imperial Russian Historical Society at the Novo-Mikhailovsky Palace, the residence of the Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich in St. Petersburg. The Grand Duke had been appointed President by Nicholas II. (c. early 20th-century)
Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin has proposed the revival of the Russian Historical Society.
"Russia's historical society occupied a prominent place in public life in Russia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Their work included very educated and honest enthusiasts of their time," said Naryshkin.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion on the culture, education, and preservation of Russian history, he noted: "I think we need to revive our traditions, studying and drawing on their experience."
"By the end of May we plan to hold a meeting of the organizing committee and will soon create the Constituent Assembly of the Russian Historical Society," he went on to say.
The Russian Historical Society was founded in 1866 by local and military historians, as well as government officials. The charter was approved on 23 May, 1866 by Emperor Alexander II. The purpose of the Society was "to contribute fully to the development of education in Russian national history." The Society received the highest approval of the Emperor.
On 24 November 1873, it was given the name of the Imperial Russian Historical Society. It published studies on Russian history and historical documents connected with the Imperial Russian state.
Both Emperors and Grand Dukes became members of the Society. In 1884, at the age of sixteen, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (the future Tsar Nicholas II) was appointed an honorary member of the Society. Other notable members and active supporters included Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich (an eminent historian who was appointed as President of the Society by Nicholas II), Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, and Constantine Pobedonostev (tutor to Nicholas II and Procurator of the Holy Synod) to name a few. During the reign of Nicholas II, meetings of the Society were regularly held in the Corner Drawing Room of the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo.
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Visits Peterhof Topic: Grand Duchess Maria
An official visit by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna to Peterhof took place on April 25th. She was accompanied by her son, the Grand Duke Georgi Mikhailovich.
They toured the Grand Palace and the recently restored palace church. The Grand Duchess Maria was invited to sign the guest book for distinguished guests to the palace-museum. She expressed her thanks and appreciation to the dedicated staff at Peterhof for their ongoing work to preserve Russia's history and cultural heritage.
From Peterhof, they visited Oranienbaum to view the ongoing restoration at the Chinese Palace and the Menshikov Palace.
Furniture from the Lower Dacha at Peterhof Topic: Peterhof
In 1895 the architect Antony Tomishko constructed the Lower Palace (or Lower Dacha) for Nicholas II and his family in the Alexandria Park at Peterhof. The palace was furnished using designs from the celebrated St Petersburg furniture-maker Friedrich (Fiodor) Melzer. The corner sofa with a high back and a mirrored niche, upholstered in green velvet with a cyclamen pattern, was in the rooms of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna at the Lower Dacha in Peterhof.
This particular piece of furniture from the Lower Dacha is currently on display at the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Center (a branch of the State Hermitage Museum), in St. Petersburg.
Photo Exhibit of Renowned Actresses of Tsarist Russia Topic: Exhibitions
An exhibit dedicated to some of the best known actresses of the late 19th and early 20th century opened on April 28 at the Museum of Theatrical and Musical Arts in St. Petersburg, the information agency Oreanda reports.
The exposition, which is called “Beauties of the Russian Theater: Beauty without Photoshop,” includes photo portraits of ballerinas Anna Pavlova and Mathilda-Marie Kschessinskaya (Mathilde Kschessinska), actresses Vera Komissarzhevskaya, Tamara Karsavina, Anastasia Vyaltseva and many others. In total, 16 famous stage performers are highlighted in the exhibition.
The exhibit is laid out in the manner of a photo salon of the early 20th century. However the museum also presents a number of theater accessories associated with the great actresses as well as tributes from their admirers.
The Museum of Theatrical and Musical Arts boasts an archive of nearly a quarter of a million photographs and negatives, presenting a very intricate, full and elaborate portrait of theatrical life in Russia.