Peter and Paul Cathedral in Petersburg to be Restored Topic: Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg is to be restored.
The Culture Ministry of the Russian Federation has announced the competition for the right of carrying out repair and restoration works on the cultural heritage site. The corresponding announcement is placed on the official site of state orders of the Russian Federation.
According to the specification, the task of the winner will include restoration of facades of the cathedral and the bell tower, as well as repair of the roof and reconstruction of the paving of porticoes. All the planned renovations are expected to be finished before November, 2012.
The Peter and Paul Cathedral is one of the main buildings of the ensemble of the Peter and Paul Fortress. The cathedral was constructed according to the project and under the direction of architect Domenico Trezini. Construction of the unique monument took 20 years to complete - from 1712 to 1732. The Peter and Paul Cathedral is the sepulchre of the Russian emperors and empresses.
Prince Michael of Kent Gets Cash from Controversial Russian Oligarch Topic: Romanov Descendants
Prince Michael of Kent (right) with former Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev
Prince Michael of Kent, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, has received £320,000, or about $514,000, from oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a Russian political exile living in London, The Sunday Times reported.
The paper said during the six-year period from 2002 to 2008, a fund controlled by Berezovsky funneled 56 payments of between £5,000 and £15,000 through offshore companies into a family business owned by the prince's secretary.
The transfers were revealed in documents submitted to the High Court ahead of an upcoming case.
Berezovsky himself told The Sunday Times "There is nothing underhand or improper about the financial assistance I have given Prince Michael. It is a matter between friends."
Prince Michael, who has well-publicized financial problems, has gotten financial support from other sources, including the Queen, who paid rent for his Kensington Palace home in the amount of £100,000 per year. He has also faced allegations of using his title to get free trips and supplement his income.
Unlike other members of the royal family, the prince does not earn money from public funds.
Prince Michael of Kent is the grandnephew of Tsar Nicholas II. He is fluent in Russian, regularly travels to Russia and is a patron of numerous charitable foundations that support Russian culture and education.
The Diary of Emperor Nikolai II: Volume 1: 1894-1904 Topic: Books
This is the first volume of the first complete publication of the diaries of Emperor Nikolai II. The first volume covers the years 1894-1904, and includes more than a thousand people he was in direct communication with. Nikolai started to keep diaries at the age of thirteen; it was a cultural norm of the Russian Imperial family and members of the nobility at that time. Only fifty diaries of Emperor Nikolai II survived, from the years 1882-85 and 1887-June 1918. Nikolai showed his diaries to no one, but made an exemption for his bride and then wife Aleksandra Fedorovna. The first volume of this set of diaries preserves the original orthography and is provided with comments and translations where necessary.
Imported from Russia, this book offers more than 1,100 pages. The diary has been edited by Sergei Mironenko, author and historian, Director of the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow. Text is in Russian.
Death of Emperor Alexander III Topic: Alexander III
Emperor Alexander III died at Livadia on 1st November [O.S. 20th October] 1894. It has been a common held belief by Western historians that Alexander III had been a heavy drinker which seriously effected his health, and which ultimately resulted in his untimely death. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of the Russian archives, these myths were finally put to rest. It is now known that Emperor Alexander III in fact died of heart failure.
Shortly after Alexander III's death a commemorative gold medal was struck in Russia. The date of his death is noted on the bottom of the medal.
Tsarist Treasures Exhibit Mark 200 Years of Fort Ross Topic: Exhibitions
Meeting with Andrew Romanoff, the grandnephew of Tsar Nicholas II, greatly added to the grand opening’s splendor of the exhibit titled The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Imperial Porcelain and Decorative Arts under the Romanovs.
Romanoff, a shy yet very charming man, said about the extraordinary collection of Russian art currently exhibited at the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., “It’s a wonderful moment to have all those things being shown here, letting everyone see them.”
Romanoff’s grandmother and parents escaped in 1918 from the Bolsheviks to Yalta, Crimea, and later England and were given refuge at Windsor Castle, where Andrew was born and grew up.
An artist, writer, and photographer, Romanoff came to California in 1970 as a young man. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife Inez Storer, also an artist.
To my question whether he is planning to attend Her Majesty’s Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee this summer, Romanoff smiled and said, “I have not been invited yet.”
“Andrew Romanoff and his wife have been great supporters of the museum,” said Sonoma County Museum’s Curator of Art Jennifer Bethke.
“We were very pleased that Andrew loaned some of his family’s photographs, personal heirlooms, and a calling-card case to display in this exhibition. These unique and rare items say so much about the royal family and imperial culture on a larger scale,” she said.
The exhibit The Tsars’ Cabinet illustrates the decorative arts of Russia from the time of Peter the Great in the early 18th century to that of Tsar Nicholas II in the early 20th century. It presents a selection of alluring porcelain, photographs, royal couture and accessories, enamel, glassware, silver gilt, and decorated eggs.
Russian procelain artworks include statuettes to depict scenes of common Russian life, such as this girl with a yoke carrying water from the well. “Porcelain Figure of Vodonska, The Water Carrier,” by Stepan Pimenov (1784–1833), circa 1817, Russia. Hard-Paste Porcelain. (Courtesy of Sam Broydo)
The exhibit was originally developed by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., featuring the exceptional private collection of Kathleen Durdin, a graduate of the William and Mary College in Williamsburg and member of the museum’s board of directors.
“Many of the pieces in this exhibition were designed for the use of the tsars or other Romanovs,” said Aaron De Groft, Ph.D., director of the Muscarelle Museum of Art, in an email.
They “provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of Tsars and their court. In so doing, they capture our imagination and fascination,” he said.
They were produced by the experts in the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg, one of the oldest porcelain factories in Europe, as well as at the Imperial Glass Factory in St. Petersburg, displaying the intricate enamel work from renowned firms such as Faberge and Ovchinnikov.
Venturing through the museum’s four galleries on two floors, one discovers treasures like “Durnovo Jewel Casket,” an elaborate, handled box of silver, enamel, and lapis lazuli, gifted from Tsar Alexander III in 1889 to Ivan Durnovo, the head of his council of trustees.
The precious box is just one of the more than 230 objects of this magnificent collection, which features authentic photographs of the royal family from the collection of Durdin besides reproductions of photographs, mostly from the collection of Romanoff.
Personal artifacts in the exhibit, including a handkerchief, cigarette cases, and a bell, were owned by several members of the Romanov family: Grand Duchess Elizabeth, Alexandra Feodorovna, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, and Xenia Alexandra, according to Bethke.
Church of Christ's Resurrection in the Crimea Topic: Alexander III
The Church of Christ's Resurrection is located on the outskirts of Yalta in the Crimea. It is situated on a 400-metre cliff overlooking the Black Sea.
The church overlooking the village of Foros was commissioned by, Alexander Kuznetsov, a local landowner and tea trader from Moscow to commemorate the survival of Emperor Alexander III and his family in the Borki train disaster on October 29 [O.S. October 17] 1888. The church was built by the Russian architect, Nikolai Chagin.
The church was consecrated on 4 October, 1892 in the name of the in a ceremony attended by the Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod, Konstantin Pobedonostsev. The last tsar, Nicholas II, and his wife prayed at the church on the day of the 10th anniversary of the Borki incident.
After the Russian Revolution the church was closed for worshippers, its priest exiled to Siberia and its frescoes painted over. The building was used as a snack bar for tourists until 1969 and stood empty throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and went through four restoration campaigns.
Nicholas II's Automobile Collection Topic: Nicholas II
Automobiles of Tsar Nicholas II at the Tsarskoselsky Imperial Garage
Tsar Nicholas II was a big fan of automobiles, and at one time the Imperial Car Fleet, which had more than 50 cars made by 17 different companies, was the largest in Europe. The Tsarskoselsky Imperial Garage was first built to maintain such a large number of cars. The Imperial Chauffeur School was also founded at the garage. But considering that the automobile quickly became part of the everyday life of the Tsar’s family, quite soon there was a need to build a garage right in St. Petersburg. Nicholas II ordered that a special building be constructed at the Winter Palace in 1910. The building was erected just a year later as per the design of the architect N.I. Kramsky. You can see this building to this day from the windows of the St George Hall and the Sivkov Passage in the Hermitage.
Old Icon Returns to Moscow Convent Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 4 minutes, 37 seconds Topic: Russian Church
Vladimir Putin, who became Russia’s president earlier this week, together with the head of the Russian Church Patriarch Kirill, took part in a religious procession in Moscow.
The procession was held on the occasion of handling an old and very venerated icon of the Mother of God over to the Church from a museum.
The icon belonged to the Moscow Novodevichy convent until the convent was closed by the atheistic Bolshevik regime in 1922. After that, the icon was kept in the Moscow Historic Museum.
Now, a decision has been taken to return the icon to the Church.
Historian of religion Alexey Yudin believes that this is a very significant event for the Russian Church.
“This icon, known as the Iver icon of the Mother of God, is a copy of a much older icon,” he says. “This copy was made for the Russian Tsar Alexey Romanov at the Iver monastery on Mount Athos in Greece in 1648.”
“Mount Athos is a place known for centuries-old traditions of monasticism.”
“In fact, three copies from this icon were brought to Russia during the reign of Mikhail Romanov,” the historian continues, “but this particular copy was the first one brought to Russia. When it arrived, the tsar himself, surrounded by a crowd of believers, came out to meet it.”
“The Iver icon of the Mother of God has always been especially venerated in Russia.”
An old chronicle says that when the Athos monks were painting this copy, they observed a very strict fasting and performed day and night church services twice in a week.
An autograph of the copyist has remained on the icon. It says in Greek: “Iamblichus Romanov, a monk from Iver, painted this icon with great diligence in the year 7156.” (Which corresponds with the year 1648 according to the new chronology.)
Initially, the icon was placed in the Assumption cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. However, in 1654, the Russian army, which was holding a campaign against Poles, took the icon with itself to protect the army. One may believe in miracles or not, but the campaign ended with the victory of Russians.
When the icon returned to Moscow, Tsar Alexey Romanov decoded to hand it over to the Novodevichy convent. He believed that it was the Mother of God who brought the victory to the Russian army.
The Novodevichy convent is believed to be one of the most beautiful architectural ensembles of Moscow. It is situated in a picturesque place near the Moskva River.
The convent was founded in 1524. It has several times saved Moscow from enemies. When Crimean Khan Kazi-Girei attempted to besiege Moscow in 1591, Russian soldiers, who hid behind the powerful walls of the convent, opened fire on the khan’s army and prevented it from entering the city.
When French Emperor Napoleon retreated from Moscow in 1812, he attempted to blow up the Novodevichy convent. However, one of the convent’s nuns managed to put out a fired cord, which led to a cell with gunpowder, several minutes before the explosion.
In 2004, the Moscow Novodevichy convent was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a unique historic and architectural site.
In an interview with the Voice of Russia, the convent’s prioress Mother Margarita Feoktistova said:
“Since the Iver icon was handed over to our convent by Tsar Alexey Romanov, the only time that it left the convent was in 1913, when 300 years of the reign of the Romanov dynasty were celebrated.”
“In 1922, the Bolshevik regime closed the convent and made it a branch of the Moscow Historic Museum. The icon remained in the convent but was kept in a reserve depot.”
“In 2010, a decision was taken to return the convent to the Russian Orthodox Church. The museum left the territory, but it took the Iver icon with itself.”
“We were very sorry to part with the icon,” Mother Margarita says, “but we couldn’t do anything about it because, officially, the icon still belonged to the museum."
“Now we are very glad that the old and much-venerated icon has returned to us.”
At the solemn ceremony on Sunday, Russia’s soon-to-be president Vladimir Putin handed the icon over to Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna. They carried the icon from the convent’s gates to the Smolensk cathedral, where it hung before 1922 and where it will hang now.
In 1906 Queen Alexandra of Great Britain and her sister, the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia purchased Hvidore, a villa on the Danish coast, as their private home. Until 1914, the sisters visited the property every autumn, entertaining friends and many royal relatives in an informal atmosphere. It was indeed a royal retreat.
The First World War put an end to these happy times but in 1919, now exiled from Russia, the Dowager Empress Marie made the villa her home and Hvidore became her Court in exile. In 1920 she was joined by her daughter, the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna and her family, who all lived at Hvidore, not always happily, until the Empress's death in 1928.
Hvidore: A Royal Retreat tells the story of the purchase, renovation, the many royal visitors and finally the sale of this forgotten royal home. This beautiful and informative book is filled with magnificent original photographs from a private collection.
The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara at Buckingham Palace Exhibition Topic: Jewels
The famous Vladimir Tiara, originally owned by the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (1854-1920), the wife of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909) will go on display at a new exhibition hosted at Buckingham Palace this summer.
The Vladimir Tiara, sometimes referred to as the Diamond and Pearl Tiara, was purchased in 1921 by Queen Mary of Great Britain, who bought it from Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. The tiara was sold to Queen Mary along with a diamond riviere for a price of £28,000 (£984,200). Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna, after her marriage to Prince Nicholas of Greece, known always as Princess Nicholas of Greece, had inherited it from her mother Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. The tiara had been smuggled out of Russia by a British diplomat during the 1917 Revolution. Over the years Princess Nicholas of Greece sold various pieces of jewellery from her personal collection; as a refugee, she had to sell the pieces to support her family and various charities.
Queen Mary had the tiara adapted to accommodate the attachment of fifteen of the Cambridge cabochon emeralds. The original Teardrop pearls, originally in the Vladimir Tiara, could be replaced easily as an alternative to the emeralds. Elizabeth II inherited the piece directly from her grandmother. The Diamond and Pearl Tiara is almost exclusively worn with the Cambridge and Delhi Durbar Parure, which also features large emeralds. Elizabeth II wore this tiara for her official photograph as Queen of Canada, as none of the Commonwealth realms besides the United Kingdom has its own crown jewels.
Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration runs from Saturday, 30 June 2012 to Sunday, 7 October 2012 at Buckingham Palace.