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Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Patriarch Kirill visits Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem
Topic: Russian Church


As he continued his pilgrimage to holy places in Jerusalem, the Primate of the Russian Church visited the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene at the Garden of Gethsemane and said a prayer there for the holy martyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna and Sister Varvara.

The mother superior of the convent, Elizaveta (Schmelts), presented Patriarch Kirill with a portrait of the wife of Emperor Alexander II, Empress Maria Alexandrovna, noting that she gave a great support to the work of Father Antonin (Kapustin), the founder of ‘the Russian Palestine’.

Addressing the archpastors, nuns and pilgrims, Patriarch Kirill said that the last time he had been in that church it looked desolated, but in recent years it was transformed ‘as the golden cupolas of the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene began to sparkle again over Jerusalem’.

‘Looking at this beauty… we cannot but recall the feat performed by those who laid the foundation for the presence of Russian holiness and Russian devotion here’.

It was Father Antonin (Kapustin), he said, who proposed to Grand Dukes Sergey and Pavel Alexandrovich, who came to Jerusalem together with Grand Duke Constantine, that a church and a monastery be erected there, and the royal brothers accepted it and expressed the wish that the church be devoted to their pious mother, Empress Maria Alexandrovna.

In 1888, he continued, the church was consecrated in the presence of Grand Duke Sergey and his wife Elizabeth Fyodorovna, who was not yet Orthodox at that time. ‘And we know that she became Orthodox not only of necessity but also because of her beliefs. All that was to happen to her later pointed to the profundity of her faith with which she adopted Holy Orthodoxy’.

Elizabeth Fyodorovha did not choose an easy way during the 1917 Revolution. She stayed with her suffering people ‘who rose in rebellion against each other and God’. She suffered martyrdom at Alapayevsk in the Urals. ‘Later, by God’ mercy’ her honourable remains were taken through Siberia, the Far East and China to the Holy Land to rest here’, Patriarch Kirill said.

‘For a long time the Russian Church bore the stamp of terrible divisions, but by God’s mercy and through the intercession of the Royal Passion-Bearers the spiritual, canonical and Eucharistic communion of the parts of the Russian Church divided by human ill will has been restored… Many believed that the 1917 Revolution and the Civil War was the end of the world, the coming of Antichrist, the end of history. One can imagine what our devoted ancestors felt seeing the destruction of churches, defilement of shrines, the triumph of the theomachist power who insulted people’s deepest religious feelings – the feelings which have always been inherent in our people. It seemed there was no deliverance. Later, it took only a few days to have the chains cast off and our Church was given an opportunity to unite and, most importantly, to bear witness to the inscrutable ways of Divine Providence.

‘Today our people, tempted by new attacks of godliness based on a somewhat different ideology but having the same goal, face the risk of repeating the terrible mistakes of the past. Standing here we realize with special clarity how important it is not to repeat the same mistake, not to blaspheme holy places, not to destroy God’s cause which has been built by many generations in our Motherland’.

Patriarch Kirill thanked Archbishop Mark of Berlin-Germany and Great Britain for his concern for the part of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission which is under the jurisdiction of the Synod of the Russian Church Outside Russia.

© DECR Communications. 13 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:50 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2012 7:55 AM EST
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Romanov Palace at Borjomi to Become Museum


Metropolitan Seraphim of Borjomi-Bakuriani and Georgian MP Gedevan Popkhadze have put forward an initiative to transform the Likani Palace at Borjomi into a museum.

Borjomi is situated in south central Georgia. During the Tsarist period the region was popular for its warm climate, its mineral springs, and forests making it a popular summer resort for Russia's aristocracy.

In 1871, Borjomi was bestowed upon Grand Duke Mikhail Nicholayevich, who had been appointed the Viceroy of the Caucasus region. In the 1890s, his son Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich (1859-1919) built a magnificent Tuscan style residence and surrounding park at Litani, at the western end of Borjomi.

The palace was designed by L. Benois and built in 1892-95 by the architect L. Bielfeld. 

Since 2004, the palace has served as the residence of the Georgian President and recently it was reported that the palace and grounds was transferred to the Economy Ministry. The idea to turn the palace into a museum was expressed by many tourist companies in the region, who claim that at least 70% of tourists in the area want to visit the palace.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 November, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:35 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2012 7:44 AM EST
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Monday, 12 November 2012
Patriarch Kirill and Grand Duchess Maria Discuss Ekaterinburg Remains
Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD




HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia 

On November 6, 2012, during a meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Head of the Russian Imperial Family, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, raised the question of the position that the Russian Orthodox Church takes on the evidence discovered in Brussels. It was originally found in 1918 by the investigator Nikolai Sokolov at Ganina Pit near Ekaterinburg, the site connected to the tragedy of the Royal Family.

In the opinion of several scholars and public figures, the physical materials discovered in Brussels should spur further research with the aim of establishing the truth of the matter of identifying the so-called “Ekaterinburg remains.”

At the present time, the Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is not prepared to assume as a fact the results of the genetic testing of the Ekaterinburg remains, since their representatives were not granted access to the information on exactly which genetic materials were used for comparing data.

During the meeting, His Holiness declared that the Church is prepared to participate in continuing research of the identification of the remains of the Royal Family with the consideration of the newly-found materials, on the basis of transparency in the expertise and access to all genetic materials connected to the Romanov Dynasty. His Holiness expressed the hope that such research will help establish the truth, which many Orthodox faithful hope for.

© 12 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:21 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:56 PM EDT
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Sunday, 11 November 2012
Russian Auction Offers Alexander II Letters
Topic: Auctions


Six letters of Emperor Alexander II to Princess Catherine Dolgorukova, dated January-February 1868, will be  auctioned today at the Central House of Artists in Moscow.

The letters are valued at 230,000-300,000 roubles (7,200-9500 USD). 

The auction will also offer orders, medals and insignia of the Russian Empire, busts, portraits and photographs of the Russian Emperors and members of their families, as well as porcelain from the Imperial yacht Tsarevna.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:45 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 12 November 2012 8:02 AM EST
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Saturday, 10 November 2012
Chesmenskiy Palace - St. Petersburg
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 5 minutes
Topic: Palaces

Over the years I have often been asked about the fate of the Chesmenskiy - or Chesme - Palace in St. Petersburg. I am happy to report that the palace has survived, but the facade and interiors have been greatly altered over the past century.

Located in the south of St. Petersburg, just off Moskovskiy Prospekt, the Chesmenskiy Palace was built in the reign of Catherine the Great as a waypost for the Imperial court on the road to Tsarskoye Selo. The palace was designed by the court architect Yuri Felten and, like his design for the neighbouring Chesme Church, it shows the influence of the early gothic revival in England, and particularly Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill villa in Twickenham.

A triangular building with three corner towers around a central turret, the palace was completed in 1777 and named in honour of a major naval victory at Chesme Bay (1770) during the Russo-Turkish War. The Round Hall in the central turret was used by the Empress to present the Order of St. George, the highest military honour of Russia, to commanders including Field-Marshals Kutuzov and Suvorov.

The palace retained its role until the 1830s, when it was turned into an almshouse for veterans wounded in the Napoleonic Wars. Not only were the battlements of the central turret removed, but architecturally unremarkable four-storey wings were added to each of the three corners of the palace to provide more space for accommodation.

Since the Second World War, the Chesmenskiy Palace has been home to part of the State University of Aerospace Instrumentation (formerly the Leningrad Institute of Aircraft Instrument-making).

The famous Chesme or Green-frog Dinner Service displayed in the Hermitage was commissioned especially for the palace by Catherine the Great from the Wedgwood potteries in Staffordshire, England.

The Chesmenskiy Palace is not open to the public.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:25 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 11 November 2012 7:07 AM EST
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Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Visits Ingushetia


Ingush leader Yunus-bek greets HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna upon her arrival at Magas aiport  

The head of the House of Romanov, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna has arrived in the Republic of Ingushetia in Russia's North Caucasus for an official visit.

Ingush leader Yunus-bek Yevkurov greeted the guest at Magas airport and presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

Grand Duchess Maria, who is paying her first visit to Ingushetia, was also treated to traditional Ingush cakes and halva, an Interfax correspondent reported.

She held an official meeting with Yevkurov in Magas on Thursday evening.

"Speaking on behalf of the republic's multiethnic population and me personally, I would like to thank you for coming to Ingushetia. It is a great honor for us to welcome such a distinguished guest. Your visit is a very important historic event in the life of the Ingush people and Russia as a whole because our people have had very warm relations with the House of Romanov for a long time," Yevkurov said.

The Ingush people's courageous service to Russia can be proved by multiple historical facts, he said, adding that ethnic Ingush soldiers had fought in the Russo-Turkish War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War II.

"A vivid example of our endless loyalty to the Fatherland was the great feat of the Caucasus Indigenous Mounted Division at the frontline in Galicia during World War I under the command of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich," he said.

During her five-day visit to Ingushetia, the grand duchess will be able to gain an insight into the republic's history, culture and economy. She will also visit several educational institutions and meet with the republic's intelligentsia. The grand duchess said earlier that she would like to travel to Ingushetia's mountains, where Tkhaba-Yardy, one of Russia's oldest Christian churches, is located.

© Interfax. 10 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:25 AM EST
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Christies Offers Postcards Signed by OTMA
Topic: Auctions


On 29 November, Christie’s in London will offer for sale the largest group of Russian books and manuscripts with noble provenance to come to auction in decades.

Included are a collection of 29 autograph postcards signed by the four daughters of Tsar Nicholas II: Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia (OTMA). The cards are addressed to Daria Petrovna Gesse, mostly with greetings on holidays and feast days, in Russian, most of them sent from Tsarskoye Selo, 1910-1918. The cards each measure c. 87 x 140mm, together in a modern blue half morocco slip-case. They are expected to sell for £15,000 - £20,000 ($23,970 - $31,960).

© Christies and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 10 November 2012 8:26 AM EST
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Friday, 9 November 2012
Head of the Russian Imperial House Meets Patriarch Kirill in Moscow
Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD


A.N. Zakatov, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill 

On November 6th, a meeting took place between Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill and HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladmirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House. The meeting took place at the patriarchal residence in the Danilov Monastery in Moscow.

Also in attendance were the Chairman of the Synodal Department for the Cooperation of Church and Society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin; Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Abbot Philaret (Bulekov); and Director of HIH Chancellery, A.N. Zakatov.

His Holiness addressed his guests with words of welcome and spoke about National Unity Day. His Holiness said that the establishment of the festival in 2005 dedicated to the liberation of Moscow and all Russia from foreign invaders, is now widely celebrated across Russia. He went on to say that the event acquired a special significance this year noting the events towards the end of the Time of Troubles 400 years ago.

His Holiness further highlighted the role of the Church in Russian society, and the challenges faced by people of faith in the modern world.

In conclusion, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna presented Patriarch Kirill with the Order of Saint Andrew - the highest order of the Russian Imperial House. Expressing her gratitude to His Holiness, she said that the award  "symbolized the close relationship shared between the Imperial family and the Russian Orthodox Church, of our oneness of mind, a joint understanding of the many challenges which face the Fatherland, and the many problems that exist in today's society."

© Paul Gilbert. 09 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:51 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 9 November 2012 7:37 AM EST
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Thursday, 8 November 2012
New Exhibition Explores Persecutions of the Russian Church
Topic: Exhibitions

Stalin orders the destruction of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, December 5th, 1931 

A new exhibition Overcoming: The Russian Church and Soviet Power will be held from November 8 to December 9 in the State Central Museum of Modern History of Russia in Moscow.

The exposition is dedicated to the persecutions that the Church was subject to during the Soviet era.

According to the rector of Orthodox St. Tikhon University Archpriest Vladimir Vorobyov, within 20 years its historians have collected numerous evidences of confession and martyrdom, traced thousands of destinies, analyzed the history of the intra church disputes provoked by persecutors, and bright pages of fight of the atheistic state against the Orthodox Church.

According to the organizers, the main goal of the exhibition is “to display the history of spiritual resistance to godlessness and to learn the lessons taught by our martyrs to us”.

© 08 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:45 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2012 7:00 AM EST
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Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Russians Reflect on Bolshevik Revolution in 1917
Topic: Bolsheviks


Almost one-third of Russians believe the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 jumpstarted the country’s development and opened a new page in its history, according to a poll published on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reports.

However, the share of respondents with a positive view of the revolution has declined over the past decade, from 34 to 27 percent, the All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion on Social and Economic Issues (VTsIOM) poll said.

At the same time the share of the people who see the revolution as “a catastrophe for our country” has increased from 10 percent to 18 percent. About 43 percent of respondents said the root cause of the revolution was the miserable life of the people with 17 percent saying a weak government was a factor and 11 percent blaming the Bolsheviks’ “political unscrupulousness.”

Some 40 percent said the revolution, though a mixed blessing, was inevitable, while 37 percent believed the needless loss of human life and the trouble it caused meant there was no justification for it. Eighteen percent said they would observe Revolution Day on November 7, compared to 16 percent who said they would celebrate National Unity Day on November 4.

© Russkiy Mir. 07 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:30 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2012 8:16 AM EST
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