Monarchists Call for Patriarch Regiment Topic: Russian Monarchy
Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All the Rus
Monarchists in the Volgograd region have proposed launching special regiments to guard the patriarch and Orthodox sanctuaries.
Activists from the Russian Monarchal Center borrowed the name “Vladychny Polk” (Lord’s Regiment) from the pre-tsar times in Russian medieval history.
If the idea is endorsed by the Patriarch’s blessing, Orthodox squads are to operate nationwide, according the center’s head Mikhail Shorin.
“The events of 2012 demonstrate that the time has come for organized defense of Orthodoxy,” he told Nezavisimaya Gazeta in an interview published on Thursday.
Cyber attacks on the patriarch staged by “Satanists and their supporters,” Pussy Riot’s punk-prayer in the Christ the Savior Cathedral, were among those developments that pushed him to fight for the faith, according to the interview.
Earlier, Orthodox activists united to patrol areas near churches to prevent blasphemous actions of defilers when the controversial Pussy Riot case was being heard in a Moscow court. Cossacks, tsarist-era warriors from southern Russia, started patroling central Moscow last week.
Anti-clerical campaigns swept through the Russian internet and some anti-Kremlin groups after Patriarch Kirill voiced his support for Vladimir Putin during his election campaign.
Russians Celebrate Alexander Nevsky Feast Day Topic: Nevsky, Alexander
On December 6 the Russian Orthodox Church remembers Saint Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky, born in 1219. He was a descendant of Prince Vladimir the Sun, and is considered by the Russian Orthodox Church to be equal to the Apostles.
Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the history of Ancient Rus. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the rose to legendary status on account of his military victories over the German and Swedish invaders while accepting to pay tribute to the powerful Golden Horde.
The Neva battle of 1240 saved Rus from a full-scale enemy invasion from the North. Because of this battle, 19-year-old Alexander was given the sobriquet "Nevsky" (which means of Neva). This victory, coming just three years after the disastrous Mongol invasion of Rus, strengthened Nevsky’s political influence, but at the same time it worsened his relations with the boyars. He would soon have to leave Novgorod because of this conflict.
After Pskov had been invaded by the crusading Livonian Knights, the Novgorod authorities sent for Alexander. In spring of 1241 he returned from his exile, gathered an army, and drove out the invaders. Alexander and his men faced the Livonian heavy cavalry led by the master of the Order, Hermann, brother of Albert of Buxhoeveden. Nevsky faced the enemy on the ice of the Lake Peipus (Lake Chud) and defeated the Teutonic Knights during the Battle of the Ice on April 5, 1242.
In the late 13th century, a chronicle was compiled called the Life of Alexander Nevsky, in which he is depicted as an ideal prince-soldier and defender of Russia.
Veneration of Alexander Nevsky as a saint began soon after his death. The remains of the prince were uncovered in response to a vision, before the Battle of Kulikovo in the year 1380, and found to be incorrupt. He was glorified (canonized) by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547. His principal feast day is November 23 (which falls on December 6 according to the current calendar).
By order of Peter the Great, Nevsky’s relics were transported to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg where they remain to this day. A second feast day was instituted on 30 August in commemoration of this event. He is also commemorated in along with other saints of Rostov and Yaroslavl on May 23.
Tsarskoye Selo Plans Restoration of Arsenal Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Arsenal situated in the Alexander Park and Tsarskoye Selo as it looks today.
Before the Revolution, visitors to the Arsenal at Tsarskoye Selo were struck by the beauty of its interiors, including its arched windows with medieval stained glass windows. Today, the building which is situated in the Alexander Park lies in ruins. After numerous appeals, the Ministry of Culture has allocated funds for "priority restoration work" to be carried out to save the historic building.
Considered the most striking of the Neo-Gothic pavilions in the Alexander Park, the Arsenal was constructed in the early 19th century on the site of Monbijou. The former hunting lodge of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was built in the Baroque style by Rastrelli. It was Emperor Nicholas I who ordered the construction of the new Arsenal.
Monbijou Pavilion. Photo Credit: Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve
Monbijou was partially dismantled in 1819 by the architect Adam Menelaws, and following his death was completed by the Emperor's favourite architect, Konstantin Thon in 1834.
In 1827, the Arsenal became the first public weaponry museum in Russia after Nicholas I had his large weapons collection moved there from the Anitchkov Palace in St. Petersburg.
Once restoration begins, restorers will reply on a series of watercolours by the artist A. Rokstule who painted the interiors of this unique, three-story castle-palace.
Each room displayed a separate group of objects united by a central theme. Thus, the foyer contained suits of armour creating the illusion of an honour guard; the Albanian Room showcased the most valuable objects from the Oriental collection, including Japanese, Chinese, Persian and Turkish weapons; and at the foot of the staircase stood a group of figures demonstrating the initiation of a knight. Marvellous Spanish, Italian and German swords could be viewed in the study, and the library across the hall was filled with firearms.
The interior of the Arsenal was splendid: arrow-shaped windows filled with authentic medieval stained glass acquired at auctions in various European countries. The elegance of light, twisting columns, octagonal halls, delighted visitors. Other rooms included a bed-chamber and a Hall of Knights complete with a round table.
The foot of the staircase in the Arsenal.
During World War II the Arsenal was badly damaged. Now, after more than 70 years of falling into decay and near ruin, the building will be restored and reopened as a museum.
"The state of the building is in a state of emergency," said Natalya Kudryavtseva, Chief Architect at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve. "Workers are not permitted inside the building until scaffolding has been set up. The stairs have been completely destroyed, and it is not safe."
Original fragments of stucco have been found inside the Arsenal, and the structure itself, including the roof have stood the test of time and still in good shape despite more than 70 years of neglect.
The first stage of restoration will secure the doors and windows of the building, reinforce the facade, and begin the restoration of the brick masonry. The debris found in the basement took two weeks to clean up.
There is a legend of an underground passage that linked the Arsenal to the Catherine Palace, however, restorers have not found any evidence of such a tunnel.
The restoration of the Arsenal is expected to take any where from three to five years to complete, at which time it will once again house the extant weapons collection of Emperor Nicholas I, currently in the storage reserves of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve.
Attacks on Church Pre-Revolution Reminder - Patriarch Topic: Russian Church
After the Revolution, the Bolsheviks led brutal attacks against the church in Russia that led to the looting and destruction of churches and monasteries, as well as the persecution and murder of thousands of clergy and Orthodox Christians
In a speech to a group of Cossack commanders, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned the recent string of attacks on the church is similar to what happened before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
“Just like now, back then they performed a reconnaissance by engagement – to see what will be the Orthodox Christians’ reaction. They performed acts of blasphemy, humiliation and provocation,” Patriarch Kirill told the heads of the Cossack hosts of Russia Ukraine and Belarus.
The Patriarch noted that the methods of the “enemies of the Church” (that he again did not name) were too uniform to his taste. “It is all the same, these accusations – in the beginning of the twentieth century, after the revolution and now “. However, he expressed hope that the people of Russia would understand the dangers that come with the attempts to resurrect the spectres of the past.
“The violations of religious rights are committed under an invented excuse of freedom of expression. We all know very well that there can be no freedom of expression if it violates the rights of ethnic groups but it is somehow possible, through the wrongly understood freedom of expression, to insult the believers, destroy their inner world and humiliate their dignity,” the top cleric added.
The Patriarch thanked the Cossacks for their vigilance for preventing many acts of blasphemy and called on them to continue their work to defend the church.
This was not the first time the representatives of the church accused some mysterious unnamed forces of launching a concerted attack against Christianity in Russia. These statements became more often after the mass media started reporting of the clergy’s growing interference in public life, as well as the impious and luxury lifestyles of some of the priests.
The public discussion led to the preparation of a bill that criminalized insults to believer, that is expected to be submitted for approval next year. Also the Church has officially allowed the clergy to take part in elections though their participation in political parties is still banned.
Faces of Russia Exhibit Opens in St. Petersburg Topic: Exhibitions
Portrait of Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna. Artist: Vladimir Makovsky (1912)
The 'Faces of Russia' permanent exhibition has opened in the Mikhailovsky (Engineers) Castle, a division of the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The new exhibit has one of the richest collections of Russian paintings in the world. This is another realization of the idea of the National Portrait Gallery around which the discussions have long been in progress.
As it appears, the collections of Russia’s three leading museums, including the State Tretyakov Gallery and the State Historical Museum in Moscow, and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg can serve as a basis for such a gallery. Each of them has extensive collections of portraits, which are real masterpieces. This became clear during the first exhibition presentation that was arranged by the Historical Museum. Next in turn is the Russian Museum.
The residents of St. Petersburg say that the idea to create a national portrait gallery was expressed by their compatriot - the prominent Russian artist and art critic – Alexander Benois who considered the Mikhailovsky Palace in St. Petersburg to be an ideal place for paintings reflecting Russia’s history. The new exposition of the State Russian Museum, “Faces of Russia”, has been staged exactly in the Mikhailovsky Palace, the exhibition’s curator Yevgeniya Petrova said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
"The exposition is divided into two parts. One is dedicated to the emperor’s portraits and the second – to people belonging to other sections of the population (18th century until modern times). It consists of 220 works, including the paintings of well-known artists – such as Repin, Serov, and Kramskoy, and also the works of less known artists. Among their characters are people well known by historical textbooks but only a few people have their visual images. And visitors to the Mikhailovsky Palace will be able not only to learn more about them but also see their portraits."
The Mikhailovsky or Engineers Castle, St. Petersburg
Of course, the audience is attracted by the possibility to see the portraits of the Russian rulers, including Tsar Ivan the Terrible who ruled in the 16th century, those who ruled after him and the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. There are portraits of the members of the royal family there too. This chapter of the exhibition in the Mikhailovsky Palace resembles the Romanov gallery that existed in the emperor’s palace until the 1917 revolution. By the way, the official portraits of the Russian tsars and tsarinas are arranged close to their allegorical portraits represented as antique gods and heroes. The portraits of the Russian commanders – mainly, the heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812, are also put on display there. Of course, visitors to the Mikhailovsky Palace can see the portraits of politicians, priests, representatives of the of the world of arts, and rich merchants. The portraits of ordinary people, including town-dwellers and countrymen are also displayed in the Mikhailovsky Palace. The works of old masters have something in common with the works of the 20th - century artists: in the Soviet era times preference was given to the images of workers and peasants – in other words, to the front-rank workers and of course, to the portraits of their leaders. Of interest here is the fact that the photo portraits of visitors to the exhibition – the people of the 21st century are the last in this “historical circle”.
It is not clear yet how the idea of a national portrait gallery will be realized. However, there is a modern and well-tested way of uniting the collections of all museums –the multi-media Internet-portal. Representatives of the museum community favour this proposal.
Together with the letters and pictures offered by Prince Nicholas Romanovich, the Hotel Des Ventes in Geneva is offering some 3000 Russian items including other rare photographs of the Russian Imperial family from the private collection of Ferdinand Thormeyer, who served as tutor at the Russian Court, and some 46 pages of love letters from Tsar Alexander II to his mistress, Princess Katia Dolgourovky.
*Note: The full catalogue consists of 372 pages. I have only included the pages from the catalogue which reflect the Romanov letters and photographs being offered in the auction.
Nicholas Romanovich Meets Journalists at His Home in Switzerland Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds Topic: Nicholas Romanovich
Journalists were invited to the home of Nicholas Romanovich last week to get a preview of the items of his personal collection which will go under the hammer this month. Among the items are letters, photographs and other personal belongings of his ancestors, including his great-great uncle, Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich.
Nicholas told journalists that his decision to sell these heirlooms is in the hope that they will help shed further light on the history of the Russian Imperial family in anticipation of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 2013.
"Of course, I am sorry to part with all of this, but I am 90 now. I made the decision," he told journalists.
In 1915, Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich was relieved of his duties as Commander-in-Chief when Tsar Nicholas II took over the military lead, but Nicholas Romanovich, who was born four years after the Tsar's murder in 1918, has kept his Grand Uncle's military cap, that he's selling at the Geneva auction. "When I found this, I tried it of course, not because I wanted, but because I knew, that if it didn't really fit me, and you see on these photographs, it never reached the back of his (Nicholas Nicholayevich) head", Nicholas Romanov told journalists.
The auction which consists of some 3,000 items will be held at Hôtel des Ventes of Geneva on December 10th.
Alexander II Statue Returns to Sofia Topic: Alexander II
The landmark statue of Russian Emperor Alexander II was returned to the square in front of Parliament in Sofia Thursday, after undergoing repair.
The statue of the mounted tsar was re-assembled, with workers installing a headless horse first, then installing its head and the torso of the tsar.
Some of the legs of the horse had to be replaced because of wear, and other parts of the statue and the additional figures that went missing had to be also replaced.
Svetoslav Glosov, who was part of the team responsible for the reconstruction, defended the procedure used as both innovative and flawless.
During the restoration process there were controversial reports that the landmark statue is not being taken adequate care of.
Around December 20, a photo exhibition will open at the Sofia Central Bath documenting the whole process.
The restored monument will be officialy inaugurated on March 3, the day of the peace contract in the 1877-8 Russo-Turkish war led by Alexander II, which resulted in Bulgaria's liberation from the Ottoman Empire.
Nicholas Romanovich Presents Romanov History Topic: Nicholas Romanovich
Nicholas Romanovich at his home in Switzerland presents his personal collection of Romanov memorabilia to journalists, which included letters, photographs and other personal items of his ancestors.
In the framework of the forthcoming Special Russia sale, Bernard Piguet, director and chief auctioneer at the Hôtel des Ventes of Geneva, invited journalists to a press conference on November 29th that was attended by Nicholas Romanovich, head of the Romanov Family Association.
The eldest living representative of the House of Romanov and a direct descendant of Emperor Nicholas I answered questions by journalists and commented on the photographs and letters of Tsar Nicholas II and his uncle Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich, supreme commander of the armies of the Russian Empire which will be part of the upcoming auction on December 10, 2012.
Initially, the press conference was to be held in Geneva; however, the weather forced the 90-year-old to change his plans. Instead, journalists were invited to his home in the town of Rougemont, located in the eastern Swiss canton of Vaud.
“These documents lay in a box owned by my grandfather for a very long time,” said Nicholas Romanovich, “then - they were handed down to my father - and then to me. I hope that the letters will fall into the hands of competent people who will one day write a new biography about my ancestors.”
Letter from Tsar Nicholas II to Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich
Photographs and cabinet cards of Tsar Nicholas II
The cap worn by Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich as seen in the photograph
Grand Duke Peter Nicholayevich (his grandfather), Nicholas Romanovich as a child, Prince Roman Petrovich (his father)
Peter the Great's House in the Netherlands to Be Renovated Topic: Peter the Great
The 17th century house in the Dutch city of Zaandam where Russian tsar Peter the Great lived during the first days of his 1697 visit to Holland was closed for renovation on Thursday, RIA Novosti reports. “The museum closes for the work and will reopen in March 2013,” said Zaans Museum, which administers the building. The renovation is due to take about three months.
The house was built in 1632 from old ship's wood. A heavy wooden frame was built in late 19th century to support the old structure. Later it was encased in a brick building on the order of Russia’s last tsar Nicholas II.
Peter the Great, who came to power at the end of the 17th century, was determined to modernize Russia. At the age of 25, he travelled to the Dutch Republic, the leading power at that time. It was his first foreign visit.
Peter the Great stayed in Zaandam only for the eight days and studied shipbuilding incognito, posing as a Russian carpenter named Pyotr Mikhailov.
The house was designated a historical monument in the 18th century. It was handed over to the Russian royal family in 1886, but in 1948 the heirs of the Romanov family returned the building to The Netherlands.