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Monday, 11 February 2013
Grand Imperial Crown Showcased in St. Petersburg
Topic: Jewels




It took six months to make the replica of the Grand Imperial Crown that was showcased at a jewelers’ forum in St. Petersburg. Sixty jewelers from Smolensk made it for the 250th anniversary of the coronation of Catherine the Great and the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. A total of 11 thousand diamonds adorn the white gold crown.

The Imperial Crown of Russia, also known as the Great Imperial Crown, was used by the Emperors of Russia until the monarchy's abolition in 1917. The Great Imperial Crown was first used in a coronation by Catherine II, and was last used at the coronation of Nicholas II. Since December 20, 2000, the Imperial Crown has appeared on the Coat of arms of the Russian Federation.

It is currently on display in the Moscow Kremlin Armoury State Diamond Fund. No one is allowed even to touch that, and therefore that replica is the only one in the world. Jewelers are confident that a second replica will never be made. The replica will be exhibited in several Russian cities later this year.

© RIA Novosti. 11 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:21 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 19 December 2013 7:54 AM EST
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Sunday, 10 February 2013
Destruction of the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, 1931
Now Playing: Language: NA. Duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds
Topic: Russian Church

The site of the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow is a very important one for urban developers. After the revolution this, along with ideological principles, became the reason for the decision to destroy the Cathedral. The plan entailed constructing a grandiose Palace of Soviets on the site of the Cathedral. This palace was meant to be the largest building in the world - a monument to victorious socialism and Lenin - the leader of the world proletariat. A new Moscow, with no vestiges of the "cursed past and its' monuments" was to arise around this Palace. A massive wave of propaganda preceded the actual destruction. The newspapers wrote, "the Cathedral is grotesque and totally inartistic", that "the Cathedral is a poisonous mushroom on Moscow's face" and that it was "a source of slothfulness" and so forth.

The first explosions rocked the Cathedral at noon on December 5, 1931, as per the decision of Stalin's politburo. The memorial to military glory and the most important church in Russia was brutally vandalized and destroyed.

It took more than a year to clear the debris from the site. Some of the marble from the walls and marble benches from the cathedral were used in nearby Moscow Metro stations. The original marble high reliefs were preserved and are now on display at the Donskoy Monastery. For a long time, these were the only reminders of the largest Orthodox church ever built.

Russia sank ever deeper into the destructive gloom of atheism…

In February 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church received permission from the Soviet Government to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. A temporary cornerstone was laid by the end of the year. The restorer Aleksey Denisov was called upon to design a replica of extraordinary accuracy.

Christ the Saviour Cathedral dominates the Moscow skyline 

The lower church was consecrated to the Saviour's Transfiguration in 1996, and the completed Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was consecrated on the Transfiguration Day, 19 August 2000.

In 2000 the cathedral was the venue for the Canonization of the Romanovs when the last Tsar Nicholas II and his family were glorified as saints. On 17 May 2007, the Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was signed there. The full restoration of communion with the Moscow Patriarchate was celebrated by a Divine Liturgy at which the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Alexis II  and the First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Laurus, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy for the first time in history.

© Paul Gilbert. 10 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:35 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 11 February 2013 5:55 AM EST
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Saturday, 9 February 2013
Exhibition in Honour of 300th Anniversary of Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra
Topic: Exhibitions


A photo exhibition dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Saint Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra (situated at St. Petersburg) opened this week in Moscow.

The exhibition will run from February 6 to 18 in the Sergey Andriyaka Water Colour and Fine Arts Academy. The exhibit will present 46 photo works dedicted to the architecture and history of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, as well as the modern-day life of the historic monastery.

The photographer of these historical images is Charles Bulla, who is considered “the father of Russian photography”. Bulla and his sons created a unique photo chronicle of events of the first half early 20th century Russia, including historical images of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra at the beginning of the last century before its ruin in the Soviet period. The photographer of the contemporary images also on display is the pictorialist Mikhail Manin.

A performance by the Festive Chorus of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra will take place at the Academy on February 15th.

© and Voice of Russia. 09 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:39 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 9 February 2013 7:54 PM EST
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Friday, 8 February 2013
Faberge's 1917 Blue Tsarevich Constellation Egg
Topic: Faberge




Yesterday, I posted an article on Royal Russia News about the Faberge: Legacy of Imperial Russia exhibit, which opened this week at the Heritage Museum in Hong Kong.

The exhibition, which runs until April 29th features 4 Imperial Easter Eggs made by the workshops of Karl Faberge. One that will arouse the interest of visitors will be the unfinished 1917 Blue Tsarevich Constellation Egg.

The Constellation Egg is one of 2 Easter eggs created by Faberge for Emperor Nicholas II in 1917. It was the last Imperial egg made by Faberge, becoming a symbol of the collapse of the Russian Empire.

The egg was never finished or presented to its intended recipient, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, due to the Russian Revolution of 1917 which brought an end to the Romanov dynasty and the monarchy.

The Constellation Egg, as is known from 1917 documents, was made of dark blue glass with an opaque crystal base. There are stars that are marked by rose-cut diamonds. The zodiac sign of Leo is engraved on the glass. The Heir to the Russian throne, the Tsarevich Alexei Nicholayevich (1904-1918) was a Leo, born on August 12 [O.S. July 30] 1904.

In recent years, this particular egg has been the subject of a dispute between two museums: the Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow, and the Faberge Museum in Baden Baden, Germany.

In 2001, an unfinished egg was found at the Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow. The clockwork and the dial were missing. Most experts believe it to be the unfinished 1917 egg by Faberge. This particular item is without diamonds, and this is the egg currently on display at the Hong Kong exhibition.

Russian millionaire Alexander Ivanov claims that he owns the original (and finished) egg. In 2003-2004 he said that he had acquired this egg in the 1990s and affirms that "the Fersman Museum erroneously continues to claim that it has the original egg. Some experts and their research clearly support the Alexander Ivanov egg as genuine." Fersman museum authorities, however, consider this as "nonsense" and "fake."

Most Faberge experts believe that the Ivanov egg is in fact a modern egg modelled after the unfinished 1917 original egg found in the Fersman Museum in 2001.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 February, 2013





Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:54 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 26 June 2017 10:36 AM EDT
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Thursday, 7 February 2013
WWI Russian Soldiers Honoured in Paris
Topic: Russian History


 Monument to the 1916 Russian Expeditionary Force at Paris

On February 5 representatives of Russia and France laid wreaths at the monument honoring Russian soldiers on the bank of the Seine in Paris. Sergey Naryshkin, speaker of the Russian State Duma, took part in the ceremony, RIA Novosti reports.  

In 1916 the Russian Expeditionary Force was sent to Europe to assist allies during World War I. The Russian soldiers together with French troops defended the Champagne-Ardenne region. The Russian infantry performed a key role in stopping the German army and preventing the capture of Paris.

“Without Russia’s participation, many of the battles of the Allies would have ended differently, and for France in particular,” said General Elrick Irastorza, who heads the France’s interdepartmental commission on commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

Following the February Revolution, the Russian Expeditionary Force was demobilized, but approximately 1000 Russian volunteers continued to serve among allied forces. This group was called the Russian Legion of Honor.

The monument to the Russian Expeditionary Force was unveiled in summer of 2011 during a visit to France by Vladimir Putin. It is situated in the historical center on the right bank of the Seine not far from the Grand Palais and Pont Alexandre III.

The Russian delegation met at L'Hôtel national des Invalides with representatives of France to discuss preparations for the 100th anniversary of World War I in Moscow and Paris.

© Russkiy Mir and RIA Novosti. 07 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:22 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2013 3:27 PM EST
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Australian Cossacks Save the Graves of Russian Soldiers
Topic: Cossacks


Cossack graves in Rookwood cemetery in Sydney, which have not been looked after for a long time, will in part be cared for by their descendants—Cossacks of the Australian Embassy ‘stanitsa’ (section) of the Trans-Ural Cossack army. The relevant agreement between Cossack representatives and the cemetery management was signed today.

Those present at the meeting examined the cemetery and drew up a scheme of work for the immediate future. On the same day, several graves were tidied up, including that of the Colonel of the Orenburg Cossack army, Stepan Ivanovich Nesterenko, born 1893.

Mark Boondy, representing the cemetery administration, was delighted at the Cossacks' initiative and noted that a great many graves in the cemetery are seriously neglected, even though some relatives are still alive. "It would be better to have less talk and argue about the various plans, and instead start carrying them out straightaway. That is also a reflection of the Cossack spirit— to put words into action straightaway," said in turn the head of the Australian Embassy stanitsa, Semion Boikov.

Thousands of Russian soldiers and exiles are currently buried in Australia: officers and soldiers of the Imperial Army, engineers, pilots, doctors, scientists, and representatives of nearly all the Cossack armies: the Trans-Baikal, the Kuban, the Don, the Ussuriysk and the Orenburg.

© 07 February, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:04 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2013 8:21 AM EST
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A Tribute to Alexander Kolchak
Topic: Kolchak, Admiral

Click here to listen to Voice of Russia's tribute to Alexander Kokchak

There are people of so many accomplishments living such eventful lives that any attempt to paint their full portrait is futile. One such person was Alexander Kolchak, a naval officer, Polar explorer and an anti-Bolshevik leader proclaimed Supreme Ruler of Russia. Voice of Russia offers this tribute to this outstanding personality.

© Voice of Russia. 07 February, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:29 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2013 3:03 PM EST
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Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Restoration of Naval Cathedral at Kronstadt Near Completion
Topic: Russian Church


Preparations for the long awaited opening of the Naval Cathedral at Kronstadt are near completion, according to Andrew Lyalin, Director of the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg.

"The cathedral has undergone a complete restoration and will open its doors in May, marking its 100th anniversary," said Lyalin at a press conference today.

The cathedral took 10 years to build, 1903-1913, and served as the main church of the Baltic Fleet and dedicated to all fallen seamen.

The cathedral was closed in 1929, and was converted into a cinema, a House of Officers (1939), a club and concert hall (1956) and a Museum of the Navy (1974).

The Russian Orthodox Church installed a cross on the main dome of the cathedral in 2002, and served the first Divine Liturgy in the cathedral in 2005, the first since 1929. In April 2012, the cathedral was consecrated by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill I.

A complete restoration of the Naval Cathedral at Kronstadt began in 2009 and cost 1.3 billion rubles ($43 million USD). Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said the cathedral "looked better than it did a hundred years ago."

© Paul Gilbert. 06 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:35 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2013 6:55 AM EST
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Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Exhibition: Wilhelm II and Anna Pavlovna. Royal Luxury of Dutch Courtyard
Topic: Exhibitions


Wilhelm II and Anna Pavlovna with their family, 1832. Artist: Jean-Baptiste Van der Hulst (1790-1862) 

In 2013, the Netherlands, Russia, and the city of Amsterdam will celebrate their special relationship. The two countries have been major trading partners since the Dutch Golden Age, and their ties grew stronger in the centuries that followed. When Napoleon was defeated in 1813, Russian Cossacks advanced as far as the gates of Amsterdam.

On 21 February 1816 at the Chapel of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, the daughter of Emperor Paul I, Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna married Wilhelm the Prince of Orange, who would later become King William II of the Netherlands.

In honour of Russia-Netherlands Year, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg will host an exhibition dedicated to Anna Pavlovna and Wilhelm II, in the Armorial Hall of the Winter Palace. The exhibition will open on 25th September, 2013 and run until 12th January, 2014.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:15 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2013 5:30 AM EST
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Monday, 4 February 2013
Exhibition: Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar
Topic: Exhibitions

Early in 2013, a year of celebration in Dutch-Russian relations, the Hermitage Amsterdam will present a major exhibition devoted to Peter the Great (1672–1725), the modernizer of Russia.

The exhibition will paint a picture of this unconventional, inspired and inquisitive Russian tsar, who by the time he took power at the age of 17 was determined to transform his country. His achievements include reforming the military and the church, expanding trade and industry, and improving education and public health. He turned Russia into a great European power with a brand-new capital city: St Petersburg, his “window on the West.”

With historical artefacts, paintings, gold jewellery from the ancient world, weapons and unique documents, the exhibition will sketch the life of this peerless ruler.

From his youth Peter collected art, including a Rembrandt, planting the seed for St Petersburg’s later Hermitage collection. An enthusiastic traveller, he went two visits to Western Europe, including the Dutch Republic. It was the city of Amsterdam, in particular, that inspired him to found his new capital. Peter befriended many leading figures in Dutch society, such as Nicolaas Witsen (mayor of Amsterdam), Christoffel van Brants (shipper, and grain and arms merchant), Albert Seba (apothecary and collector of natural curiosities) and Frederik Ruysch (physician, anatomist and botanist). Like a sponge, he absorbed what they taught him about shipbuilding, making instruments, carpentry, etching, dissection, pulling teeth, making paper, gardening, bookmaking, and much more.

Find out how this knowledge bore fruit in Russia during your visit to Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar. You will also find many of Peter’s personal effects, such as his suits and one of his coaches, which show how profoundly he was influenced by Western tastes.

The exhibition will be based on the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, with additional pieces from the collections of museums and institutions in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Exhibition Center - Hermitage Amsterdam

9 March - 13 September, 2013

© Hermitage Amsterdam. 04 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2013 5:11 AM EST
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