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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Naryshkin Treasures on View at Pavlovsk
Topic: Pavlovsk


An exhibit which showcases many of the Naryshkin treasures found in a St. Petersburg mansion last year will go on display today at Pavlovsk Palace.

In March 2012, workers found an enormous cache during the restoration of the former Naryshkin mansion on Tchaikovsky Street in the city center. Nearly 2,000 items dating from the 19th-early 20th centuries had been hidden under the floors by the owners of the mansion prior to their escape from Russia during the Revolution.

Silverware, porcelain, medals and awards, jewellery, among other items were found wrapped in old newspapers, dated June-September 1917.

After their discovery, the cache was carefully packed into 40 boxes and coffers and sent to the Konstantin Palace at Stelna for examination and cataloguing.

In January, about 400 items were transferred to Pavlovsk Palace to be put on display. The Konstantin Palace at Strelna hosted an exhibit last year displaying a portion of its share of treasures. Organizers from both museums note that only half of the Naryshkin treasure has been put on display.

Over the decades similar caches of Imperial treasures have been found hidden in other palaces, including the Yusupov and Shuvalov in St. Petersburg.

The Naryshkin exhibit at Pavlovsk will run until June 1st, 2013. The ultimate fate of the collection has yet to be decided by the Ministry of Culture.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:29 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2013 10:00 AM EST
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Historic St. Petersburg Church to Be Rebuilt
Topic: Russian Church


Church of the Assumption. Artist: Karl Beggrov (1799-1875) 

Architectural excavation work on Sennaya Ploshchad aimed at the possible rebuilding of the Church of the Assumption (also known as the Savior on Sennaya), which was located on the square until it was demolished in the 1960s, will begin next month, Interfax reported.

The square will be surrounded by fencing, and major excavation work will take place, exposing the engineering infrastructure on the site, according to Mikhail Malyushin, described by Interfax as the church’s parish priest.

Archaeological work will continue on the site throughout 2013, during which time the final plans for the new church are also to be worked out, Malyushin said.

Artist's concept of the newly rebuilt Church of the Assumption 

The lead designer of the project, Rafael Dayanov, said that construction of the church could begin in 2014.

The foundation of the original church was uncovered during excavation of an entrance for the Spasskaya metro station.

While former St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko was in office, the idea of rebuilding the church on its historical site was first raised and a small chapel built on the spot. In 2011, work on establishing the original footprint of the church began.

The Church of the Assumption was built on Sennaya Ploshchad in the 18th century and was one of the city’s largest houses of worship. In the early 1960s, the church was demolished to make way for the metro station entrance now standing in the square.

© St. Petersburg Times and Interfax. 13 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:15 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2013 10:00 AM EST
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Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Nicholas II Depicted in Serbian Graffiti
Topic: Nicholas II

A rare historical figure is the subject of a graffiti drawing in Belgrade, Serbia. An enormous image of Emperor Nicholas II can now be found on Ulitsa Tsara Nikolaja II, in the Vrachapy district of the capital. I regret that the artist is unknown.

The Serbian people had great respect for the last Russian Tsar, never forgetting his coming to their aid in World War I.

On 24th July, 1914, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia sent Tsar Nicholas II the following telegram; 

Yesterday the Austro-Hungarian Government presented to the Serbian Government a note about the murders at Serajevo. Ever since this horrible crime was committed Serbia has condemned it. We are willing to investigate the plot and we will severely punish any Serbians who are found to be involved. But, the demands from Austria-Hungary are unnecessarily humiliating for Serbia . However, they say we must agree to all of them in forty-eight hours or Austria-Hungary is threatening us with war. We are prepared to accept some of the conditions but we need more time and the Austro-Hungarian army is already preparing for war.

We are unable to defend ourselves and we beg your Majesty to help us. The friendship which your Majesty has always shown toward Serbia gives us confidence that our appeal to your noble heart will be answered.

On 27th July, 1914, Tsar Nicholas II sent Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia the following reply; 

Your Highness was quite right to contact me and nor were you mistaken about the friendship I have for the Serbian people.

My Government is doing its utmost to smooth away the present difficulties. I have no doubt that neither you nor the Serbian Government will neglect any step which might lead to a settlement, and both prevent the horrors of a war and protect the national dignity of Serbia.

All efforts must be directed at avoiding bloodshed; but if, despite everything, there is war you can rest assured that Russia will never abandon Serbia to her fate.

According to Father Demtrios Serfes, on March 30, 1930, a telegram was published in the Serbian newspapers stating that the Orthodox inhabitants of the city of Leskovats in Serbia had appealed to the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church with a request to raise the question of the canonization of the late Russian Emperor Nicholas II, who was not only a most humane and pure-hearted Ruler of the Russian people, but who also died with the glory of a martyr's death.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 February, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:37 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2013 8:13 AM EST
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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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