French Cathedral Declared Russian Property Topic: Russian Church
A French Court has ruled that one of the country's largest cathedrals is actually the property of Russia as it was paid for by Tsar Nicholas II.
France’s Court of Cassation has upheld Russia’s ownership of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Nice, thus making the final decision over a seven-year dispute, AFP reports on Thursday.
In 2010, the Nice Superior Court declared Russia to be the rightful owner of St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral, dismissing a claim by the Russian Orthodox Association of Nice (ACOR), which had managed the church for over 80 years.
The ACOR filed an appeal with a court in the French city of Aix-en-Provence and refused to vacate the church. In May 2011, the court ruled in Russia’s favor and the ACOR representatives had to give up the keys and leave, but they filed a second appeal with a higher court.
The Court of Cassation has made the case final.
St. Nicholas Cathedral, the largest Russian Orthodox Cathedral outside Russia, was built in 1912 in Nice and opened by Tsar Nicholas II, who had funded the construction, in the same place where his uncle, Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich died in 1865. The land on which the church was built had been purchased by Alexander II. In the 1920s, the church came under ACOR management, however their lease to the church expired on December 31 2007.
In 2006, Russia decided to retrieve its property and filed a lawsuit to this aim. The church is a popular tourist attraction with up to 150,000 people visiting it annually, according to the French media.
A new exhibition, being held in the Assumption Belfry, incorporates outstanding artworks from the Moscow Kremlin Museums’ collection, that have passed through the hands of restorers over the last ten - fifteen years. The exposition serves as a representation of the profound research and scientific work, being carrying out in the museum but still staying a veiled mystery to our visitors.
Ninety five XIVth-XXth century masterpieces, made from various materials and finished with various techniques, are exposed at the exhibition. The museums’ specialists, having mastered to perfection the art of restoration, successfully employ current technologies and innovations in the restoration industry and show an exquisite workmanship in renovating artworks and historical artifacts. Their diligence and proficiency gave us an opportunity to admire the beauty and splendour of the restored items therefore to learn more about our past.
The exhibition runs until August 11th, 2013 in the Assumption Belfry of the Moscow Kremlin.
Help Keep the Memories of Old Russia Alive Topic: Royal Russia
If you enjoy the daily news, videos and photographs on this blog, as well as our main web site, please consider supporting our ongoing work by purchasing our magazines and calendars (coming September 2013). The proceeds help offset the costs of maintaining this blog and web site, translation costs and much more. Plus, earlier this year, Royal Russia initiated a new campaign: Giving Back to Russia - which provides donations to Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof for restoration work and the acquisition of items for their respective museum collections.
The magazines and calendars will be enjoyed by any one with an interest in the Romanov dynasty or Imperial Russia. Not only will they make great additions to your own personal library, but make the perfect gifts to friends and family who share your interest in these subjects.
Romanov Treasures to Return to Russia Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Angelica and Paul Ilyinsky, in a 1999 photograph. Source: Palm Beach Daily News
The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve is to receive a collection of items from the American descendants of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich.
Michael Romanoff Ilyinsky, the son of Paul Ilyinsky (1928-2004), and grandson of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich will present the museum with a gift which includes "more than 100 photographs, dozens of books, and portraits of members of the Imperial family."
"The personal items related to my grandfather returning to Russia are only part of the family archive," said Ilyinsky in New York, "the remainder of the collection will eventually find its way home to Russia." - Source: Itar-Tass
A Russian Moment 10 - The Children's Island at Tsarskoye Selo Topic: A Russian Moment
The Children's Island is situated in the Alexander Park at Tsarskoye Selo, and a short walk from the Alexander Palace.
Dominating the tiny island is a pavilion simply known as the Children's House. It was built in 1830 according to the design of the Russian architect Alexei Gornostayev for the children of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855). The house, island and pond were all later enjoyed by the August children of his successors: Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II.
The pavilion contained a Drawing-Room, and four small rooms; to the right of the Drawing-Room were the Rooms of the Tsesarevich Alexander Nicholaevich (the future Emperor Alexander II) and his sister, Grand Duchess Maria Nicholaevna, and to the left the Rooms of Grand Duchesses Alexandra Nicholaevna and Olga Nicholaevna. The rooms were decorated very simply; the ceilings painted in the Empire style and in the style of Louis XVI, and included children's furniture.
The Children's Island is currently in terrible state of disrepair and neglect. During the 1990s, the Pavilion was used by the homeless and by drug addicts, who left the interiors in an appalling state. The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve have plans to eventually restore the pavilion and island and to incorporate it into the museum complex.
The Children's Island will be the subject of the next installment of My Russia, which will appear in Royal Russia Annual No. 4, to be published in August 2013.
My article will provide interesting facts and details on the history and use of the Children's Island and House based on Russian language sources, and will also include a floor plan of the Children's House and my own photographs which I took during two successive visits to Tsarskoye Selo in which I actually walked on the island to view the Children's House and the pet cemetery up close.
Witches had been burned at the stake in Medieval Russia, as they were throughout Europe. However by the 18th century the occult had become fashionable and spiritualist groups were common throughout Russia. Mediums and secretive societies were particularly popular during the reign of Catherine the Great. Occultists like Cagliostro ultimately ran afoul of the Empress, leading Catherine to author plays condemning the occult. But such was not the case by the end of the Romanov dynasty, when occultists such as Dr. Philippe and Rasputin wielded enormous influence. Nineteenth century literary figure such as Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky attended séances, while Pushkin shared his own family's belief in ghosts. There was even an occult newsletter called The Rebus that was published for over 40 years.
In The Occult in Tsarist Russia, author Thomas E. Berry offers a fascinating historical expose of this widespread and somewhat forgotten phenomenon; even providing some insight into how the occult might have ultimately influenced the decline of the Tsarist era.
Dr. Thomas E. Berry is a retired Professor of Russian language and literature who lectures in the Odssey Program of Johns Hopkins University, the Smithsonian Institution and the Russian Cultural Center of the Russian Embassy, Washington DC. He was granted a "Gramota," an award for service started by Catherine the Great, by the Russian Government for promoting relations between the US and Russia. He has lectured on many cruise lines and is the author of numerous books, including Memoirs of the Pages to the Tsars (translated and edited by Dr. Berry).
Cossack Community Expands in Australia Topic: Cossacks
A group of Russian Cossacks announced Monday the creation of an Australian branch and four new traditional units there.
A Siberian group of Cossacks, the Zabaikalsky Cossack Host Association, said that the decision to expand the organization was made following a request from Australia-based descendants of the Cossacks who emigrated after the 1917 Russian revolution.
The request was submitted by Australian Cossack ataman Simeon Boikov in light of “the growing number of Cossacks in Australia,” a spokesperson for the organization told RIA Novosti.
Four Australian “stanitsas,” historically villages inside a Cossack host, as a territory of Cossack settlements was known in imperial Russia, will be established in Melbourne, Geelong, Dandenong and on the island of Tasmania.
The first and only Cossack “stanitsa” in Australia was established as a cultural and historic organization in June 2012 in the town of Cabramatta near Sydney.
The local Cossack diaspora then compiled 152 people, some of whom have voiced their intention to move to Siberia’s Zabaikalsky Krai, the Cossack association said.
The Cossacks, who served as a special police force in tsarist Russia, are remembered for their role in fighting against the revolutionary side in the 1917 uprising against the tsar. Many of them fled abroad following the Bolshevik revolution.
Monday’s announcement came amid an ongoing revival of Cossack culture in Russia, though critics have questioned the authenticity of some self-proclaimed Cossacks.
Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St Petersburg Celebrates 300th Anniversary Topic: Russian Church
On April 5, 1713, in St. Petersburg, in the presence of Peter I, the wooden Church of the Annunciation was consecrated. This day is considered the official founding date of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
According to legend, Peter I, surveying in 1710 the neighborhood of St. Petersburg, took notice of the place where, it is believed that on July 15, 1240, Prince Alexander scored a famous victory over the combined forces of the Swedes, Norwegians and Finns led by Birger Jarl. This important skirmish became known as the Battle of the Neva, for which Prince Alexander became known as Alexander Nevsky. Peter I ordered that a monastery in honor of the Holy Trinity and St. Alexander Nevsky be built at this site.
In 1714, monastic cells were built here and monastic communal life started. In 1720 under the monastery was opened a printing house, and later – the Theological Academy, which still operates. In 1722, in accordance with the project of Domenico Trezzini the wooden Church of the Annunciation was replaced by the Church of the Annunciation of the Holy Mary – the oldest church of St. Petersburg. On September 10, 1724, the relics of St. Alexander Nevsky were transferred here from Bogolyubski Nativity Monastery in Vladimir. Here they had stayed until 1790, and then were moved to the new Holy Trinity Cathedral, where they remained until 1922.
Construction work at the monastery lasted almost until the end of the 18th century. Metropolitan House, House of Bishops, the new buildings were constructed. In 1776, under the direction of the architect I. E. Starov, started the creation works of a new monumental Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Lavra. In addition to the Trinity Cathedral, Starov designed a round square at the entrance to the monastery, built the Gate Church, which completes the perspective of Nevsky Prospekt, the stone wall and two corner houses and building of the almshouses at the entrance to the square.
On December 29, 1797, Emperor Paul I ordered the Holy Synod to rename the Alexander Nevsky Monastery “into Lavra with the staff equal to the one of Kiev-Pechersk and Trinity St. Sergius.”
From the very beginning of St. Petersburg’s existence, Alexander Nevsky Lavra became the burial place for outstanding statesmen and public figures, representatives of art and culture. The ensemble of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra contains three cemeteries: Tikhvin, existing from 1823, Nikolsky, founded in 1861, and Lazarevskoye.
Numerous cultural figures were laid to rest at the monastery, including Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Glinka, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and many others.
After the October Revolution of 1917 the monastery was abolished and its church closed, and countless relics and works of art were transferred to the Russian Museum, State Hermitage Museum and other museums of St. Petersburg.
In 1957, Holy Trinity Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Lavra was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church as a parish church. June 3, 1989, the cathedral received back the relics of St.. Alexander Nevsky. In 1987, St. Nicholas cemetery church opened. In the summer of 1995 Holy Spirit building was partially returned to the St. Petersburg diocese. The final transfer of all the Lavra buildings to the Diocese took place April 18, 2000.
According to the Russian tradition, each regiment of the imperial guards had its own cathedral. The Trinity Cathedral was the regimental church of the Izmailovsky regiment of Imperial guards, one of the oldest guards regiments in the Russian Army. Named after the village of Izmailovo, near Moscow, the Izmailovsky regiment moved to Saint Petersburg when the city was established as the Russian capital under Empress Anna Ioannovna (1693-1740).
During the reign of Emperor Nicholas I construction of a new church (replacing a wooden church built in 1754-56 damaged during a flood in 1824) began in May 1828, and the cathedral was consecrated in May 1835. The cathedral rises to a height of more than 80 meters, and dominates the skyline of the surrounding area. Memorial plaques to regimental officers killed in battle were mounted on the cathedral's wall. After the cathedral's opening, flags, keys from forts and other trophies that the regiment won in campaigns in 1854–1855 and 1877–1878 were also housed in the cathedral.
Fire engulfs the historic Trinity Cathedral in 2006
The Trinity Cathedral was renowned for its collection of icons. The main section of the cathedral housed the Nativity icon, while the southern section housed the Jesus Christ icon. Empress Elizabeth presented the church with the Beginning of Life Trinity icon in 1742. Other holy objects housed in the cathedral included a large ark made in the form of a cross in 1753 from silver, a large silver cross presented to the cathedral by Nicholas I in 1835, and two large Gospels in valuable bindings.
In 1922, most of the cathedral's valuables were looted, and the thievery continued for several more years until the cathedral was finally closed in 1938. There were rumors of plans to demolish the cathedral and use the remaining material for a district workers' theatre. However, the cathedral was transferred to the Soviet Ministry of Telecommunications, for which it became a warehouse. Only in 1990 did the cathedral return to the hands of the Russian Orthodox Church, when restoration began. By that time, the interior was largely bare, compared to the splendor and majesty of its pre-Revolutionary past.
On August 25, 2006, while under reconstruction, a fire started in which the central dome collapsed and one of four smaller cupolas surrounding it was also destroyed, there were no reports of injuries.
Firefighters battled to save the other three cupolas as emergency workers employees removed icons and other religious articles. A helicopter dumped water on the historic structure. About four hours after the blaze broke out; one of the three remaining cupolas had been damaged but that the fire was contained.
The blaze apparently started on scaffolding on the outside of the church, which was undergoing restoration. The most valuable icons and other items had been saved, and that structural damage beneath the roof area was minor.
Many of the cathedral's beautiful historic interiors have been restored
St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko pledged to restore the cathedral within the shortest time possible, pledging to allocate 30 million rubles ($1.12 million) this year on preparations to rebuild and restore the cathedral to its pre-Revolutionary splendor. Restoration was completed, and the cathedral reopened, in 2010. The cathedral can accommodate up to 3,000 people and has been declared a World Heritage Site.
The 400th Anniversary of the Romanovs Exhibition - Engineers Castle Topic: 400th Anniversary
This exhibition is dedicated to the significant event of the Russian history - the anniversary of the election of Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov as tsar, who was a founder of the new dynasty.
The last time that the anniversary of this historic event was marked was celebrated as a State holiday in 1913. After the October Revolution the significant event, that ended the epoch of the so-called Time of Troubles, as a rule, had been distorted or forgotten.
In 2013 the anniversary of the House of Romanov would once again be celebrated as a significant event in Russian history. The exposition includes about 150 paintings, sculptures, graphic works, applied arts works and coins from the collection of the Russian Museum's collection in St. Petersburg that are connected with the theme of the foundation of the new dynasty.
Among these works are the monumental canvas The Election of Mikhail Romanov as Tsar (1799)that was created by G.Ugryumov for the St. Michael's Castle; graphic works devoted to this event; paintings and sculpture portraits of members of Emperor's family by L.Karavak, G.Odolsky, F.Shubin, S.Torelli, S.Shchukin, G.Dow, M.Antokolsky and other artists of the 18th - beginning of 20th centuries.
Also on display at the exhibition is a working on-line catalogue which allows visitors an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the Album of Drawings, created by the artists during the Sacred Coronation in 1896.
The exhibition runs until July 15th, 2013 at the Engineers Castle (St. Michael's Castle) in St. Petersburg.
Photo: Portrait of Tsesarevich Alexei (1911) by Sergei Yegornov