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400th Anniversary
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Saturday, 11 May 2013
Nicholas & Alexandra Monument to be Unveiled in St. Petersburg
Topic: 400th Anniversary


Final preparations are being made today for the unveiling of a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in St. Petersburg tomorrow. The unveiling ceremony of the monument will take place in the courtyard of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ on Sunday, May 12th at 13:00. The church is situated along the Obvodny Canal near the Warsaw Railway Station.

The statue of Nicholas and Alexandra is carefully lifted into place on top of its pedestal in the courtyard of the church.

The unveiling of the monument marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty and the 120th anniversary of the wedding of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, who were married in 1894.  It is important to note that this is only the second monument to the last Russian empress, the other being at Ganina Yama. The construction of the monument was paid for by donations raised by members of the church.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:44 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 11 May 2013 9:06 AM EDT
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Friday, 10 May 2013
Russian National Library Launches Romanov Database Online
Topic: 400th Anniversary

In honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, the Russian National Library has launched a comprehensive online database on the House of Romanov. Note: this database is only available in Russian.

The House of Romanov 1613-1917 offers the most up-to-date online database consisting of genealogical information, references, online resources, and links to specific articles and other web site specializing in the study of the Romanov dynasty.

The personal pages of this online handbook include the names and titles of each member of the Imperial family dating from 1613-1917. Genealogical information includes date of birth and death, place of birth, death and burial. Russian monarchs also include dates of accession to the throne and coronation. All dates are noted in the Old (Julian) and New (Gregorian) style calendars. Family information: names of parents, spouses and children. Also included are references to military and civil service, as well as any changes in title. Each member of the Romanov family is highlighted with a photograph or image.

The personal bibliography includes major monographic research and publication sources, and the latest articles published in journals, etc. Such publications which offer electronic versions are supplied with a link. 

The electronic resources section provides links to web sites, forums and articles available in the electronic media. I am pleased to note that Royal Russia is included in this section of the database, and one of the few foreign sources cited.

||| The Romanov Dynasty 1613-1917 |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:08 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 13 May 2013 3:21 PM EDT
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Thursday, 9 May 2013
Rare Nicholas II Photo Album Found in Ural Museum
Topic: Nicholas II


A photograph album which once belonged to Emperor Nicholas II has been discovered in the vaults of the Municipal Regional Studies Museum (founded in 1825) in the Ural city of Zlatoust, which is situated about 300 kilometres from Ekaterinburg.

The grey calico album was discovered in an old cigar box in the vault of the museum storage rooms. The 210 photographs dated from 1913-1916 show the family of Nicholas II during happier times. Many of the photographs have never been published before and are perfectly preserved.

The album was placed in the museum in the 1930s. Fearing for the safety of the historic images, museum staff carefully hid the rare album in the vaults, only a few people knew of its existence. Russians were forbidden to discuss the former Imperial family during the Soviet years, particularly the Stalinist era when Joseph Stalin ordered the Romanov archives to be sealed.

So how did the photo album end up in this remote town? According to the director of the museum, Nadezhda Pridhodko, there are two theories. One, the album was removed from the Ipatiev House by “Comrade Chevardin,” who served as the Director of the Museum of the Revolution in Ekaterinburg. In 1933 he was transferred to Zlatoust and brought the album with him to save it from destruction. According to the second version, the album was removed from the Ipatiev House by Dmitry Mikhailovich Chudinov (nicknamed Kassian), a revolutionary who escorted the Imperial family from Tobolsk to Ekaterinburg. He lived in Zlatoust, and after the murder of the Imperial family, he is believed to have stolen some of their personal possessions, including this photograph album.

For more information on this discovery, and to review 10 of the more than 200 photos from the album, please refer to the following article in Royal Russia News;

||| Click Here to Read Article and Review Photos |||


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 09 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:17 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 May 2013 4:22 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Gala Receptions at the Country Summer Residence: Culture and Traditions of Table Setting
Topic: Exhibitions


At Nikolay Durasov’s Palace in Lyublino, one of the Moscow State Integrated Museum-Reserve sites, one can attend a new exhibition entitled ‘Gala Receptions at the Country Summer Residence: Culture and Traditions of Table Setting’.

Over 150 rare museum exhibits, many of which are displayed for the first time, include unique objects of dinner ceremonies made of glass and porcelain as well as painting and graphics.

One of these unique objects is a wine fountain of the XVIII century, a special reservoir for various beverages that made part of Count Nikolay Sheremetev’s gala table setting. The main exhibit is a table service known as ‘cream colour’ (called as well ‘royal sets’) that includes 120 pieces. Services of this kind were typical at the times of Catherine the Great’s reign. For the first time visitors will see unique girandoles, big decorated porcelain and cut-glass candelabra that were made by Russian masters in the XVIII century and now make part of the museum stock.

Besides porcelain one can see cut-glass ‘royal’ tableware fromBohemiasuch as splendid wine sets, decanters, glasses, flutes, and other glassware as well as bottles and various gravy boats.

Gala receptions at the end of the XVIII — the beginning of the XIX centuries embraced Russian as well as European traditions. On the one hand, estate owners competed in providing meal abundance, but on the other hand, table setting turned into demonstration of complicated dishes and decorative and applied art objects. Even art masters were hired for table decorating.

The place for the ‘Gala Receptions at the Country Summer Residence: Culture and Traditions of Table Setting’ exhibition was not chosen by chance: Nikolay Durasov was a well-known Moscow rich man and gourmet and his summer residence in Lyublino was used for receptions, various amusements and luxurious dinner parties that never ceased to amaze his guests.

The exhibition is a joint project of the Moscow State Integrated Museum-Reserve and the Ostankino Moscow Museum-Estate. It immerses the visitors into the golden century of the Russian nobility and permits to feel the unique character of table setting at gala receptions in the country residence.

The exhibition runs until June 30th in the Durasov Palace at Lyublino, situated near Moscow.

© Moscow State Art and Historical Reserve. 08 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:44 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 May 2013 7:05 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Vintage Photo of Nicholas II No. 14
Topic: Nicholas II


Emperor Nicholas II and Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich (1856-1929), who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Imperial Army on the main front in the first year of the war, reviewing the Life-Guards 3rd Rifle Regiment at Tsarskoye Selo in 1914.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:50 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 May 2013 8:08 AM EDT
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Roses for Catherine the Great
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


Continuing with their Romanov 400th Anniversary Commemoration Project, Tsarskoye Selo celebrated the 284th birth anniversary of Empress Catherine II of Russia (1729–1796).

On May 2nd, 2013, a bouquet of roses graced an elegant table near the Empress's portrait in the Chinese Drawing-Room of Alexander I at the Catherine Palace.

'My dear, my lovely Tsarskoye Selo!', that is how Catherine addressed her favourite place among the imperial summer residences of St. Petersburg. Here she fulfilled her dreams and creative ideas, being both inspiring to Tsarskoye Selo and inspired by it.

Being also very fond of roses since her childhood, she honoured the flower by laying out the Rose Field in the Catherine (then Tsarskoye Selo) Park. The several-hectare rose garden bloomed all summer. It was constantly added with new species brought from Denmark, Holland, Germany and France, some of which were moved to the Greenhouses for winter.

After the death of the Empress, the rose garden was neglected and then gone. But Catherine's favourite flowers, artfully carved on the furniture or painted on the ceilings, are still present in her palace today.

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 07 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:13 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 May 2013 5:16 AM EDT
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Monday, 6 May 2013
Russia Celebrates Easter as Holy Week Draws to an End
Now Playing: Language: English. Duration: 2 minutes, 25 seconds
Topic: Easter

Over 300,000 people have visited Moscow’s churches and monasteries over the Easter weekend in Russia. Police patrols were on alert to prevent breaches of peace and crime, with over 6,000 officers deployed to guard the city’s monasteries and churches.

Easter is the red letter day in the Orthodox calendar. The holy day is being celebrated by believers worldwide, with large-scale festivities to be held in Russia on Sunday.

Easter services are also organized at all Russian Orthodox churches across the world, the number of which exceeds 30,000.

But the largest service, helmed by Patriarch Kirill, is being held at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The service lasts several hours, well into the early hours of Sunday.

A group of pilgrims have also delivered the Holy Fire from the Old City of Jerusalem to the Russian Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It is lit each year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on the day preceding Orthodox Easter. Tens of thousands of pilgrims visited Jerusalem on Saturday to observe the ‘Holy Fire’ ceremony.

The Holy Fire has been perceived by generations of Orthodox believers as a miracle. It’s through divine intervention that the first flame comes to life, the faithful believe. Pilgrims say it doesn’t burn in the first minutes after it has been lit. Parts of the Holy Fire are ‘spread out’ between churches across the country, placed in torches akin to those used to transport the Olympic Flame.

After parishioners lit the candles from the Holy Fire, Kirill started the procession around the cathedral,  glorifying the Resurrection. Priests and believers carrying crosses and icons get going around the church. The procession climaxed when the Patriarch announced “Christ is risen!”, meaning the Holy Day has started.

After midnight and for the next 40 days after Easter Sunday, Orthodox Christians will be greeting each other with the words "Christ is risen!" expecting the reply "He is risen indeed!" The end of the short dialogue is celebrated by three traditional kisses.

The festivities at the Christ the Savior Cathedral where attended by President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin.

Christians celebrate Easter to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. The Resurrection of the Savior symbolizes his victory over sin and death.

Preparations for Easter celebrations begin on the last day of the Holy Week, known in Russia as Passion Week. On Holy Saturday believers come to churches to have their paschal cakes and eggs blessed by priests.

Easter is preceded by a long period of fasting. Believers abstain from meat, fish, eggs and dairy products for 48 days, spending time in prayer.

The real challenge is to help people refine their souls and learn to restrain desire.

Russians celebrate the end of Lent by painting colorful eggs – as a rule red, as a symbol of the blood of Christ - they exchange with each other, and preparing rich Easter cakes with raisins and nuts.

Easter is a moveable feast. Eastern and Western Christianity base their calculations on different calendars. The former uses Julian calendar, the latter Gregorian, so their Easter days differ.

Last year it was marked by the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Anglican churches on the same day, which happens quite rarely.

In 2012 nearly half a million Muscovites flocked to the country's churches to take part in evening and night services across the Russian capital. The largest service drew 6,000 people and was held at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Patriarch Kirill, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church, led the Easter service in Moscow's landmark Cathedral.

More than 6,000 people attended the Easter service at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow 

© Russia Today. 06 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:24 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 6 May 2013 7:51 AM EDT
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Sunday, 5 May 2013
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 10
Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches


Developed and embellished over four centuries, Ostankino now consists of a magnificent 18th-century palace and theatre, a sprawling park with groves and ponds, and the 17th-century Church of the Holy Trinity. The estate was the property of Count Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetiev (1751-1809), a prominent figure belonging to one of Russia's wealthiest and influential noble families.

Built between 1677-1692, the ornamental church differs in appearance and spirit from the elegance of the palace at Ostankino. Its builder, Prince Mikhail Cherkassky incorporated the Moscow Baroque style in its exterior with a Western-influenced interior. The building's festive appearance includes ceramic tile inlays, white stone carvings, spade-shapped gables, and archvaults displayed against red brick walls. 

The carved iconostasis matches the opulent decorative statement of the rest of the church, although its icons demonstrate the decline of Russian iconography as it begins to borrow from the West.

The church was closed by the Soviets in 1933, however, a year later the church was turned over to the Ostankino Estate Museum which was originally created in 1918. From 1980, the church hosted concerts of sacred music.

In 1990, the church resumed regular religious services, and was consecrated by Patriarch Alexei II (1929-2008) on March 23rd, 1991. A restoration of the church followed, sadly however, the lower section of the Royal Doors was all that survived of the original iconostasis.

A view of the beautifully restored iconostasis of the church 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 May, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:50 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 11 May 2013 9:56 AM EDT
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Saturday, 4 May 2013
18th Century on Screen: Catherine II and Friedrich II
Topic: Exhibitions


The National Museum and Park Tsaritsyno is to host an international exhibition on the May 28, uniting history and cinema.

For the first time, the halls of Khlebny Dom in Tsaritsyno Park will simultaneously host a collection of historical objects from the 18th century and a film festival, depicting people and life of those times. This year’s exhibition focuses on the figures of the Russian Empress Catherine II and Prussian Emperor Friedrich II — and, of course, on the ‘gallant 18th century’.

Mysterious lives of these outstanding monarchs have always been of interest to historians and writers. Their images have been inspired many paintings and sculptures. In the 20th century they fascinated filmmakers. Not only in Russia and Germany, but also in Hollywood, London, even Japan and the Netherlands fil; romantic dramas and epic series about the XVIII century and its main protagonists, designing marvellous costumes and adventures. Of course, every decade new political subtexts and cultural stereotypes are being attributed to those historical events.

The main purpose of the exhibition is not to unveil the mistakes of popular cinema culture, but to show the difference and similarities between history and fiction.

The exhibition allows its guests to compare the historical and fictitious parts of 18th century. Real objects (such as furniture, costumes, kitchenware, scientific tools, books), pictures (paintings, portraits, maps), documents of those times will show the real life of the 18th century monarchs of Prussia and Russia. As for the fictional reality, the visitors will be able to see objects that were used during the filming process (screenplays, storyboards, designed costumes, wigs and makeups, cameras and light equipment, photo and video casting materials). The visitors will also be able to watch the editing process.

Informative yet spectacular exhibition will allow the visitors to fully submerge into historical cinema, during the screenings of most popular films about Catherine II, Friedrich II and their century, workshops on costume making and makeups, musical concerts. Many films will be shown in Russia for the first time.

The programme of “18th century on screen: Catherine II and Friedrich II” was prepared by the State Central Cinema Museum, German Goethe Cultural Centre (Goethe Institute) and Museum of Cinema (Potsdam) as part of the Year of Germany in Russia. Major Russian museums and artistic foundations, such as the Mosfilm Studios, will be involved in the project, along with famous artists and filmmakers from Moscow and St Petersburg.

© Russian Cultural Heritage. 04 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:08 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 4 May 2013 8:11 AM EDT
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Friday, 3 May 2013
Kuban Cossacks from Return Collection of Emblems and Regalia to Russia
Topic: Cossacks


Kuban Cossacks were entrusted as private guards to Emperor Nicholas II and his family  

Thanks to collaboration and solidarity of Alexander Pevnev, the ataman of Kuban Cossack army abroad, over 300 military regalia and emblems have been returned to Russia. In Moscow the ataman was received by Vladimir Medinsky, Minister of Culture and head of the Russian Historical and Military Foundation.

According to the website of the Russian Historical and Military Foundation (RHMF), the question of returning sacred war regalia had been raised several times on the international level, but has become close to its resolution only in the recent years. In particular, with the help of ataman Alexander Pevnev in spring 2013 a large collection has been transferred back to Russia, including 38 Cossack emblems, an original document signed by Catherine II granting the landowner rights to the Cossacks, and about 300 items of memorabilia overall.

The letter from Pevnev to Medinsky says: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your kind reception and hospitality to me personally and to the entire delegation of the Cossack army abroad during our stay in Moscow... We are hoping for the long-term and fruitful collaboration in order to preserve the Russian culture and return its historical and cultural treasures back to Russia”.

It is planned to establish secure and permanent connections with the Cossacks abroad, reports RHMF.

The headquarters of the Kuban Cossack army abroad is stationed in New Jersey, and multiple regalia of the Cossack army taken from Russia by the ataman Vyacheslav Naumenko are stored there.

© Russian Cultural Heritage. 03 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 3 May 2013 6:06 AM EDT
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