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400th Anniversary
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Sunday, 19 May 2013
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 12
Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches

The Cathedral of the Assumption or Cathedral of the Dormition (Uspensky Sobor in Russian) was built between 1475 and 1479 AD by the Italian architect Aristotele Fioravanti. It is located on the north side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin, where a narrow alley separates the north from the Patriarch's Palace with the Twelve Apostles Church.

Tsar Ivan III had invited Fioravanti, a celebrated architect and engineer from Bologna, Italy, to come to Moscow and entrusted him with the task of building the cathedral from scratch in the traditions of Russian architecture. The cathedral in Vladimir was once again taken as a model for the building, and so Fioravanti travelled to Vladimir in order to study Russian methods of building. He designed a light and spacious masterpiece that combined the spirit of the Renaissance with Russian traditions.

The foundation for the new cathedral was laid in 1475, and in 1479 the new cathedral was consecrated by Metropolitan Geronty. The interior was painted with frescoes and adorned with many holy images, including Our Lady of Vladimir and the Blachernitissa.

The church's magnificent interior decoration is dominated by its fresco paintings. The huge iconostasis dates from 1547, but its two highest tiers are later additions from 1626 and 1653/1654 under Patriarch Nikon. It addition to its liturgical function, the iconostasis also served as a sort of trophy wall, in that Russian Tsars would add the most important icons from cities they had conquered to its collection. One of the oldest, icons with the bust of Saint George dates from the 12th century and was transferred to Moscow by Tsar Ivan IV on the conquest of the city of Veliky Novgorod in 1561.

In 1547 the coronation of the first Russian Tsar, Ivan IV (the Terrible), took place in this cathedral, while from 1721 it was the scene of the coronation of the Russian emperors. The last coronation (Emperor Nicholas II) took place here on May 26th [O.S. May 14th] 1896. The ritual installation of metropolitans and patriarchs of the Orthodox Church also took place in this cathedral, and their tombs are also to be found here. The patriarchate was abolished by Peter the Great and only restored after February Revolution of 1917.

On November 21, 1917 the cathedral was the setting for the installation of Tikhon (Belavin), the Moscow metropolitan, as patriarch. Subsequently he was canonized. After the transfer of the Bolshevik government to Moscow services in the Kremlin cathedrals were prohibited. It was only with Lenin's special permission that the final Easter service was held in 1918. The final moments of this Easter service was the subject of an unfinished painting by Pavel Korin entitled Farewell to Rus. Most of the church treasures were transferred to the Kremlin Armory, or were sold overseas.

According to legend, in the winter of 1941, when the Nazis had reached the threshold of Moscow, Joseph Stalin secretly ordered a service to be held in the Assumption Cathedral to pray for the country's salvation from the invading Germans. In 1991 the Assumption Cathedral was returned to the Church, although a museum still operates within it.

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna attends a Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Assumption

On March 6th, 2013 a Divine Liturgy was performed by Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus, Kirill to mark the 400th anniversary of the election of the first Romanov tsar, Mikhail Feodorovich on March 6th [O.S. February 21st] 1613. The Liturgy was attended by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:15 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 May 2013 1:08 PM EDT
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Saturday, 18 May 2013
Ekaterinburg Marks 400th Anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty
Topic: 400th Anniversary

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Patriarch Kirill I visiting the Romanov exhibit in Ekaterinburg

The Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill I, have arrived in Ekaterinburg to take part in the celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, including the 145th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas II on May 18th, 1868.

The first stop was Ganina Yama where His Holiness laid the first stone for a new church and its consecration. The original wooden Church of the Mother of God was destroyed during a fire in 2010.

This was followed by a litany, and prayer at the cross marking the spot where the bodies of the last tsar, his family and faithful retainers were dumped into the abandoned mineshaft by the Bolsheviks in the early morning hours of July 18th, 1918.

His Holiness said: "During the 300-year-reign of the Romanov dynasty, Russia was a great power stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The country's economic, social and political development were quickly outpacing those of other nations. In modern terms, its GDP was close to the second place in the world."

Patriarch Kirill I consecrates the new Church of the Mother of God at Ganina Yama

On the last tsar, he added: "The Monastery at Ganina Yama is a holy place. It provides an opportunity to remember the spiritual heroism of Nicholas II and his family, who accepted their deaths in gentleness, peace, forgiveness of enemies, in all humility and surrendering to God's hands. It is important that in light of the fact that the gravest crimes were committed on this site, that we erected this monastery."

"Despite the fact that during Soviet times everything connected with the royal family was distorted, despite the ridicule and reproach, like a concrete slab through which grass can not grow, their memory has always been alive in the hearts of people," he said.

Several thousand faithful arrived at Ganina Yama by bus, car and on foot from Ekaterinburg, and other towns in the surrounding region of Sverdlovsk.

The next stop was Ekaterinburg, where the Patriarch and Grand Duchess Maria stopped at the Church on the Blood, built on the site of the former Ipatiev House. Together they visited the nearby Patriarchal Compound where an exhibition featuring rare archival materials related to the House of Romanov is on display. The exhibit also included a collection of watercolours and personal items of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, the youngest sister of Nicholas II.

In the evening, His Holiness held a Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Ekaterinburg.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:08 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 May 2013 4:00 PM EDT
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FOR SALE - Painting by HIH Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:04 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 May 2013 12:10 PM EDT
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A Russian View of Monarchy
Topic: Russian Monarchy

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:42 AM EDT
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Russians Don't Like Idea of Bringing Monarchy Back - Poll
Topic: Russian Monarchy

A poll conducted by the Levada Center shows that the majority of Russians are confident that Russia does not need a monarchy and Russia's last emperor Nicholas II was not the best leader. The 145th anniversary of the birth of Russia's last Emperor Nicholas II will be marked on May 18th.

 The study shows that 10% of the respondents (against 9% in 2000) favor the restoration of monarchy in Russia. These people are mainly workers (14%), public servants (13%), respondents aged between 25 and 55 (13%), people with vocational degrees (13%), and supporters of Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky (13%).

 An overwhelming majority of the respondents (76%, against 91% in 2000) oppose the restoration of monarchy in Russia. These people are mainly students (85%), people with disabilities (83%), businessman (82%) Russians older than 55 (81%), people with university degrees (80%), supporters of Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov (89%) or businessman Mikhail Prokhorov (86%).

 Twenty-five percent of the respondents believe Nicholas II "was not a very good leader and made many mistakes, which he, however, redeemed with his death as a martyr." Twenty-three percent of the respondents call him "an innocent victim of the bolshevik terror," 18% believe that Nicholas "abdicated, gave up the country at a difficult moment, and is responsible for what happened to the country after 1917." Another 12% said Nicholas II "reduced the people of Russia to poverty caused a catastrophe in the country, and was overthrown by the people."

Note: the results of this poll do not reflect the opinions of Royal Russia and its administration - PG

© Voice of Russia, Interfax. 18 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:37 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 May 2013 11:56 AM EDT
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Friday, 17 May 2013
Memorial Chapel to Holy Royal Martyrs Opens at Livadia
Topic: Livadia


memorial chapel to the Holy Royal Martyrs has been erected at Livadia in the Crimea. The seven-meter chapel is located at the entrance to the palace-museum. Inside the tiny chapel is a beautiful icon made of mosaic tiles depicting Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their son Tsesarevich Alexis, and their four daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia standing in front of the Livadia Palace.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 May, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:47 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 17 May 2013 4:11 PM EDT
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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Catherine the Great's Hunting Rifle on Exhibit
Topic: Catherine II

Photo Credit: Cody Firearms Museum

The Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming unveiled its display of 64 unique pieces this week, on loan from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

The unusual firearms include a .50-caliber hunting rifle by a Russian gun maker named Permajakov dating from the 1700s for Empress Catherine the Great. The rifle is inlaid with her name and Russian symbols and also incorporating a green velvet cheek piece on the rifle’s stock ensuring her comfort while shooting. Additionally, a gold inlaid image of Catherine herself is on the barrel near the breech.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:30 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:42 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Russian Craftsmen to Recreate Parts of Lost Amber Room
Topic: Amber Room


A colour autochrome of the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace taken before the Second World War 

Russian craftsmen in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad are to recreate parts of the legendary Amber Room, a Tsarist-era antiquity which was looted by German forces at the end of World War II.

The restoration plan by the regional government of Kaliningrad, the Russian Baltic exclave with the world's largest known amber deposits, is part of a campaign to stop illegal mining in amber-rich areas near the Baltic coast.

Experts estimate that 60-100 tons of amber is mined illegally every year in the Kaliningrad Region, which is believed to hold more than 90 percent of the world's total known amber reserves and is home to the world’s only strip-mined natural amber deposit.

King Frederick I invited German craftsmen to decorate the main hall of his palace with amber panels shortly after his accession to the Prussian throne in 1701. But after the king’s death in 1713, his son Frederick Wilhelm I put an end to the expensive work, and put the amber panels on the walls of a small room of the Large Royal Palace in Berlin.

Three years later, he gave the panels as a present to Russia's Tsar Peter I, who stored them in the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg. It was only in 1743 that Empress Elizaveta Petrovna decided to use the amber panels to decorate one of her main chambers in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.

The original decorations were enlarged and were eventually turned into the legendary Amber Room, often referred to as the "eighth wonder of the world."

The decorations were looted during World War II by Nazi German forces, and taken to Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad) where they were lost in the fierce fighting and air raids there at the end of the war in 1945. Only two small parts of the room's decoration were eventually rediscovered and returned to Russia.

According to the region’s Culture Minister Svetlana Kondratyeva, the recreated room will be installed in the 1899 building of the Konigsberg State Amber Factory following its renovation, which will then be transferred to the city’s Museum of Amber.

Museum visitors will be able to watch the craftsmen at work replicating the room through a glass pane.

© RIA Novosti (Edited by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia). 15 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:27 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 May 2013 6:35 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Russian News Agency Shares Images from Newly Discovered Photo Album of Nicholas II
Topic: Nicholas II

 ||| Nicholas II Photo Album - Courtesy KP.RU |||

The Russian news agency Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP.RU) have published nearly half of the 210 photographs from the recently discovered photograph album of Tsar Nicholas II on their web site.

The album was recently discovered in the vault of the Municipal Regional Studies Museum in the Ural city of Zlatoust. It is currently on display at an exhibition in Ekaterinburg.

For more information on this photo album, please refer to the following articles at the following links; 

||| Newly Discovered Photos of Nicholas II and His Family Found in Ural Museum  |||

||| Rare Nicholas II Photo Album Found in Ural Museum  |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 May, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:10 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 May 2013 4:21 PM EDT
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Monday, 13 May 2013
Monument to Nicholas & Alexandra Unveiled at St. Petersburg
Topic: Nicholas II


A monument to Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna was unveiled yesterday in the courtyard of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, St. Petersburg. The church is situated along the Obvodny Canal near the Warsaw Railway Station.

This is the first monument dedicated to the Imperial couple and the second monument to the last Russian Empress in Russia, the other can be found at Ganina Yama, near Ekaterinburg.  

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.  The construction of the monument was paid for by donations raised by members of the church.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:53 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 13 May 2013 7:04 AM EDT
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