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Topic: 400th Anniversary
Yekaterinburg photographer Alexei Vladykin’s book, The Tsar’s Cross, represents two decades of work documenting the restoration of the royal family in public memory.
As a child, Alexei Vladykin would walk to school in his native Yekaterinburg past Ipatiev House, the place where the royal family was executed, without even knowing it. The building had been demolished in 1977 at the “suggestion” of KGB chief Yuri Andropov, a move approved unanimously by the Soviet Politburo.
“I have no recollection of it being pulled down,” says Vladykin. “But I remember vividly years later, as a photojournalist, I travelled to the editorial office past an unkempt abandoned lot. And that at some point, a wooden cross was erected on the spot.”
The cross was planted by a local man, Anatoly Gomzikov. Vladykin recalls: “He was a strong believer in God, an elderly man who had had his ups and downs in life, but had never lost his dignity – unlike those who broke down the wooden cross just a few days later.”
A metal cross was erected in its place and a year later in 1992 residents and clergymen gathered to lay the first stone of the Church on the Blood at the site.
“I was taking pictures knowing that they would never be published: they were sure to be rejected by editors on ideological grounds,” says Vladykin. “But the events certainly had historical value, so I felt obligated to document them and then just shelved the negatives for the next 20 years.”
The cathedral was consecrated on 16 June 2003. “The most emotionally charged photos I made were of Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya,” Vladykin says of the ceremony. “They vividly convey the emphatic pain many people feel about the tragic death of the royal family.”
He also photographed the head of the team that investigated the authenticity of the remains of the royal family, Vladimir Solovyov. They first met in 1996, when the photographer asked whether the remains really were those of the Romanovs.
“He answered there could be no doubt about that. I asked then if I could take a few pictures. I remember him taking me to the laboratory where several glass sarcophagi stood. He took me to the one that was open at the time and said it contained the remains of Grand Duchess Anastasia.”
Two years later, Alexei was on hand as Yekaterinburg bade farewell to the royal family. “The fragments of their bodies were put in short coffins,” he said. Two of them – the Emperor’s and the Empress’s – were covered with state flags. The procession of people stretched for several streets. People held flowers, icons and postcards with the Romanovs on them and whispered: “Forgive us.”
The album of 200 photographs represents half a lifetime for Vladykin, who says: “I was 27 when I took the pictures of the cross in the deserted lot, and the photos for the last chapter of the book were made two years before my 50th birthday.”
© Russia Beyond the Headlines. 20 July, 2013
The crown of Imperial Russia was one of the most resplendent in the world, shining with precious jewels and symbolizing a mighty nation that covered one-sixth of the globe. But in the beginning of our century, when the forces of evil arose to topple this mighty nation, the bastion of Orthodoxy, then even more resplendently shone the crown of Holy Russia, made of the purest gold of the New Martyrs and Confessors. And adorning this unique and magnificent crown were the most sparkling and wondrous jewels of all: the royal children-martyrs.
This beautifully written article about the children of Tsar Nicholas II was written by Matushka Natalia, it was originally published in Orthodox America.
© Orthodox America. 19 July, 2013
The open-air festival will be held on July 18 in Sts. Martha and Mary Convent in commemoration of the 95th anniversary of the martyrdom of Grand Duchess Elizaveta (Elizabeth) Feodorovna Romanova, reports Miloserdie.ru.
A concert with the participation of singers from the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera center and the "Vek" ("Century") Children's hareographic school will take place on the stage near the Church of Protection. The festival's visitors will have free refreshments and a tea party.
In the Convent's garden, graduates of St. Dimitry's School for Sisters of Mercy will teach all those who wish how to give first medical aid. The sisters of mercy will give a master class on bandaging, show how to stop bleeding, and explain how to help someone in case of a heart attack. The guests will try their hands at special mannequins. Theme games and souvenirs are being prepared for the youngest guests of the festival.
The excursions will be held the whole day in the Protection Church of the Convent and in the house-museum of Duchess Elizabeth, where unique exhibits are collected: items of everyday life and writing, photographs of Grand Duchess Elizabth.
Before the festival begins, a prayer service and Divine Liturgy will be celebrated; the Liturgy will be headed by Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuevo, head of the Synodal Department for Church charity and social ministry.
Sts. Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy was founded by Grand Duchess Elizabeth in 1907 after the tragic death of her husband, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich Romanov from the hands of a terrorist. The poor and orphans, the disabled and elderly were those whom the sisters of the convent tirelessly took care of.
Today, 25 sisters living in the Convent are continuing this service. They visit old lonely people and the disabled at their homes. Various projects of the Orthodox aid service called "Miloserdie" ("Mercy") are working at the Sts. Martha and Mary Convent: children with severe forms of cerebral spastic infantile paralysis have rehabilitation here and a children's visiting palliative service works as well. Gravely sick people with neurogenetic diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, are also given support.
Over 20 girls are being educated at St. Elizabeth orphanage on the territory of the Convent. Moreover, the Convent has a group of workers who set appointments with the needy at the Convent. Those in need address can come to them with requests for food, medicine and help in even more serious issues.The festival begins on July 18 with a prayer service and Liturgy at 7:45 a.m. The concert begins at 13.00.
© Pravoslavie.ru. 18 July, 2013
The remains of the Russian Imperial family* were buried in Saint Catherine's Chapel, a side-chapel of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on July 17th, 1998. *The remains of the Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria have yet to be buried.
The Russian Investigative Committee does not doubt the authenticity of the royal family remains found near Yekaterinburg and it is ready to answer every question of the Russian Orthodox Church.
"No new data, which might have called our research into question, has been uncovered," senior investigator of the Russian Investigative Committee's Main Forensic Department Vladimir Solovyov, who investigated the murder of the royal family, told Interfax on Wednesday.
The family of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, was executed in the Urals 95 years ago, in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918.
"Numerous conferences have been held since 2008 when our report was published but no one has ever questioned the scientific integrity of our inquiry," Solovyov said.
"It is our opinion, based on scientific methods, that the remains actually belong to members of the royal family," the Investigative Committee representative said.
He added that the royal family murder case would not be completely closed until the burial of the remains of Tsesarvich Alexei and his sister Maria.
"The Church claims it has certain qualms about our studies. It would be best to have a civilized discussion about any problems with the clerics. We are ready to listen to their objections and to answer their questions. There has been no joint work between church scholars and the scientists who examined the remains," Solovyov said.
"I would like to meet with representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate and have a civilized discussion on every issue. It is an outrage that human remains are still stored in the archives instead of being buried," Solovyov said about the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria.
Meanwhile, the House of Romanov, led by Grand Duchess of Russia Maria Vladimirovna, said it was not prepared to recognize the authenticity of the remains found in Yekaterinburg.
"The head of the Russian royal family, Grand Duchess Marina Vladimirovna, fully shares the position of the Russian Orthodox Church. Neither the investigators nor the Prosecutor General's Office have given complete, coherent answers to the ten questions of the Russian Orthodox Church," the House of Romanov lawyer, German Lukyanov, told Interfax on Wednesday.
"It would be premature to put the matter to rest, especially given that weighty evidence has been found abroad and may shed light on the actual state of affairs," Lukyanov said.
The notes of investigator Nikolai Sokolov, who was looking into the murder of the last Russian emperor and his family in 1919 on the orders of Admiral Kolchak, were found during the reconstruction of the Job the Long-Suffering Church in Brussels, he said.
The House of Romanov expects an analysis of the papers found in Brussels to put an end to the dispute over the authenticity of the royal family remains.
The Russian Investigative Committee finished the inquiry into the criminal case of the death of the family of Nicholas II in January 2011. The remains were proclaimed genuine.
The Russian Orthodox Church and the House of Romanov continue to deny the authenticity of the remains.
© Interfax. 18 July, 2013
How do modern Russians view the royal legacy and what are their perceptions of the last Tsar, Nicholas II? Public attitudes towards him have undergone several shifts since the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago, with the most recent studies showing an increase in appreciation of the monarch.
On the anniversary of his death, political analyst Alexander Morozov looks at how post-Soviet Russia remembers the Tsar.
© Russia Beyond the Headlines. 17 July, 2013
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 July, 2013