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Tuesday, 23 July 2013
A Sacrificing Love: New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth
Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (right) with her sister, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna at the Alexander Palace 
The Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (nee Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Louise Alice of Hesse and by Rhine) was born on October 20, 1861, the daughter of Princess Alice of Hesse and the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England, under whose strict tutelage she received both an extensive and a practical education. Her mother died when she was still young, the first tragedy in a life marked by inner suffering. But through greatness of spirit, her sorrow at the absence of maternal love was later transformed into a tender and solicitous compassion for others who lacked this love.
Please click on the link below to read an eloquent tribute to the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna by the late Metropolitan Anastassy.

 © Orthodox America. 23 July, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:22 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 July 2013 9:45 AM EDT
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Historic Church to be Reconstructed on Khodynka Field in Moscow
Topic: Russian Church

The Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh as it looked before the Revolution 

On the morning of July 17th, an open-air liturgy was held at the site of the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh on the former Khodynka Field in Moscow. According to some historians, the church was a prominent place of worship for the local military, and the first in a series of churches destroyed by the Bolsheviks in Moscow in the early 20th century.

Built in 1892-93, the wooden church was constructed in 1892-93 by the architect Ivan Pavlovich Herodinov (1827-1896). The four-tiered gold plated iconostasis consisted of 94 icons, and was almost a full copy of the iconostasis in the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin.

Before the revolution, the majestic cathedral was a true ornament of this part of the city. It was built for use by the troops of the Moscow garrison during their summer military camps which were held in the Khodynka Filed. The church could accommodate more than a thousand worshipers.

The Khodynka Field is best known for the tragic event that took place during the festivities following the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II on May 30 [O.S. May 14] 1896, in which more than 1,200 people were trampled to death during a stampede.

After the October Revolution, the church was closed by the Bolsheviks in 1919. During the 1920s the church was ransacked by the Bolsheviks, the icons, chandeliers, candlesticks, and other items of any value were distributed to museums or stolen and sold to Western buyers, the church was demolished in 1930.

The restoration of the church will be made for the upcoming 700th anniversary of the birth of St. Sergius in 2014, and is part of a massive construction project by the Russian Orthodox Church to build 200 new churches in Moscow.

Historical plans and drawings of the destroyed church could not be found, so the Society for Protection of Monuments was commissioned to carry out historical archival research. According to the results, it was recommended that the reconstruction of the church would be made from historical photographs.

The community of St. Sergius was established in 2000. In March 2012, a platform and an Orthodox cross were installed on the spot where the church once stood and a liturgy was held. Parish consists of not only the residents of neighboring houses, but the descendants of the test pilots of the former air base dating from the Soviet years.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:12 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 July 2013 9:18 AM EDT
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400th Anniversary of the Coronation of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich
Topic: 400th Anniversary

Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich 1596-1645
On July 21 Russia is celebrating a grand jubilee in its history – the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov. The coronation of the first Russian Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov took place in the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Russian Kremlin 400 years ago, Voice of Russia reports.

Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov, who was crowned as the tsar of Russia at the age of 16 in 1613 in a troublesome time for this country chose, the road for Russia it proceeded along for more than 300 years. Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, the last representative of the Romanov Dynasty, was murdered by the Bolsheviks after a revolutionary coup 95 years ago – in July of 1918.

The election to the throne of Mikhail Romanov took place during the Assembly of the Land (Zemskoi Sobor) in February of 1613. Although there were many candidates, Mikhail Romanov got a unanimous selection. A historian, Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrei Sakharov, says. "First, Mikhail Romanov was very young and tender, and the Boyar groups thought that it would not be difficult for them to control him or to force him to do what they would like him to do. Second, Mikhail Romanov was supported by the Russian Cossacks, who, favouring the House of Romanov, offered pressure on both the Boyars and the aristocracy, forcing them to approve his candidacy."

Coronation of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich in the Cathedral of the Assumption, July 21 1613 
However, the Boyars were wrong believing that they would be able to tell the first Romanov tsar what to do. The seeming weakness and helplessness of the young tsar proved illusory. The new ruler managed to hold together both his ardent supporters and bitter enemies, to guarantee his freedom of action, a historian, Mikhail Myagkov, said. "Mikhail Fyodorovich was not a prominent politician and did not have any charisma, but what he did was not without reason – especially after the period in the history of Russia that is knownthe troubled times. To gradually gain a foothold and authority was a very wise decision of the Romanov family."

During his 32-year reign the first Romanov tsar established the so-called eternal peace with Sweden. He established diplomatic relations with Polish Rzeczpospolita (a traditional name of the Polish state). The centralization of power was one of the main achievements of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov.

Equally important was the reorganization of the Russian army, which also occurred during the rule of the first Romanov tsar. The first cast-iron melting plants, steel plants and weapon-making plants were set up in Russia by the order of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov.

The reign of Mikhail Romanov ensured Russia’s progress for years ahead, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said. "We know very well that once a small state, Russia gradually developed into a great power that occupies large territory from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean."

To mark the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov, the Russian Orthodox Church held prayers and liturgies, and organized a number of events on the occasion.

In May this year Patriarch Kirill visited Yekaterinburg to pay tribute to the memory of the last representative of the Romanov Dynasty - Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, who together with his wife, children and servants, was killed in the basement room of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg.
© Russkiy Mir. 23 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 July 2013 7:12 AM EDT
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Monday, 22 July 2013
Russian Museum Exhibits Romanov Portrait for the First Time
Topic: Vladimir Alexandrovich, GD

The Art Gallery of Pskov Museum will host an exhibition featuring one painting beginning July 23.

For the first time, a portrait of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich by the famous Russian artist Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky (1839-1915) will go on display. The exhibition marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

Konstantin Makovsky was an influential Russian painter, affiliated with the “Peredvizhniki” (Wanderers).  Many of his historical paintings, show an idealized view of Russian life during the tsarist period. Makovsky is considered one of Russia’s greatest portraitists and was the favorite painter of Emperor Alexander II. He painted portraits of various members of the Russian Imperial family including Emperor Alexander II, Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna.

The painting "Portrait of a Grand Duke ..." depicts Vladimir Alexandrovich Romanov (1847-1909), the third son of Emperor Alexander II. Vladimir followed a military career and occupied important military positions during the reigns of the last three Russian Emperors. 

During the reign of his father, he was made Adjutant-General, senator in 1868 and member of the Council of State in 1872. His brother, Alexander III also promoted his career. He was made member of the Council of ministers; Commander of the Imperial Guards Corps and Military Governor of Saint Petersburg.

Interested in artistic and intellectual pursuits; he was appointed President of the Academy of Fine Arts, a position which he held until his death in 1909. He was a patron of many artists and sponsor of the Imperial ballet. 

Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich is the paternal great-grandfather of the current Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.

The portrait comes from the pre-war collection of the Pskov Museum. It was transferred from the collections of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg sometime during the 1920-1930s. In 1944, during the occupation of Pskov, the picture was taken to Riga, which was then under German control. It was returned to the Soviet Union during the process of restitution between 1946-1948.

In 1984, the portrait was moved to the storage facilities of the main building of the museum, however, it was in bad condition and in need of urgent conservation. Between 1985-1986 urgent emergency measures and conservation work was carried out by museum employees, Natalia Tkachev and Michael Vladykin. However, due to lack of funds the restoration of the portrait was not completed until 2011-2013. Today, this portrait is now on public display for the very first time.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:10 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 22 July 2013 8:13 AM EDT
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Sunday, 21 July 2013
History of the House of Romanov in Dolls
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 26 seconds
Topic: 400th Anniversary
Porcelain dolls tell the story of the Romanov dynasty at a new exhibit recently opened at Arkangelskoye, the former palace-estate of the Yusupovs in Moscow. The exhibit is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
The dolls are the work of Olina Wentzel (1938-2007), each made by hand and one-of-a-kind. The exhibit features 57 historical figures, including the Russian sovereigns, their families and members of the Court. The costumes are made of brocade, velvet, silk, deorated with natural fur and leather, antique lace, beads and pearls. The exhibition has been seen in Amsterdam, St. Petersburg and Livadia Palace in the Crimea.
The exhibition, Russian Monarchs of the Romanov Dynasty opened on July 17th in the presence of Svetlana Medvedev, wife of Russia's prime minister and will run until January 14th, 2014. Proceeds from the sale of tickets to the exhibit will be donated to the Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:07 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 July 2013 2:07 PM EDT
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Ekaterinburg Museum Solves Romanov Portrait Mystery
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 36 seconds
Topic: Anna Pavlovna, GD
For the past 70 years, a portrait simply known as The Unknown Woman lay in storage at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ekaterinburg. The portrait was presented to the museum in 1936, however, up until recently little was known about the painting, but new research has now identified that the mystery woman shown in the portrait is the Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna (1795-1865).

The artist, Timothy Andreyevich Neff (1805-1876), was a court painter during the reigns of Emperors Nicholas I and Alexander II. The portrait of Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna is dated 1856.

It was Olga Hornung, Head of the Department of Foreign Art at the museum who took an interest in the portrait. "My attention was drawn to the rich decorations and Order of St. Catherine, which was considered the second-highest in the heirarchy of Russian awards since 1714," said Hornung. Another detail that caught the attention of museum staff was the ermine mantle draped over the shoulders of the woman, which was part of the royal regalia and thus indicating her affiliation with the Imperial house. After comparing it with other portraits of the daughters of Paul I, it became clear that the woman in the portrait was Anna Pavlovna.

Hornung further consulted with a colleague at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, who confirmed the identity of the Ekaterinburg portrait. They also confirmed that the artist painted the portrait during Anna Pavlovna's visit to Russia in 1855-56, based on historical documents from the museum's archives.  

Anna Pavlovna was the eighth child and sixth daughter of Emperor Paul I and Empress Maria Feodorovna. In February 1816, she married Prince Willem Frederik George Lodewijkvan of Orange-Nassau, who would later become King of the Netherlands. In October 1840, on the abdication of her father-in-law, William I, she became Queen Consort of the Netherlands. Anna and William II had 5 children.
Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna will be featured in the article Crowned in a Foreign Country: The Daughters of Emperor Paul I, in the Royal Russia Annual No. 4, to be published in late August 2013.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:42 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 July 2013 12:53 PM EDT
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Saturday, 20 July 2013
Russia Commemorates the Holy Royal Martyrs - 2013
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Earlier this week an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Orthodox Christians and monarchists took part in a 20-km procession from the Church on the Spilled Blood in Ekaterinburg to Ganina Yama.
This is the 20th year in a row that this pilgrimmage has taken place, it has become a part of the 12th annual Tsar's Days Festival that ran from July 12th to 24th this year.
The event has gained popularity over the years and has spread to many other cities and towns across Russia.
Please take a moment to review a short article, accompanied by colour photographs and 3 videos of the events surrounding this holy event. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:34 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 July 2013 4:57 PM EDT
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Taking Photos That Would Never be Published
Topic: Books


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


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:33 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 July 2013 9:47 AM EDT
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Friday, 19 July 2013
Russia's Crown Jewels: The Royal Martyr Children
Topic: OTMA


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


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:40 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 July 2013 1:46 PM EDT
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Thursday, 18 July 2013
Festival in Honour of Grand Duchess Elizabeth in Moscow
Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD

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

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.

© 18 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:51 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 July 2013 2:56 PM EDT
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