A beautiful new pictorial has been published in the the Ukraine, entitled August Visits to the Crimea, by Alexander Balinchenko and Vadim Prokopenkov.
The album highlights the August visits of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their children during their visits to the Crimea in the years 1900, 1902 and 1909.
The book is presented as a large photo album in an attractive slipcase. It includes 109 black and white photographs by Karl E. von Kahn, the famous Court photographer at Tsarskoye Selo.
The photographs are from three albums held in the archives of the Vorontsov Palace at Alupka. The previously unpublished images provide a look at the private and public life of the last Russian Imperial family in the region before the Revolution.
"Of the hundreds of original photographs, we selected the most rare and interesting images which reflected the little-known life of the royal family in the Crimea," said Irina Pluzhnik, Director of the Massandra Palace.
"Work on the project lasted 6 months," she added, "the archives of the Alupka Palace Museum houses a large collection of photographs of the royal family related to their many visits to the Crimea, many of which are unique. We also possess a rare photo album in honour of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, presented to her by Anna Vyrubova."
It is interesting to note that the visits to the Crimea represented in this album were taken before the new Livadia palace was constructed by Nicholay Krasnov in 1911. The photographs of the Imperial family in residence show the old wooden palaces known as the Large and Small Livadia palaces constructed by Ippolito Monighetti.
The book launch was held in the halls of the Vorontsov Palace at Alupka, situated near Yalta, it is published in Russian by Tauride Sebastopol.
Celebrations of 1025th Anniversary of Baptism of Rus Topic: Russian Church
On July 24, 2013, the feast-day of St. Olga, Equal-to-the-Apostles, Grand Duchess of Russia, Divine Liturgy was served at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, in the presence of the Cross of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, brought to Russia for celebration of the 1025th anniversary of Baptism of Russia from the city of Patras (Greece) with the blessing of the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece.
The service was celebrated by the heads of local Orthodox Churches and the heads of delegations of local Orthodox Churches, who had arrived to the capital of Russia for participation in celebrations of 1025th anniversary of Baptism of Russia, the Patriarch and members of the Holy Synod, hierarchs and clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Liturgy was celebrated in a special order of services for the day of Baptism of Rus ("The service to our Lord, glorified in the Trinity, in the memory of Baptism of Rus, and Holy Grand Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles"). The chants of the service were composed by Hiero-Confessor Athanasius (Sakharov) and are dedicated to the memory of Baptism of Russia and all the Saints of Russia.
Ambassadors of Slavic countries and representatives of the Russian and Ukrainian governments were present at the service.
The Italians Who Revamped Russia Topic: Architecture
Cathedral of the Dormition in the Moscow Kremlin. Artist: Henry Charles Brewer (1866-1950)
Several centuries ago, the Renaissance changed the face of Moscow forever.
Having built up a prestigious and powerful state, Prince Ivan III decided to decorate his city with new buildings to reflect its grandeur. He wanted the most beautiful buildings, the latest designs and the most cutting-edge technology. So the prince sent his servants to Italy to hire the best architects of the Renaissance era to design buildings for the Kremlin complex in the center of Moscow.
“At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, like most European countries, Russia’s architecture experienced the Renaissance,” Moscow Architectural Institute Rector, Dmitry Shvidkovsky explained.
“Here in the Kremlin we can see the characteristics of different facets of the Italian renaissance: Venetian, Bolognese, and Milanese. It was completed with Russian ideas, giving birth to a very interesting new style that generated a revolution in Russian architecture.”
The Kremlin’s Dormition Cathedral was built by Bolognese architect Aristotel Fioravanti. Some researchers believe he was chosen by Princess Zoe Sophia Palaiologina, the second wife of Ivan III. She was the niece of the last Byzantine emperor and she had lived in Italy before marrying Ivan.
“When Sophia arrived in Moscow, she was not alone – she brought with her a grand entourage. We know that the main Kremlin cathedral was in a very bad state and nobody knew how to reconstruct it. It was likely Sophia’s idea to search for an architect in Italy,” said architectural historian Federica Rossi.
Italian architect Aristotel Fiorovanti refused to reconstruct the dilapidated cathedral. Instead, he opened a brick factory and used the new materials for a new building. The Orthodox demands of the client were skillfully combined with the latest Renaissance innovations and in just four years a masterpiece was born.
“Some scholars believe that he not only created the Dormition Cathedral, but also began the construction of the Kremlin walls,” Rossi said.
Most of the Kremlin walls and towers were built by Pietro Antonio Solari and Marco Ruffo from Milan. Solari and Ruffo constructed the Palace of Facets – a small part of the grand palace that has not been preserved. Both architects are known in history under the common last name ‘Fryazin’, which is how the Moscovites called those who came from Italy.
Ivan III would never see this masterpiece of the Venetian school: the Cathedral of the Archangel. Its creator, Aloisio de Montagnano, came to Russia a year before the death of the ruler.
Shvidkovsky said that the Italian influence transformed Russian architecture: “After Italian architects worked in the Kremlin, Russian architecture became more joyful, more bright, more picturesque.”
But the work of Italian architects in Moscow extends beyond the Kremlin. The first so-called ‘tent-roof’ stone church in Russia was constructed in the summer residence of the Russian rulers, at Kolomenskoe, which is now part of Moscow. Little is known about its creator, Pietro Annibale, who, like many other Italian architects, never left Russia.
Rossi said: “He tried to escape Russia but he was stopped at the border. He was questioned and the documentation from that interrogation has survived, which gives us some insights into him. [He helped to create a new style here in Russia], and when a new style appears in architecture everyone starts to work with it.”
Like many researchers, Federica believes that the new style inspired the creator of Russia’s most famous cathedral, located in Red Square. Saint Basil’s Cathedral is composed of nine churches, and the central one has the same ‘tent-roof’ form. The name of the architect is still unknown.
“We see the dialogue of the Russian and European cultures in this cathedral; those cultures talk and listen to each other,” said Saint Basil’s Cathedral guide Maria Galkina.
There were dozens of Italian architects who came to Russia from Renaissance Italy.
Could one of them perhaps have been the creator of the masterpiece of Saint Basil?
This secret remains a mystery – one that may never be solved.
Remembering the Russian Soldiers of a Forgotten War Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 46 seconds Topic: World War I
The State Historical Museum in Moscow has opened an exhibit showcasing designs for a new monument to the Russian heroes and soldiers of World War I. An All-Russian competition resulted in a total of 32 sculptural design entries, which has now been narrowed down to 15. The winning design will be made into a full scale monument which will be erected on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow in Autumn 2014.
Most Russians conclude that the country's entry into the First World War was an event that largely determined the fate of the country in the twentieth century, one that was virtually forgotten or simply non-existent under the Bolsheviks and the Soviets. The label "imperialist war" officially assigned to the First World after October 1917, did not allow an objective assessment of the scale of the tragedy. It is estimated that the number of Russian soldiers who died during the war was any where from 1.8 million to 2.4 million. This lack of empathy is a typical example of the total disregard for human life that the Bolsheviks maintained during their destruction of the Russian Empire.
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the war in which Tsar Nicholas II mobilized Russia against Germany, a war which brought disastrous results for Russia and an end to the monarchy. August 1st, 2014 has been designated as a Day of Remembrance for the Russian soldiers who died during the First World War.
Restoration of Lvov Manor House at Strelna Topic: Strelna
The restoration of the Lvov manor or country house at Strelna, near St. Petersburg is now underway. The project which includes the restoration of the historical facade and roof will cost of 12 million Rubles ($370,000 USD). The restoration of the interiors and adjoining park have been delayed due to lack of funding.
The former manor house of Prince Alexander Dmitrievich Lvov, called Alexandrovka, is situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, between Peterhof and Strelna. At the beginning of the 19th century the land belonged to an English merchant, and in 1838, the house passed to the ownership of Paul Constantinovich Alexandrov, the illegitimate son of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich.
It was at this time that the architect Alexander Karlovich Coleman remodeled the house in the English Gothic style complete with turrets. After the death of Alexandrov in 1857, his widow, nee Princess Scherbatova lived there. At her death the country house became the property of Prince Alexander Dmitrivich Lvov. He played an important role in the social life of Strelna at the end of the 19th to early 20th centuries.
In 1881, he privately funded the establishment of the first volunteer fire brigade. It consisted of 32 people and had a stable for 14 horses. It maintained a brigade school where fire wardens and senior firemen were trained, and a fire tower. His brigade was very efficient, and over a 10 year period, Lvov was responsible for helping to fight more than 200 fires in the Strelna region. As a sign of their gratitude, local residents presented the Prince with a gold fireman's helmet. The helmet has not survived, however, in 1935 a copy was made by local firefighters and kept as a reminder of Prince Lvov's duty to the community.
Lvov also served as head of the Polza Society in Strelna, Chairman of the Peterhof council and sanitary committee, and chairman of the Strelna Society of Amateur Cyclists. His personal interests and social concerns earned him the love and respect of locals. The street running in front of his manor house was renamed in his name, and bears it to this day.
Locals refer to the house as Lvov Palace, and today houses the local municipal council and administration offices for the town of Strelna. Prince Lvov is believed to have died during the Russian Civil War in 1919.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.