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400th Anniversary
A Russian Moment
Alexander I
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Alexander Mikhailovich, GD
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Amber Room
Andrei Vladimirovich, GD
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Anna Ioannovna, Empress
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Beautiful Orthodox Churches
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Country Estates
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Dmitri Romanovich
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Eagar, Margaretta
Ekaterinburg Remains
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Maria Pavlovna, Senior
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Nevsky, Alexander
Nicholas Alexandrovich GD
Nicholas I
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Nicholas Nicholayevich, GD
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Oleg Konstantinovich, Prince
Olga Alexandrovna GD
Olga Konstantinovna GD
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Paley, Princess Natalia
Paul Alexandrovich, GD
Paul Gilbert
Paul I, Emperor
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Romanov Descendants
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Tauride Palace
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Vera Konstantinovna, Princess
Vladimir Alexandrovich, GD
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Friday, 4 October 2013
Forgotten Faberge Comes Out of the Attic
Topic: Faberge

The following article is condensed from the October 3rd, 2013 edition of The New York Times. The author Eve M. Kahn owns the copyright presented below.  

Russian royals loved to collect figurines of their subjects. The Fabergé workshops produced about 50 sculptures in semiprecious stones and gold representing peasants, servants and the occasional Gypsy singer and street sweeper.

Two of the works, with glittering eyes and thick gray beards, realistically portrayed Imperial Cossack bodyguards. A depiction of Dowager Empress Marie’s servant Alexei A. Kudinov remains at Pavlovsk Palace near St. Petersburg. A statuette of Empress Alexandra’s bodyguard, Nikolai N. Pustynnikov , was long thought lost.

It was actually sitting in an attic in Rhinebeck, N.Y. In the 1930s, a Fabergé collector had acquired it in Manhattan from the dealer and industrialist Armand Hammer. It re-emerged this summer, with original receipts, when a descendant’s estate was cleaned out. Stair Galleries in Hudson, N.Y., will auction it on Oct. 26. (It is estimated at $500,000 to $800,000.)

“This is really a major addition to the literature — it’s a historical discovery,” said Gerard Hill, a Fabergé specialist who researched it for Stair. Fabergé fakes have been proliferating lately, Mr. Hill added, but he is convinced that the forgotten Cossack is real.

“The expression in the face — nobody can do that these days,” he said.

Fabergé artisans carved sardonyx, nephrite and cacholong to capture Pustynnikov’s careworn forehead, creased boots and chest medals.

The figurine was part of mounds of Soviet booty that Hammer helped sell off to shore up the Communist regime with hard currency. According to “Selling Russia’s Treasures: The Soviet Trade in Nationalized Art, 1917-1938” (M. T. Abraham Center/Abbeville), a forthcoming book by nine Russian scholars, “Hammer effectively acted as the main intermediary in the efforts made by the Soviet government to ‘export the world revolution,’ a role which proved quite profitable.”

Objects that he imported, with czar provenance, have reappeared in the last few months. A two-inch metal cross brought $5,100 at a Skinner auction in Boston. An enameled icon painting of the Resurrection sold for $50,000 at Humler & Nolan in Cincinnati.

More Imperial possessions are going on view in the next year. The Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg is renovating a palace in St. Petersburg for his Fabergé collection. Another Russian billionaire, Alexander Ivanov, keeps adding to his Fabergé museum in Baden-Baden, Germany. In November, an exhibition at the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, “The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost,” will contain some of Hammer’s wares.
© The New York Times. 04 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:40 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 20 December 2013 7:09 AM EST
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Orthodox Patriot Wants Famous Painting of Ivan the Terrible Purged
Topic: Russian Art


Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581 by Ilya Repin (1885). Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow 

A Kremlin-linked dairy magnate and radical Orthodox Christian activist has demanded the removal from one of Russia’s main art galleries of a painting of Ivan the Terrible that he says is a smear on the nation’s reputation.

In a lengthy appeal to the authorities, Vasily Boiko-Veliky describes 19th century Russian painter Ilya Repin’s work “Ivan the Terrible Killing His Son” as “slanderous” and “unpatriotic.”

Mainstream accounts of Russian history have it that the notoriously ruthless 16th century monarch did, in fact, kill his son in a fit of intemperate rage, but Boiko-Veliky insists the tsar was in fact an upstanding and landmark historical figure.

Tretyakov Gallery director Irina Lebedeva told RIA Novosti that the painting would continue to hang, but Boiko-Veliky’s appeal marks a new turn in an ongoing trend at revisionism that has appalled many professional historians.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, one of the people to whom the appeal was addressed, had not commented as of Thursday, but he may prove a sympathetic ear.

Medinsky, a former public relations manager, has published a series of books aimed at debunking alleged myths about Russia. These, he has written, include the ideas that serfs were ill-treated in tsarist times and that Russians have a penchant for heavy drinking.

Conservative activism is on the rise in Russia, with Christian activists protesting against a number of art projects. Targets have included modern art exhibits by prominent museum curator Marat Guelman, in the cities of Krasnodar and Novosibirsk in early 2012, and a show of works by British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman at the St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum in December.

Repin’s painting, which depicts the tsar in a state of appalled terror as he cradles his dying son in his arms, is considered a landmark of Russian realist art and features in most textbooks on Russian history, which have traditionally depicted Ivan the Terrible as a cruel tyrant.

While Ivan the Terrible is commonly acknowledged with strengthening the central government, it is also recognized he did this to a large extent by massacring his foes.

Boiko-Veliky, 54, has gained media exposure by combining his business pursuits with hardline Christian activism. In 2010, he ordered all employees in relationships to conduct church weddings or face dismissal.

He also posted a reward of 50,000 rubles ($1,500) for identities of members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who performed an anti-Kremlin song in a cathedral in Moscow in 2012. Five band members participated in the performance, but only three have been identified so far.

Boiko-Veliky’s fortune was in 2007 estimated by Finans business weekly at 3.5 billion rubles ($110 million).

Ruzskoye Moloko company, part of his Your Own Financial Caretaker holding, supplies dairy goods to the presidential administration. In 2010, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and then-President Dmitry Medvedev - the two have since switched roles - sampled the company’s milk at an agricultural fair.

Still, the tycoon has not always managed to stay on the right side of the law. Boiko-Veliky, who was expelled from the Komsomol communist youth league in Soviet times over his religious beliefs, spent 20 months in custody in 2007-2008, pending investigations over a suspect land deal. He was released on bail and the case is ongoing.

For more information on Tsar Ivan IV, please refer to the following articles at Royal Russia News;

Myth About Tsar Ivan IV - this article also disputes the commonly held myth that the tsar killed his son

Ivan the Terrible’s Library: Greatest Historical Mystery

Stalin’s Scheme to Glorify Ivan the Terrible

© The Moscow News. 04 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:12 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 4 October 2013 6:30 AM EDT
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Thursday, 3 October 2013
Exhibition: The Tsars' Cabinet and Windows into Heaven
Topic: Exhibitions

The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs
Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art

Friday, October 4, 2013, through Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You won’t have to travel overseas to see hidden treasures of Imperial Russia. Discover them in two exhibitions opening Friday, Oct. 4, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs will run concurrently with Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art. The exhibitions will be on view through March 5, 2014.

The year 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the Romanov Dynasty, or the House of Romanov — the imperial monarchy that ruled Russia from 1613 until 1917 and included the reigns of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Nicholas II, the last tsar.

“To commemorate this anniversary, the Museum of History will present these exhibitions that give visitors a rare glimpse into the splendor of Imperial Russia,” said Dr. Jeanne Marie Warzeski, Exhibition Curator.

The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs  

The N.C. Museum of History is the only mid-Atlantic venue to host The Tsars’ Cabinet, a traveling exhibition showcasing more than 230 objects that exemplify the craftsmanship of artisans under the Romanov tsars. A feast for the eyes, the exhibit features decorative arts dating from the reign of Peter the Great to that of Nicholas II.

From richly ornate table services designed for coronation banquets to jewel-encrusted personal items, the spectacular objects in The Tsars’ Cabinet reveal the extreme lavishness and opulent lifestyle of the Romanov reign. Many of the pieces were made for the ruling tsars and their families.

The exhibit includes objects produced by the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg, one of the oldest porcelain factories in Europe, as well as wares made by the Imperial Glass Factory in St. Petersburg and examples of intricate enamel work from renowned firms such as Fabergé and Ovchinnikov.

Among the treasures in The Tsars’ Cabinet are items from a Kremlin ceremonial table service, yacht service pieces, and elaborate urns made for imperial palaces. Stunning personal artifacts include an Ovchinnikov silver gilt and lapis-lazuli jewel casket and a Fabergé gilded silver and shaded cloisonné enamel cigar case.

The Tsars’ Cabinet is organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary from the Kathleen Durdin Collection, in collaboration with International Arts & Artists.

Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art

From the life of sumptuous excess under the tsars, Windows into Heaven plumbs the mystical depth of the Russian spirit and offers a glimpse into eternity via the dignified grandeur of the Russian Orthodox Church. The exhibition brings together 36 Russian icons dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, during the time of the Romanovs, from the collection of Lilly and Francis Robicsek of Charlotte, N.C.

When Russia converted to Byzantine Christianity in 988, its churches adopted the ancient tradition of painting icons. Over time, Russians developed a distinctive style of iconography featuring religious scenes in the Byzantine, or Eastern Orthodox, tradition. Eastern Orthodox Christians venerate icons as conduits to God and a focus for their prayers and meditation. Thus, icons become “windows into heaven.”

Visitors will recognize many familiar Christian themes in Windows into Heaven.  Icons showing the Mother of God, events in the life of Christ, the apostles and saints are featured. Less familiar representations include the Old Testament Trinity, as well as saints important to Russia, such as Cyril and Methodius and Seraphim of Sarov.

Beautiful to behold, icons were often made by monks or nuns. The religious images brought comfort to many in times of sorrow and hardship. The variety of icons presented in Windows into Heaven provides an intimate look at Russia’s complex past.
© North Carolina Museum of History. 03 October, 2013 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:35 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 October 2013 1:45 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Russia in the 1910s
Topic: Imperial Russia

The Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and the Tsesarevich Alexei take part in the White Flower Day Festival at Yalta
These five videos feature a collection of newsreel clips shot in Russia during the years 1910-1913, showing a variety of scenes including Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna at official functions.

In Part III, we see some wonderful film footage of the Imperial family during the White Flower Day festival at Yalta, an event that the children of Nicholas II: the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and the Tsesarevich Alexei took part in.

The films show various aspects of life in Russia, in both rural and urban settings. We see the day to day lives of both rich and poor, but overall, the films offer us a brief glimpse into a lost world, one that was wiped out by the Bolsheviks and the Russian Revolution. 

Russia in the 1910s - Click Here to View 5 Videos

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:39 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 October 2013 9:46 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Exhibition: The Romanovs in Russian and Foreign Postcards at Nizhny Novgorod
Topic: Exhibitions

The exhibition features more than 500 postcards of members of the Romanov dynasty from the late 19th-early 20th centuries
The Archaeological Museum, located on the territory of the Pechersky Ascension Monastery, in the Church Diocese of Nizhny Novgorod is presenting a new exhibition, The Romanovs in Russian and Foreign Postcards. The collection of late 19th and early 20th century postcards are from the collection of the Revival of Cultural Heritage Fund.

The exhibition began with the blessing of Metropolitan of Novgorod and Arzamas, an active member of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. The exhibition is a joint project of the Nizhny Novgorod Pechersky Ascension Monastery and the Revival of Cultural Heritage Charity Fund.

The exhibition features more than 500 postcards of members of the House of Romanov, and this collection is constantly updated. The exhibit is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, and the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, and runs from September 26th to November 1st, 2013.

Alexander Panin, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow regional branch of IOPS introduced the exhibition to guests, and spoke about the history of postcards in Russia, about the collection fund, and stressed the role of the Romanov dynasty in the history of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, providing details about the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the family of Emperor Nicholas II, all of whom were honourary members of IOPS.

Archimandrite Tikhon stressed the importance of this new exhibition marking the date of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, and also talked about plans for further exhibitions between the Archaeological Museum of Nizhny Novgorod and the Revival of Cultural Heritage Fund in 2013-2014. 

This is the fifth exhibition, which has been held in the Archaeological Museum at Nizhny Novgorod organized between the monastery and the Fund. Two more exhibits are planned by the end of 2013: In the Service of the Fatherland, dedicated to the life and works for the good of Russia of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, an honorary member of the IOPS; and The Holy Royal Children, an exhibition that tells the story of the children of Emperor Nicholas II - the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, as well as the Grand Duke and Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 01 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:43 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 October 2013 12:02 PM EDT
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Monday, 30 September 2013
New Bell Tower Completed at New Jerusalem Monastery in Moscow
Topic: Russian Church

The bell tower that was demolished by Nazi forces in December 1941 has been rebuilt at the New Jerusalem Monastery 
The unique 75-meter bell tower that was demolished by Nazi forces in December 1941 has been rebuilt at the New Jerusalem Monastery in the Moscow region. Today for the first time the bell tower resembles its original appearance as when it was first erected during the time of Patriarch Nikon, ITAR-TASS reports.
Founded under Patriarch Nikon in the 17th century in Istra on the outskirts of Moscow, the New Jerusalem Monastery was meant to evoke the Holy Land and serve as a pilgrimage site. Two buildings, the Church of the Tomb of the Holy Savior and the Cathedral of the Resurrection, form the nucleus of the monastery. Inside the two churches, the icon, decoration, and inscriptions represent the most important group of polychrome ceramic work ever produced in Russia. Built between 1658 and 1698, New Jerusalem is an extraordinary example of Russian ecclesiastical architecture.
Bombing by Nazi occupying forces in 1941 destroyed the great dome of the Cathedral of the Resurrection; it was partially reconstructed in the 1980s. Sporadic restoration and maintenance followed, but came to a halt in the 1990s. In 1995, the New Jerusalem Monastery was handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church and resumed its service as a male monastery. In 2002, the World Monuments Fund put the New Jerusalem Monastery on the World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
In 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and then Patriarch Alexy II visited the monastery and later that year organized a Charity Fund for the Reconstruction of the New Jerusalem Monastery, with Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov appointed its head. 

New Jerusalem Monastery is an extraordinary example of Russian ecclesiastical architecture
© Russkiy Mir. 30 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:07 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 30 September 2013 2:17 PM EDT
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New Romanov Monument at Novospassky Monastery
Topic: 400th Anniversary

 Photo ©
On Sunday, September 29, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, visited Novospassky Monastery in Moscow, which on this day became the center of ecclesiastical and social celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.  

Near the gates of the monastery, His Holiness celebrated the rite of consecration of bells, created in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. At the entrance to the tomb of the Romanov Boyars His Holiness blessed a new monument also marking the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. The new monument is a sculpture composition with the image of the first tsar of the Romanov Mikhail Feodorovich and the last - Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II. Then, the Primate of the Russian Church, led the service of the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral of the monastery. 

Since the end of the 15th century, the monastery has been patronized by the Romanov boyars. Upon the Romanovs' ascension to the Moscovy throne, Tsar Michael Feodorovich completely rebuilt their burial vault in the 1640s. Among the last Romanovs buried in the monastery were Xenia Shestova (the mother of the first Romanov Tsar), Princess Tarakanoff (a pretender who claimed to have been the only daughter of Empress Elisabeth) and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, son of Emperor Alexander II and husband of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. 

In 2013 Novospassky Monastery became a major center of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the accession of the Romanov dynasty.

  Photo ©
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:48 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 30 September 2013 7:56 AM EDT
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Sunday, 29 September 2013
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 20
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 23 minutes, 11 seconds
Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches

The Cathedral of the Icon of Our Lady Feodorovskaya was built in St. Petersburg to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.  

In 1907, a decision was made to build a cathedral in the capital to commemorate the upcoming Romanov tercentenary in 1913. In 1909, a building committee was established, which was adopted under the august patronage of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich. The site was chosen at the intersection of Poltava and Mirgorodskaya streets, near the Nicholas Railway Station (today the Moskovsky Station), with construction carried out between 1909-1913. 

The foundation of the cathedral took place on August 5th 1911, in the presence of the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich. After attending a liturgy service the Grand Duke placed several coins from the reign of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich into a prepared recess.

On March 14, 1913 the grand raising of the cross on the central section of the cathedral was carried out, followed by a liturgy headed by the Patriarch of Antioch, Gregory IV. Among the many bells in the bell tower of the cathedral, some were dedicated to each member of the family of Nicholas II and coats of arms of famous Russian cities.

On September 7, 1913, the lower church was sanctified. On January 15, 1914, the consecration of the upper church by Metropolitan Vladimir (Epiphany) was performed in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II, who arrived with his daughters Olga, Tatiana and Maria. Also in attendance were the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, her daughter, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, along with other members of the royal family and government. 

The new bells bearing the names and images of the Holy Royal Martyrs were delivered in the Fall of 2010
The magnificent five-domed cathedral was built in the neo-Russian style of the 17th century, and includes two churches: the upper and lower. The upper church is dedicated in honour of Our Lady Feodorovskaya, the patron saint of the first Romanov tsar, Michael Feodorovich. The side chapels were dedicated to the heavenly patrons of the members of the Russian royal family: Saints Nicholas and  Tsarina Alexandra, Blessed Prince Mikhail of Tver and St. Alexis of Moscow. Today, the north section of the upper church is dedicated to the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, the south - to the Holy Royal Martyrs.

The lower church is dedicated, as before, to Saint Alexander Nevsky and Mary Magdalene - the heavenly patrons of the Emperor Alexander III and his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna.

After the Revolution, the cathedral suffered under the hands of the Bolsheviks and Soviets, who not only desecrated the cathedral, but virtually demolished it. As a result, the cathedral ceased to exist as a place of worship for the next 70 years.

After 1918, the cathedral became a parish church up until 1932. It was at this time that the abbot, Archimandrite Lev (Egorov), now glorified in the face of the Russian New Martyrs Church, along with many members of the clergy and parishioners were arrested for "counter-revolutionary activities and anti-Soviet agitation," the parish was abolished and the church became a dairy.

Over the years the interiors of the cathedral were greatly modified to accommodate the dairy. Additional floors were added, while the cathedral’s dome was demolished. An extension and add-ins for production purposes were also constructed. The bells which contained the names of members of the royal family were completely destroyed. The clergy’s house, built in 1915-16 was also destroyed by the Soviets.

The consecration of the cathedral was performed by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill on September 14, 2013
In 1992, the parish was revived, the Cathedral of the Icon of Our Lady Feodorovskaya was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church the following year. It was not until August 2005, however, that the transfer of the cathedral was completed. It was at that time that the dairy was evicted from the building.

The full restoration of the church began two years later, in 2007. By March 27, 2011 the restoration of the bell tower was completed, which included the installation of the replica bell ensemble of the 19th century. On April 28, 2013, the reconstruction of the mosaic image of the Savior above the main entrance to the cathedral was completed.  

As an object of cultural heritage of national importance, the cathedral was restored at the expense of the state budget. Much of the work, such as new icons, utensils and more, was made by private charitable donations by trustees and members of the parish who raised more than 2 million Rubles.

The consecration of the Cathedral of the Icon of Our Lady Feodorovskaya took place on September 14, 2013 in St. Petersburg. The dedication and Divine Liturgy was performed by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill. The ceremony was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the construction of the cathedral and the 400th anniversary of the Russian Imperial House of Romanov. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:46 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2017 7:08 AM EST
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Saturday, 28 September 2013
A Russian Moment 17 - Grand Duchess Alexandra Nicholayevna Memorial, Peterhof
Topic: Alexandra Nicholayevna, GD

The beautiful memorial bench and bust of Grand Duchess Alexandra Nicholayevna was created in 1844-47 (restored in 2000) in the Lower Park, Peterhof
One of the most tragic figures among the Romanov grand duchesses has to be the Grand Duchess Alexandra Nicholayevna of Russia. Born on 25 June (O.S. 12 June), 1825, she was the youngest daughter of Emperor Nicholas I and his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (née Princess Charlotte of Prussia).

In the family she was known as "Adini," and she was reportedly her father's favourite child; according to her sister Olga's memoirs, he maintained that she alone among his children had inherited her mother's "Prussian look". It was also said that she resembled her grandmother, Queen Louise of Prussia. Nicholas affectionately spoke of Adini as "... a little moppet, but very sweet".  

Alexandra was famous in Saint Petersburg society for both her beauty and her lively personality. She was also the musician in the family. A serious student of vocal music, she was talented enough to qualify for lessons from the famous soprano Henriette Sontag.

On 28 January 1844, Alexandra married Prince Frederick William of Hesse (1820–1884) in St. Petersburg. Alexandra became acutely ill with tuberculosis shortly before her wedding, and this complicated the pregnancy which soon followed. She was never well enough to travel to Hesse and take up her new position with her husband. They stayed in St. Petersburg, where her health rapidly declined.

She went into labour prematurely, three months before the child was due, and gave birth to a son on 11 August (O.S. 29 July), 1844, Wilhelm. The infant died shortly after he was born, and Alexandra died later the same day, she was only 19 years of age. Her parents were devastated and their grief would last until the end of their lives. She was buried with her baby son in her arms on 14 August (O.S. 1 August), 1844, at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Her remains were later transferred to the Grand Ducal Burial Chapel between 23-28 September, 1911.

Between 1844-47, a memorial bench with a small sculpture bust of the Grand Duchess Alexandra Feodorovna was created in the gardens of the Lower Park at Peterhof. It was restored in 2000. Her rooms in the Cottage Palace have been preserved just as they were at the time of her death. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:09 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 5 October 2017 1:25 PM EDT
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Friday, 27 September 2013
The Agate Rooms: Revival of an 18th-Century Masterpiece
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 49 seconds
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Agate Rooms of the Cold Bath pavilion in the Catherine Park has re-opened to visitors after an extensive restoration, offering an exhibition dedicated to their revival and a tour of the interiors created by the Scottish architect Charles Cameron for Empress Catherine II of Russia.

History was kind to Cameron’s creation by preserving the Agate Room’s original design as a unique work of art from the 1700s. They are the only interiors of Tsarskoye Selo to have retained their original finish despite the damages and losses inflicted by the Second World War and the inexorable course of time.

The unique décor of the Agate Rooms survived almost entirely, notwithstanding the devastations of the war. Since no restoration was carried out in these rooms in the 1900s, restoration experts were able to carry out the conservation of the original 18th-century finish nearly undistorted by renovations of later epochs. Preservation of the authentic décor elements was the basis of the restoration concept in accordance with the Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.

Postponed first due to the more pressing revival of the Catherine Palace and then the recreation of the legendary Amber Room, the long-awaited work on the Agate Rooms was put on the Museum's list of target restoration projects in 2003. 

Between 2005 to 2011 a full range of research work was conducted, with restoration designs and methods developed and approved by the Museum and state authorities for cultural heritage preservation.

Created by Charles Cameron for the Empress Catherine II, the uniquness of the Agate Rooms is unrivalled 
From 2010 the restoration of the Agate Rooms was carried out and completed in 2013. The main designer and contractor was the Tsarskoye Selo Amber Workshop which had established an impeccable reputation for recreating the Amber Room. The Workshop developed research and planning documents and completed conservation and restoration of the Agate Rooms.

The overall project cost, including the adjacent Hanging Garden's renovation, exceeded EUR 9 million. 76 percent of the amount was provided by the Russian Railways and TransSoyuz Charitable Foundation.

A restoration council was established to ensure a scientific monitoring of the work by representatives of Tsarksoye Selo; the Committee on State Control, Use and Protection of Monuments of History and Culture (KGIOP); the SpetsProektRestavratsiya Institute; and the Ilya Repin Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. The expenditure of funds was monitored by a special working group including representatives of Tsarskoye Selo, TransSoyuz and the State Hermitage Museum.

In contrast to traditions of the old school of restoration/recreation of objects lost to WWII, the work at the Agate Rooms showed the possibility of and the need for preservation of authentic objects in accordance with European practices.

The uniqueness of the Agate Rooms is unrivalled. There are no other historic interiors like these, either in Russia or anywhere else in the world. The high aesthetic quality and degree of their preservation assert a continuity of humanistic values, emphasizing St. Petersburg's unofficial status of  the cultural capital of Russia and creating a global image of the city. 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 27 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:33 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 27 September 2013 6:41 AM EDT
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