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Thursday, 10 January 2013
Vintage Photo of Nicholas II No. 12
Topic: Nicholas II


Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on the roof of the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, 1903. Nicholas, like his father (Emperor Alexander III) preferred Moscow to St. Petersburg.

According to Marc Ferro: "Nicholas II preferred Moscow to St. Petersburg because the old city embodied the past, whereas St. Petersburg represented modernity, the Enlightenment and atheism."

During his reign, Nicholas expressed the desire to spend Holy Week in the former Russian capital, and it was here, during the coronation festivities (1896) and the Romanov Tercentennary (1913), Moscow's fervent greeting to their Tsar confirmed his feeling for the city. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:12 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2013 7:33 PM EST
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25th Wedding Anniversary Gift to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD


In 1909, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (KR) and his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna (nee Princess Elizabeth of Saxe-Altenburg) celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

Konstantin presented his wife with this beautiful silver frame containing his image at the top and the dates 1884-1909, marking their 25 years of marriage.

Below are the images of their 8 children: Ioann, Gavriil, Tatiana, Konstantine, Oleg, Igor, Georgi and Vera.

Also depicted are their 4 residences: the Marble Palace, Strelna, Pavlovsk, and Ostashevo.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 January, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:04 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2013 9:17 AM EST
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Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Far from the Fatherland: The Romanovs in Exile
Topic: Paul Gilbert


© Royal Russia. 9 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:44 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 13 March 2013 1:12 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Russian Publishing Firm Issues New Editions of Coronation Albums
Topic: Books


The Russian publishing firm of Alfaret in St. Petersburg, have taken on the monumental task of issuing fascimile editions of the coronation albums of the Russian sovereigns.

A total of seven albums have been published of the following Romanov sovereigns: Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich (originally issued in 1856); the Empresses Anna Ivanovna, Elizabeth Petrovna; and the Emperors Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II.

The albums are exquisite collectors editions bound in leather with gilt lettering, complete with original text (Russian and French)  and illustrations. Each album has been published as a limited edition with prices ranging from $5,000 - $15,0000 USD!

Please note that these books are not available for sale through Royal Russia's online bookshop.

© Paul Gilbert. 8 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:46 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2013 3:47 PM EST
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Monday, 7 January 2013
Holy Russia - Celebrates the Festival of Christmas
Now Playing: Language: NA. Duration: 58 minutes, 54 seconds
Topic: Russian Church

Today marks Christmas Day according to the Julian Calendar used by Orthodox Christians. This hour-long documentary was produced by Robin Scott and directed by Georges Gachot in 2006. It was filmed in the cathedrals, monasteries and sacred palaces in Moscow, the Golden Ring and New Jerusalem. The accompanying music is sung by the Moscow Chamber Choir and the Choir of Trinity St. Sergius Lavra. This wonderful documentary is presented here to all Orthodox Christians who visit the Royal Russia web site and blog, and to those who share a special interest and passion for all things Russian. It represents the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Saviour. "Christ is Born! Glorify Him!"

The spiritual culture of Russia is reflected in the beauty of churches and monasteries, in the paintings and frescoes that adorn them and - above all - in the sacred music that is sung in them.

The Russian Orthodox Church derives from that of Byzantium, which also inspired the 'onion-dome' style of church architecture. Many of the centers of ancient worship are contained within the high walls of kremlin fortresses, witnesses to a history of resistance to invasion.

The millennium of Christianity in Russia in 1988 coincided with the new age of 'glasnost' and 'perestroika' (openness and reconstruction), marking the beginning of the end for the Soviet state. For seventy years religious belief and practice had been discouraged, and hundreds of places of worship had been either destroyed or allowed to fall into almost hopeless disrepair.

A few of the very finest cathedrals and monasteries were maintained as museums, like those in the Kremlin in Moscow. Some monasteries miraculously survived. The Trinity St Sergius Monastery at Sergiev Posad (formerly Zagorsk) is the prime example.

Since 1988 many places of worship have been given back to the Orthodox Church, the 'established' church until the Revolution and regarded once again as Russia's national church. Massive restoration work has been accompanied by the return of sacred works of art hidden away for decades.

An aging congregation of believers - largely women - helped to keep Russian Orthodox Christianity alive. In recent years more and more young people have turned to the Church, not least for spiritual comfort and uplift. There has been a revival in choral singing and the rediscovery of many glorious works of sacred Russian music.

Even non-believers cannot fail to be moved by the orthodox liturgy in all its beauty; from the apparel of the priests, the pattern of the liturgy, the candle-lit icons, the responses of clergy, congregation and choir - to the devotion of the worshippers. It is this feeling of spiritual oneness in all its most Russian sense which Holy Russia seeks to reveal.

Christmas, (celebrated thirteen days after 'Western' Christmas under the old calendar) is one of the most important of the annual festivals of the Orthodox Church, the other two being the feast of Trinity (Pentecost) and, above all, Easter. The festival begins with the Christmas vigil and midnight liturgy on Christmas night (January 6 - 7) and ends twelve days later with Epiphany and the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus Christ.

The Patriarch Alexei II (1929-2008) leads both of the main liturgies, parts of which are shown in Holy Russia, at the Epiphany (Yelokhovsky) and Assumption cathedrals in Moscow. Whereas the former remained a place of worship in the Soviet years, the latter (holiest of Russian cathedrals where Tsars were crowned) was only reopened for worship in 1989. At the Epiphany Cathedral the Patriarch is seen giving the final blessing (or 'dismissal') at the end of Christmas matins before beginning the midnight liturgy.

At the Cathedral of the Assumption (or Dormition) the Patriarch is seen completing the preparation of the bread and wine, which will be later consecrated for Holy Communion. The bread and the wine are carried then in procession from the offertory table to the altar for consecration. The Patriarch receives them; but before placing them on the altar he blesses the congregation as he offers them symbolically for the needs of the whole world. These are unique pictures never before shown in these surroundings.

Other services include part of the special Epiphany Liturgy at Kazan Cathedral at Kolomenskoye and an ordinary liturgy in the Church of the Resurrection at Kostroma (some three hundred kilometers from Moscow). The program ends with the Epiphany procession at the monastery of New Jerusalem and the great blessing of the waters.

This seventeenth century 'Holy City' was blown up by the retreating German Army in 1943 but is being gradually restored. The recently appointed Archdeacon leads a procession to the nearby - ice-cold - river for the blessing of the cross and symbolic bathing by some of the worshippers. It is the first time this ceremony has taken place since 1917.

The liturgy forms an important part of the program as does the music recorded by two of Russia's leading choirs: the Chamber Choir of Moscow conducted by Vladimir Minin and the Choir of Trinity St Sergius Monastery and Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary conducted by Archimandrite Mattheus. The choral singing is all a cappella (unaccompanied). It embraces a wide range of works, both traditional (for the monastic choir) and more modern for the essentially polyphonic singing of the Moscow Chamber Choir.

© Royal Russia. 7 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:05 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:42 AM EST
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Sunday, 6 January 2013
Christmas Comes for Orthodox Christians
Topic: Russian Church


Sunday is Christmas Eve according to the Julian calendar used by Orthodox Christians.

It’s a day of strict fasting when nothing except “sochivo”, a special Christmas Eve dish prepared from wheat grains, rice, beans, peas or vegetables, is allowed, hence the name of the day – Sochelnik.

In his Christmas message, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill urged believers to be merciful and tolerant to others and reminded them of the love that God bestows on all his lambs.

The Patriarch will lead a Christmas Eve liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow tonight.

Celebrating Christmas on January 7th together with the Russian Church will be the Church of Jerusalem and the Serb and Georgian Churches.

Western Christians who use the Gregorian calendar celebrated Christmas on December 25.

© Voice of Russia, Interfax. 06 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:02 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 6 January 2013 11:55 AM EST
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Saturday, 5 January 2013
A Russian Moment No. 3 - Gatchina Palace
Topic: A Russian Moment


Gatchina Palace played host to an elaborate Christmas festival this year. The event was spread over 2 weeks from 25th to 31st December, 2012 and 2nd to 8th January, 2013.

The festival included special tours and programmes within the palace, including Christmas With the Imperial Family, as well as Christmas carols, and a Christmas Market in the courtyard of the palace.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 5 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:53 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 30 March 2013 1:01 PM EDT
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Friday, 4 January 2013
Exhibition of Sculptures Dedicated to the 400th Anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty
Topic: Exhibitions


An exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty has opened in the Governors House in the Russian city of Penza.

The exhibit includes contemporary busts of eight of Russia's most famous rulers: Peter I, Catherine II, Paul I, Alexander I, Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II.

The sculptures were all created by created by local artists in the studio of Vladimir Trulova. At first glance they appear to be made of bronze or stone, but are in fact made of fiberglass.

The exhibition of Romanov busts will be on display for the duration of 2013.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia.

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:02 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 6 January 2013 11:18 AM EST
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Thursday, 3 January 2013
Imperial Requiem: Four Royal Women & the Fall of the Age of Empires
Topic: Books

 ||| Click Here to Order Your Copy! |||

A new book by Justin C. Vovk explores the lives of four exceptional royal women: Augusta Victoria of Germany, Mary of Great Britain, Alexandra of Russia, and Zita of Austria-Hungary.

In Imperial Requiem, Justin C. Vovk narrates the epic story of four women who were married to the reigning monarchs of Europe's last empires during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More than 600 pages!

© Paul Gilbert - Bookseller. 3 January, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:17 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2013 1:40 PM EST
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Wednesday, 2 January 2013
Royal Russia Top 20 Videos of 2012
Topic: Royal Russia

Last year, more than 90 videos were added to the Royal Russia web site and blog. They were posted from a variety of Russian and English media sources in both Russian and English.

Here is a list of our Top 20 videos from 2012:

(1) Tsarskoe Selo Palaces: The View from 1917

(2) The Last Ball - A Documentary

(3) Photos of Lost Russian Crown Jewels Found In US Library

(4) Tour of the State Halls and Private Rooms of the Grand Kremlin Palace

(5) Tsarskoye Selo in 1941

(6) The Alexander Palace: A Walk Through the State Rooms

(7) The Russian Imperial Family in Denmark, 1899

(8) The Video Tour of GARF Exhibit on Murder of Imperial Family

(9) Colour Film Footage of Tsar Nicholas II

(10) The Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg

(11) A Walk Through the Alexander Palace

(12) Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich

(13) The Romanovs: Elizabeth and Sergei

(14) Yusupov Chambers: Splendid Residence of Russia's Richest Nobles

(15) Tsarist-Era Treasures Found in 18th-Century St Petersburg Mansion

(16) Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna Documentary

(17) The Imperial Train in the Grand Duchy of Finland

(18) The Vladimir Palace - Residence of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich

(19) Russia Commemorates the Holy Royal Martyrs

(20) Rare Voice Recording of Tsar Nicholas II

Many of the videos are in Russian, however, do not allow that to deter you from watching them as each one is filled with beautiful film footage (both historical and contemporary) of the Romanovs and their legacy.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 2 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:43 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2013 12:06 PM EST
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