There are people of so many accomplishments living such eventful lives that any attempt to paint their full portrait is futile. One such person was Alexander Kolchak, a naval officer, Polar explorer and an anti-Bolshevik leader proclaimed Supreme Ruler of Russia. Voice of Russia offers this tribute to this outstanding personality.
Countess Olga "Lala" Hendrikoff was born into the Russian aristocracy, serving as lady-in-waiting to the Empresses and enjoying a life of great privilege. But on the eve of her wedding in 1914 came the first rumours of an impending war - a war that would change her life forever and force her to flee her country as a stateless person, with no country to call home.
Spanning two of the most turbulent times in modern history - World War I in Russia and World War II in Paris - Countess Hendrikoff's journals demonstrate the uncertainty, horror and hope of daily life in the midst of turmoil. Her razor-sharp insight, wit and sense of humour create a fascinating eyewitness account of the Russian Revolution and the Occupation and Liberation of Paris.
In A Countess in Limbo, Countess Hendrikoff tells her remarkable true story that includes the loss of her brother in the Russian Gulag, her sister-in-law murdered with the Russian Imperial family at Ekaterinburg, and herself being robbed at gunpoint and accused of being a spy by the Nazis. She also speaks of the daily life that continues during wartime - ration cards and food restrictions, the black market, and the struggle just to get by for another day. Her gripping story and thoughtful analysis provide an invaluable look at life and humanity in the face of war.
Restoration of Naval Cathedral at Kronstadt Near Completion Topic: Russian Church
Preparations for the long awaited opening of the Naval Cathedral at Kronstadt are near completion, according to Andrew Lyalin, Director of the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg.
"The cathedral has undergone a complete restoration and will open its doors in May, marking its 100th anniversary," said Lyalin at a press conference today.
The cathedral took 10 years to build, 1903-1913, and served as the main church of the Baltic Fleet and dedicated to all fallen seamen.
The cathedral was closed in 1929, and was converted into a cinema, a House of Officers (1939), a club and concert hall (1956) and a Museum of the Navy (1974).
The Russian Orthodox Church installed a cross on the main dome of the cathedral in 2002, and served the first Divine Liturgy in the cathedral in 2005, the first since 1929. In April 2012, the cathedral was consecrated by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill I.
A complete restoration of the Naval Cathedral at Kronstadt began in 2009 and cost 1.3 billion rubles ($43 million USD). Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said the cathedral "looked better than it did a hundred years ago."
Exhibition: Wilhelm II and Anna Pavlovna. Royal Luxury of Dutch Courtyard Topic: Exhibitions
Wilhelm II and Anna Pavlovna with their family, 1832. Artist: Jean-Baptiste Van der Hulst (1790-1862)
In 2013, the Netherlands, Russia, and the city of Amsterdam will celebrate their special relationship. The two countries have been major trading partners since the Dutch Golden Age, and their ties grew stronger in the centuries that followed. When Napoleon was defeated in 1813, Russian Cossacks advanced as far as the gates of Amsterdam.
On 21 February 1816 at the Chapel of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, the daughter of Emperor Paul I, Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna married Wilhelm the Prince of Orange, who would later become King William II of the Netherlands.
In honour of Russia-Netherlands Year, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg will host an exhibition dedicated to Anna Pavlovna and Wilhelm II, in the Armorial Hall of the Winter Palace. The exhibition will open on 25th September, 2013 and run until 12th January, 2014.
Exhibition: Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar Topic: Exhibitions
Early in 2013, a year of celebration in Dutch-Russian relations, the Hermitage Amsterdam will present a major exhibition devoted to Peter the Great (1672–1725), the modernizer of Russia.
The exhibition will paint a picture of this unconventional, inspired and inquisitive Russian tsar, who by the time he took power at the age of 17 was determined to transform his country. His achievements include reforming the military and the church, expanding trade and industry, and improving education and public health. He turned Russia into a great European power with a brand-new capital city: St Petersburg, his “window on the West.”
With historical artefacts, paintings, gold jewellery from the ancient world, weapons and unique documents, the exhibition will sketch the life of this peerless ruler.
From his youth Peter collected art, including a Rembrandt, planting the seed for St Petersburg’s later Hermitage collection. An enthusiastic traveller, he went two visits to Western Europe, including the Dutch Republic. It was the city of Amsterdam, in particular, that inspired him to found his new capital. Peter befriended many leading figures in Dutch society, such as Nicolaas Witsen (mayor of Amsterdam), Christoffel van Brants (shipper, and grain and arms merchant), Albert Seba (apothecary and collector of natural curiosities) and Frederik Ruysch (physician, anatomist and botanist). Like a sponge, he absorbed what they taught him about shipbuilding, making instruments, carpentry, etching, dissection, pulling teeth, making paper, gardening, bookmaking, and much more.
Find out how this knowledge bore fruit in Russia during your visit to Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar. You will also find many of Peter’s personal effects, such as his suits and one of his coaches, which show how profoundly he was influenced by Western tastes.
The exhibition will be based on the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, with additional pieces from the collections of museums and institutions in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
Putin: Orthodox Bishops' Meetings Play "Invaluable Role" in Russian History Topic: Russian Church
Patriarch Kirill and President Vladimir Putin
President Vladimir Putin has credited regular episcopal assemblies of the Russian Orthodox Church with an "invaluable role" in Russian history.
"Bishops' assemblies have always played a great, truly invaluable role in the development of Orthodoxy, and in the many centuries of Russian history. Their decisions and their wise advice and assessments are still significant both for church and for public life," a statement from the president's office quoted Putin as saying in a message to a bishops' assembly that opened in Moscow on Saturday.
The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church meet with President Vladimir Putin in the Grand Kremlin Palace
"The Russian Orthodox Church has a significant voice in asserting ideals of humanism, virtue and mercy, and in bringing up younger generations on the basis of intransient moral values, patriotism and civil spirit," Putin said.
"It is my deep conviction that we need to make every effort to boost collaboration between Church and State in key areas such as addressing urgent social problems, promoting antireligious and interethnic dialogue, and imbuing young people with respect for the extremely rich historical, cultural and spiritual legacy of the peoples of Russia," he said.
A Russian Moment No. 6 - Palace of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna Topic: A Russian Moment
The palace of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovich (1875-1960) and Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich (1866-1933) is situated on the Moika Embankment at No. 106, in St. Petersburg. The palace of Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovich (1850-1908) is also situated on the Moika Embankment at No. 122.
In recent years, the former palace has undergone a much needed face-lift. The facade has been restored and freshly painted (the palace was formerly white), a new roof installed and new brick laid in the courtyard.
The palace is now home to the P.F. Lesgaft Instutute of Physical Culture. A monument to Lesgaft sits in the courtyard. Peter Franzevich Lesgaft (1837-1919) was a founder of the modern system of physical education
I had the privilege of visiting the palace some years back. I noted that aside from some notable interior elements dating from the tsarist period, very little of the historical interiors had been preserved.
Church Seeks to Restrict Access to Historic Monasteries Topic: Russian Church
Access to the Solovetsky islands, home to one of Russia's most important monasteries, could be restricted in a bid to preserve the archipelago's "special way of life," a top ranking clergyman said.
Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin said Thursday that the Solovetsky islands in the White Sea and the Valaam islands in Lake Ladoga — both home to historic monasteries — were among several sites the church is pushing to reclassify as "religious-historical places."
"We are currently very carefully working in connection with the topic of Solovki; there is an idea to develop a full federal program. Meetings about this question are taking place practically every week, the questions under discussion are not simple," he told Interfax on Thursday.
In order to give Solovki, Valaam and other historic sites protected status, serious changes to the law are necessary, he said. The government's understanding of this is growing, he added.
"Places like Solovki, Valaam and several other monasteries are special places connected with traditional non-christian religions — it's not just the buildings and the land, it is a place where there is a special way of life, and this way of life is incompatible with mass tourism, building of entertainment and attractions, or noisy political or mass cultural events," he said.
Chaplin stressed that places like Solovki should remain open to both pilgrims and tourists, provided they "respect the internal atmosphere and special way of life — or they will simply be lost."
The monastery at Solovki, a world heritage site, was founded in the 15th century, and grew to become one of the richest and most prestigious religious centers in the Russian empire.
For 16 years in the 1920s and 1930s it served as a prison for political undesirables — becoming the model for the Gulag system of prison camps.
The monastery was restored to the Church in the early 1990s, and the islands have become and increasingly popular place of pilgrimage and secular tourism since the monastery was reopened. Today about 30,000 to 40,000 thousand tourists visit the islands each year.
Patriarch Kirill on Four Years as Patriarch Topic: Russian Church
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill served a liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on the fourth anniversary of his enthronement as patriarch.
"These four years were full of so many events that would be enough for forty years and even more," the patriarch said after the liturgy.
A lot was done by the entire church during his tenure as patriarch.
"We are not summing up the results and we are not making any joyful reports on what we have done. We realize with humility that a lot has not been done yet. But we thank the Lord for these four years, for the joys and sorrows, but above all for the mercy that our Lord, the head of our Church, has given all of us," Patriarch Kirill said.
Patriarch Kirill thanked archbishops for the accord among them, "for understanding the common goals and the importance of working on achieving these goals," and also thanked the clergy, monks, and all people. The patriarch said he is confident that "God will have mercy on all countries of the historical Rus" that are under the care of the Moscow Patriarchate and will keep the Church "united, spiritually strong, and unconquerable by the enemy" in response for labor and righteousness.
During his tenure as patriarch, Patriarch Kirill conducted large-scale church reforms, including the change of the diocese management by forming over thirty metropolias and almost ninety new dioceses and ordaining 88 bishops. Considerable changes took place in the administrative system of the church, including the revival of the inter-council presence and the foundation of the church graduate and doctoral programs. Qualitative changes also took place in the social service of the church.
In the four years of his tenure as patriarch, Patriarch Kirill visited more than 100 dioceses, some of which he visited more than once, and also visited Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland, Japan, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Cyprus.
Faberge Exhibition Coming to Hong Kong in February Topic: Faberge
A special Fabergé exhibition is opening in February at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Four Fabergé eggs appear in the expo. They include the Trans-Siberian Train Easter Egg, which was created in 1900 for Tsar Nicholas II, who, in turn, gave it to his wife, the Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, as a festive present. Also on display is the Moscow Kremlin Easter Egg, the tallest and most ambitious of all of the Imperial Fabergé eggs, made from gold, silver, onyx and enamel. This was given by the Tsar to the Tsarina at Easter in 1906 and represents Uspensky Cathedral, where the tsars of Russia were crowned. There’s also the Memory of Azov Easter Egg from 1891 and the unfinished Constellation Tsarevich Easter Egg.
Among other items on display are works of art and jewellery which have been carefully crafted and lavished with an array of precious metals and jewels, specially created by the House of Fabergé for the Russian court. The Moscow Kremlin Museums and Fersman Mineralogical Museum of Russia have loaned more than 200 pretty pieces to the Heritage Museum until the end of April, making it the first time a Fabergé exhibition has rolled into our city.
Assistant curator at the Heritage Museum, Tang Hing-Sun, explains the painstaking process that would have taken place when making a Fabergé egg. “The creation of an egg took about a year,” he says. “It was a process that had a preliminary period including detailed planning, sketches and models. Fabergé was the mastermind behind it all – and he provided the taste and direction for the creation. Discussions also took place among the goldsmiths, silversmiths, enamellers, jewellers, lapidary workers and stonecutters who would contribute their abilities toward the final Fabergé egg.”