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Thursday, 14 December 2017
Church in Honour of Romanov Doctor Eugene Botkin to be Built in St Petersburg
Topic: Russian Church

Icon of the holy righteous doctor and passion-bearer Eugene Botkin
This article was originally published by on 14 December 2017

On December 18, at the multi-purpose clinic of the St. Petersburg Military-Medical Academy, the foundation stone and cross at the base of a new church in honour of the holy righteous doctor and passion-bearer Eugene Botkin will be consecrated as part of the celebrations for the 219th anniversary of the founding of the school, reports the academy website.

The initiative for building the church came from colleagues of the academy itself.

St. Eugene Botkin was the court physician for Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra and sometimes treated the hemophiliac Tsarevich Alexei while in exile with the family. He remained loyal to the Royal Family to the end and was martyred with them on July 17, 1918.

The righteous doctor was canonized along with the Royal Martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 1981, though he was not canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate when they glorified the family in 2000. He was eventually glorified by Moscow on February 7, 2016.

To raise funds for the construction of the church, the academy has created a charitable fund named for the holy righteous doctor Eugene Botkin, with Russian Academy of Sciences member and Lieutenant-General of medical services Boris Gaidar as the chairman of the board of trustees.

The rite of consecration of the foundation stone will be celebrated by Metropolitan Barsauphius of St. Petersburg and Ladoga.

The first church in honour of St. Eugene Botkin in Russia was consecrated on March 25, 2016 at a Moscow clinic.

Artist concept of the Church in honour of St. Eugene Botkin, St. Petersburg Military-Medical Academy, St. Petersburg
© 14 December, 2017 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:19 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2017 4:32 PM EST
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Friday, 22 September 2017
Commemorative Plaque to Metropolitan who Crowned Nicholas II Unveiled in Peshelan
Topic: Russian Church

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

A commemorative plaque to Palladius, Metropolitan Bishop of St Petersburg and Ladoga, who crowned Tsar Nicholas II in 1896, was unveiled and consecrated on 16 September in Peshelan, the village where he was born (1827), in the district of Nizhny Novgorod region.

The granite memorial plaque was established thanks to the efforts of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society at the local Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.

The rector of the Ascension Monastery of the Caves, Archimandrite Tikhon (Zatyokin), consecrated the memorial plaque.

Throughout his active life, His Eminence Palladius zealously served Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. The most expressive qualities of his soul were his boundless kindness, always benevolent and willingness to any service, his undying love, mercy and compassion for the underprivileged. In 1894, Metropolitan Palladius was made an honourary Member of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. 

He took part in the coronation ceremonies of Emperor Alexander III in 1883, and on 14 May, 1896, His Eminence Palladius was honoured to lead the Sacred Crowning of Their Imperial Majesties, the Emperor Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. 

Metropolitan Pallady reposed on December 17, 1898 in St. Petersburg. He was buried at St. Isidor Church of Alexander Nevsky Lavra. In 1932, his relics were moved to Nikolskoe cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. In 1988, a cross was placed on his grave.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 September, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:11 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 September 2017 1:27 PM EDT
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Monday, 11 September 2017
ROC Reflects on Russia's Last Tsar on Day of Sobriety
Topic: Russian Church

 Pre-Revolutionary Russia anti-alcohol campaign poster

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

All-Russia Sobriety Day is marked in the Russian Orthodox Church on September 11. The event was marked for the first time in 1913. It is on this day that Orthodox Christians also celebrate the day of the beheading of John the Baptist. The prophet did not drink, but he was killed at a drunken feast. On this day believers observe a strict fast.

Up until the 1917 Revolution, wine shops were closed and did not sell alcohol on the Day of Sobriety. In modern Russia, many regions organize exhibitions and events dedicated to life without alcohol.

Speaking at a press conference on the All-Russia Day of Sobriety held today in Moscow, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church recalled the experience of the development of the sobriety movement in pre-revolutionary Russia, which peaked during the era of Nicholas II .

Emperor Nicholas II, when he was presented with arguments that the treasury had been replenished due to the sale of alcohol, said: "The welfare of the treasury should not be dependent on the devastation of the spiritual and economic needs of my many loyal subjects," recalled the chairman of the Synodal Department for Church Relations with the society and the media Vladimir Legoyda, the press service of the Synodal Department reports.

"It seems to me that this is still a very important state position, which proceeds from an understanding of the danger of alcoholism for people and society," he added.

The Chairman of the Department for the Relations of the Church with the Society and the Media also noted that the Church, while determining its attitude to the use of alcoholic beverages, always took a balanced stance, condemning both drunkenness and guilt with wine.

During the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, alcohol consumption in the Russian Empire was significantly lower than today, with the average per capita alcohol consumption of 4.7 liters. According to the World Health Organization, if the per capita consumption of alcohol exceeds the 8 liters, population degradation begins. Today, this figure is much higher than the figure of 8 liters per person, - said Bishop Glazovsky and Igrinsky Victor .

How to reconcile wine, the Church and sobriety? They are reconciled in the remarkable words of St. John Chrysostom : "The wine was given by God, not so that we revel in drunkenness, but in order to be sober," Bishop Victor concluded.

Pre-Revolutionary Russia anti-alcohol campaign posters

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 September, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:16 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 11 September 2017 12:24 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Saint-Tsar Nicholas II Chapel to be Built in Canada
Topic: Russian Church

Artist drawing of the Saint Nicholas II Chapel currently under constuction in Jackson's Point, Ontario, Canada

This article was researched from Russian and English media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

A chapel in honour of the last Russian Emperor is to be built on the grounds of the Church of Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, in Jackson's Point, located in the township of Georgina, on Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. The popular summer resort harbour is situated about 85 km north of Toronto. The project initiators are optimistic that the chapel will be ready for consecration in time for the 100th anniversary of Emperor Nicholas II, his wife and children is marked on 17th July 2018. 

Hilarion, Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, laid the first stone at the foundation of a chapel-to-be. The solemn ceremony took place on 6th August, during the patronal feast dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Church of Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. 

Metropolitan Hilarion headed the church service attended by several dozens of people. He presented the holy relics of Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and Saint Herman of Alaska for veneration by the faithful. 

The festive agenda included a gala dinner on the church terrace for 300 parishioners and guests, with a huge cake baked in the form of the church. Member of Canada’s Parliament Peter Van Loan and a representative of the Consulate General of Russia were among the guests. There was also a concert with participation of well-known performers, followed by a fireworks display. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 August, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:51 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2017 5:29 PM EDT
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Friday, 12 May 2017
First Hierarchical Liturgy Served in Winter Palace Church Since the Revolution
Topic: Russian Church

Photo © St. Petersburg Theological Academy

This article was originally published by on 12 May 2017

A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Thursday, May 11 in the chapel at the St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum for the first time in 100 years, reports the site of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.

The first episcopal Liturgy since the bloody 1917 Russian revolution in the Hermitage, which once served as the main residence of the Russian emperors in St. Petersburg, was celebrated by Archbishop Ambrose of Peterhof, the rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. The Liturgy was concelebrated by a number of local clergy and sung by two choirs from the academy, with academy students and museum employees present.

Archbishop Ambrose stated, “We have glorified the Risen Lord in these Paschal days, in the church dedicated to His Image Not-Made-By-Hands. The connection between time and the history of our great Fatherland is felt here. Although this is a renewed church, the spirit of the past is present in it anyways, because it’s impossible to remove from eternal memory the prayers and supplications of all the people who have entered under the arches here, to receive a blessing for the very difficult but great task of managing the Russian state.”

During the Liturgy, the clergy and parishioners prayed for the repose of the great rulers, emperors, and empresses of Russia, as well as the deceased heads and employees of the museum, and also the for the health of the current staff.

Reflecting upon the historical significance of the day, the archbishop exclaimed, “The Body of the Church is living and acts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is precisely the Holy Spirit that directs us on the path of life and instructs us how to act, so as not to interfere with the benevolent providence of God, Who cares not only for each of us, but for our people, for our Church, and for our Fatherland and our churches.”
© 12 May. 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:44 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 May 2017 10:53 AM EDT
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Thursday, 4 May 2017
Holy Relics of Nicholas II's Patron Saint to be Brought to Russia
Topic: Russian Church

St Nicholas the Wonder-Worker - Patron Saint of Emperors Nicholas I and Saint-Tsar Nicholas II
This article was originally published by Russia Beyond the Headlines on 4 May 2017

Relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker will leave Italy and come to Moscow for the first time in almost 1,000 years. Experts believe that this agreement was reached after Patriarch Kirill met Pope Francis in Cuba.

The relics of one of the most venerated saints in the world, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, will come to Russia from Italy. The news was reported by the Department of External Church Communications of the Moscow Patriarch on April 28.

"From May 21 to July 28, part of the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker from the Papal Basilica in Bari (Italy) will be presented in the Russian Orthodox Church," says the statement.

The relics have been in Bari for 930 years and this is the first time they will leave the city, the statement explains.

The agreement on this unprecedented event was reached as a result of the historical meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus' Kirill with Pope Francis on Feb. 12, 2016 in Cuba.

The holy relics will be brought to Russia on a charter flight and will be accompanied by a delegation from the Roman Catholic Church, the Kommersant business daily quotes Father Alexei Dikarev from the Department of External Church Communications' Secretariat on Inter-Christian Affairs. "Not all the relics will be brought to Russia, just a part of them," he said.  

In Russia the relics will be shown first in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and then in one of the St. Petersburg cathedrals.

"For believers the presentation of St. Nicholas' relics is not only a symbolic occasion, it is also a real confirmation of the dialogue between the two churches," Kommersant cites Roman Lunkin, director of the Center for the Study of Religious and Social Problems at the RAS Institute of Europe. "Nicholas the Wonderworker is a saint both for Catholic and Orthodox believers, thus this event demonstrates the miracle of Christian unity."

In his view, "cooperation between the churches became possible after the meeting between Pope Francis and the patriarch in Havana, when cultural and scientific contacts began developing and attitudes to Catholics in Russia changed for the better."

"The presentation of the relics is also an unprecedented gesture of goodwill from the Vatican because a battle has been waged since the Middle Ages for the relics of this saint. And only now are they leaving Bari for the sake of Christian dialogue with the Russian Church," Lunkin is convinced.

© Russia Beyond the Headlines. 4 May. 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:38 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2017 7:46 AM EDT
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Saturday, 29 April 2017
St Petersburg's Landmark Cathedral to Get Patriarchal Status
Topic: Russian Church

Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I arrives at St Isaac’s Cathedral to deliver a Divine Liturgy in 2009
This article was originally published by the TASS News Agency on 28 April 2017

The status of the Patriarchal Cathedral that St Petersburg’s landmark Cathedral of St Isaac may get after its transfer to the administrative control of the Russian Orthodox Church will impart special spiritual significance to it, Alexander Volkov, the press secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I told TASS on Thursday.

He said that His Holiness Kirill would take on the role of the father superior of the cathedral if the transfer did take place.

"If you take a possible form of administration at the St Isaac’s after its transfer then I think this particular form (the Patriarchal Cathedral) will be correct for this particular cathedral from the point of view of both Petersburg and the entire country," the Rev Volkov said. "The patriarchal status will give it special significance from the standpoint of its place in the Church."

He recalled that several other churches in Russia had this status and the decades of application of such administrative patterns had proved their efficacious nature.

"The boldest instance in this case is the Cathedral of the Savior in Moscow," the Rev Volkov said. "It has a special place in the life of the Russian Church and of our entire society, as all the key events take place there."

"The Cathedral of the Savior is the center of Russia’s spiritual life and it’s only natural that the Supreme Hierarch of the Church leads services there quite often - the fact that many believers also find to be very important," he said.

The Rev Volkov recalled that all the proprietary and financial issues related to the Cathedral of the Savior fell into the realm of powers of the Board of Trustees the Cathedral’s Fund.
Kirill I makes several trips a year to St Petersburg, his native city. The next visit is to take place on April 30.

The main item on Kirill I’s agenda during this trip will be to venerate the memory of his spiritual teacher, the late Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod (b. 1929, d.1978), and to lead a liturgy in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the city’s biggest monastery, the Laura of St Alexander of the Neva.

His Holiness will not visit the St Isaac’s that has turned into a centerpiece of red-hot public debates in Russia society after the decision of St Petersburg Governor, Georgy Poltavchenko, to turn it over to the Russian Church. "A visit there is off the Patriarch’s agenda now," the Rev Volkov said.

He did not confirm a report by the RBC news agency that the official transfer of the cathedral on Russia Day, a national holiday marked on July 12. "I’ll refrain from saying anything about specific dates because they are the subject of our contacts with the appropriate state authorities," he said.
"I think any date on which the transfer will take place will be a really good day," the Rev Volkov said.

The compound of the St Isaac’s cathedral is owned by the government of St Petersburg. Simultaneously, the cathedral enjoys protection at the federal level, while UNESCO has placed it on the world heritage list.

© TASS News Agency. 29 April. 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:08 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 April 2017 2:16 PM EDT
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Friday, 17 February 2017
Handover of St. Isaac Cathedral to Orthodox Church May Become 'Symbol of reconciliation'
Topic: Russian Church

Orthodox believers show their support of the transfer of St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg
The handing over of St. Isaac Cathedral to the Orthodox Church may become a symbol of national reconciliation, head of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said addressing a meeting of the ROC Supreme Council, held at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.

"The handover of St. Isaac Cathedral in St. Petersburg comes in a year that marks the centennial of the Russian Revolution so it may become a symbol of national reconciliation," the Patriarch said. "In the past, the destruction of churches and mass killings of believers carved out a horrible chapter in the book of our history and indicated a division in the nation. But now, the peaceful atmosphere surrounding the churches returned to the believers should become a symbol of accord and mutual forgiveness," Patriarch Kirill added.

He stressed that after the handover, the admission to the Cathedral would be free. According to Patriarch Kirill, the Russian Orthodox Church will be able to carry out all the restoration work in the Cathedral by selling tickets to the Colonnade and arranging paid tours.

© TASS News Agency. 17 February, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:29 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 17 February 2017 6:43 AM EST
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Saturday, 21 January 2017
World Russian People's Council Proposes December 5th as Day to Remember Destruction of Churches
Topic: Russian Church

Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow in ruins after its destruction by the Soviets on 5 December 1931
This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

The World Russian People’s Council (WRPC) has proposed December 5, the anniversary of the destruction of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, as a civil day to remember the many Russian Orthodox churches destroyed by the Bolsheviks and Communists in Russia during the Soviet years. The idea was presented at a press conference held last week by the head of the council’s Expert Center Alexander Rudakov.

“We are proposing to discuss the question of making this date a public day—The Day of Remembrance for Ruined Churches—not only of the Russian Orthodox Church, but all churches and religious objects of traditional religions which have been ruined, destroyed, blown up, and desecrated in the era of godless persecutions,” said Rudakov.

“This date proposed by us for discussion—The Day of Remembrance for Ruined Churches—is not an occasion for historical revenge, or for settling historical accounts. It is really an occasion to reflect on the tragedies of our past and make sure they never happen again,” the WRPC representative added, noting that they see the proposal as an opportunity to consolidate rather than split society.

According to Igor Garkavy, director of the Butovo Memorial Center emphasizes that Russians should “understand the magnitude of what was lost.” Before the communist revolution there were 57,000 churches in Russia— this number was reduced to 6,000 in 1991. Among the loss was Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, blown up on December 5, 1931, and restored in the 1990s. Butovo, a site of mass executions and graves, is now a place of pilgrimage just south of Moscow, where stands a new church in honor of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.

Garkavy has also proposed erecting memorial crosses, or at least a plaque, on the site of ruined churches not yet restored.

The World Russian People’s Council is an international public organization founded in 1993, granted special consultative status to the UN in 2005. Patriarch Kirill serves as the council’s head.

© / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 January, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:09 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2017 4:27 AM EST
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Wednesday, 11 January 2017
St. Petersburg to Remain Owner of St. Isaac's Cathedral
Topic: Russian Church

St. Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Petersburg
This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017
St. Petersburg will remain the owner of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral, one of the city’s landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage site, which will be handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church for free use, said Vice-Governor Mikhail Mokretsov.

"As part of carrying out the federal legislation, the St. Isaac Cathedral will be transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate for free use, still St. Petersburg will remain the owner and the cathedral’s legal status will not change," the vice governor explained.

Mokretsov added that failure to comply with the contract to preserve the valuables at the St. Isaac’s Cathedral by the Moscow Patriarchate as a contract party will lead to its termination.
The handover of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral museum to the Russian Orthodox Church, may take at least two to three years, said the museum’s director, Nikolay Burov, during an interview with the TASS News Agency on Wednesday.

Burov said that time is needed to determine the future of St. Isaac’s full-time staff totaling 393 members and of several thousand museum items, which are currently part of the state’s property, and to outline plans for refurbishment.

"The restoration should continue," he said. "We have a renovation plan until 2028 but we should take into account that this professional work is costly."

Many items adorn the cathedral’s interior and exterior, Burov said, adding that "the current law on state museum funds does not regulate this matter."

Burov said the museum at St. Isaac’s Cathedral will definitely cease to exist after its handover to the Church.

According to Burov, St. Isaac’s is one of Russia’s most popular museums visited by some 3.5 million visitors annually.

The director said St. Isaac’s would continue working as museum until the end of 2017.

The St. Petersburg diocese asked the city government to hand the cathedral back to the Church in 2015 but the request was rejected. A year later new requests were sent to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Governor Poltavchenko.

The cathedral was built in 1818-1858 and transformed into a museum after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Church services were resumed at St. Isaac’s in 1990.

Nonetheless, St. Isaac’s was not property of the Orthodox Church even prior to the revolution as its maintenance was very expensive. The cathedral was managed by the Imperial Ministry of Communication Routes and Public Buildings until 1871 and was then handed over to the Interior Ministry of the Russian Empire.

© TASS News Agency / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 January, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:27 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 13 January 2017 9:13 AM EST
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