Topic: Russian Imperial House
Photo: Head of the Russian Imperial House HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna visits the site of the Cathedral of Ss Cyril and Methodius, during her recent visit to Elista in the Republic of Kalmykia
The House of Romanoff urges all those who wish to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the birth of Emperor-in-Exile Kirill Vladimirovich to donate to the construction of the Cathedral of Ss. Cyril and Methodius
September 30/October 13, 2016, marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Emperor-in-Exile Kirill Vladimirovich (1876-1938), the grandfather of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.
By the mercy of God, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia made an official visit to the Republic of Kalmykia shortly before the date of this significant anniversary, touring the construction site in the city of Elista where a new Cathedral of the Holy and Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril and Methodius is being built.
On September 21, 2016, on the Feast Day of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God, the Head of the House of Romanoff, after attending services in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan with His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Elista and Kalmykia, went to the 7th borough of Elista, where the new cathedral is being built. There, the Grand Duchess toured the construction site and surveyed the progress to date with the Head of the Eparchial Office for Church Construction, Sergei Sholokhov.
Her Imperial Highness in her statements at the time noted the importance of building a new cathedral in honour of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in the capital of Kalmykia, and expressed her best wishes to all on completing the construction, promising to return for the consecration of this magnificent cathedral.
Once, during their far-ranging missionary work, the two sainted brothers traveled through the land of present-day Kalmykia. It is thus especially appropriate that this new cathedral in Elista should be dedicated in their honour. Ss. Cyril and Methodius, regarded by the Church as being Equal-to-the-Apostles for their missionary work among the Slavs, were the creators of the Slavic written language and were great enlighteners of the Faith among many pagan peoples. The younger of the two, St. Cyril, is the Heavenly patron of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia and of the Emperor Kirill I Vladimirovich, of blessed memory.
The Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, urges all her countrymen to pray for the soul of her grandfather, and also expresses her hope that all those who desire to do good works in his memory make a donation to the construction of the Cathedral of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Elista.
In this connection, the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House calls on all traditionalist and monarchist organizations and on all our countrymen who honour the heritage of our country, to arrange for memorial services, or panikhidas, to be served on October 13, 2016, or on the nearest Sunday, for Emperor-in-Exile Kirill Vladimirovich, after which donations can be collected for the construction of the Cathedral of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Elista. Sums collected at that time should be sent directly to the Board of Trustees of the Elista and Kalmykia Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church for the Fund for the Construction of this Cathedral.
Of course, donations for the construction of the Cathedral of Ss. Cyril and Methodius can be made not only by groups but by individuals, as well.
When donating as part of a group, we recommend that you include a list of individual donors—last name, first name, and (where appropriate) patronymic. A model for how to compile a donor list can be found below.
Those who respond to this call for donations from Grand Duchess Maria of Russia are encouraged to send a copy of the list of donors and the receipt of the money transfer to the email address: email@example.com.
Russian and foreign donors who have most generously given to this cause will receive a personal note of thanks from the Head of the Russian Imperial House.
Account information for the Fund for the Construction of the Cathedral in the City of Elista
Account number: 40703810360300100653
Stavropol Branch – 5230 Sberbank Stavropol
Correspondent Account: 30101810907020000615
BIK (Bank Identification Code): 040702615
Religious Organization “Elistinskaia i Kalmytskaia Eparkhiia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi (Moskovskii Patriarkhat) [The Elista and Kalmykia Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate]
Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN): 0814062969 Registration Reason Code (KPP): 081601001
The website of the Board of Trustees of the Elista and Kalmykia Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church for the Fund for the Construction of the Cathedral of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Elista: http://fond-hram.pravorg.ru/
Kirill Vladimirovich—Grand Duke; after July 4/17, 1918, senior most member of the Russian Imperial House; Curator of the Imperial Throne from 1922 to 1924; Emperor-in-Exile from 1924 to 1938.
Portrait of H.I.H. Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in the uniform of the Life Guards Dragoon Regiment, 1916.
Artist: Alexander Mikhailovich Leontovsky (1865-1928)
Kirill Vladimirovich—Grand Duke; after July 4/17, 1918, senior most member of the Russian Imperial House; Curator of the Imperial Throne from 1922 to 1924; Emperor-in-Exile from 1924 to 1938
H.I.H. Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich was born on September 30/October 13, 1876, at Tsarskoe Selo, of the marriage of H.I.H. Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (the brother of Emperor Alexander III the Peace-Maker) and H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (née Princess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin).
In 1891, the young Grand Duke entered the Naval Cadets Corps, and afterward all his military service was spent in the navy.
In 1897, he raised the Russian flag over Port Arthur—the Russian naval enclave in the Chinese Empire.
At the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, the Grand Duke was quickly deployed to the war theater. As the chief-of-staff to Admiral Stepan Makarov, Grand Duke Kirill was next to him on the bridge of the battleship Petropavlovsk when it hit a Japanese mine and quickly sank. Nearly the entire crew went down with the ship, but Grand Duke Kirill, semi-conscious and badly burned, was among the few who managed to swim away from the sinking hulk and wait for rescue. When his rescuers finally noticed him in the water, he is reported to have called out them: “I’m alright. Save the others!” It is perhaps significant that the day the Grand Duke was rescued from the waters off Port Arthur—March 31/April 13, 1904—is the Feast Day of St. Ipatii, Bishop of the Ganges—the Heavenly patron of Holy Trinity-Ipatievsky Monastery, where the first tsar of the House of Romanoff, Mikhail I Fedorovich, was when he was called to the throne by the representatives of the Assembly of the Land.
As a result of his head injuries, Grand Duke Kirill was forced temporarily to take a medical leave from his naval duties, and he left for treatment in Europe. On September 26/October 8, 1905, in Bavaria, he married H.R.H. Princess Victoria-Melita of Great Britain and Ireland, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (who, after conversion to Orthodoxy, took the name Victoria Feodorovna). Inasmuch as Victoria-Melita’s first husband had been the brother of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (Emperor Nicholas II’s wife), the Russian empress did not at first approve of the marriage, and for a time, Emperor Nicholas II also refused to acknowledge officially Kirill Vladimirovich’s marriage. But in 1907, the Emperor realized the injustice of his earlier attitude toward this marriage, and on July 15/28, 1907, he issued a decree formally recognizing the marriage of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna. As a result, the relationship between the Imperial Family (the Emperor and Empress) and the Grand Duke and his wife, which had become strained since 1905, was fully restored.
During the First World War, Grand Duke Kirill was appointed to the Staff of the Supreme Commander of the Naval Department. On February 23/March 7, 1916, Nicholas II promoted him to Vice-Admiral.
Up until the February Revolution, Grand Duke Kirill commanded the Navy Guards. The Grand Duke was in the capital at the time of the uprising in St. Petersburg. Together with his uncle, Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, Grand Duke Kirill risked his life making a courageous attempt to save the throne of his cousin, Emperor Nicholas II. But his efforts were unsuccessful because of the disloyalty of some generals and of some members of the State Duma. Deeply disturbed and alarmed by the abdication and arrest of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, he resigned his commissions and, in June, left St. Petersburg for Finland with his pregnant wife and two daughters, Maria and Kira. Kirill’s son, Wladimir, was born after the family’s arrival in Finland.
After the Bolsheviks had executed Nicholas II, the Heir Aleksei Nikolaevich, and Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich in 1918—that is, the entire male line of descent from Emperor Alexander III—the succession to the throne passed to the descendants of Emperor Alexander II. The most senior of remaining members of the dynasty was now Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich.
In 1922, when the Grand Duke was still not certain of the deaths of those members of the dynasty who were more senior to him, Kirill declared himself merely the Curator of the Imperial Throne. When the last remaining doubts about the fate of the Royal Martyrs had finally been put away, Kirill Vladimirovich, in full accord with the provisions of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, assumed the title of Emperor in Exile on August 31/September 13, 1924.
Kirill I did a great deal to alleviate the plight and suffering of his countrymen in exile, but his main focus was always on the situation in Russia. Kirill I strongly condemned foreign intervention in Russia and always asserted that the Russian people themselves would overthrow the Communist regime and restore Russia to its proper, historical path of development. The main task, as Kirill I saw it, was to preserve the monarchical traditions of the Russian nation and the legal foundations of the Russian Imperial House, so that there would always be a legitimate successor to the Russian throne, raised in the Orthodox faith, instilled with love for the homeland, and ready to heed the call if ever the People of Russia should wish the return of the monarchy.
After 1928, the Emperor in Exile and his family spent most of their time at Ker Argonid, the home in St.-Briac (Brittany, France) that they had purchased. The death of Empress Victoria Feodorovna in 1936 came as a heavy blow to Kirill I. The injuries he sustained on the Petropavlovsk on March 31/April 13, 1904, plus the powerful yearning he felt for his homeland all his life in exile, all took a toll on his health. In September 1938, it was discovered that the Emperor had gangrene on his feet, which resisted all treatment.
Emperor Kirill I died on the eve of his birthday, in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. On October 6/19, 1938, he was buried in the Family Crypt of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in Coburg, but he left instructions that he should be reburied in Russia as soon as that should become possible.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of the late Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna of Russia, on February 22/March 7, 1995, the remains of Emperor Kirill I and Empress Victoria Feodorovna were moved to the Family resting place of the House of Romanoff, the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. When the grave of the Emperor was opened in Coburg, it was discovered that the remains were incorrupt.
In the history of Russia, Kirill Vladimirovich will always be known as the Tsar-Confessor, who, in the harshest conditions imaginable, preserved the holy traditions of the legitimate Orthodox monarchy.
© Russian Imperial House. 4 October, 2016