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Friday, 14 March 2014
Final Resting Place of Two Grand Ducal Brothers
Topic: Grand Dukes

St. Michael the Archangel Church, in Cannes, France
St. Michael the Archangel Church, is a Russian Orthodox church in Cannes, France. It is the final resting place for members of the Russian Imperial family who escaped Russia after the Revolution. Under the church is located a large crypt, where are buried many famous people associated with the final years of Imperial Russia, among them are the Grand Duke Nicolas Nikolayevich (1856-1929), who died in 1929, he was buried with full military honours. Nicholas served as Commander in Chief of the Russian Army during the first year of World War I, carrying out campaigns on the Austro-German front and in the Caucasus. His Supreme Commandership was terminated by Tsar Nicholas II on 21 August 1915.

Nicholas’s wife, the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolayevna (1868-1935), died in 1935 and was buried next to him. Both Anastasia and Nicholas were deeply religious Orthodox Christians.

His younger brother, the Grand Duke Peter Nikolayevich (1864-1931) died in 1931, and twenty years later, in 1951, his wife, the Grand Duchess Militza Nikolaevna (1866-1951) died, and was buried next to her husband. 

Anastasia and Militza, having married Russian royal brothers, were known colloquially as the "Montenegrin princesses" during the last days of Imperial Russia. They have often been blamed for contributing to the fall of the Russian monarchy by the introduction of Grigori Rasputin to the Empress Alexandra. Both wives were sisters, daughters of King Nicolas I of Montenegro.

The grand ducal brothers and their wives escaped Russia in 1919 aboard the British battleship, HMS Marlborough. Nicholas and Anastasia settled briefly in Italy, living with her sister Elena, Queen of Italy and later in France, spending winters on the Riviera. Peter and Militza also ended up settling in the south of France. They had four children, the descendants of whom include Princes Nicholas and Dmitri Romanovich, both members of the Romanov Family Association.

Last month, both the Russian and Montenegrin media reported that a request had been made by Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolayevich’s descendants that his remains be reburied at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, in honour of his role in the First World War. Russia will mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI on August 1st, 2014.  

Other famous people buried at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cannes, include: Archpriest Gregory Ostroumov who worked on the construction of the Temple, Prince Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg (1868-1924), the first husband of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna.

For more information on St. Michael the Archangel Church, one which is rich in Romanov history, please refer to the following article;

Rich in Romanov History: Russian Church in Urgent Need of Repair

For more information on the proposal to rebury Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich in St. Petersburg, please refer to the following article;

Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich to be Reburied in St. Petersburg?

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 March, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:05 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 14 March 2014 7:15 AM EDT
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Saturday, 21 September 2013
Excavations for Grand Dukes Remains to Resume at Peter and Paul Fortress
Topic: Grand Dukes
Julia Demidenko, Deputy Director for Research of the State Museum of St. Petersburg reported last week that the company that won the tender to carry out the excavations on the site of execution and burial of victims of the Red Terror has been selected. They will launch an investigation and begin new excavations near the Golovkin Bastion in the Peter and Paul Fortress later this month.

During the first years of Bolshevik rule, the Peter and Paul fortress was used to jail “enemies of the Revolution” with many being the first victims of the Red Terror, including four members of the Romanov dynasty who were executed on the grounds of the Fortress, their bodies thrown into unmarked mass graves.

In December 2009, a mass grave was discovered while laying the road to the car park near the Kronverkskaya wall of the Fortress. In 2010, excavation work began in the area between the Golovkin Bastion and the Kronverkskaya ducts. The Museum of the History of St. Petersburg who administers the Peter and Paul Fortress, conducted the first excavations at their own expense. By 2010-2011, a third of the territory excavated had unearthed a total of 112 human remains in nine unmarked mass graves.

The Museum of the History of St. Petersburg recently received further funding in the amount of 2 million Rubles from the city budget which will allow them to continue with the excavations. The museum is hoping to receive further funding to assist with the identification of the remains, including costly DNA analysis. 

In the early morning hours of January 28, 1919, four Romanov grand dukes were murdered by a Bolshevik firing squad, they included the youngest son of Emperor Alexander II, Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich; the grandson of Emperor Nicholas I and the brother of the poet, KR, Grand Prince Dmitry Konstantinovich; the grandson of Nicholas I, a distinguished historian, Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich; and his brother, Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich.
I have been following this discovery since 2009, and have posted numerous articles on the subject in both Royal Russia News and my blog. To review them, please refer to the following links:

 © Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:09 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 21 September 2013 9:32 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 4 July 2012
The Four Grand Dukes Murdered at Peter and Paul Fortress - UPDATE
Topic: Grand Dukes



St. Petersburg officials have determined that the remains of victims of the Red Terror, found in an unmarked mass grave on the grounds of the Peter and Paul should be examined by forensic experts. The remains of the Grand Dukes Nicholas Mikhailovich, Dmitry Konstantinovich, Paul Alexandrovich, and George Mikhailovich are believed to be among the remains found on the Hare Island in December 2009. 

After the Revolution, the four grand dukes were imprisoned at the Peter and Paul Fortress. They were subsequently all taken out and shot by the Bolsheviks in the early morning hours of January 28th, 1919. Their bodies were thrown into an unmarked mass grave.

To date a total of 106 human remains have been unearthed. Local government officials believe it is only right to make an effort to determine the identity of the remains through DNA and genetic examinations.

In April 2012 historians and forensic scientists were able to identify the remains of Alexander Rykov, a hero of the Russian-Japanese War 1904-1905.

The Committee on Culture, headed by the Deputy Governor Vasily Kichedzhi has decided to conduct an expert study of the remains with the cooperation the Central Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia. He has also recommended that blood samples from the descendants of the grand dukes should be requested and compared with the remains.

Officials of the Peter and Paul Fortress Museum have agreed to allocate funds in their 2013 budget to search for further remains of the Red Terror. The Committee for Youth Policy has already offered to provide volunteers to assist with the search, under the guidance of professional archaeologists.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the following articles;

||| Bodies of Grand Dukes Found at Peter and Paul Fortress? + VIDEO |||

||| Historians Unearth One of St. Petersburg’s Darkest Periods at the Peter and Paul Fortress + PHOTOS |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia.




Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:14 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 21 September 2013 8:05 AM EDT
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Monday, 30 January 2012
Requiem for the Murdered Grand Dukes
Topic: Grand Dukes



The Grand Dukes Nicholas Mikhailovich, Dmitry Konstantinovich, Paul Alexandrovich, and George Mikhailovich 

A requiem service was held at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg today for four members of the Russian Imperial family murdered in 1919.

The Grand Dukes Nicholas Mikhailovich, Dmitry Konstantinvich, Paul Alexandrovich, and George Mikhailovich were murdered by the Bolsheviks in the early morning hours of January 28th, 1919.

The service was led by Abbot Alexander Federov, who said: "Today is a memorable date for St. Petersburg and Russia. We honour the members of the Imperial family. They have served the Fatherland. Each had his own talent-in the military, science, culture endeavours. They suffered only because they belonged to the Imperial family."

Worshippers laid a bouquet of white roses and prayed in front of the memorial plaque with the names of the victims of the Red Terror in the Grand Ducal Vault, followed by hymns.

There are plans to erect a monument to the four grand dukes at the Peter and Paul Fortress.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 January, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 21 September 2013 8:05 AM EDT
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