Grand Duchess Elizabeth Held Up As Role Model for Princess of Cambridge Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the baptism ceremony of two-month old Princess Charlotte of Cambridge points out to the example of the St. Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (1864-1918).
"Amongst Princess Charlotte's own ancestors, now buried in the Holy Land, is a saint, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, whose life was one of transparent beauty and death one of beautiful courage and service. In her life she forgave the man who killed her husband. At her cruel murder she continued to care for those suffering with her," Welby said at his homily during the baptism ceremony conducted in the royal residence in Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth II also attended the event.
According to the archbishop cited by his official website, "it is of such beauty that Jesus speaks when he talks of being great in the Kingdom of Heaven. Such beauty of character begins with baptism, and is established in the habits of following the Lord".
The future Grand Duchess Elizabeth (born Princess Elizabeth of Hesse and by Rhine), one of British Queen Victoria's favourite granddaughters, was born in Germany and spent her early years in England. She was a sister of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and a daughter of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. She was brought up in Christian spirit and compassion.
She was a Protestant, but during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land she adopted Orthodoxy and after her husband Grand Sergei Alexandrovich, who served as Governor-General of Moscowhad been killed by a terrorist, she founded the famous Sts Martha and Mary Convent in 1909 where nuns combined prayer with active social ministry, helping the sick and wounded, especially during World War I. People called Grand Duchess Elizabeth the White Angel of Russia.
She refused to leave Russia during revolutionary days and was arrested in spring of 1918 and martyred at the Nizhnaya Selimskaya mine not far from Alapayevsk, in the Ekaterinburg Region.
Livadia Hosts Forum on Legacy of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Scientists, clerics and activists from various parts of Russia as well as from Belarus, Ukraine and Israel gathered in the White Hall of Livadia Palace on May 28-29 to talk charity, spiritual and moral values as part of a crowded forum taking place near the city of Yalta.
The third annual forum Elizabethan Legacy Today: Crimea, was enthusiastically greeted by Crimean authorities. “The fact that this forum is taking place in Crimea is a landmark event for us, for our peninsula and for the whole of Russia,” Crimea head Sergey Aksyonov said.
“Compassion and charity are values that are at the base of our movement. They must be supported by every official and philanthropist, we all have to help people show respect and understanding to those that cannot help themselves. This unites and concentrates our nation,” he added.
Thirty-five organisations took part in the forum, including scientists, as well as members of the church and social activists who study the life of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia, who lived at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century and left behind a legacy of charity, philanthropy and Christian enlightenment.
The head of the charity fund which organizes the forum, Anna Gromova, said: “For us the reunification with Crimea is very important, not only the territorial one, but first and foremost, the historic one. Starting from the Baptism of Russia, and throughout our history... numerous threads connect our histories.”
Gromova slammed those who would deny those links exist: “These pages of history must not be rewritten. All around we are seeing the falsification of history, selective reading, which we especially felt in connection with the anniversary of the great victory [in World War II]. Our society is working on strengthening and preserving history and learning lessons from it.”
The forum was held in the Livadia Palace. Built in 1911, the palace served as a summer retreat for the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family. This was also the spot where the Yalta conference was held by the heads of the US, the UK and the USSR to discuss Europe's post-WWII course of action.
White Angel Exhibition Opens in Moscow Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
A new exhibition devoted to the history of the Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy and its founder - Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna opened earlier this week in Moscow.
The White Angel exhibition opened on March 5 at the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia. The large-scale exhibition is a joint effort among some of Russia’s leading museums and archives, including the Moscow Kremlin Museums, State Historical Museum, State Tretyakov Gallery, State Maritime Academy Archive and others.
The exhibition features a unique collection of rare exhibits, original photos, documents and personal belongings of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, including objects from the tomb of her husband Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. The organizers hope that visitors will not only learn about the life and fate of the Grand Duchess, but also plunge into the atmosphere of the era in which she lived.
Grand Duchess Elizabeth was the elder sister of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and granddaughter of Queen Victoria. After the death of her spouse, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, who served as Moscow Governor-General, she completely dedicated herself to works of mercy and charity. In 1909, Elizabeth Feodorovna founded the Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow, where nuns assisted the city’s most destitute.
The Martha and Mary Convent has survived to this day, and continues the traditions established by the Grand Duchess. The convent has a number of social projects that are implemented in conjunction with the Russian Orthodox Church “Mercy” service. Among them: the Elizabeth orphanage for girls, Center family unit, group day care for disabled children, a summer camp for disabled children in Sevastopol, visiting a children's palliative care service, assistance service in ALS patients.
The White Angel exhibition is also being held in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna in 1864. The opening ceremony was attended by the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Service Bishop Panteleimon, director of the Museum of Contemporary History of Russia Irina Velikanova, and Abbess of the Martha and Mary Convent Abbess Elisabeth (Pozdnyakov).
The White Angel exhibition will run until April 5, 2015, at the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia in Moscow.
Monument to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Unveiled in Kazakhstan Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
A monument to the Venerable Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova was unveiled in the Almaty Diocese on November 3. The event is associated with the 150th anniversary of the saint's birth.
The “Orthodoxy in Kazakhstan” website has reported that the monument was constructed on the square in front of the only church in honor of the Holy Royal Martyrs in the village of Klyuchi (Karabulak) in the Talgar district of the Almaty region in Kazakhstan.
The monument represents a slightly altered copy of the monument to the Venerable Martyr Elizabeth at the St. Martha-Mary Convent in Moscow. It was made of bronze by the “Versal” company in Kazakhstan. Construction lasted for two years.
The church in honor of the Holy Royal Martyrs in the village of Klyuchi is a smaller version of the church in honor of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos in the city of Oreanda in the Republic of Crimea, which is connected with the misfortunes of the Royal House of the Romanovs. The Holy Righteous John of Kronstadt served in the Protection Church in Oreanda, in which the Venerable Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna prepared and received Holy Communion.
Moscow Celebrates 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Residents of Moscow will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Venerable Martyr Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova, the founder of the first Convent of Mercy in Russia, on November 1, 2014.
The celebration will include the Divine Liturgy at the St. Martha and Mary Convent, which His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, will celebrate; and a large charitable concert at the International House of Music.
“Currently several joint projects with the ‘Mercy’ Orthodox movement are being implemented at the Martha-Mary Convent. All of the projects are supported by people interested in them,” Abbess Elizaveta (Poznyakova), Superior of the convent, noted. “We hope to gather our benefactors and gather together at the Divine Liturgy and the concert on November 1.”
The charitable concert of the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, headed by V. Fedoseyev, entitled “The Grand Duchess Elizabeth: 150th Anniversary of Her Birth” will take place at the International House of Music in Moscow in the evening on November 1.
During the concert, Polina Kutepova, an actress of the “Fomenko Workshop” theater, and Mikhail Filippov, an actor of the Mayakovsky Academic Theater of Moscow, will read excerpts from the memoirs of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth and her correspondence with her husband, the Grand Prince Sergei Alexandrovich.
Among the participants in the concert will be Katya Skanavi, soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic Hall (piano), and the Kozhevnikov Academic Choir. Guests will hear pieces of work by Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Kalinninkov, Schubert, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich.
The organizers of the concert are the Martha-Mary Convent of Mercy and the “Mercy” Orthodox Movement.
An exhibition of photographs, dedicated to the life and charitable activities of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and also to the modern life of the convent and social projects of the “Mercy” helping service, will be held at the lobby of the House of Music.
All of the money collected during the concert will be transferred to the development of the Children’s Traveling Palliative Service, one of the social projects by the “Mercy” movement; which was implemented at the St. Martha and Mary Convent. As part of the Children’s Traveling Palliative Service, doctors, nurses, and social workers help families with children who are suffering from various severe and incurable illnesses. This service aspires to help at homes widely, so as to guarantee children and their parents a higher quality of life, and to avoid causeless hospitalization as much as possible. Today the children’s service cares for seventy-seven families with children with severe illnesses. The workers of the service make over 1,000 house calls to their patients every year.
The Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:30 am at the Martha-Mary Convent.
The charitable concert will begin at 19:30 at the International House of Music. The press will be allowed to speak to the participants of the concert at 19:00 preceding the concert.
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Honoured Near Moscow Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 4 minutes, 6 seconds Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
The video (in Russian) shows the procession from Ilyinskoe to Usovo, near Moscow on September 14th, 2014
Orthodox Christians took part in a religious procession near Moscow this week honouring the charitable work of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. The event was organized by the Elisabeth-Sergievskoe Educational Society. This year’s memorial procession marked the 150th anniversary of the Grand Duchess’s birth in 1864.
The sister of the last Russian empress is remembered for her numerous charitable works in Russia, particularly in Moscow, where she founded the Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy, the construction of shelters and maternity homes, and helping the needy.
On September 14th, bell ringing heralded the beginning of the procession from the Church of the Prophet Elijah at Ilyinskoe. It was here 130 years ago, that Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria attended her first Divine Liturgy. Hundreds of believers took part in the procession honouring the memory of the Grand Duchess. The three kilometre procession route began at Ilyinskoe and ended at Usovo, which in 1882, became the property of the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. The drizzling rain, wet grass, and potholes did not deter the faithful.
The route of the procession took the faithful to the banks of the Moscow River at Ilyinskoe, which once housed the estate of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and his wife Elizabeth Feodorovna. From here, members of the procession boarded rafts which took them across to the other side where the grand ducal couple’s manor house once stood. It was here that they spent their summer months while Grand Duke Sergei served as Governor General of Moscow.
Now in its third year, the memorial procession honouring the Grand Duchess attracts a growing number of believers each year. They believe it is important to visit these places to help them learn about the life of the Grand Duchess, in whose heart was filled with compassion for others. "And, of course, here in the middle of the river you can cleanse your soul, and pray for mercy," said one of the parishioners.
Monument to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna at Usovo
"At Ilyinskoe estate the grand ducal couple shared the best years of married life - almost 20 years, before the assassination of the Grand Duke Sergei in 1905. Studying the life of the grand-ducal couple, we are surprised by their faith and service to others. It is interesting to note that seven buildings associated with the charitable activities of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth have been preserved from the original estate at Ilyinskoe,"- said Anna Gromov, Chairman of the Supervisory Fund of the Elisabeth-Sergievskoe Educational Society..
At Ilyinskoe, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth founded a maternity hospital, schools, and a hospital for wounded soldiers of the Russo-Japanese War. After her husband, the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was assassinated in 1905 at the hands of terrorists, Elizabeth devoted himself entirely to the service of the people.
In Moscow, she founded the Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy, where she established a hospital, and a free pharmacy. Today, the convent continues the work of the Grand Duchess, which includes a gymnasium, children's home, garden for children with disabilities. Visitors are welcome, and local parishioners come to help those less fortunate.
The desire to help others was something that Grand Duchess Elizabeth carried throughout her life, right up until her last breath. In 1918, at Apapaevsk, near Yekaterinburg she and the other representatives of the Romanov dynasty were thrown into a pit and left to die. Elizabeth Feodorovna spent the final hours of her life trying to help her wounded relatives. The Holy Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth’s faith and courage are today shared by many Orthodox Christians in Russia and around the world.
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna was martyred by the Bolsheviks in 1918. She was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 1981, and by the Russian Orthodox Church as a whole in 1992 as New-Martyr Elizabeth.
Orthodox Christians carry framed photographs of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and her husband,
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich during the procession from Ilyinskoe to Usovo
Saints Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow Celebrate the Feast-Day of its Foundress Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Today, July 18th is the feast-day of the Holy New Martyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth (Romanova) and Nun Barbara (Yakovleva). The 96th anniversary of their martyrdom is celebrated this year.
On this day, the SS. Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy in Moscow opened their doors, inviting all who wish to come to take part in the festive events, dedicated to commemoration of the Holy Grand Duchess.
As Lyubov Petrovna Miller writes in her book, “Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna is among those saints of whom it can be said that their holiness is self-evident and indisputable. St. Elizabeth’s holiness is confirmed by her ascetic life, her martyrdom during which she prayed for her murderers, and, finally, by the fragrance exuding from her holy relics.”
Highlights of the Festival Program included:
09:00 a.m. - Divine Liturgy begins in the Holy Protection Church of the Convent
11:30 a.m. - All the Convent’s guests of the Feast will be offered refreshments in the Convent garden
12:30 p.m. - Concert of the St. John Damascene Children’s and Youth Choir in the Holy Protection Church
2:00 p.m. - Tea in the Convent garden. A big surprise awaits the children. Tours of the Convent and Grand Duchess Elizabeth’s house will be organized for all who wish.
3:30 p.m. - String Quartet concert in the Convent garden pavilion with performers from the Bolshoy Theater “Bohemia” and the winner of international competitions Olga Philatova (soprano), and also the brass quintet of the P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory. There will be selections by both Russian composers and composers from abroad for string and wind instruments.
12:00-5:00 Convent garden: Games, competitions, and master-classes for the children.
The SS. Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy is situated at 34 Bol’shaya Ordynka Street, Moscow.
A Crown, But Not On This Earth Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, St. Elizabeth the New Martyr
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the June 24th, 2014 edition of The American Conservative. The author Rod Dreher, owns the copyright of the version presented below.
Look at that face. It belongs to St. Elizabeth the New Martyr. She was a Romanov Grand Duchess, German-born and the sister of Tsarina Alexandra, as well as married to Grand Duke Serge, an uncle of the Tsar. Excerpt:
Grand Duke Serge was killed by an assassin’s bomb on February 4, 1905, just as St Elizabeth was leaving for her workshops. She visited her husband’s killer in prison and urged him to repent, giving him an icon. She eventually built a shrine over the site of her husband’s martyrdom (which was said to have been destroyed by Vladimir Lenin himself in 1917).
After her husband’s murder, she began to withdraw from her former social life. She founded the Convent of Sts. Martha and Mary in Moscow, a community of nuns which focused on worshiping God and helping the poor. She sold all her fine clothes and jewels, and moved out of her palace into the buildings that she had purchased on behalf of the convent.
St. Elizabeth and her sisters continued to visit the poor and hungry in Moscow. During the First World War, she nursed sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals and on the battle front. She was respected and admired throughout Russia and people came to her for spiritual direction.
After her brother-in-law, Tsar Nicholas II, abdicated the throne and he and his family were placed under house arrest, St. Elizabeth was urged to abandon her convent and seek shelter with her remaining family in Western Europe. She refused all offers of help, saying she would not leave the other sisters and would die in Russia if that was His Will.
On Pascha 1918, Soviet soldiers came to the convent and ordered her to leave Moscow to join the royal family near Ekaterinburg. She was allowed to leave with a novice, Sister Barbara, but was not permitted to say goodbye to the other sisters.
After arriving in Ekaterinburg, St. Elizabeth was denied access to the Tsar’s family. She and Sister Barbara were placed in a convent, where she was warmly received by the sisters.
At the end of May St. Elizabeth and St. Barbara were moved to the nearby village of Alopaevsk with the Grand Dukes Sergius, John, and Constantine, and the young Count Vladimir Paley. They were all housed in a schoolhouse on the edge of town. St. Elizabeth was placed under guard, but was permitted to go to church and work in the garden.
On the night of July 5, they were all taken to a place in the woods, twelve miles from Alopaevsk, and executed. Grand Duke Sergius was shot, but the others were thrown down a mineshaft, with grenades being tossed in after them. St. Elizabeth lived for several hours, and could be heard singing hymns by local villagers who came up to the mineshaft after the murderers had left.
Extracts from Letters of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna to Emperor Nicholas II Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and Emperor Nicholas II
There survive some 100 letters and cards written by the Grand Duchess Elizabeth to Nicholas II. They were all written in English, although the Grand Duchess sometimes uses expressions in Russian, French or German. In the extracts selected below, originally published in the Russian journal Istochnik No 4, 1994, all Russian words have been translated into English and here appear in italics. Expressions in other languages are translated in brackets after them.
To read the letters, please refer to the following link;
The Convent of St. Mary Magdelene, Jerusalem Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene is situated on the slope of the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane and is one of the most easily recognizable landmarks of Jerusalem. This striking example of Russian architecture was built in the Muscovite style with golden onion domes or cupolas.
It was built as a memorial to Empress Maria Alexandrovna (left) by her son the Russian Czar Alexander III and his brothers. Grand-Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, brother of Alexander III, and his wife Grand-Duchess Elizabeth (Princess Elizabeth of Hesse-Darmstadt), grand-daughter of Queen Victoria and sister of the last Empress of Russia, presided at the consecration of the church of Saint Mary Magdalene in 1888 as representatives of the Emperor.
The Grand-Duchess took a deep personal interest in the church and commissioned the well-known Russian artist Sergei Ivanov (1864-1910) to paint the large imposing murals depicting the life of Saint Mary Magdalene which were brought to Jerusalem for the consecration and hang in the church today.
The large canvas above the iconostasis shows Mary Magdalene before the Roman Emperor Tiberius. In her hand she holds a red egg which she presents to the Emperor, symbolizing the resurrection and eternal life. She tells Tiberius about the unjust judgment and death on the cross of Jesus Christ. It is known that after re-examining this unlawful trial Pilate, at that time governor of Jerusalem, was deposed and sent into exile. The elegant white marble and bronze iconostasis holds icons by the distinguished Russian artist, Vereshchaguin.
On the right side of the iconostasis in a specially carved wooden icon-case is the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God ‘HODIGITRIA’. This icon comes from Lebanon. Records of its miracles date back to the 16th century when it miraculously survived a fire that consumed the church. Later it healed many people during a cholera epidemic.
In this century, the metropolitan of Lebanon had repeated dreams telling him to give the icon of the Hodigitria to Abbess Mary in Palestine. After some inquiries he found Abbess Mary at the Russian Orthodox Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane, and this is how the icon came to be in the Church. To this day believers receive miraculous help from the Mother of God after praying before Her holy icon.
Grand-Duchess Elizabeth, widowed by an assassin’s attack on her husband in 1905, became a nun and founded a convent devoted to nursing and charitable work in Moscow. After the revolution, in 1918, the Grand-Duchess together with her companion Sister Barbara and several members of the Russian Imperial Family were thrown into a mine shaft by the Bolsheviks and left to die. Her remains and those of Sister Barbara eventually were brought to Jerusalem. In 1920, they were laid to rest, as the Grand-Duchess wished, in a crypt below the Saint Mary Magdalene Church. They were canonized as Martyr Saints in 1981 and at this time their relics were moved into the main section of the church where they rest today in marble sarcophagi.
Princess Andrew of Greece (Princess Alice of Battenberg), mother of the Duke of Edinburgh visited the church and stayed in the monastery in the 1930s. Her wish was to be buried near her Aunt ‘Ella’, the Grand-Duchess Elizabeth whose devotion to the church and to nursing and charitable service she strove to emulate. Princess Andrew died at Buckingham Palace in 1969. Her wish to be buried at the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane was finally realized in 1988 when her remains were transferred to her final resting place in a crypt below the church.
The church stands in the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus spent His last night on earth. Also found on the convent grounds are the remnants of a pre-Roman road, the biblical entry to Jerusalem. Not far from this road is a large stone on to which the Mother of God dropped her cincture to Apostle Thomas on the third day following her Dormition.
There are many caves in the Garden of Gethsemane which the Church tells us were used by Christ and his Disciples for prayer. One large cave in the grounds of the convent is used as a chapel, where the sisters meet to read their evening prayer rule.
Today, the church is the place of daily worship for the women’s convent of St. Mary Magdalene, under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. The sisterhood was established in 1936 by Mother Mary (Robinson), an English convert to Orthodoxy. The convent is a thriving community of 30 nuns from all over the world: Russians, Americans, Australians, Arabs, Serbs and Romanians.
The sisters are multi-talented: some paint icons, others embroider vestments and items for liturgical use. Hand-painted Russian eggs from Gethsemane are famous around the world as are the sisters’ prayer ropes, bookmarks, and other hand crafts. They also make incense for use in the church and for private prayer. All these items are available at the monastery kiosk.
These are perilous times for historical landmarks throughout the world. Each year our precious monuments of ‘living history’ fall victim to deterioration and decline, often due to lack of funds to maintain and repair them.
The Holy Land is no exception. The church is in a bad state of deterioration and ‘The Gethsemane Restoration Project’ was launched in 1994. Our goal is to repair and restore this famous landmark to its former magnificence. We ask for your help to achieve our aim.