Service for the Deceased at the Grave of
Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna

The Chapelle Saint-Vladimir et Sainte Marie-Madeleine at Contrexéville, the final resting place of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna.

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Bishop Nestor of Chersonese visited the old French village of Contrexéville in the Vosges, to celebrate an act of the deceased to the memory of the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna (Maria of Mecklenburg-Schwerin) daughter of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Augusta of Reuss zu Schleiz-Köstritz, wife of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia, third son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia and Maria of Hesse-Darmstadt.

The Grand Duchess held the distinction to be the last of the Romanovs to escape Revolutionary Russia in February 1920, and the first to die in exile. Arriving in Venice, she made her way to Switzerland and then to France, where her health failed. She was staying at her villa (now the Hotel La Souveraine), where she died on 6 September 1920, aged 66, surrounded by her family. She was buried in Chapelle Saint-Vladimir et Sainte Marie-Madeleine at Contrexéville.

The service on September 16, 2011 was attended by members of the House of Romanov, including Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, the Tsarevich and Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, representatives of the most August dynasties of France, Yugoslavia, Norway, Austria, Liechtenstein and Thuringia, as well as the mayor of Contrexéville, Salvini Arnauld.

At the end of the service in memory of the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna were a festive dinner and an exhibition of photographs and personal items belonging to the grand duchess.

After this, Bishop Nestor had a meeting with the Mayor of Contrexéville, during which an agreement was reached that a regular liturgical service would be conducted at the Orthodox church in the village.

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (center) at the historic Costume Ball in the Winter Palace, 1903.

Sources: Православие.Ru and Association cultuelle diocésaine de l'Église orthodoxe russe - Diocèse de Chersonèse
Written by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
20 September, 2011