Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Visits Moscow, September 1-3, 2012

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna exchanges greetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Borodino .

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Press Release concerning the Official Visit of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and of H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia, to Moscow for the Celebrations of the 200th Anniversary of the Patriotic War of 1812, from September 1-3, 2012

On September 1-3, 2012, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia, made an official visit to Moscow. Their Imperial Highnesses were invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in order to participate in the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Patriotic War of 1812.

On September 1, the Grand Duchess and Grand Duke arrived in Moscow. They were met at the airport by representatives of the Ministry of Culture, which is organizing all the celebrations marking this anniversary. After arriving at her hotel, the Grand Duchess met with the chair of the legal section of H.I.H.’s Chancellery, G. Iu. Lukianov, who reported on the legal section’s activities and projects.

That evening, the Minister of Culture, Vladimir Rostislavovich Medinskii, hosted a dinner at the restaurant “Café Pushkin” in honor of the honored guests. Among those present at the dinner were Their Imperial Highnesses; the former President of France (from 1974 to 1981), Valéry Giscard d’Estaing; the French Ambassador to Russia, Jean de Gliniasty; the Grand Chancellor of the Order of the Legion of Honor, General Jean-Louis Georgelin; the Special Representative of the President of France for the Development of Franco-Russian Economic Relations, Jean-Pierre Thomas; the Head of the House of Bonaparte, Charles, Prince Napoleon; the Director of H.I.H.’s Chancellery, A. N. Zakatov; the Head of the Security Office for the Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House, M. G. Shakhov; the Director of the Department of Information Policy and International Communications of the Ministry of Culture, V. O. Duda; the Head of the Europe, Asia, Africa, and America Desk of the Department of Information Policy and International Communications of the Ministry of Culture, N. L. Dikova; and the translator from the French Embassy, Michel Nersessian.

On September 2, the Head of the House of Romanoff and the Heir and Tsesarevich, along with other honored guests, arrived at the Borodino battlefield. Following the established protocol for such events, Their Imperial Highnesses, together with General M. A. Moiseev (the Chief of the General Staff of the USSR from 1988 to 1991); the Chairman of the Society of Descendants of the Veterans of the Patriotic War of 1812, V. I. Aliavdin, along with other members of this organization, and members of the H.I.H.’s Chancellery, took part in the wreath laying ceremony by President Giscard d’Estaing and Minister V. P. Medinskii at the monument to the fallen soldiers of Napoleon’s Grande Armée at Shevardino Redoubt. Then Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, Grand Duke George of Russia, and all of the other honored guests went to the Raevskii Redoubt, to the square in front of the main monument at the Borodino Battlefield: the monument to the Russian soldiers—the heroes of the Battle of Borodino—where they were met by President Vladimir Putin and other prominent officials of the present Russian government. President Putin gave a speech about the significance of the Battle of Borodino in the history of Russia, the history of France, and in the history of the entire world. After the speech, President Putin presided over a ceremony during which the mayors of Mozhaisk and Maloiaroslavets, I. V. Sungurov and A. A. Geizer, respectively, were presented with formal presidential decrees declaring their cities as “Cities of Military Glory.” Afterward, President Putin walked over to the assembled honored guests and spoke briefly with each of them. There was a warm exchange of greetings between the President and the Head of the Russian Imperial House, during which both recalled their first meeting 20 years ago (during the burial in 1992 of the Grand Duchess’s father, the Head of the Russian Imperial House H.I.H. Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich in the Family Burial Vault in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg). President Putin also greeted Grand Duke George of Russia, whom he had met when the Grand Duke was still a child, and said to Their Imperial Highnesses the kind and touching words: “Come more often!”

After these ceremonies, Their Imperial Highnesses paid their respects at the tomb of General Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration, and prayed for the repose of the souls of all the heroes of the Battle of Borodino. That evening, a reception was hosted at the State Historical Museum. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia and Grand Duke George of Russia, accompanied by the Director of the State Historical Museum, A. K. Levykin, and his assistant, I. K. Beliak, toured the wonderful exhibits in the museum, which is one of the finest in the world.

His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Their Imperial Highnesses.

In the morning on September 3, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia, went to the Church of the Miracle Working Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” on Bolshaia Ordynka Street, where Their Imperial Highnesses met with the Chairman of the Office of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk. The Grand Duchess and Grand Duke venerated the miracle-working icon, after which they attended a Litya [Office for the Dead] for the repose of the souls of Emperor Alexander I; Empress Elisabeth Alekseevna; Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich; Count Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov, the Prince of Smolensk; and all commanders and soldiers who have given their lives for the Fatherland.

After the service, Their Imperial Highness met with His Eminence in his residence at the church. The Head of the Russian Imperial House bestowed the devices of the Imperial Order of St. Anna, First Class, upon His Eminence, to which he had been elevated by Her Imperial Highness at Easter earlier this year.

Metropolitan Hilarion thanked the Grand Duchess, remarking that, even in those days when atheism controlled the Russian land, he deeply venerated the Royal Passion-Bearers. “At that time, no one could have predicted that there would be a time when they would be numbered among the choir of saints and that the entire nation would venerate them. I am glad that the connection with these times has been restored, that today members of the Royal Family are our intercessors before the Throne of God,” he said.

“I am very glad to greet you as the Head of the Russian Imperial House in our Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All who Sorrow,” the metropolitan continued. “And thanking you for this tremendous award, I would like to wish you God’s help in your service, which includes, first and foremost, the preservation and continuation of a Russia that has left us—left us only temporarily, I hope—and which is today returning to us in the holy icons and churches that we are restoring, and in the rebirth of the spiritual life which is going on in our country.”

In the course of this conversation, His Eminence and Their Imperial Highnesses, along with the Director of H.I.H.’s Chancellery, A. N. Zakatov, the Chair of the Office of Interregional and International Relations of H.I.H.’s Chancellery, Prince V. O. Lopukhin, and the Master of Heraldry of H.I.H.’s Chancellery, S. V. Dumin, touched upon a range of topics related to the life and service of the Church in the modern world. They also discussed ideas of collaboration between the Hierarchy of the Church and the House of Romanoff, and conferred on the public commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the Patriotic War of 1812 and the coming 400th anniversary of the ending of the Time of Troubles and the Assembly of the Land of 1613.

That afternoon, the Grand Duchess met with representatives of the media, received reports on activities from members of H.I.H.’s Chancellery, met with the chairman of the Russian Nobility Association, Prince G. G. Gagarin, with representatives of the group “For Faith and Fatherland,” and with members and leaders of several other social organizations.

That evening, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia, departed Moscow for Madrid.

Source & Copyright: A.N. Zakatov
Director of H.I.H.’s Chancellery
3 September, 2012