Contemporary Orders Honouring Nicholas II

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The following article is just one of many, which reflect my personal interest in Nicholas II. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s reassessment of his life and reign have shifted significantly. The establishment and distribution of orders and medals in his name is just one indication of the positive direction this reassessment is heading, while at the same acknowledging the enormous contribution he made during his 22+ year (1894-1917) reign.

I have known of two of the three orders for some years now, however, it has been an arduous task to find any documents about any of them. Information provided by a phaleristics group in Russia recently, has now allowed me to complete this article.

I would like to point out that I am not an expert on orders and awards, therefore, I am appealing to readers, who may be able to provide me with additional information. I would also appreciate any errors be brought to my attention at the following email:  royalrussia@yahoo.com – PG

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After the canonization of the the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II and his family by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) in 1981, two new orders were established simultaneously: “Order of Saint Nicholas II” and “Order of The Holy Passion-bearer Tsar Nicholas”. Both awards are awarded for merits in the revival and advancement of the finest Russian traditions which contribute to the prosperity of the state. Holders of the order include individuals, politicians, scientists, athletes, artists, among others.

Order of Saint Nicholas II / Святой Николай II

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The highest international public award was established in 1988 by the descendants of the Romanov dynasty and the noble family of Dmitrievs, the founders of the Imperial Society of Russia (IOR) charity foundation. The order was was established to mark the 70th anniversary of the murders of the Imperial family in Ekaterinburg. The order is issued on the means and donations of the Board of Trustees. Nominees are approved by the Expert Council of the IOR. Presentation of the laureates is carried out both by state authorities of different levels and by public or business associations. The Order of Saint Nicholas II is presented in a solemn atmosphere, with the involvement of the media and the general public. A number of orders have been issued posthumously. The unique insignia remains in the possession of the recipient for life and can be inherited.

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Description

The Order has three degrees, for which the insignia are:

Ist Class: gold, diamonds, white enamel on the rays of the cross, red enamel framing

2nd Class: silver, sapphires or aquamarines, blue enamel on the rays of the cross, red framing

3rd Class: Alloy of non-ferrous metals with gilding, rubies or tourmalines, red enamel on the rays of the cross, blue framing

The founder of the Imperial Society of Russia (IOR), hereditary nobleman Valery Dmitriev, the developer and manufacturer of the Heroldmeister Kiev non-state enterprise designed the order. All three Classes represent the so-called Templar Cross, each ray of which is made in the form of three symmetrical folds. The central is covered with enamel, the side ones are made of base metal and decorated with a relief pattern. Between the rays are large imperial crowns inlaid with precious stones. The whole composition is framed with an enamelled ribbon, the color of which depends on the degree of the award.

In the center – a medallion, also trimmed with precious stones along the rim. Inside on an enamel background is a profile portrait of the last Russian tsar and the inscription in a circle: “Saint Nicholas II.” The reverse contains the date of establishment – 1988, the lower beam of the cross is stamped with the serial number of the mark. The pad is a bas-relief image of the imperial crown. The Order is attached to it with the aid of the ear and ring. The size of the cross at the extreme points is 45 mm, the total height of the product is 75 mm.

Order of The Holy Passion-bearer Tsar Nicholas
Святой страстотерпец царь Николай

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On 19th May 2008, at the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR), another order was established, similar to Saint Nicholas II. It received the status of an international religious public award and is awarded to both civilians and the military. The direct founders: the organization Orthodox Mission for the Revival of the Spiritual Values ​​of the Russian People; Orthodox Troop Mission; and the International Award Committee of “Glory to Russia”. The statute of the award states that nominees may be persons whose activities “are aimed at strengthening Russia, the spiritual development of the people, and the protection and preservation of Orthodox values.” Candidates can be nominated to members of the Award Committee, representatives of monarchical organizations in Russia, clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and holders of the Order.

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Description

The Order is an eight-pointed silver-plated star, on which is laid a cross, covered with red enamel. On its upper beam is depicted the imperial crown, on the lower is Heaven’s rose, one of the symbols of the Virgin Mary. The right and left sides are decorated with heraldic crosses. In the central part there is an oval medallion trimmed with enamel, inside it there is an image of the Emperor’s canonized face. The inscription on the blue enamel bezel: “Holy Martyr Tsar Nicholas.” The reverse contains the number of the award and the year of establishment “2008”. Medal mount – screw with clip. Holders wear the order on the right side of the chest, below the state awards of the Russian Federation, or around the neck on a ribbon.

Recipients of the Order of The Holy Passion-bearer Tsar Nicholas include:

Chairman of the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Charitable Foundation Mrs. Olga Kulikovsky (top)

Russian historian and author Alexander Bokhanov, 1944-2019 (bottom left);

Russian historian and author Pyotr Multatuli (bottom right)

Bokhanov and Multatuli are recognized as Russia’s leading experts on the life and reign of the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II.

All three recipients have devoted years of research, writing and public speaking to help clear the name of Russia’s much slandered tsar.

 

Holy Royal Passion-bearer Nicholas / Святой страстотерпец царь Николай078a

In addition to public awards, there is also a badge honouring the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II. It is carried out in the form of the St. George Cross, either in form identical to the prototype, or against the background of a four-pointed star. In the center there is a medallion with bearing the tsar’s profile and a circular inscription: “EMPEROR NIKOLAI II RUSSIA”.

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The mark is made of brass, the rays of the cross are covered with black enamel. It can be attached to the pentagonal strap with St. George ribbon. In the version with a star, the imperial crown is depicted on the upper beam of the cross, on the lower one – the personal monogram of Nicholas II. In addition to brass, nickel silver alloy is also used.

The order badge was issued twice in a limited edition by order of the St. Petersburg public organization Cossack Convoy in Memory of the Emperor Nicholas II: in 2017 to the 100th anniversary of the death of the Russian Empire; in 2018, to the 100th anniversary of the murder of the Imperial family and at the same time the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas II. A total of 1,200 copies of the jubilee mark were made. In catalogs it is sometimes called an order, but even the price of 400 rubles indicates that this is a mistake.

© Paul Gilbert. 13 July 2019

 

 

Icon of the Mother of God, “Of the Three Hands”

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The Icon of the Mother of God, “Of the Three Hands” belonged to Nicholas II and his family

On 11th July 2019, on the feast day of the Icon of the Mother of God, “Of the Three Hands”, Mrs. Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovsky, chairman of the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Charitable Foundation, attended a Divine Liturgy in the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg.

The Divine Liturgy was led by Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg, in front of the Icon of the Mother of God, “Of the Three Hands.” The icon belonged to the Imperial Family, who venerated the icon, during their imprisonment in the Ipatiev House in 1918. The icon was found in the basement of the house after the murder of the Tsar and his family on the night of 16/17 July 1918. In the early 1920s, through the efforts of officers loyal to the Sovereign, the icon was smuggled out of Bolshevik Russia to Denmark, and presented to Nicholas II’s mother – the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna. After her death in 1928, the icon was bequeathed to her youngest daughter Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, who took it with her when she emigrated to Canada in 1948.

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Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg, kisses the Icon of the Mother of God, “Of the Three Hands”

In 1991, when Tikhon Nikolaevich Kulikovsky, the eldest son of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, learned that Russia was discussing the construction of a Memorial Church on the site of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, he addressed a letter to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, in which he noted that upon completion of construction, he intended to transfer the icon to the newly established church. However, Tikhon Nikolayevich was not able to fulfill his wish during his lifetime – he died on 8th April 1993. His widow Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovsky, however, carried out her husbands wish, and presented the Mother of God, “Of the Three Hands” during the solemn consecration of the Church on the Blood in 2003.

After the service, Metropolitan Kirill congratulated everyone on the holiday and the beginning of the Tsar’s Days, noting that this day marks the beginning of “Passion Week” dedicated to the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs. His Eminence thanked Olga Nikolaevna, to whom the Church on the Blood and the Ekaterinburg Diocese acquired “a special significant icon – the image of God’s blessing on the Holy Tsar’s Family.”

Today, the icon is kept in the Upper Church of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg.

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Mrs. Olga Kulikovsky

It should be noted, that Mrs. Olga Kulikovsky (now 93 years old), has dedicated many years to charitable activities in the name of her mother-in-law Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna. Despite her age, she continues to work actively to help clear the name of Russia’s much slandered Tsar and his family. She travels to Ekaterinburg each year to take part in the Tsars Days events, culminating with the Divine Liturgy at the Church on the Blood on the night of 16/17 July, and in Ganina Yama.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 July 2019

What kind of man was Nicholas II?

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The following article (click HERE to read) by Georgy Manaev was published in July 12th 2019 edition of ‘Russia Beyond’. Sadly, it is yet another negative assessment of Nicholas II, filled with the same nonsense, myths and lies, which have endured for more than a century now.

Below, are my comments regarding two of Manaev’s misconceptions:

The author Georgy Manaev quotes Alexander Guchkov about the Emperor: “Are we dealing with a normal person?”, yet fails to mention that Guchkov along with Pavel Milyukov, openly discussed a treasonous plot to oust Nicholas II from the throne.

And again, Nicholas II is criticized that his diaries lack “little to no information about politics, international relations or court intrigues.”

Manaev adds: “in other words, the things that should have been of interest to a Russian tsar during one of the most difficult periods of Russian history. Instead, about 90 percent of the diary is dedicated to his daily routines.”

Like a broken record, Manaev rehashes one of the most popular criticisms against Nicholas II. 

Russian historian Alexander Nikolaevich Bokhanov (1944-2019) wrote:

“For more than 38 years, Nicholas Alexandrovich wrote a few sentences every evening in his diary. After the fall of the monarchy, both scholars and laymen began to study his diaries, interested to learn what kind of man and monarch he was. Sadly, the crushing majority of them stuck with a negative assessment of Nicholas II.

“Their conclusions, however, were based on his diaries, which in all fairness do not offer any broad historical conclusions. Nevertheless they have been made and continue to be made to the present day. In actuality, Nicholas II’s diaries are often nothing more than a daily list of meetings and events which allow one, fully and accurately, to establish only two biographical aspects about him: where he was and whom he dealt with.

“His diaries are a completely personal and official document reflecting the daily events, nothing more. His diary entries rarely reflect any emotion, and with the passage of time they disappear almost completely. Any kind of political judgement or evaluation are extremely rare.

“In keeping a diary, Nicholas II was not thinking about leaving a historical testimony for his descendants. He never would have imagined that his daily, terse, personal remarks would be studied for political purposes. Only during the last months of his life, finding himself in the degrading position of a prisoner, did he record on paper his pain for the fate of his dearly beloved Russia.”

Click HERE to listen to my interview, in which I discuss Guchkov and Milyukov, who openly discussed a treasonous plot to oust Nicholas II from the throne.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 July 2019

Photo Exhibition: Tsarskoye Selo. Residence of the Last Emperor of Russia

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The opening of the photo exhibition Tsarskoye Selo. Residence of the Last Emperor of Russia was held on Friday, 5th July in the Russian Spiritual and Cultural Orthodox Center (RDPC) in Paris. The exhibit features reproductions of unique colour images of the interiors of the Alexander and Catherine Palaces, taken several months after the abdication of Nicholas II.

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“Although the Imperial palaces had been nationalized by the Bolshevik government, they were left virtually intact,” said Victoria Plauda, ​​senior researcher at the Tsarskoye Selo Museum-Reserve, at the opening of the exhibition. According to her, it was thanks to the efforts of the creative intelligentsia of Petrograd, which included the artist Alexander Benois (1870-1960), the writer Maxim Gorky (1892-1936) and the singer Fedor Chaliapin (1873-1938), who collectively managed to achieve a thorough inventory of the former Imperial residences during which these photographs were taken.

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The photos were taken by military photographer Andrei Zeest. The corresponding task was entrusted to him by the architect and art historian George Lukomsky, who headed the Tsarskoye Selo Artistic and Historical Commission created to preserve and protect the property of the former Palace Administration. Filming in the Catherine Palace began in June 1917, and in the Alexander Palace in August, immediately after the family of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II was exiled to Tobolsk, and continued until October of the same year.

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Precision Technology

The reproductions which are currently on display in the RDPC, reflect “stunning clarity and brightness of colours” – which were amazing for that time – are particularly noteworthy. The organizers also brought 11 black-and-white photographs from the collection of the Imperial family (the originals are kept in the library of Yale University in the USA), as well as 27 auto-chromes, not made with ordinary camera film, but with the aid of special glass dies with a special coating. Due to the microscopic size of the elements (about 0.015 mm), the structure of the image is not visible even with an increase in the resulting transparency. Some visitors even asked representatives of the museum if it was just a question of copies of authentic photographs of those times, and not about modern digital photographs.

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“These photos are invaluable material for us, because we have already been working on reconstructing the historic interiors of the Alexander Palace for several years. And very soon, after a few months, our visitors will see the first restored halls of the former private apartments of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna,” the museum representative added. She also noted that the auto-chromes were invaluable to restorers and artists in the recreation of decorative items and furniture for the rooms.

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The photo exhibition Tsarskoye Selo. Residence of the Last Emperor of Russia runs until Sunday, 25th August 2019, in the Russian Spiritual and Cultural Orthodox Center (RDPC) in Paris. 

Difficult fate of a unique collection

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve currently has more than 90 auto-chromes in their collection. In fact, there were many more of them, but after 1918 the trail of some of them was lost. After Lukomsky left the post of chairman of the Artistic and Historical Commission and went abroad, 843 images from black and white negatives and 83 color slides were transferred to the Kopeyka publishing house for reproduction in a publication prepared by Lukomsky but which never came to fruition. According to Plauda, ​​Lukomsky took some pictures after he left Russia.

Only in the post-war years (late 1950s- early 1960s) was it possible to form a collection of 45 images, transferred to the Tsarskoye Selo Museum by the heirs of the photographer Zeest and a member of the Oxford club by the Englishman G. Barrat. In June 2012, the museum acquired another 48 auto-chromes at an auction organized by the Drouot auction house in Paris.

Click HERE to view MORE colour auto-chromes of the Alexander Palace

© Paul Gilbert. 8 July 2019

The Truth About Nicholas II

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I am reaching out to friends and supporters for donations to support me in my personal mission to clear the name of Nicholas II, and to those who share an interest in Russia’s last Imperial family.

Your donation helps support my work, including research, the cost of translations, maintenance of my news blog: Nicholas II. Emperor. Tsar. Saint., the organization and promotion of the 2nd International Nicholas II Conference in the United States (Spring 2021), other events, and more!

If you enjoy all the articles, news, photos, and videos, please help support my work in the coming year ahead by making a donation.

Click HERE to make a donation by CREDIT CARD or PAYPAL

or Click HERE to make a donation by GOFUNDME

Click HERE to make a donation by PERSONAL CHECK

Thank you for your consideration.

PAUL GILBERT. 2 July 2019

New Revelations on Lenin’s Order to Murder the Tsar

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Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin; Russia’s last Emperor and Tsar Nicholas II

In an interview with the media outlet Рамблер (Rambler), Russian historian Vladimir Khrustalev stated that researchers still lack access to many archival files related to the maintenance and fate of the Imperial family during their final days in Ekaterinburg.

He argues that all the documents of 1918-1919, which mentioned the name of the Romanovs, were carefully removed from all open archival funds. In his opinion, they could not be destroyed, but transferred to special stores, where they remain to this day.

Khrustalev sees no reason to doubt the ultimate tragic fate of Nicholas II and his family which befell them in the Urals on the night of 16/17 July 1918. According to Khrustalev, the purging of archival documents was undertaken by the leadership of the Communist Party in order to cover their tracks and defer any accusations that the top leadership of the Communists , represented primarily by Lenin and Sverdlov, purposefully undertook an act of regicide. After all, the Soviet official point of view for a long time was that the liquidation of the family of the last emperor was carried out on the initiative of the local Ural Soviet leaders, who issued the central power of the Bolsheviks with a fait accompli.

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Russian historian Vladimir Khrustalev

Until now, no order issued by Lenin, Trotsky, Sverdlov, or any other Bolshevik party member concerning the massacre of the last Russian tsar and his family has been found in the archives. According to some Russian historians, this is not because no such order was given in writing, but precisely because the order was issued verbally. This was done, so as not to leave any evidence of their heinous crimes.

First, the Bolsheviks gathered almost all the arrested Romanovs (not only Nicholas II and his family, but many of their relatives) in the Urals in order to make it easier to eliminate them. And at some time gave the appropriate order. All evidence of such an order remains in sealed archives.

© Paul Gilbert. 2 July 2019

Exhibition dedicated to Nicholas Sokolov opens in the Urals

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On 8th June 2019, the Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye opened the exhibition Penza – Paris. The Way of the Tsar’s Investigator N.A. Sokolov, in the Museum and Exhibition Center in Ganina Yama.

The exhibition, is timed to the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the work of the investigator Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov (1882-1924)  in Ekaterinburg and at the Four Brothers mine in 1919.

Metropolitan Kirill reminded guests that the name of N.A. Sokolov is inextricably linked with the Imperial family, since Sokolov was a monarchist, he loved Russia and would not accept the changes brought about by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. 

“Nikolai Alekseevich crossed the front line to reach the troops commanded by General Vasilyevich Kolchak (1874-1920), who was recognised as the “Supreme Leader and Commander-in-Chief of All Russian Land and Sea Forces” by the other leaders of the White movement from 1918 to 1920. Sokolov became one of the closest assistants to the Supreme Commander, who entrusted him with the investigation into the case of the regicide. This year also marks 95 years since the death of investigator Sokolov, a man who made an enormous contribution in gathering evidence about the last days of the Imperial Family in Ekaterinburg,” noted Kirill.

The ruling bishop said that it was NA Sokolov who was the first to follow the path of the cross from the Ipatiev House to Ganina Yama, and it was he who conducted most of the research at the site of the murder and burial of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers.

“We value his sincere work no less than the work of those who remained faithful to the Tsar, his family and and their faithful retainers – Dr. Botkin, cook Kharitonov, maid Demidova and the tsar’s valet Troupe, and all those who wanted to remain with them, but who were separated from the Imperial Family, at Tsarskoye Selo, Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg,” he added.

In conclusion, Metropolitan Kirill thanked the staff of the museum who preserve the memory of the Imperial family.

Visitors to the exhibit can see unique archival materials that give an idea of ​​the difficult task of the investigator. Also presented are rare family photos of N. Sokolov, which are kept by his descendants in France and in Russia. Many of them are displayed for the first time.

The exhibition will be open to visitors until the end of 2019, admission is free.

Click HERE to read Memorial Plaque to Nikolai Sokolov Unveiled in Mokshan, published on Royal Russia News 27th December 2018;

and HERE to read Nikolai Sokolov: The man who revealed the story of the Romanov killings by Alla Astanina, published on 18 April 2015 on Russia Beyond the Headlines.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 June 2019

Zhanna Bichevskaya marks her 75th birthday

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Cover of Zhanna Bichevskaya;s CD Царь Николай (Tsar Nikolai)

A very happy 75th birthday to Russian folk singer Zhanna Vladimirovna Bichevskaya, who was born in Moscow on 17th June 1944.

Известной певице Жанне Владимiровне Бичевской исполнилось 75 лет!!! Мы сердечно поздравляем её с Днём рождения!!!

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Zhanna graduated as a classical guitarist from a Moscow music school. She was a teacher of music in Zagorsk (Sergiev Posad). In the 1970s, Zhanna started to perform Russian folk songs and romances.

Zhanna refers to her bard-style singing as “Russian country-folk”. Her repertoire includes several hundred works – songs of spiritual and social content, Russian folk songs, romances, as well as songs based on poems of Russian poets of the Silver Age. Her records have sold millions of copies in more than 40 countries around the world. She has performed to sell out crowds at the prestigious Olympia Hall in Paris, on eight occasions. 

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Zhanna Bichevskaya’s songs began to have more political, nationalist and spiritual themes, she is a staunch defender of the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

In 1999, Zhanna also became the host of her own show on Voice of Russia radio station. She was awarded People’s Artist of the RSFSR

CLICK on the links below to listen to two of her most haunting melodies:

[1] Царь Николай / Tsar Nikolai [Duration: 9 mins], which features vintage film footage of Russia’s last tsar:

[2] Святым Царственным мученикам / To the Holy Royal Martyrs [Duration: 7 mins., 34 sec.], which is much more a prayer than a song:

Click HERE to visit Zhanna Bichevskaya’s Official Website (in Russian / по-русски)

© Paul Gilbert. 17 June 2019

Ekaterinburg prepares for Tsar’s Days – 2019

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Icon of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer Nicholas II in front of the steps of the Church on the Blood

Every year tens of thousands of people gather in Ekaterinburg to take part in the Tsar’s Days. The main events are the Divine Liturgy, which takes place on the night of 16/17 July at the Church on the Blood, where the lives of the Imperial Family and and their faithful retainers tragically ended, and the Cross Procession to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers in Ganina Yama, where the august remains were destroyed 101 years ago.

*NOTE: due to the fact the Moscow Patriachate does not yet recognize the Ekaterinburg remains as authentic, the Cross Procession does not stop at Porosenkov Log, where the remains of the Imperial family were unearthed in two separate graves in the late 1970s and 2007 – PG

This year’s mass celebrations in the Ural capital will begin on 12th July, the day marking the opening of the XVII Festival of Orthodox Culture “Tsar’s Days.”

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Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Kirill

XVII Festival of Orthodox Culture “Tsar’s Days”

From 12th  July to 21st July, Ekaterinburg will host the key event of the Tsarist Year – the XVII Festival of Orthodox Culture “Tsar’s Days”. In the Ural capital, dozens of religious and secular events of various formats will be held , dedicated to the “Tsarist” theme – from music festivals to creative meetings and lectures.

A cultural program is planned, which includes cultural, historical, musical and educational events, museum and library exhibitions, concerts and meetings with historians, writers, directors from across Russia and abroad.

The Church on the Blood, the Tsarsky Spiritual and Educational Center (located in the Patriarchal Compound), and the Russia – My Story Museum, will become the central venues for the festival.

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Pilgrims gather at the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg on the night of 16/17 July

Festival of the bell ringing “Bless the land of the Ural!”

From 14th July to 18th July, the annual festival of the bell ringing “Preach to the Land of the Urals!”, organized as part of the All-Russian Festival of Orthodox Culture “Tsar’s Days”, will also take place.

Ringers from across Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Veliky Novgorod, Rostov Veliky, Vologda, Tyumen, as well as the best bell-ringers of the Ekaterinburg Metropolis will take part in the festival.

A concert of bells at the bell tower of the Bolshoi Zlatoust (Great Zlatoust) Church, with the participation of the military brass band and the choir of the Bolshoi Zlatoust (Great Zlatoust) Church, which will be held on 15th July 15, Priest Victor Yavich will recite his poems.

After that,  participants and spectators of the festival will enjoy master classes with the participation of the most experienced bell-ringers of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The bell ringing concert will begin at 6:00 pm at the Bolshoi Zlatoust (Great Zlatoust) Church, located on Malysheva Street.

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Pilgrims take part in the Cross Procession from Ekaterinburg to Ganina Yama

The main events of Tsar’s Days

The main events of the Tsar’s Days will begin on 15th July with the consecration of the Church of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers in Ganina Yama.

Then come the culminating events, which will be held on 16th and 17th July. 

On 16th July, at 09:00, the Divine Liturgy will begin in the Chapel of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers in the Church on the Blood. At 1:00 pm, a day procession along the Ekaterinburg Path of Grief will be held to mark the arrival of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers in Ekaterinburg (transported to the Ipatiev House) – from Shartash station (149 Kuybyshev St.) to the Church Church on Blood.

Then, at 15:00, a small vespers with an akathist to the Holy Royal Passion-bearers will take place in the lower church of the Church on the Blood.

At 16:30, an all-night vigil will begin at the site in front of the Church on the Blood.

At 23:30, the main service of the Tsar’s Days will begin – the evening Divine Liturgy at the site of the Church on the Blood. The service will end in the early morning hours of 17th July, after which at 02:30 a 21-km Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood — the place where the Imperial family were murdered — to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers — the site of where their remains were destroyed by their Bolshevik murderers at the Ganina Yam tract in 1918. The procession gathers tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. In previous years, the procession has attracted any where from 60,000 to 100,000 (in 2018) people. Upon the arrival of the procession at Ganina Yama, a liturgy will be held for the Holy Royal Passion-bearers.

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Victims of the Alapaevsk Massacre

Tsar’s days in Alapayevsk

The Tsar’s Days will continue with the celebration of the Days of Remembrance of the Great Martyr Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna and the Alapayevsk martyrs, which will be held in Alapayevsk, situated 150 km north of Ekaterinburg.

On 18th July, at 00:00, a Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Alapayevsk, and at 02:30 a liturgy will be held with the akathist singing to the holy martyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth and the Nun Varvara.

At 03:30, at the end of the liturgy, a procession will begin from the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Alapayevsk to the school (where Grand Duchess Elizabeth and other members of the Romanovs were held captive) and then to the monastery in the name of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, which was founded on the place where they were thrown alive into the mine by their captives on the night of 18th July 1918. Two Divine Liturgies will be celebrated her, at 05:30 and 09:00.  

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“Tsar’s Days Hot line”

On 1st July, the “Tsar Days Hotline” will open. Pilgrims can call and ask for information on the main events that will be celebrated in Ekaterinburg from 16th to 18th July 2019, including: the divine liturgy services scheduled; the date and start time of the religious processions in Ekaterinburg, as well as the procession of the cross in Alapayevsk; how pilgrims can return to Ekaterinburg from the Monastery of the Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama after the procession on 17th July, and from Alapaevsk on 18th July, and any other questions.

In addition, by calling the hotline, pilgrims can obtain information about excursions to church museums and exhibition centers in Ekaterinburg, Alapaevsk and Verkhoturye, as well as book a reception for organized groups and single pilgrims on the Ekaterinburg Tsar Route.

Phones of the “hotline” of Tsar’s days – 2019:

+7 (343) 268-99-29, +7 (950) 64-69-019.

Hotline opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 19:00 local time (from 8:00 to 17:00 Moscow time).

Click HERE for more information about Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg 2019

© Ekaterinburg Diocese / Paul Gilbert. 16 June 2019

Reconstruction of Nicholas II’s bathroom in the Alexander Palace

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PHOTO: Stavros and Artcorpus Interiors firms in St. Petersburg

My latest report on the reconstruction of the private apartments of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna in the Alexander Palace, and the recreation of their historic interiors, provides an update on the Tsar’s Bathroom – PG

The reconstruction and restoration of Nicholas II’s Bathroom, situated in the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace is nearing completion. The main feature is a giant heated swimming tub – where the Tsar, and Tsesarevich Alexei liked to swim. “This was all lost, but now the restorers, have completely recreated the interior, based on pieces of ceramics from the walls, and photos from the palace-museum archives,” said Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Olga Taratynova.

Once completed, Nicholas II’s Moorish-style Bathroom will be one of a series of rooms showcasing the private apartments of the last emperor and empress of Russia. Work is being carried out by the Stavros and Artcorpus Interiors firms in St. Petersburg.

According to Bob Atchison’s Alexander Palace Time Machine, “the Tsar’s Bathroom had a giant heated swimming tub on a platform which also led, via a glass and wood door, to his toilet, which was a dark room hung with an assortment of pictures including a humorous cartoon of Nicholas driving a car.

“The bathroom was designed in the Moorish style by Robert-Friedrich Meltzer (1860-1943). The millwork of the room was intricately fabricated in fragrant woods. The ceiling was particularly complex. Meltzer added many interesting touches to the room including hanging glass lanterns in the shape of old mosque oil lamps. For practical reasons they were wired for electricity. He also installed magnificent antique Turkish tiles around the top of the bath. In the arcade of the tub-platform he designed elaborate patterns in Arab style.

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Nicholas II posting in front of the his elevated swimming tub in the Alexander Palace

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“It was great fun for the Tsar’s children, when they received permission from their father, to use his bath. A thick cord prevented falling into the bath by accident. The swimming bath was huge, it held 500 pails of water [1000 according to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve-PG] and had its’ own powerful special hydraulics to rapidly pump hot water from the basement boiler up into the tub. Nicholas ordered the bath to be constructed in the palace in 1896 after seeing a similar bath on one of his estates. He used it almost every day. A special servant was assigned to maintain the equipment below and a second servant was assigned to keep the bath spotless after every use.

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“Outside the tub platform, Nicholas installed a chinning bar (seen in above photo), seen in a photograph, taken in 1917. The Tsar was passionate about exercise and also had a similar chinning bar in his train. He also had weights in his bathroom for working out. 

“On the back wall, by the left hand side of the door leading to the Tsar’s Working Study, was a collection of ions and hanging Easter eggs. To the right was draped an embroidered cloth with a double-headed eagle, probably the work of Alexandra or one of the girls. [The embroidered cloth with a double-headed eagle, can also be seen in the 1917 posted above-PG]

“Nicholas kept a large collection of Fabergé cigarette cases on the table in front of the window. He put up a display of gifts and small objects from his children in the bathroom. These included porcelain penguins and dancing girls. A floral watercolor painted by his daughter, Marie, and dated May 1917, hung on the door from the bathroom to the Working Study.”

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Reconstruction of the Tsar’s Bath or swimming tub

The Alexander Palace, has been closed for restoration since August 2015. The palace was scheduled to reopen in July 2018,  however, numerous delays have pushed now back the reopening date to the end of 2019. 

“We really want to make everyone happy for the new year. But in any case, the recovery process is underway and has already progressed significantly. So if not at the end of December 2019, then in the first quarter of 2020, the Alexander Palace will open its doors,” says the Director of the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum.

For more information on the reconstruction and restoration of the Alexander Palace, please refer to the following articles:

Recreation of Furniture for Mauve (Lilac) Boudoir Underway

Furniture for interiors of the Alexander Palace to be recreated

© Paul Gilbert. 16 June 2019