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.
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.
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