On 19th December 2019, a memorial plaque in memory of Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled in the Russian city of Voronezh, and consecrated by Metropolitan Sergiy of Voronezh and Liskinsky.
The date marks the 105th anniversary of the emperor’s visit to Voronezh on 19th December 1914. This was the second time Nicholas visited Voronezh, the first was in 1887, when he visited the city as heir to the throne, together with his father Alexander III.
The bas-relief plaque was made by the sculptor Alexander Melnichenko, and placed on the facade of the former Mariinsky Gymnasium (now the Youth House, situated on Revolution Avenue). During the First World War, the gymnasium served as a hospital for Russian soldiers, and it was here that the Emperor met with those who had been wounded.
Today, 19 December (O.S. 6 December) is also the day when the Orthodox Church honours the memory of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the patron saint of Nicholas II.
During Nicholas II’s visit to Voronezh on 19th December 1914, an arch to honour his visit was built near Petrovsky Square (which has not survived). The Emperor together with the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana Nikolaevna, attended a Divine Liturgy held in the Annunciation Cathedral, after which, they visited the Mitrofanov Monastery, where the Emperor presented awards to wounded Russian soldiers.
© Paul Gilbert. 19 December 2019
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