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

2nd Nicholas II Conference planned for US venue in 2020

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After the success of the Nicholas II Conference, held in Colchester, England last year, I am pleased to announce that I am now planning a second conference, to be held in the United States in the autumn of next year. The Conference is part of my mission to clear the name of Russia’s much slandered Tsar.

The theme of the 2nd International Nicholas II Conference is ‘The Triumphs and Tragedies of His Reign’

Speakers will present papers on a wide variety of topics which cover the triumphs and tragedies of the 22-year+ reign (1 November [O.S. 20 October] 1894 – 15 March [O.S. 2 March] 1917) of Russia’s last monarch. Topics including the Coronation (1896); the Khodynkha Tragedy (1894); the Birth of Alexei and His Hemophilia; Bloody Sunday (1905); Romanov Tercentenary (1913); among others will be discussed.

I am sure that you can appreciate the tremendous amount of work which goes into such an event, therefore, I am reaching out to friends and supporters in the United States for their assistance on the following:

1. I am open to ideas for a venue, preferably in New York state (although other states would be considered), one which could provide seating for 100-200 persons, and lunch

2. As with the Conference held in England, I am particularly keen to have the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church

3. I need speakers: historians, authors, and other experts who will present facts and information, based on new research, which challenges the popularly held negative assessment of Nicholas II. NOTE: speakers will be paid for their presentations

If you can propose a venue, a speaker, or have any ideas or suggestions, please contact me by e-mail at royalrussia@yahoo.com

NOTE: the idea for this Conference is in the very early stages of planning, so for those who are interested in attending this event, I ask for your patience.

The city, venue, date, times, list of speakers, ticket prices, etc., have all yet to be worked out. Further details will be announced as they become available.

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NOTE: please help support my research in clearing the name of Russia’s much slandered Tsar Nicholas II, by purchasing copies of my bi-annual journal Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II

© Paul Gilbert. 28 May 2019

Memorial plaque to Nicholas II established in Omsk

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On 19th May, a memorial plaque to Emperor Nicholas II was solemnly unveiled on the facade of the Cathedral in Honour of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and the Virgin Mary in the Siberian city of Omsk. The plaque was established to commemorate the laying in 1891, by the then still Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (future Emperor Nicholas II), of the foundation stone for the cathedral.

The heir to the throne was traveling across Russia in 1891, and stopped in Omsk. Nicholas Alexandrovich laid the foundation stone for the new cathedral during a ceremony held at 10:00 in the morning on 16th July 1891.

A memorial plaque was installed inside the Omsk Assumption Cathedral on 6th May 1914 – the date marking Nicholas II’s birthday in the Julian Calendar. The plaque was not preserved, as was the cathedral itself – both demolished in 1935. In 2007, the Assumption Cathedral was reconstructed in the same place. The new plaque is the latest addition.

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Cathedral in Honour of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and the Virgin Mary, Omsk

The idea and financing of the memorial plaque is thanks to the members of the Omsk branch of the All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments, the Double-Headed Eagle Society, and the organizing committee for the Tsar’s Days in the Omsk District.

Celebrations began at Cathedral Square in the morning, which was decorated with Imperial flags. A Divine Liturgy was held, followed by a literary and musical composition on the theme of the life of the Imperial family performed by actors of one of Omsk amateur theaters. 

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Lyubinskaya Station

The Siberian city of Omsk is forever tied to the last days of Nicholas II and his family. On 28th April 1918, the Emperor, his wife, and their daughter Maria were taken by train from Tyumen to Ekaterinburg. Their route was changed, and the train pulled into Lyubinskaya station, not far from Omsk. It was here that more drama unfolded, as negotiations between Vasily Yakovlev and Moscow took place. The train was eventually turned around, bound for Ekaterinburg, where the last Russian emperor and his family were subsequently shot in the early morning hours of 17th July 1918.

Six months later, anti-Bolshevik White forces seized control of Omsk. The Provisional All-Russian Government was established here in 1918, headed by Admiral Kolchak. Omsk was proclaimed the capital of Russia, and its central bank was tasked with safekeeping the former empire’s gold reserves. Bolshevik forces entered the city in 1919.

It was also in Omsk, that Nicholas Sokolov, a legal investigator of the Omsk Regional Court, interviewed several members of the Romanov entourage in February 1919, notably Pierre Gilliard, Alexandra Tegleva and Sydney Gibbes.

© Paul Gilbert. 27 May 2019

Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg 2019

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In 2019, Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg will be held from 16 to 19 July. Tsar’s Days is the annual festival of Orthodox culture in Ekaterinburg and the Sverdlovsk Region, marking the deaths and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in the Ipatiev House on 17th July 1918. The festival includes divine services, religious processions, exhibitions, concerts and other events. 

Some of the city’s museums and churches will become venues for exhibitions dedicated to Emperor Nicholas II, his family and other members of the Romanov dynasty, who were murdered in Ekaterinburg and Alapaevsk.

The main event, for which thousands of Orthodox pilgrims come to Ekaterinburg, is the solemn liturgy, which takes place on the night of the murder of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers – 16/17 July, in the Church on the Blood. At the end of the Liturgy, tens of thousands of pilgrims take part in the 21 km Cross procession from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama.

The first Tsar’s Days was held in Ekaterinburg in 2001. Last year in 2018, the year marking the 100th anniversary of the regicide in the Ural capital, attracted more than 100,000 Orthodox pilgrims, monarchists, among others from across Russia and around the world.

NOTE: further information on Tsar’s Days will be published here, as further details become available from the Ekaterinburg Diocese 

If you are planning to be in Ekaterinburg during Tsar’s Days this year, I highly recommend visits to the following places which memorialize the last days of Emperor Nicholas II and his family:

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Church on the Blood and the Patriarchal Compound, Ekaterinburg

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Bust of Nicholas II, Patriarchal Compound, Ekaterinburg

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Museum of the Holy Royal Family, Patriarchal Compound

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Romanov Memorial Hall, Museum of History and Archaeology of the Urals, Ekaterinburg

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Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent

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Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs, Ganina Yama

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Romanov exhibit in the Museum and Exhibition Center, Ganina Yama

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Romanov Memorial, Porosenkov Log

For more information (photos, videos and links) about Tsar’s Days in 2018 and 2017, please refer to the following links:

2018 Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg

2017 Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg

*  *  *

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The entire issue of Sovereign No. 7 is dedicated to Tsar’s Days, held in Ekaterinburg in July 2018, the year marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths and martyrdom of Nicholas II and his family.

This special issue features 143 pages, and richly illustrated with 150 black and white photographs – many of them taken by me, during my visit to the Ural city in July 2018. Click HERE to order your copy

© Paul Gilbert. 27 May 2019

Recreation of Furniture for Mauve (Lilac) Boudoir Underway

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Two views of the Mauve (Lilac) Boudoir in the Alexander Palace, as it looked in 1917

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Note the many photos of the Imperial family on the side table and shelves above the sofa

For those of you who have been following the restoration of the Alexander Palace, I am pleased to announce that work on the recreation of furniture for the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s Mauve (Lilac) Boudoir is now underway.

According to Stavros (St. Petersburg), the firm commissioned to recreate the furniture for the historic interiors of the Alexander Palace: “We are now creating pieces for the Lilac Room. These include the frame of the sofa and wall panels.”

The Mauve (Lilac) Boudoir suffered greatly during the Second World War. It was located in the suite of rooms, between the Imperial Bedroom and the Pallisander (Rosewood) Drawing Room, and did not have a separate exit to the corridor. At one time, the walls were covered with high-quality gorgon lilac silk fabric, with vertical narrow paired stripes, and the lower part was decorated with wooden panels. During the war years, the room was completely burned out, only a few photographs remind us of it’s former luxury. 

The project is part of a recreation of the Private Apartments of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, situated in the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace. 

Since the closing of the Alexander Palace in 2015, the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum have been very tight lipped about the restoration itself. Very little information has been released to the media, and barely mentioned on their official website. As a result, it has been an endless source of frustration trying to obtain any reliable updates on progress of the restoration. Dates for the reopening of the palace have been delayed on numerous occasions, often simply due to the lack of funding.

According to the latest information, the restoration of the Alexander Palace as a multi-museum complex is not expected to be completed until 2022 – at the earliest!

For more information on the restoration of the Alexander Palace, please refer to my article Furniture for the interiors of the Alexander Palace to be re-created (9th March 2019)

© Paul Gilbert. 22 May 2019

Tambov honours last Russian Emperor

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Memorial plaque to Nicholas II and station signal bell, Tambov

On 18th May 2019, a memorial plaque was unveiled in the Russian city of Tambov (about 480 kilometers (300 mi) south-southeast of Moscow). The plaque, on the facade of the Tambov railway station marks the visits to the city by Emperor Nicholas II in 1904 and 1914. The installation of the memorial plaque and a station signal bell were timed to the 151st anniversary of the birth of the Russia’s last emperor. 

The initiator of the memorial plaque was the leadership of the local regional branch of the Double-Headed Eagle Society, with the support of the Council on Monumental Art of the Tambov City Duma.

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Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna arrive in Tambov, 1914

On Sunday, 20 (O.S. 7) December 1914, Emperor Nicholas II visited Tambov for the second time. His previous visit, was in the summer of 1904.

Local historians note that during his 1914 visit, the Emperor’s train arrived in Tambov at 10:45 in the morning. Nicholas II was met by 12 thousand people, representing all classes of society. Flags and flowers decorated the streets along the imperial motorcade from the station to the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral. In the evening of the same day, at 6:00 pm, Emperor Nicholas II left Tambov with his wife and two of their children.

This is how the Sovereign noted the event in his diary:

At 10 o’clock arrived in Tambov. After the meeting, we went to the cathedral, which I recalled from 1904. Vladyka Cyril is well and served the liturgy. We went to venerate the relics of St. Pitirim and stopped at his spring. We then stopped at a military hospital, followed by breakfast on the train.

The opening ceremony of the memorial plaque at Tambov railway station was attended by representatives of the Russian Guard, Cossacks, the Union of Russian Paratroopers, veterans of war and regional conflicts, regional historians, and representatives of the Tambov diocese. At the conclusion of the solemn event at the station, the audience laid flowers at the memorial plaque.

Then the representatives of the Double-Headed Eagle Society together with the Cossacks laid flowers at the bust of the Sovereign Emperor in the park of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour Cathedral.

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Monument to Nicholas II, Pitirim Tambovsky Chapel

In 1914, celebrations dedicated to the canonization of St. Pitrim of Tambov (1645-1698), a holy chapel was erected above a spring, discovered by St. Pitrim at the end of the 17th century. Funding for the metal chapel was provided by Nicholas II’s mother the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. A marble staircase was built from the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral to the source. 

During the Soviet years, the chapel was destroyed, and the spring was covered with earth. In the 2000s, the holy spring on the territory of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral was revived, the territory around it was ennobled. In 2007, the metal chapel was reconstructed above the source.

In February 2016, Metropolitan Theodosius consecrated the dome and cross on the newly rebuilt chapel above the source. On 10th August, Theodosius consecrated the restored chapel over the holy source of St. Pitirim. A monument to Nicholas II (see above photo) was unveiled in the alley leading to the chapel.

© Paul Gilbert. 22 May 2019

In memory of Alexander Nikolaevich Bokhanov (1944-2019)

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Alexander Nikolaevich Bokhanov (1944-2019)

Russian historical science has suffered an irreparable loss. On 14th May 2019, the eminent Russian historian Alexander Nikolaevich Bokhanov died after a long and serious illness.

Bokhanov was a Professor of History, a specialist in 19th and 20th century Russian history. A graduate of Moscow University, he is a leading scientific researcher of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he began to adhere to monarchical views. 

He was the author of 30 books and nearly 200 articles – in Russian. For Westerners, he is best known as one of the contributing authors of The Romanovs. Love, Power and Tragedy, published in the UK in 1993.

Alexander Bokhanov was the first historian in post-Soviet Russia to write an impartial biography of the last Russian Emperor and Tsar Nicholas II. The book’s publication marked the beginning of his professional study of the life of the slandered Tsar, the rich, tragic and still little-studied era of his reign. 

In September 2013, Alexander Bokhanov suffered a double stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed. The memory of Alexander Nikolaevich Bokhanov will remain forever in the hearts of admirers of Russian history. Вечная память.

© Paul Gilbert. 14 May 2019

Monument to Nicholas II at Vasilievsky Palace in Vyritsa

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The Vasilievsky Palace

Situated on the left bank of the Oredezh River in the village of Vyritsa (70 km from St. Petersburg), stands the Vasilievsky Palace (also called the Vasiliev Brothers Mansio), a tiny yet equally luxurious replica of the Catherine Palace in Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo).

The mansion was built in 2005–2006 by the St. Petersburg architect Igor Nikolaevich Gremitsky (1939–2015) and is intended for functions and receptions of high-ranking guests. The design and decor are intended to impress visitors with it’s unique architectural styles, such as the size of the rooms, height of the ceilings (the ceiling in the Grand Hall measures 14 meters or 46 feet), the solemnity of the marble staircase, and the lavish decoration of the interiors. Only natural materials and old technologies were used for decoration. 

The mansion is considered the first true marble palace in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. The area of ​​mosaic marble floors covers 600 square meters. The columns, fireplaces and pilasters are made of marble in the hall, foyer, the walls of the first floor, stairs and sculptures created by the best masters of Italy and Russia. The second floor is conceived in the form of open galleries which frame an oval double-light hall which create a large visual space. The central gallery is decorated with five-meter black marble knights. The palace complex also has a chapel, a miniature version of the one in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.

Click HERE to view 20 colour photos of the lavish interiors of Vasilievsky Palace.

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Column bearing monument of Nicholas II 

The mansion is situated on a site measuring 400 x 400 meters in size, on which a landscaped park is laid out, containing fountains, marble sculptures, cannons, and a summer arbor. A column was erected in front of the palace, with a sculptural composition which features a guardian angel supporting the last Emperor and Tsar Nicholas II with his right hand, and bearing an Orthodox cross with his left. The Emperor is depicted holding the Imperial Sceptre with his left hand, his right hand placed on his heart.

According to official documents this plot of land is owned by the International Entrepreneurial Company Litvin Limited.

The “unofficial owner” of the palace is St. Petersburg businessman Sergey Vasilievich Vasiliev, co-owner of Petersburg Oil Terminal CJSC (POT), who was born in Vyritsa in 1955. Vasiliev has controlled the automotive market in St. Petersburg, since the 1990s. His initials – “SVV” – are clearly displayed in a cartouche over the main entrance to the mansion.

In Vyritsa, the Vasilyev brothers sponsored the reconstruction of the church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and a number of other historical monuments.

© Paul Gilbert. 14 May 2019

Sovereign No. 10 Spring 2019 – NOW IN STOCK!

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I am pleased to announce that SOVEREIGN No. 10 SPRING 2019 – is now available from the ROYAL RUSSIA BOOKSHOP.

Our TENTH issue features 130 pages, with 8 full-length articles, including 5 FIRST ENGLISH translations of works by Russian historians, plus 3 additional articles + 119 black and white photos:

1. Nicholas II in the Words of His Contemporaries by Pyotr Multatuli. Translated by William Lee 1st ENGLISH TRANSLATION

2. Nicholas II in the Historical Memory of the Kuban Cossacks by O.V. Matveev. Translated by William Lee 1st ENGLISH TRANSLATION

3. The Wardrobe of the Imperial Family: The History of the Alexander Palace Collection by A.S. Rognatev. Translated by William Lee 1st ENGLISH TRANSLATION

4. Investigator Sokolov: “The Tsar’s Suffering Is Russia’s Suffering” by Y.Y. Vorobyevsky. Translated by Elizabeth S. Yellen 1st ENGLISH TRANSLATION

5. Novonikolayevsk: Born of the People’s Ambition and the Tsar’s Beneficence, Emperor Nicholas II and the City of Novosibirsk: Parallels Between Past and Present by E. Tsybizov. Translated by Elizabeth S. Yellen 1st ENGLISH TRANSLATION

6. Memorandum to Tsar Nicholas II by Pyotr Durnovo

7. My Mission to Clear the Name of Russia’s Last Tsar by Paul Gilbert

8. Nicholas II in Moscow. Photographic Memories of Russia’s Last Emperor

and Sovereign News – featuring news highlights from Russian media resources

Launched in 2015, a total of 12 will be in print by the end of this year, including 3 Special Issues. Click HERE For more information on our journal Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II

© Paul Gilbert. 13 May 2019