US Ambassador to Russia Visits Ekaterinburg

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PHOTO: From left to right: Archpriest Daniil Andreiuk, Representative of the Orthodox Church in America under the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, US Ambassador to the Russian Federation John J. Sullivan, US Consul in Ekaterinburg Amy Storrow, and Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursky Kirill in the Patriarchal Compound in Ekaterinburg on 16th March 2020. Photo © Ekaterinburg Diocese

On 16th March 2020, Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursky Kirill met with US Ambassador to the Russian Federation John J. Sullivan, US Consul in Ekaterinburg Amy Storrow, and Archpriest Daniil Andreiuk, Representative of the Orthodox Church in America under the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

The visit to the Ural city by Ambassador Sullivan and his entourage took place in the Synodal Hall of the Tsarsky Cultural and Educational Center, located in the Patriarchal Compound, across from the Church on the Blood.

The US ambassador thanked Metropolitan Kirill for the meeting and noted that he plans to come again.

– “Indeed, we need to pray to God and, at the same time, we will continue to work together. This is my first visit to Ekaterinburg, and I plan to return,” the ambassador said.

Mr. Sullivan also congratulated Metropolitan Kirill on the 22nd anniversary of his Episcopal ordination. Then the archpastor presented his guest with souvenirs of his visit to Ekaterinburg.

After the meeting, Archpriest Maxim Minyailo, senior priest of the Church on the Blood conducted an excursion for their American guests around the Museum of the Holy Royal Family in the Tsarsky Center and the Church on the Blood, during which Ural shrines were presented that preserve the memory of the feat of the holy Royal Martyrs.

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PHOTO: Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursky Kirill and US Ambassador to the Russian Federation John J. Sullivan admiring a sculpture of the Holy Royal Martyrs Saints Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei in the Patriarchal Compound in Ekaterinburg on 16th March 2020. Photo © Ekaterinburg Diocese

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PHOTO: Archpriest Maxim Minyailo, senior priest of the Church on the Blood conducts an excursion for his American guests around the Museum of the Holy Royal Family in the Tsarsky Center, situated in the Patriarchal Compound in Ekaterinburg on 16th March 2020. Photo © Ekaterinburg Diocese

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PHOTO: Archpriest Maxim Minyailo, senior priest of the Church on the Blood conducts an excursion for his American guests around the Upper Church of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg on 16th March 2020. Photo © Ekaterinburg Diocese

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PHOTO: Archpriest Maxim Minyailo, senior priest of the Church on the Blood conducts an excursion for his American guests to the Imperial Room (see note below) located in the Lower Church of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg on 16th March 2020. Photo © Ekaterinburg Diocese

NOTE: The altar of the Imperial Room is situated in the lower church, sanctified in honor of the Holy Royal Martyrs. It was established on the site of the room located in the basement of the Ipatiev House, where Emperor Nicholas II, his family, and four retainers were all brutally murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918.

In the summer of 2018, with the blessing of Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, the altar of the Imperial Chapel of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers – the so-called Royal Room – was redesigned and decorated for the Tsar’s Days held in Ekaterinburg. The interior of the room has completely changed: like the Cuvuclia in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

Click HERE to read to read my article The Imperial Room in the Church on the Blood, Ekaterinburg, featuring 17 photos and 2 videos

© Paul Gilbert. 17 March 2020

Russia, here I come . . . again!

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The Church on the Blood, Ekaterinburg

I am very pleased to announce that I will be returning to Russia in September, where I will spend 10 days in Ekaterinburg and Tobolsk.

I have booked my flights on Aeroflot from Toronto-New York (JFK)-Moscow-Ekaterinburg, 19th – 29th September. This journey marks my 30th visit to Russia since 1986, my 4th visit to Ekaterinburg since 2012, and my 1st visit to Tobolsk!

The purpose of this journey is to complete research on my forthcoming book My Russia. Ekaterinburg. I began researching and writing this book in 2018, with plans to publish it prior to the centenary of the deaths of Nicholas II and his family. Instead, I delayed the publication, due to the fact that I attended the Tsars Days events held in Ekaterinburg in July 2018. In hindsight, I am happy that I made the decision to delay the books publication, as I was able to collect a lot of additional material for the book, as well as hundreds of photographs, many of which will be featured in my book.

I will spend 5 days in Ekaterinburg, revisiting the many places associated with the last days of the Imperial Family, including the Church on the Blood, the Novo-Tikhvin Convent, Ganina Yama, Porosenkov Log, as well as three museums dedicated to the Holy Royal Martyrs: Museum of the Holy Royal Family (Patriarchal Compound), Romanov Memorial Hall (Museum of History and Archaeology in the Urals); and Museum and Exhibition Center (Ganina Yama).

Once a bastion of Bolshevism, Ekaterinburg has slowly shed its status as the “capital of atheism”. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Urals has experienced a revival of faith, with Ekaterinburg at the into the center of Orthodox Russia in the Urals. Ekaterinburg has done more to honour Nicholas II and his family than any other city in Russia.

Thanks to my previous visits to Ekaterinburg in 2012, 2016 and 2018, it is a city which I have grown to admire and love.

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The Museum of the Family of Emperor Nicholas II, Tobolsk

From there, I will travel by train to Tobolsk – a 10-hour journey – and spend 3 days exploring this beautiful historic city and former capital of Siberia. The city is known for its 18th-century snow-white coloured Kremlin, Orthodox churches and many buildings dating from the Tsarist period, which have thankfully been preserved to this day.

My primary interest will, of course, be the former Governors Mansion, where the Imperial Family lived under house arrest from August 1917 to April 1918. Following the October Revolution, it was renamed the ‘House of Freedom’.

Today, the former Governors Mansion houses the Museum of the Family of Emperor Nicholas II. The museum was opened in 2018, the year marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths of the Imperial family. 

Thirteen rooms have been recreated in the building, many of which have preserved many historic elements and details from the time of the Imperial Family’s stay here. The museum features more than 900 artefacts, including memorial and personal items related to Nicholas II and his family.

Not only am I looking forward to meeting up with old friends and making new acquaintances in my favourite Russian city Ekaterinburg, I am also very much looking forward to exploring Tobolsk for the very first time. An added bonus to this journey, will be the opportunity to see the Urals decked out in the beautiful colours of autumn.

Upon my return from Russia, I will publish a summary of my visit in an issue of Sovereign, and put the finishing touches on my book My Russia. Ekaterinburg, adding additional text and photographs.

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My Russia. Ekaterinburg – front and back covers

The present draft of My Russia. Ekaterinburg, already contains an Introduction, plus illustrated chapters on the Churches of Ekaterinburg; a History of the Ipatiev House; the Church on the Blood; the Patriarchal Compound and the Museum of the Holy Royal Family; the Novo-Tikhvin Convent; the Romanov Memorial Hall in the Museum of History and Archaeology in the Urals; Tsar’s Days; Ganina Yama, the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs and the Museum and Exhibition Center; Porosenkov Log; Alapaevsk; Tyumen; Tobolsk and the Museum of the Family of Emperor Nicholas II; helpful Visitor Information and much more.

With 250 pages, and richly illustrated with 300 black and white photos – many taken by me during my visits to the Urals – My Russia. Ekaterinburg  will be my largest publishing project to date. God willing, my book will be available before Christmas.

© Paul Gilbert. 26 February 2020

Congratulations to Maria Dmitrievna Ivanova-Tatishcheva on her 90th birthday

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Maria Dmitrievna Ivanova-Tatishcheva

Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursky Kirill congratulated Maria Dmitrievna Ivanova-Tatishcheva on her 90th birthday. Maria is a direct descendant of the founder of Ekaterinburg, the sixth generation great-granddaughter of Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev (1686-1750), and niece of Adjutant General Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev (1859-1918), a devoted and loyal subject of Emperor Nicholas II.

“On this day, it’s a special joy to testify to our sincere love and deep respect for the memory of your heroic ancestor, Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev, who founded the city of St. Catherine – the city of Ekaterinburg,”said Metropolitan Kirill.

“We also honour the memory of your uncle Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev, who was an example of high morality, nobility and self-sacrifice.”

At the invitation of Nicholas II, the devoted adjutant general followed the Tsar’s family into exile to Tobolsk, where, he played an important role, caring for the august family and offering spiritual support. When Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and her daughter Maria left Tobolsk for Ekaterinburg, Tatishchev remained with the Tsar’s children. On 23rd May 1918, upon arrival in Ekaterinburg with Tsesarevich Alexi and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatyana, Anastasia, the Adjutant General was separated from the Tsar’s family and imprisoned in Ekaterinburg.

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Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev (left) and Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev (right)

On 10th June 1918 Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev was shot by the Bolsheviks. According to church historians, he was buried in the cemetery of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent. [Note: Tatishchev’s grace was lost during the Soviet years – PG] 

The head of the Ekaterinburg Metropolis informed Maria Dmitrievna that the diocesan commission for the canonization of saints is currently preparing documents for the canonization of her uncle. [Note: Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in 1981 – PG]

“It is known that not only did he know the gospel by heart, but lived the life a devout Orthodox Christian. The sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Monastery, where Ilya Leonidovich was most likely buried, have plans to erect a monument to him in the coming year, and also collect information about him in order to publish a book about this worthy man,” Vladyka Kirill said.

“On such a momentous day, we sincerely wish you good health, peace of mind, joy and the abundant mercies of God! May the Lord grant you many and good summers! ” His Eminence concluded his congratulation.

Maria Dmitrievna lives in Paris. She visited Ekaterinburg in 2003, when the city celebrated its 280th anniversary.

Click HERE to read my article Divine Liturgy for Tatishchev and Dolgorukov Performed in Ekaterinburg, originally published on 12th June 2018

© Paul Gilbert. 26 February 2020

How Yeltsin justified the demolition of the Ipatiev House

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The Ipatiev House before 1917

On 22-23 September 1977, the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg where the Russian Imperial Family were held under house arrest for 78 days before being murdered, was razed to the ground. The decision of the Soviet authorities was perceived rather ambiguously, but what was the reason behind the destruction of this historic building, and could it have been saved?

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The Ipatiev House in 1918

A house with a tragic fate

The two-storey stone Ipatiev House was built in the 1880s by state adviser I.I. Redikortsev, on the western slope of the Ascension Hill – a notable hill in Ekaterinburg. It was located at No. 49/9 on the corner of Voznesensky Prospekt and Voznesensky Lane (renamed Karl Libnecht and Klara Zetkin respectively, after 1917). The eastern facade (facing Voznesensky Prospekt) was one-story, and the western (facing the garden) had two floors.

Redikortsev did not remain the owner of the house for long, he was accused of corruption, and in order to improve his shaky financial condition in 1898 he sold the house to the gold miner I. G. Sharaviev.

In 1908, the Ipatiev House was purchased by military civil engineer Nikolai Nikolaevich Ipatiev, who paid 6,000 rubles to the former owner. The Ipatiev family lived in the upper floor, while the the lower floor was used as Ipatiev’s office. The house had running water and sewer, electricity and telephone. The interiors were richly decorated with cast iron, stucco mouldings, and artistically painted ceilings.

On 27th April 1918, the Bolsheviks ordered Ipatiev to vacate the mansion within two days, for the maintenance of the Imperial family, who were to be transferred from Tobolsk. Due to the fact that Ipatiev was away, his personal belongings were locked in a basement pantry next to the room in which the Imperial family were later shot. Subsequently, the basement was sealed in the presence of the owner. It is believed that the choice of the house was due to the fact that Ipatiev was well acquainted with the members of the Ural Council and, in particular, Yakov Yurovsky who served as a prominent representative of the cadet party, and who, after the February Revolution, was appointed a member of the local public security committee.

Machine guns were installed in the attics of neighbouring buildings, the house itself was surrounded by a high wooden double fence, the height of which was higher than the windows of the second floor of the Ipatiev House, with a single wicket gate, which was  constantly guarded, two security posts were located inside, eight outside, thus completely prepared for the arrival of “Citizen Romanov” Nicholas II, his wife and their daughter Maria.

Immediately after the murder of the Romanovs, which occurred on the night of 16/17 July 1918, the house was returned to Ipatiev. Five days later, White Army units entered the city. Nikolai decided to emigrate, and sold the mansion to representatives of the White Army, and for a short time the mansion served as the headquarters of the Siberian Army, and representatives of the Russian government.  Their stay in the Ural capital was cut short, after the city was recaptured by the Bolsheviks.

From 1922, the Ipatiev House housed a dormitory for university students and apartments for Soviet employees. For some time there was even a kindergarten, and in the basement, where the Imperial family were murdered, a children’s shower was installed.

In 1927, it was decided to open the Museum of the Revolution in the building. The Museum of the Revolution was open daily except Monday and Thursday from 12 noon to 6 pm, the cost of tickets was 5 kopecks for tourists, 10 kopecks. for union members and 25 kopecks for every one else. The tour of the museum included a visit to the basement and the room where the Imperial Family were shot. To complete the exhibit, a decision was made to restore the bullet riddled wall in the murder room, since the retreating White Guards had  disassembled the genuine one and took it with them. [N.B. if there is any truth to this, the fate of the original wall from the “killing room” remains yet another mystery – PG] 

In 1938, the former mansion housed expositions of the Anti-Religious and Cultural-Educational Museum, as well as offices of various departments. If turning the Ipatiev House into an “Anti-Religious” Museum was not enough, in 1923, the Bolsheviks imposed one further indignity on the murdered tsar and his family, by issuing postcards of the house surrounded by the wooden fence, bearing the insulting and disrespectful caption “the last palace of the last tsar”.

From the beginning of the 1970s, a branch of the Chelyabinsk Institute of Culture was moved here: in the basement, students even staged performances, as evidenced by preserved photographs.

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Andropov’s “secret note No. 2004-A” on the Ipatiev House

The KGB and Politburo take action

The day of 26th July 1975 was a turning point in the fate of the Ipatiev House. On this day, a secret note No. 2004-A was issued.

“On the demolition of the Ipatiev mansion in the city of Sverdlovsk” was sent from the KGB to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). The text of the document read:

“Anti-Soviet circles in the West periodically inspire various kinds of propaganda campaigns around the Romanov royal family, whereby the former mansion of the merchant Ipatiev in Sverdlovsk is often mentioned. Ipatiev’s house continues to stand in the center of the city. It houses the training center of the regional Department of Culture.

“The mansion is of no architectural or historic importance; only a small number of the townspeople and tourists are interested in it. Recently, foreigners began to visit Sverdlovsk. In the future, the number of foreigners is expected to increase significantly, and Ipatiev’s house will no doubt become an object of their curiosity and interest. In this regard, it seems appropriate to entrust the Sverdlovsk Regional Committee of the CPSU to resolve the issue of demolishing the mansion in the order of the planned reconstruction of the city. The draft resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU is attached. Please consider.”

The document was signed by the chairman of the State Security Committee, *Yuri Andropov (1914-1984). * Andropov later served as third General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, from November 1982 until his death in February 1984.

In the 1990s, Vladimir Solovyov, an investigator from the Prosecutor General’s Office, who investigated the murder of the tsar’s family, stated that the KGB had received information about how, every year, on the anniversary of the death of the Imperial Family, people came to the Ipatiev House, to light candles and offer prayers. The authorities referred to these annual visits “of painful interest” while declaring them as “anti-Soviet activity.” The Party bosses could not allow these pilgrimages to continue.

On 30th July 1975, Andropov’s proposal was unanimously adopted by the Politburo. Upon learning of the impending demolition of the Ipatiev House, the director of the museum, gave the order to save everything that could be carried away.

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Boris Yeltsin. First Secretary of the Sverdlovsk Regional Committee of the CPSU 1977

“It was impossible to resist”

The elimination of the Ipatiev House was entrusted to local authorities. The order was executed by Boris Yeltsin, First Secretary of the Sverdlovsk Regional Committee of the CPSU . “It was impossible to resist, not to fulfill the Politburo Resolution,” Yeltsin would later note in his memoirs. “They assembled the equipment and demolished it in one night. If I had refused, I would have been left without work, and the new secretary of the regional committee would have complied with the order anyway,” he concluded.

The unofficial reason behind the demolition of the Ipatiev House was the need for reconstruction of the entire block – therefore, according to the “reconstruction” plans, all houses located in the entire block were to be demolished. The fact that the houses and merchant buildings located in the quarter were of architectural and historical value of late 19th-early 20th century Ekaterinburg, was of no interest to the authorities.

Experts noted that having destroyed the entire block, the authorities made it difficult to find the exact place where the Ipatiev House was located.

After the construction of the Church on the Blood, some people claimed that the Imperial Room – built on the site of the basement room of the Ipatiev House, where the family were all murdered – located in the Lower Church of the Church on the Blood is inaccurate. Each year on the anniversary of the regicide, a small group of people gather and create a square on one of the marble stones on the territory of the Church on the Blood. Here, they lay flowers, light candles and offer up prayers. It is ironic that given that the experts could not determine the exact spot, that a group of amateurs could?! 

Prior to the demolition of the Ipatiev House, local historians removed many valuable interior elements, including a fireplace, door handles, tiles, stucco molding from walls, iron bars from windows, etc. These items can be seen today in local museums in Ekaterinburg and Ganina Yama. It is interesting to note, when opening the floor in the grand duchesses bedroom, a golden bracelet with precious stones and the monogram ‘T’ was found hidden under the baseboard and wrapped in a newspaper. The whereabouts of this bracelet is unknown to the author.

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A simple wooden cross marked the spot of the Ipatiev House after its demolition

Could the Ipatiev House have been saved?

As previously noted in his memoirs, Yeltsin claimed that the house was destroyed in one night, but in reality it took two days to raze the building to the ground. Perhaps he just forgot. Here’s what else is remarkable. The destruction of the mansion began on 22nd September 1977, that is, more than two years after the decision of the Politburo. 

The thing is that in 1975 the First Secretary of the Sverdlovsk Regional Party Committee was Yakov Petrovich Ryabov – Yeltsin replaced him in this post only on 2nd November  1976. Journalists later asked Ryabov why he was in no hurry to comply with the highest order? “And why should I be in a hurry? The house stood in a lowland, it was not bothering anyone,” the former head of Sverdlovsk replied. According to Ryabov, he told his subordinates that when the reconstruction plan for the entire micro-district was ready, then a demolition decision would be made. Rumor had it that Ryabov wanted to keep the house and that even Brezhnev had taken an interest in it. In any case, it is known that the demolition of the house was opposed by representatives of the All-Union Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture, and Ryabov helped them in every way. Many communists who were not members of the Politburo did not agree with the destruction of the historical building.

Perhaps such a confrontation contributed to the postponement of the demolition? It is also possible that those in Moscow would eventually have forgotten about their decision, however, the new secretary of the Sverdlovsk regional committee, Yeltsin, took the initiative and brought it to an end. Most historians agree that Boris Yeltsin was keen to improving his political position by transferring to Moscow and took advantage of an opportunity given to him.

* * *

In August 2000, Nicholas II and his family were canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate as Royal Martyrs. In 2000-2003, the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was built on the site of the former Ipatiev House. On the night of 16/17 July 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill delivered a Divine Liturgy here. This was followed by a cross procession by an estimated 100,000 people from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama (21 km).

On 16 June 2003, 85 years after the murders of the former imperial family, the main church was consecrated by Metropolitan bishop Yuvenaly, delegated by Patriarch Alexy II who was too ill at the time to travel to Ekaterinburg, assisted by Russian Orthodox clergy from all over the Russian Federation.

Click HERE to read my article Doomed to Resurrection: Is it Possible to Reconstruct the Ipatiev House?, published on 2nd July 2018 and my article “What if” the Ipatiev House was reconstructed?, published on 29th November 2019

© Paul Gilbert. 25 February 2020

 

Procession Marks 100th Anniversary of Nicholas II’s Arrival in Ekaterinburg

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 30 April 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The above VIDEO is an announcement for the procession, which highlights the route known as the Path of Sorrow of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers immortalized by the Russian Orthodox Church with churches in Ekaterinburg.

In the early morning of 30th April 2018, a religious procession took place in Ekaterinburg marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Nicholas II and members of his family from Tobolsk. More than 1,500 people took park in the prayer procession, which passed from the Memorial Cross in the area of the Shartash Railway Station to the Church on the Blood – built on the site of the former Ipatiev House, where Nicholas II, his consort Alexandra, their five children, and four faithful retainers were all murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918 by members of the Ural Soviet.

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Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna were transferred from Tobolsk, and handed over to the Ural Soviet on 30th April 1918. They were accompanied by the Tsar’s aide Prince Vasily Dolgorukov, the family’s physician Dr. Eugene Botkin, and three servants. The rest of the family: Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia, and Tsesarevich Alexei were brought to Ekaterinburg in May 1918.

The procession was headed by the bishops of the Ekaterinburg Diocese: Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, Bishop of Kamensk and Alapaevsky Methodius, Bishop of Sredneuralsky Eugene, vicar of Ekaterinburg diocese, Bishop of Serov and Krasnoturinsky Alexy.

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The procession was attended by numerous clergy and monastics, Cossacks, monarchists, as well as students of the Ekaterinburg theological seminary, nurses and volunteers of the Orthodox Relief Service, representatives of Orthodox brotherhoods, employees and volunteers of the Nika Charity Fund, representatives of youth parish clubs, members of the Youth Cossack organization of the Sverdlovsk region, activists of the youth department of the diocese, as well as numerous parishioners of the churches of the Ekaterinburg diocese.

Crusaders dressed in red jackets carried banners, icons, as well as images of Emperor Nicholas II and the Holy Royal Family, thereby emphasizing the importance of the year of marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers.

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The column of believers began its memorable procession, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Nicholas II and members of his family in Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk, from the Memorial Cross and the foundation stone, which are located near Shartash Railway Station (in 1918 – Yekaterinburg-II Station), on the future site of the Church in Honour of the Icon of the Mother of God “Valaam” – one of the three miraculous icons, revealed during the reign of Nicholas II.

The arrival and the route known as the “Path of Sorrow of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers” are immortalized by the Russian Orthodox Church with churches in Ekaterinburg.

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The procession passed through Ulitsas (streets) Kuibyshev, East, Chelyuskintsev, Sverdlov, Karl Liebknecht, Tsarskoy, stopping at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Port Arthur and the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Derzhavnaya”.

The memorial procession ended at the Church on the Blood, where Metropolitan Kirill, delivered a Divine Liturgy.

The above VIDEO shows the cross procession and the episcopal Divine Liturgy held in memory of the arrival in Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk of Nicholas II and members of his family on 30th April 1918. The Divine Liturgy was performed in the Church on the Blood, by Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye and the bishops of the Ekaterinburg Diocese.

© Paul Gilbert. 11 December 2019

150th Anniversary of Nicholas II’s Birth Marked by Divine Liturgy in Ekaterinburg

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Bishop’s gather for a Divine Liturgy in the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 19 May 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

On 19th May 2018, on the day marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich, a festive Bishop’s Divine Liturgy was held in the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg.

The Divine Liturgy was headed by the Metropolitan of Pereleimon (Greek Orthodox Church), Metropolitan of Pereleimon (Greek Orthodox Church), and also by the bishops of the Ekaterinburg Metropolis: Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, Bishop Mefody of Bishop of Kamen and Alapayev, Bishop of Nizhny Tagil and Nevyansky Eugene, Bishop of Serov and Krasnoturinsky Alexis. The Most Reverend Bishops were served by numerous clergy of the Ekaterinburg Diocese.

Metropolitan Petyeleimon of Berea arrived in the Ekaterinburg Diocese from Greece, specially to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Emperor. Prayers and hymns in Greek were heard during the service.

Hymns for worship were performed by the choir of the Sretensky Monastery, who travelled from Moscow to the Ural capital to pay tribute to the memory of the Holy Tsar-Martyr.

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Participants of a public forum dedicated to Nicholas II, held in the Cosmos Theater also took part in the Divine Liturgy, including the famous historian and author Petr Valentinovich Multatuli, representative of the Russian Academy of Sciences historian Vladimir Mikhailovich Lavrov, among others.

A sacramental verse, a sermon about the holy Tsar-Passion-Bearer was read by senior priest of the Church on the Blood, Protopriest Maxim Miniyailo. Fr Maxim noted that the birthday of the sovereign, which was always a public holiday in the Russian Empire. He spoke about the personality of the sovereign himself, reminding the Faithful that Nicholas II was “our Heavenly patron and an example to each of us in faith, in service to the Lord and Fatherland , in relation to his family and neighbor, on the anniversary of the Sovereign as an occasion to think about salvation.”

The number of parishioners in attendance at the Divine Liturgy filled the Church on the Blood to capacity, with the number of faithful spilling out onto the church’s porch, and into the street.

Vladyka Metropolitan congratulated everyone on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Emperor, thanking those who travelled to Ekaterinburg to pay tribute to the memory of the Holy Tsar Martyr, including guests from Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria; thanked the bishop of Vera Panteleimon; thanked the Sretensky Choir for the wonderful concert that took place the day before, and for today’s participation in the Diving Liturgy.

© Paul Gilbert. 10 December 2019

Ekaterinburg Hosts Public Forum for the Preservation of the Heritage of Emperor Nicholas II

VIDEO of the entire Forum (in Russian only) – duration 2 hours, 20 minutes

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 20 May 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

On 18th May 2018, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the last Russian emperor, a public forum was held in Ekaterinburg to preserve the heritage of Tsar Nicholas II.

Scientists, historians and authors, along with representatives of the public, gathered to discuss the urgent issues of preserving the historical memory of the sovereign, including recognizing the merit of Nicholas II for the development of the Russian state and an assessment of the murder of the Tsar’s family committed a hundred years ago.

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Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye

Opening the forum was Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, who noted that Ekaterinburg “has become a symbol of the tragedy of the Tsar’s family and, together with her, our Motherland.”

“Since these tragic events, which took place 100 years ago, tragedy befell Russia and it’s people. It is here, on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich, that our holy cause is to gather and reflect on what the Russian Empire was during his reign, what was good about our great country, and what should we take from the past, what lessons, what edifications should we learn for our own lives” – said His Eminence.

The special guest of the forum – the Chairman of the Double-Headed Eagle Society the media group Tsargrad Konstantin Valerievich Malofeev, noted “the triumph of the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, is unparalleled in the thousand-year history of Russia.

“During the history of the Russian Empire, it was the most powerful, the largest, the happiest during the reign of Nicholas II. We should not forget this, and our forum is dedicated to this, which we, the society of historical enlightenment Double-Headed Eagle Society, proudly hold together with the Ekaterinburg Metropolis where our local branch is working under the guidance of Metropolitan Kirill.”

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The stage is set for the Nicholas II Forum, held at the Cosmos Theater, Ekaterinburg

The forum was also attended by Bishop Evgeny of Nizhny Tagil and Nevyansky, Bishop of Serov and Krasnoturinsky Alexy, Minister of Education of the Sverdlovsk Region Yury Biktuganov, First Deputy Minister of Culture of the Sverdlovsk Region Vladimir Manturov, as well as representatives of the Double-Headed Eagle Society, the World Russian People’s Council, the Imperial Palestinian Orthodox Society, arriving from various regions of Russia.

Historians, philosophers, theologians, public figures from Russia (among them also experts from Moscow and St. Petersburg), Serbia and Bulgaria discussed issues related to the restoration and preservation of the historical memory of Nicholas II.

Within the framework of the forum, experts assessed the era of the reign of the last Russian emperor as a time, providing great breakthroughs in the development of the state and creating the foundations of socio-economic, including technological development for decades to come. Experts came to the conclusion that Nicholas II was one of the most effective Russian rulers and issued a number of initiatives to perpetuate the memory of Emperor Nikolai Aleksandrovich as an outstanding statesman.

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More than 2,000 people attended the Nicholas II Forum on 18th May

Among the proposals included in the final document of the forum is the need for a large-scale federal information and enlightenment campaign on Russia’s achievements in the era of Nicholas II, the development of textbooks and other scientific and educational literature on the basis of reliable scientific information on era, the state order for quality works of art in various fields of culture and art; importance of historical archival research and public dialogue among the scientific community and citizens interested in history; installation in the cities and towns of Russia monuments to the sovereign – an initiative put forward by a member of the Regional Public Chamber, chairman of the Ural branch of the Union of Russian Paratroopers Yevgeny Teterin.

An important topic of the forum was the discussion of the need for public evaluation of the murder of the Imperial Family and their faithful servants, which occurred a century ago in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. The tragedy of 1918, crowned with the feat of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, has not yet been properly evaluated at the state level.

The experts of the forum supported the initiative of Moscow colleagues – participants of a recent round-table hosted by the Parliamentary Newspaper (Парламентская газета) where representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, State Duma deputies, jurists and political scientists condemned the murder of the Tsar’s family as an unacceptable and unjustifiable crime.

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Russia’s leading expert on Nicholas II, historian and author Pyotr Valentinovich Multatuli

During the forum on May 18, in Ekaterinburg, experts presented their views on the sovereign and the era at the forum by:

– Pyotr Valentinovich Multatuli, Russia’s leading expert on the life and reign of Nicholas II, candidate of historical sciences, member of the Council of the Society for the Development of Russian Historical Education of the Double-Headed Eagle Society, and regular commentator of the television channel “Tsargrad”;

– Vladimir Mikhailovich Lavrov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Member of the Council of the Russian Historical Education Development Society of the Double-Headed Eagle Society, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences;

– Konstantin Valerievich Malofeev, chairman of the Society for the Development of Russian Historical Education of the Double-Headed Eagle Society.

– Yegor Stanislavovich Kholmogorov, publicist, blogger, editor-in-chief of the Russian Observer and New Chronicles sites, author and presenter of the 100 books website;

– Nikola Tanasich, teacher of the Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade State University;

– Georgi Dimov, Doctor of Science, Senior Researcher of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences;

– Dmitry Borisovich Grishin, chairman of the Sergievsky Memorial Society (Moscow).

Other participants of the forum were Vladislav Nikolayevich Mayorov, military journalist, expert on the history of Nicholas II and author of the “Royal Calendar”; Vladimir Ilyich Bolshakov, Doctor of Philosophy, Vice-Rector for Research of the Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture Ilya Glazunov (Moscow), as well as members of the Urals Association in Moscow and other experts.

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The Sretensky Monastery Choir

The Forum came to close with the singing of God, Save the Tsar and Glory! and A Life for the Tsar, performed by the Sretensky Monastery Choir – please take a moment to watch/listen at the end of the video posted at the top of this post – PG.

The Forum on the preservation of the historical heritage of the Emperor Nicholas II was held in the Kosmos Theater in Ekaterinburg. More than 2,000 people participated in the historic Forum. The event, which became a significant public event, was covered by the leading federal and regional media and was broadcast by the Orthodox television channel Soyuz to 82 countries with a multi-million audience.

© Paul Gilbert. 10 December 2019

Exhibition: ‘The Tragedy of the Family … The Tragedy of the Motherland’ in Ekaterinburg

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NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 6 June 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The following exhibition ran from 5th June to 23rd September 2018

The exhibition project The Tragedy of the Family … The Tragedy of the Motherland, dedicated to the Romanov family, opened on 5th June 2018 in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg.

The venue for the exhibition is the Poklevsky-Kozell House – a branch of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum. The exhibit is a joint historical and art project with the Pavlovsk State Museum-Reserve, and the Elisavetinsky-Sergievskoe Enlightenment Society.

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Visitors to the exhibition can acquaint themselves with the private life of members of the Imperial family in the palaces of St. Petersburg, Tsarskoye Selo, Peterhof and Pavlovsk. The exhibition presents more than 150 unique items, including examples of fine and applied art, watercolours and amateur photographs, lovely trinkets from private collections and priceless gifts to the emperor, the Empress and their children.

For the first time in the Urals, numerous well-executed original photographs taken by court photographers are exhibited: a portrait of a young Tsesarevich Alexei, ordered by the Empress herself. The photograph in an elegant frame, accompanied Alexandra Feodorovna from Tsarskoye Selo first to Tobolsk, then to Ekaterinburg, and now stored in the collection of the Pavlovsk State Museum-Reserve. Also among the exhibits are the beautifully preserved children’s shoes of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna and a house dress of the last empress, in which only the closest people saw her; two silver cigarette case of Nicholas II, one of which he had with him during his internment in the Ipatiev House. Also on display – for the first time – is a unique, rare banner with the Romanov emblem, made for the 200 year anniversary celebrations of 1913.

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The exhibition The Tragedy of the Family … The Tragedy of the Motherland ran from 5th June to 23rd September 2018, in the Poklevsky-Kozell House in Ekaterinburg.

© Paul Gilbert. 9 December 2019

Divine Liturgy for Tatishchev and Dolgorukov Performed in Ekaterinburg

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Back row: General Ilya Tatishchev, Pierre Gilliard, and Prince V.A. Dolgorukov
Front row: Ekaterina Schneider and Countess A.V. Hendrikova

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 12 June 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

Sunday 10th June 2018, marked the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of two faithful servants to Emperor Nicholas II – General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev and Prince Vasili Alexandrovich Dolgorukov.

A Divine Liturgy was performed on 10th June 2018, in the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, situated in the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.

General Tatishchev and Prince Dolgorukov, faithfully and selflessly served Emperor Nicholas II, for many years. With Christian courage and nobility, they remained faithful to the sovereign, voluntarily followed the Emperor and his family to Tobolsk, and then to Ekaterinburg.

It was on 10th June 1918, that they together took a martyr’s death at the hands of the Bolsheviks and were buried in the cemetery of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent.

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General Ilya Tatishchev (left) and Prince V.A. Dolgorukov (right)

Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev (1859 – 1918) – Adjutant-General of Emperor Nicholas II. The son of General Leonid Aleksandrovich Tatishchev (1827-1881) and Catherine Ilinishna (1835-1915), Ilya Tatishchev is one of the descendants of the founder of Ekaterinburg. He graduated from the Corps des Pages in St Petersburg, and later entered the service of the His Majesty’s Life Guard Hussar Regiment. He later served as adjutant to the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909). On 6th December 1895, he was promoted to colonel. From 1905 he served as Major-General of the Retinue of His Imperial Majesty. In 1910 he was promoted to Adjutant General. He was a member of the Holy Prince Vladimir Brotherhood. He faithfully followed Emperor Nicholas II and his family into exile. He was murdered by the Bolsheviks on 10th June 1918. Ilya Tatishchev is buried in the cemetery (*lost during the Soviet years) of the Novo Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.

Prince Vasily Alexandrovich Dolgorukov ( 1868 – 1918) – Major-General, marshal of the Ministry of the Imperial Court and lands. The son of Prince Alexander Vasilyevich Dolgorukov (1839-1876) and Princess Mary Sergeyevna (1846-1936). He graduated from the Corps des Pages in St Petersburg, and then entered the service of the Life-Guards Horse-Grenadier Regiment. In 1907, he was promoted adjutant to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Nicholas II. From 1912-1914, he served as Regimental Commander of the Life-Guards Horse-Grenadier Regiment. During the First World War, he served at General Headquaters in Mogilev. Dolgorukov faithfully and selflessly served Emperor Nicholas II for 22 years. In March 1917, he voluntarily stayed with the Emperor during his house arrest in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. In August 1917, he then followed the Emperor and his family into exile to Tobolsk.

After his arrival in Ekaterinburg on 30th April 1918, Prince Dolgorukov was arrested “in order to protect public safety.” He was placed in the political department of the Ekaterinburg prison. The Chekists tried to accuse him of planning the escape of the Imperial family. Historians call these accusations groundless. On 10th June 1918, he was shot in a wooded area near the city’s Ivanovskoe Cemetery,. His body was later discovered by a unit of the White Army, and buried in the autumn of 1918 in the cemetery (*lost during the Soviet years) of the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.

Tatishchev and Dolgorukov were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in October 1981.

© Paul Gilbert. 9 December 2019

Princess Hisako Takamado visits Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg

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Princess Hisako Takamado standing outside the Church on the Blood, Ekaterinburg

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 23 June 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

On 23rd June 2018, Japanese *Princess Hisako Takamado visited the Church on the Blood and the Tsarsky Spiritual and Educational Center during her official visit to Ekaterinburg. She is the first member of Japan’s Imperial family to visit Russia since 1916, the Kyodo news agency reported.

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Princess Hisako was shown the renewed Imperial Room in the Lower Church

Her Highness was given a tour of the church, where she was told the story of the Imperial family’s last days in the city in 1918. Princess Hisako was shown the renewed Imperial Room in the Lower Church – altar chapel in honour of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, built on the site of the room where Emperor Nicholas II and his family were all murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918. Special attention was drawn to the unique mosaic panel in the central part of the altar, depicting the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers and their faithful retainers who suffered with them: Emperor Nikolai Alexandrovich, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsesarevich Alexei, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatyana, Maria, Anastasia, Saint Eugene Botkin, Alexei Trupp, Ivan Kharitonov, and Anna Demidova. The altar is adorned to the memorable date of the century of the feat of the Royal Family with the blessing of Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye.

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Her Highness visited the upper church in the name of All Saints in the Russian Land

After viewing the exhibition dedicated to the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers and the Alapaevsk martyrs – Saint Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and the nun Varvara, Her Highness visited the upper church in the name of All Saints in the Russian Land. Here Princess Hisako, delighted with decoration of the cathedral, took up her camera, taking pictures of the vault and frescoes, on which the scenes of the life of the Passion-Bearer Tsar and his family are depicted.

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Princess Hisako inside the Patriarchal Compound

Her Highness and her entourage then visited the Patriarchal Compound on the opposite side of the courtyard. Here, she visited the Tsarsky Spiritual and Educational Center, the Museum of the Holy Royal Martyrs, the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the exhibition of the Ural artists Alexei Efremov and Alexander Remezov. Her Highness also took great interest in the legendary grand piano of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, which she took with her when the Imperial family had gone into exile.

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Princess Hisako visits the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

At the end of the visit, Her Highness signed the Visitors’ Book, thanking her hosts for the inspirational journey through Russian history and noting the great importance of the preservation of the heritage of churches in the Urals.

Upon leaving the Patriarchal Compound, the Japanese princess thanked the representatives of the Ekaterinburg Diocese for their warm welcome, and speaking in Russian with special cordiality, she said: “This is a special place.”

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Her Highness visits the Museum of the Holy Royal Martyrs

Princess Hisako Takamado of Japan arrived in the Ural capital on 22nd June. During her stay, she plans to attend a FIFA match between Japan and Senegal, which will be held on 24th June.

*Born on 10 July 1953, Princess Hisako Takamado is a member of the Japanese Imperial Family as the widow of Norihito, Prince Takamado (1954-2002). Prince Takamado was the third son of Takahito, Prince Mikasa and Yuriko, Princess Mikasa. He was a first cousin of Emperor Akihito, and was seventh in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

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Princess Hisako stops to take a photo after leaving the Patriarchal Compound

© Paul Gilbert. 8 December 2019