State Hermitage Museum to host OTMAA exhibition this Spring

PHOTO: OTMAA – Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia with Tsesarevich Alexei in Court dress, 1910

A new exhibition The Children of the Last Russian Emperor. OTMA and Alexei is scheduled to open this Spring at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

The exhibition which will open on 19th May [Nicholas II’s birthday] in the Manege of the Small Hermitage is a joint project of the State Hermitage Museum, the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum and the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF).

The exhibition will showcase 300 exhibits, which include Court dresses and other accessories worn by the Grand Duchesses from the State Hermitage Museum’s Costume Collection, as well as toys and other personal items of the Imperial Children from the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. Of particular interest to visitors will be the military uniform of Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, who from childhood wore the uniforms of the regiments under his patronage. Many of these uniforms will be displayed for the first time following the completion of their restoration.

The exhibition will cover the period from the birth of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna’s first child Olga in 1895 to August 1914, and the Imperial Family’s house arrest in the Alexander Palace and their subsequent exile to Siberia.

A richly illustrated catalogue [Russian only] will be published to accompany the exhibition.

“This is a very touching exhibition”, said Mikhail Piotrovsky, general director of the museum. Piotrovsky noted that the exhibition was originally planned to premiere at the Hermitage Amsterdam (Netherlands), however, the exhibit has been cancelled, due to current EU sanctions on Russia.

OTMA was an acronym used by the four daughters – Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia – of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, as a group nickname for themselves, built from the first letter of each girl’s name in the order of their births. It was with this acronym that they signed their letters to their parents. Alexei’s initial is an addition made in the late 20th century.

The Children of the Last Russian Emperor. OTMA and Alexei exhibition will run from 19th May 2023 to 10th September 2023 at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Click HERE to read about other exhibitions dedicated to OTMAA

© Paul Gilbert. 16 January 2023

Nicholas II Conference cancelled . . . again!

How unfortunate that my first post for 2023 should be a negative one . . . it is with much disappointment that I find myself forced to cancel the Nicholas II Conference which I was planning for September of this year.

Shortly after announcing the event several months back, I began to receive hate-filled messages and emails from “Russophobes” in the UK, who threatened to “disrupt” the Conference. Most of these messages were generously peppered with profanity – which reflected their bigoted and hateful anti-Russian sentiment.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the church – where the Conference was to be held – in Colchester, England had been targeted by anti-Russian thugs. The police even had to get involved!

The Conference had no political agenda, whatsoever, which begs the question “WHY” would thugs target an event dedicated to the study and appreciation of Russia’s last Tsar?

While I understand the anger towards Putin for ordering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I fail to understand any connection between Putin and Nicholas II, especially given that more than a century separates their lives.

After further discussion, Father Andrew Phillips and I have decided to postpone the September Conference for the time being. I was really looking forward to hosting this event, however, we will now have to be patient and wait until such time as it is deemed safe. What a sad world we live.

*Some readers may recall that I was planning a similar Conference to be held at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York in 2020, however, I was forced to cancel this event due to COVID. Father Theophylact (Clapper-DeWell) and I both agreed that the health and safety of those planning to attend should be our priority.

© 3 January 2023

Tula museum to host Nicholas II exhibit in 2023

Next year marks the 155th anniversary of the birth [19th (O.S. 6th) May 1868] and 105th anniversary of the death [17th July 1918] of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. The Tula branch of the State Historical Museum in Moscow is now preparing a unique exhibition dedicated to these anniversaries.

The exhibition will give visitors an opportunity to “look” at the life of the Russian ruler and his family through the impartial lens of the camera. The exposition is emphatically documentary: rare photographs from the collection of the State Historical Museum which depict the private life of the Russian monarch. In addition, the exhibit will feature two topics: “Nicholas II as the head of the Russian Empire” and “Nicholas II as the head of the Imperial Family”.

In addition to photographs, portraits of Nicholas II and Akexandra Feodorovna, watercolors depicting episodes from the life of the Imperial Family, drawings of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, unique historical documents, including autographs of the last Romanovs, will be exhibited.

In addition, the exhibition will include precious orders presented to Nicholas II from the collection of the State Historical Museum. “These precious orders from European and Asian countries, stored in the collection of the numismatics department of the museum, rarely leave the walls of the fund,” said Director Alexey Levykin.

The exhibition presents Russian Orders awarded to Nicholas II[1], in addition to those given by Great Britain, Prussia, France, Austria-Hungary, Japan, Thailand and other European and Asian countries[2]. Many orders are exhibited for the first time.

“The orders were made of silver and gold and decorated with precious stones. Each exhibit outstanding craftsmanship, utilizing various jewelry techniques: gold embroidery, filigree, various types of enameling, engraving, and casting,” he added.

The Nicholas II exhibition will open in May 2023, the museum is planning a Russian-language illustrated exhibition catalogue.

The State Historical Museum in Moscow, opened the first regional branch in Tula at the end of September 2020 as part of the celebration marking the 500th anniversary of the Tula Kremlin.

NOTES:

[1] Nicholas II was the recipient of 7 national honours

[2] Nicholas II was the recipient of 51 foreign honours from 35 countries, duchies, etc

©  Paul Gilbert. 19 December 2022

Proceedings of the 1st International Nicholas II Conference

*This title is available from AMAZON in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia,
France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Japan

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE PAPERBACK EDITION @ $30.00 USD

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE HARD COVER EDITION @ $40.00 USD

I am pleased to offer the proceedings of the 1st International Nicholas II Conference, in both hard cover and paperback editions, available exclusively from AMAZON.

The original edition of these proceedings published in 2018 is out of print. This NEW edition, has been revised and updated, featuring three additional articles, plus a comprehensive bibliography featuring more than 100 English-language titles on the life, reign and era of Russia’s much slandered Tsar.

In addition, this new edition also features full-colour photographs of the event, illustrated with 50 colour and black and white photographs.

* * * * *

In the autumn of 2018, people from nearly a dozen countries gathered in Colchester, England for a conference marking the 150th anniversary of the birth and the 100th anniversary of the death martyrdom of Russia’s last Tsar.

Five speakers, including Paul Gilbert, Archpriest Andrew Philips (ROCOR), Nikolai Krasnov, authors Frances Welch and Marilyn Swezey presented seven papers on Nicholas II.

Lectures included “A Century of Treason, Cowardice and Lies,” “Why Nicholas II is a Saint in the Russian Orthodox Church,” “Nicholas II and the Sacredness of a Monarchy,” “Nicholas II in Post-Soviet Russia,” among others.

The Grand Duchess Elizabeth Romanov Society UK were kind enough to provide 10 exhibit banners from the society’s mobile exhibition Romanovs During the First World War: Charity and Heroism. Click HERE to read a short summary of the Nicholas II Conference, held in Colchester, England on 27th October 2018.

The conference was timed to coincide with two exhibitions, held in London: The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution at the Science Museum and Russia: Royalty and the Romanovs at the Queen’ Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

© Paul Gilbert. 6 September 2022

Ganina Yama to host Alexander Palace exhibition

On 19th December 2021, the exhibition Alexander Palace – The Tsar’s Residence opens in the Museum and Exhibition Center – located in the Church of the Reigning Mother of God – of the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama.

The exhibition was prepared for the 225th anniversary of the opening of the New Tsarskoye Selo (later – Alexander) Palace, The palace has a long, eventful history, having served as the family home of the Russian Imperial family (from 1796 to 1917). Built for the grandson of Empress Catherine the Great, the future Emperor Alexander I, the palace was to become a favourite summer residence for Emperors Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II, for more than a century.

For Emperor Nicholas II and his family, however, the Alexander Palace, where he was born in 1868, became a permanent residence year-round [1]. It was here that the Imperial family began to spend Christmas in quiet surroundings, as opposed to noisy and bustling St. Petersburg. The Alexander Palace became the new Winter Palace during the last years of the monarchy in Russia.

PHOTO: early 19th century view of the Alexander Palace. Artist unknown

After the February Revolution, it was from the Alexander Palace in August 1917 that the Imperial family were sent into exile to Tobolsk in Siberia, and then to Ekaterinburg the following year, where they met their death and martyrdom.

Visitors to the exhibition will be presented with rare family photographs of the Tsar’s family from the Alexander Palace, as well as a number of interesting exhibits.

The exhibition will be open daily from 11:00 to 16:30. Free admission.

PHOTO: scale model of the Alexander Palace on display at the exhibition

NOTES:

[1] The Imperial family also maintained residences in Peterhof at the Lower Dacha, and in Crimea at the Livadia Palace

© Paul Gilbert. 9 December 2021

Moscow to host conference on Imperial Family’s murder

On 28th November 2021, the international scientific conference “Secrets of the Murder of the Royal Martyrs. New Materials of the Investigation and Independent Examinations,” will be held in the large congress hall of the Cosmos Hotel in Moscow.

The conference is a joint project of three Orthodox foundations in pursuance of the resolutions of the Councils of Bishops in 2016 and 2017, which provide for a broad public discussion of the materials of a comprehensive examination of the investigation, which were carried out between 2015 to 2021.

The conference will be attended by more than 15 scientists involved in the process of studying the Ekaterinburg Remains, currently interred in the Catherine Chapel, a side chapel of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Each speaker will be alloted 15-20 minutes.

The first cohort of specialists consists of “experts of modern investigation”: forensic physician, doctor of medical sciences, professor Vyachesl av Popov, forensic physician, doctor of medical sciences, professor Vladimir Trezubov, geneticist, doctor of biological sciences Yevgeny Rogaev, anthropologist, candidate of biological sciences Denis Pezhemsky , forensic doctors, Doctor of Medical Sciences Viktor Z vyagin and Sergey Nikitin, Doctor of Historical Sciences Lyudmila Lykova, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor Evgeny Pchelov. The participation of the investigator V. Soloviev and M. Molodtsova is also expected.

The second cohort of conference participants includes “independent experts”: forensic expert, candidate of medical sciences Yuri Grigoriev, forensic medical expert-criminalist, candidate of medical sciences Konstantin Teplov, dentist-orthopedist of the highest category Emil Agadzhanyan, doctor of historical sciences , professor at the Sorbonne Andrey P Achinsk th (France), Candidate of Historical Sciences Peter Valentinovich Multatuli, historians Leonid Bolotin, Inn and Simon, Mark Knyazev, a lawyer, a doctor juridich Sgiach Science Mikhail l Kuznetsov, a lawyer, PhD in law, Ph.D. George Shayryan.

The organizers of the conference are President of the St. Basil the Great Russian Educational Foundation Vasily Boyko, Chairman of the Women’s Orthodox Patriotic Society of the Patriarch Hermogenes Foundation Galina Ananyina, Director of the International Foundation for Slavic Writing and Culture Aleksander Bochkarev.

NOTE: the conference will be telecast LIVE [in Russian] at 6:00 am EST on 28th November.
CLICK on the image below to set a REMINDER

© Paul Gilbert. 26 November 2021

Exhibition dedicated to Nicholas II opens at Murmansk Airport

A permanent photo exhibition dedicated to Emperor Nicholas II has opened in the terminal building of Murmansk Airport.

The exhibition consists of two parts. The first part contains unique archival documents and photographs about the founding of Romanov-on-Murman, which turned out to be the last city founded during the reign of Nicholas II in 1916.

The second part will tell passengers and visitors to the airport about the history and development of Romanov-on-Murman, which today has grown into Russia’s largest city north of the Arctic Circle – Murmansk [the town was renamed in April 1918].

Deputy Governor of the Murmansk Region Vladimir Evmenkov took part in the opening ceremony of the exposition, who expressed his gratitude to the management of the NOVAPORT holding and the Murmansk airport for the efforts invested in the creation of the exhibition.

Representatives of the Murmansk and Monchegorsk Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by Metropolitan Mitrofan of Murmansk and Monchegorsk, took an active part in its preparation.

Metropolitan Mitrofan sincerely thanked all the airport employees who put a lot of effort into creating the exhibition. He noted that for the Russian Orthodox Church, the life of the last Russian emperor is the life of a saint and it is very important that residents of the Murmansk region and visitors to the Arctic region to acquaint themselves with the historical facts about his life. 

In June 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially renamed the country’s airports, including Murmansk Airport, which was renamed in honour of Emperor Nicholas II. An online poll launched in Russia in autumn 2018 asked the public to nominate and vote on famous figures whose names could be given to more than 40 airports across Russia. Nicholas II received 68,260 votes (48%) for the renaming of Murmansk Airport.

Reconstruction of the square in front of the air terminal is coming to an end, after which a bust-monument of Nicholas II will be installed on the square in front of the main terminal.

Additional construction at the airport will include a new terminal for domestic flights within Russia. The name of Nicholas II will be placed on the facades of each of the two terminals.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 November 2020

St. Petersburg Hosts One Day Exhibit of Pierre Gilliard’s Photographs of the Tsar’s family

242

An exhibition of photographs depicting the life of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, from the collection of Pierre Gilliard, opened 17th March at the Karl Bulla Fund for Historical Photography, situated at No. 54 Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg.

The one day exposition was timed to coincide with the release of the Russian translation of Gilliard’s book Трагическая судьба Николая II и его семьи (The Tragic Fate of Nicholas II and His Family), published in 1929 in Paris by Payot.

From 1905 Swiss citizen Pierre Gilliard (1879-1962) taught the French language to the children of Nicholas II. From 1913 he was appointed tutor to the Heir Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich. Gilliard accompanied the Imperial Family into exile to Tobolsk, but upon arrival in Ekaterinburg he was separated from the family. Gilliard was a keen photographer, and returned to Switzerland with a large number of photographs. In exile he wrote his memoirs of his life in Russia and his impressions of the daily life of Nicholas II and his family.

Today, Gilliard’s archives are stored in the Lausanne Museum of Photography, including 384 black and white photos. More than 70 photos from Pierre Gilliard’s archive, most of which never been exhibited in Russia are presented in the exhibition.

“In essence, this is the return of the memory of Pierre Gilliard, who, by the will of fate, witnessed one of the most tragic events in the history of Russia,” said the President of the Karla Bulla Foundation for Historical Photography Valentine Elbek.

He added that the photo exhibition will open at Livadia Palace in Yalta in May 2020, to coincide with the international scientific conference Russia. The Romanovs. More than a dozen photographs brought from Gilliard’s collection depict the Imperial Family during their visits to Livadia.

It is interesting to note that the idea of ​​publishing a photo album based on Pierre Gilliard’s collection is being worked out. “Our partners in Lausanne expressed a desire to host our exhibition, which will probably be shown in various European capitals,” added Valentin Elbek.

The St. Petersburg exhibition was implemented in partnership with the Ludwig Nobel Foundation. The Tsarskoye Selo Museum Reserve has shown interest in this initiative, where Gilliard’s working room is being restored in the Alexander Palace, and his heirs donated part of his belongings to the museum as a gift.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 March 2020

Imperial Family seen through the eyes of children

219a

Metropolitan Demetrius of Tobolsk and Tyumen with the winners of the competition

In December 2019, The Holy Royal Martyrs in the History of Siberia was held in Tyumen, as part of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Tobolsk Metropolis. The events included a competition of paintings by children depicting Emperor Nicholas II and his family. 

More than 40 children participated in the competition. The ceremonial awarding of the finalists took place on 10th December as part of the Christmas holiday for students of the Tyumen Orthodox Gymnasium. Organizers noted that the children submitted “colourful, creative work”, distinguished by each child’s skill and dedication.

219b

“The Imperial family out for a walk”

219c

“The Imperial family out for a walk in Tobolsk”

219d

“From Tobolsk to Yekaterinburg”

219e

“In One Prayer”

Diplomas and gifts were presented to the best 10 colorful works, in addition to several other participants. The names of the paintings speak of the children’s involvement in the contest theme: “The Imperial family out for a walk”, “The Imperial family out for a walk in Tobolsk”, “From Tobolsk to Yekaterinburg”, “In One Prayer”. 

Metropolitan Demetrius of Tobolsk and Tyumen took part in the award ceremony and thanked the young people of Tyumen for their participation in the competition.

“It is gratifying that many participants reflected the most important essence, which is inherent in the title of the contest: the family of the last Emperor Nicholas II, the Royal Martyrs in the history of Siberia. Children approached the task responsibly, invested their souls, reflected the high moral and spiritual values ​​inherent in Nicholas II and his family,” noted Vladyka Dimitri.

© Paul Gilbert. 16 January 2020

Happy Orthodox Christmas

January 7

Today – 7th January – Orthodox Christians around the world
celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Merry Christmas to my Orthodox friends!

Счастливого Рождества моим православным друзьям!

Срећан Божић мојим православним пријатељима!

Καλά Χριστούγεννα στους Ορθόδοξους φίλους μου!

PAUL GILBERT
7 January 2020

7