Memorial plaque in memory of Nicholas II’s 1904 visit to Penza returned

PHOTO: memorial plaque in memory of Emperor Nicholas II’s visit to Penza in 1904

On 19th June 2022, a memorial plaque installed at the beginning of the 20th century on one of the columns of the Cathedral of the Saviour [aka Spassky Cathedral] in memory of Emperor Nicholas II’s visit to Penza in 1904 was returned to the Penza Diocese. During his visit, the sovereign held a review of Russian troops who were being sent to the Russo-Japanese War, followed by a liturgy held in the Cathedral of the Saviour.

This memorial plaque, installed by the Penza City Duma, became the first memorial plaque in the Penza region. The inscription on it reads: “His Imperial Majesty the Sovereign Emperor Nikolai Alexandrovich and His Imperial Highness the Sovereign Heir Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich deigned to visit the Penza Cathedral and prayed at this place on June 28, 1904 at 11 ½ o’clock in the afternoon.”

The words on the commemorative plaque turned out to be prophetic. The cathedral, located on the Cathedral Square of the city was blown up by the Bolsheviks in 1934. In 2010, reconstruction of the cathedral began, and took 12 years to complete.

On 19th June 2022, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia performed the rite of the Great Consecration of the Cathedral of the Saviour in Penza, concelebrated by the clergy of the Penza diocese, and read out a decree on conferring the status of a cathedral.

PHOTO: Igor Sergeevich Shishkin (right) holds the historic memorial plaque, during the handing over ceremony at the Cathedral of the Saviour, on 19th June 2022

For decades it was believed that the memorial plaque had been lost or destroyed. This was based on the recollections of Penza residents, who recalled that in February 1918, armed Bolsheviks came to the cathedral and smashed the plaque with their rifle butt. But as it turned out, the plaque miraculously survived. The parishioners hid it by burying it in the ground not far from the cathedral.

About twenty years ago, rumours surfaced that the memorial plaque had survived and was mostly intact [only a corner was broken off]. Local historians carried out a search of the former grounds, as a result of which the plaque ended up in the hands of the famous Penza collector Igor Sergeevich Shishkin, who today returned the memorial plaque to its rightful place.

The handover ceremony of the memorial plaque took place before the great consecration of the Cathedral of the Saviour, which was performed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia during his primatial visit to the Penza Diocese.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 June 2022

New monument to Nicholas II installed in Vladimir

On Saturday 11th June – the eve of Russia Day and the feast of the Holy Trinity – a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled on the grounds of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, located on Muzeynaya Street in Vladimir, Russia. The flags of the Russian Federation and the Russian Empire were placed on either side of the monument.

The bronze monument was created by the famous Vladimir sculptor Ilya Shanin. The pedestal was created by Nikolai Andrianov, and the memorial plaques by Yuri Tumarkin and artist Olga Rozanova.

  • Readers may recall that I reported on this new monument back in late 2021. Click HERE to read this article – PG

The initiative to install the monument came from the rector of the Holy Trinity Church, Father Evgeny Borovskikh, and Ilya Shanin. A fundraiser was announced in November 2021, the cost of casting and installation of the monument amounted to 1.5 million rubles [$20,000 USD], the entire amount of which was raised by private donors.

In January 2022, sculptor Ilya Shanin announced that he wanted the installation of the monument to take place in May 2023, to coincide with 110th anniversary of the Emperor’s only visit to Vladimir, on 16th May 1913.

PHOTOS: Close up views of the sculpture and pedestal

The bronze monument of Nicholas II was made at a factory in Smolensk. He is presented from the waist up wearing a ceremonial uniform, with a ribbon over his shoulder, crosses, orders and medals. The height of the monument is 125 centimeters [app. 4 ft.] without the pedestal. The granite pedestal was made in St. Petersburg. On the pedestal there is an inscription «Государь император Николай II» – “Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II”.

The monument is set against the backdrop of a large colourized photograph of the Imperial Family. The photo is famous, and part of a series taken in 1913 marking the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty. These black-and-white photos were mass produced and sold as postcards, the proceeds of which went to various charities supported by the Imperial Family.

It is interesting to add, that within 24 hours of the announcement of plans to install this monument to Emperor Nicholas II, local Bolsheviks and atheists reared their ugly heads in protest. The local branch of the Communist Party opposed its installation. The communists declared that they were “categorically against perpetuating the memory of ‘Nicholas the Bloody'”, as he organized the mass execution of unarmed workers in St. Petersburg and dragged Russia into two unnecessary wars.

Apparently, access to the monument is at present only possible during worship. The rest of the time the gates to the church are closed. Despite this, Vladimir residents still come to look at the bronze Nicholas II and take photos through the fence bars (see photo below).

It is known that Nicholas II came to Vladimir only once – on 16th May 1913, as part of the celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty.

The Vladimir Region is now home to two of Russia’s finest monuments to Emperor Nicholas II. In September 2021, Russia’s second largest monument to Nicholas II [featuring 8 colour photos + VIDEO] was also installed in the village of Sanino, Petushinsky District, Vladimir Region.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 June 2022

Memorial plaque to Nicholas II and his mother unveiled in Kostroma

PHOTO: memorial plaque to Emperor Nicholas II and his mother Empress Maria Feodorovna unveiled and consecrated on 15th January 2022, on the facade of the Oncological Dispensary – the former Feodorovskaya Hospital in Kostroma

On 15th January 2022, a memorial plaque bearing the images of Emperor Nicholas II and his mother Empress Maria Feodorovna was officially unveiled and consecrated on the facade of the Oncological Dispensary – the former Feodorovskaya Hospital in Kostroma.

The memorial plaque was officially unveiled by the mayor of Kostroma, Yuri Zhurin, and the chairman of the Society of the Historical Russian Imperial Red Cross, Count Sergei Kapnist. At the end of the ceremony, Metropolitan Ferapont of Kostroma and Nerekhta consecrated the memorial plaque, sprinkling it with holy water.

Constructed in 1911-1913, the hospital fell under the administration of a community of sisters of mercy of the Red Cross in the name of the Feodorovskaya Icon of the Mother of God.

The hospital was considered one of the most advanced in Russia of the time. The hospital was under the patronage of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, who served as president of Russia’s Red Cross during the First World War.

PHOTO: Nicholas II and his daughters visit the Feodorovskaya Hospital in Kostroma, 20th May 1913

During the celebrations marking 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty in 1913, Emperor Nicholas II and his four daughters Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia visited the hospital on 20th May.

During the First World War, the hospital was used as an infirmary for wounded Russian soldiers. Currently, it is one of the buildings of the oncological dispensary.

The memorial plaque was made with the support of the Russian Red Cross Society and the Union of Historical and Educational Societies “Heritage of the Empire”, was installed on the building’s façade on 14th November 2021.

Repair and restoration work has been completed on the facade of the architectural monument. Funding was provided by the Kostroma Regional Anti-Cancer Charitable Foundation and the Heritage Charitable Foundation.

The inscription translated reads:

“The hospital building was built by the Russian Red Cross Society and with the personal participation of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. In May 1913, Emperor Nicholas visited the hospital.”

© Paul Gilbert. 16 January 2022

Bolsheviks and atheists oppose installation of a monument to Nicholas II in Vladimir

PHOTO: the clay model of the monument to Nicholas II by sculptor Ilya Shanin

Within 24 hours of the announcement of plans to install a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II this summer in Vladimir, opponents reared their ugly heads in protest. It should come as no surprise, that the statements issued by both communist and atheist opposition groups wreak of historical inaccuracies and hypocrisy.

According to Russian media sources, the initiative was first criticized by the regional branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The party’s statement says that local communists are “categorically opposed to perpetuating the memory of ‘Nicholas the Bloody‘ because he organized the mass execution of unarmed workers in St. Petersburg and dragged Russia into two unnecessary wars.

“The cynicism of the initiative is further aggravated by the fact that 2022 is the year marking the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the most developed and fairest state in the world, thanks to whose legacy the Russian Federation still exists. The installation of a monument to the unfortunate tsar who denied his people civil rights and the Constitution looks like blasphemy and mockery not only of common sense, but also of the victorious people,” the regional branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation argued in a statement.

It is interesting to note that these same communists themselves work to immortalize the name of Stalin in Vladimir. In 2015, a bust of Stalin was installed near the offices of the Vladimir regional committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. It was later moved to a private property, along with monuments to other Soviet leaders. Recently, they proposed to rename a street in honour of the Soviet dictator, or at least hang a memorial plaque in his honour.

It is interesting – and yet not surprising – that the communists prefer to overlook the fact that Joseph Stalin remains one of the most notorious figures in history, one whose legacy is stained with the blood of millions of innocent Russians, through collectivization, famine, terror campaigns, disease, war and mortality rates in the Gulag. Sadly, we may never know the actual numbers, but the number of victims is estimated to be in the millions.

PHOTO: Metropolitan Tikhon of Vladimir and Suzdal

In addition, the Vladimir branch of the All-Russian public organization “Atheists of Russia” have also voiced their opposition to the monument to Nicholas II in the city. The activists sent an appeal to Metropolitan Tikhon of Vladimir and Suzdal, in which they asked to prohibit the installation of the monument, even though the monument is to be installed on the grounds of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity.

“In the history of Russia, perhaps, it is impossible to find rulers to whom society treated so negatively as to Nicholas Romanov, who received the nickname “bloody” among the people. The majority associate Nicholas Romanov with the powerlessness and illiteracy of the population of Russia, the shooting of peaceful demonstrators, obscurantism, failed wars, etc. “

Members of the organization believe that the implementation of the project may lead to conflicts on religious grounds in the Vladimir region. What nonsense!

It should be noted, that the installation of the proposed monument to Nicholas II on the grounds of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, has not yet been approved by Metropolitan Tikhon. Despite this, the rector of the church announced a fundraising initiative for its construction on 7th November 2021.

© Paul Gilbert. 11 January 2022

New monument to Nicholas II to be installed in Vladimir

PHOTO: the clay model of the monument to Nicholas II by sculptor Ilya Shanin

A new monument to Emperor Nicholas II will be installed later this year on the grounds of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in the Russian city of Vladimir.

The monument is created by the famous Vladimir sculptor Ilya Shanin. The pedestal will be created by Nikolai Andrianov, and the memorial plaques by Yuri Tumarkin and artist Olga Rozanova.

The emperor will be presented from the waist up wearing a ceremonial uniform, with a ribbon over his shoulder, crosses, orders and medals. The height of the sculpture without a pedestal is 125 centimeters [app. 4 ft.]. According to Shanin, the sculpture has been completed, the removal of the mould from the clay model will be done next. The monument will be cast from bronze at a plant in Smolensk.

The monument will be erected on the grounds of the Vladimir Trinity Church on Museum Street, to the left of the entrance. A pedestal will be erected for the sculpture, the area around monument will be landscaped.

It is planned that funds for the casting and installation of the monument will be collected with the help of donations. According to Ilya Shanin, the project will cost about 1.5 million rubles [$20,000 USD]. The sculptor estimates that the monument will be unveiled in the summer of 2022.

PHOTO: the wall of the cell of the gatekeeper of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Vladimir, is decorated with a mural of marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of the Imperial Family. The Russian caption reads 1918 прости нас государь 2018 / 1918 Forgive us Sovereign 2018

According to Shanin, the idea to install the monument of the Emperor near the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, belongs to Father Eugene. During divine liturgies, he often prays for Nicholas II and his family, who were murdered in Ekaterinburg on 17th July 1918.

Ilya Shanin is a parishioner of the church. He believes that the numerous troubles and catastrophes of the Russian people during the 20th century are partly a punishment for the bloody murder of the Imperial Family in the Ipatiev House. The sculptor hopes that the monument to the emperor will give people a purpose to delve into history or start discussions about the life and reign of Nicholas II, but will also help people look into themselves, repent and to pray for forgiveness.

The installation of the monument to Nicholas II in Vladimir will be a first for the city. The only monument to a Russian monarch was that of Emperor Alexander II, which was installed in 1913 on Cathedral Square, in front of the bank building. After the February Revolution of 1917, it was removedfrom the pedestal, and replaced with a sculpture of the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

Note that Nicholas II visited Vladimir once, on 16th May 1913. Together with members of the Imperial Family, he visited the ancient city in the year marking the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov. It was on this day, that a solemn meeting was organized on the platform of the Vladimir railway station, after which Nicholas II visited the Assumption Cathedral.

© Paul Gilbert. 10 January 2022

Bust of Nicholas II planned for Achinsk

On 15-16 [O.S. 2-3] July 1891, Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich [the future Emperor Nicholas II], visited Achinsk on his journey across Siberia to St. Petersburg.

Achinsk is a city in Krasnoyarsk Krai, located on the right bank of the Chulym River near its intersection with the Trans-Siberian Railway, 184 kilometers (114 mi) west of Krasnoyarsk.

On 10th December, a planning committee met to discuss plans to install a bust-memorial of Nicholas Alexandrovich to mark his historic visit to the city 130 years ago.

“Nicholas II was not only a political leader, under which our country became one of the three most advanced countries in industrial production, but also became one of the spiritual centers of the world,” says Viktor Barykin, an Achinsk ethnographer, one of the members of the initiative group. “The bust should become a symbol of our spiritual unity and the reconciliation of all forces in the name of the future of Russia,” he added.

Having considered various options, the participants in the initiative group agreed that the bust must be made of bronze, and the pedestal must be granite. As Achinsk lacks the technical ability to fulfill such an order, specialists from Moscow will be consulted.

According to preliminary calculations, together with the pedestal, the work will cost about 900 thousand rubles [$12,300 USD]. It is unlikely that the city’s budget will be able to allocate that kind of money, therefore bringing the project to fruition will depend on the financial support of patrons and private donations. If every resident of Achinsk contributes at least 10 rubles, this will be enough. In the near future, a special account will be registered to which a person can make a donation for this good cause. The option of participation in the city program, which provides for the financing of initiative projects, is also being considered, but the application cannot be submitted until March of next year.

If all goes according to plan, the bust can be opened for the 340th anniversary of Achinsk, which will be celebrated in 2023. The bust is planned to be installed in Trinity Park, next to the Poklonny Cross on the site of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the future Emperor went to pray, and later destroyed by the the Communists in the 1930s.

A preliminary sketch of the proposed bust-monument has already been made: Nicholas II is depicted as a young man – that year when he visited Achinsk, he was only 23 years old.

“It should not be a monument for the sake of a monument,” – said the artist and Honorary Citizen of Achinsk Pavel Batanov, who was unanimously elected as the chairman of the initiative group. “First of all, the bust-monument should combine royalty, humanity, and holiness. The main thing is that it should be created at a high professional level.”

© Paul Gilbert. 13 December 2021

Eccentric sculpture of Nicholas II and his family unveiled in Yalta

PHOTO: Imperial Family monument in Yalta, by the sculptor Yuri Mayorov

On 1st October 2021, a new and yet eccentric sculpture to Emperor Nicholas II and his family was installed in Yalta, one which has raised the eyebrows of local residents and a wave of criticism and ridicule.

The monument by sculptor Yuri Mayorov, depicts the Imperial Family enveloped by the wings of an angel, was unveiled on the grounds of the former “Livadia” sanatorium, which is situated near the famous Imperial palace.

Yalta residents took to social media to share their negative opinions of the sculpture, describing the wings as a “strange toothy shell” and to associate it with a “plant-predator”, or the “armour of an armadillo”, or various vulgarities of the “Freudian” sense.

For some locals, the sculpture resembles a “cocoon” and reminiscent of the “xenomorph egg” from the movie “Alien”. Other critics, noted that the faces of the members of the Imperial Family look “dead and sketchy”, while others criticized the holes in the “angel’s” wings, because they resembled bullet holes,

PHOTO: detail of Grand Duchess Olga and Emperor Nicholas II

The sculptural composition was installed five meters from the monument to the participants of the Yalta Conference – Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. The installation of the monument depicting the murdered members of the Imperial Family near that of a monument to Stalin seemed unethical to many.

The unusual sculpture was installed on the grounds of Kurort Livadia LLC, which owns the former Livadia sanatorium. The project and its installation is that of the White Eagle Monarchist Society.

The sculpture was paid for by businessman Konstantin Malofeev, a devout monarchist, who openly supports the restoration of monarchy in Russia. Unfortunately, he openly supports the claim of Princess Maria Vladimirovna and her son Prince George Romanov-Hohenzollern. Malofeev is the owner of the Tsargrad TV channel, and the Tsargrad LLC – the founder of the Livadia Resort company.

UPDATE: SCULPTURE DISMANTLED on 11th December

Earlier today, the controversial sculpture of the Imperial Family was dismantled and taken away from its location on the former “Livadia” sanatorium, situated near the famous Imperial palace.

“There was a wave of negativity in relation to our monument. People began to write that they would come and destroy it. To spare the monument from vandalism, we decided to move it to a safe place. It will be stored in a closed area, I don’t want to tell its location,” said Andrei Krupin, director of the educational center where the sculpture was installed.

The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Crimea noted that the sculpture caused controversy due to the poor quality of execution. At the same time, the Ministry of Culture said that it has nothing to do with the Livadia Palace.

© Paul Gilbert. 10 December 2021

Russia’s second largest monument to Nicholas II erected in the Vladimir region

VIDEO: in Russian. DURATION: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

On 14th September, a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II was opened in the Russian village of Sanino, situated in the Petushinsky District of the Vladimir Region. The new monument is the first in the Vladimir region, and the country’s second largest monument to Russia’s last Tsar.

The bronze monument was made by the Moscow sculptor Rovshan Rzayev. It was installed on the grounds of the Church of the Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God in the village of Sanino. The opening of the monument was timed to coincide with the patronal feast day. A Divine Liturgy was led by Metropolitan Ambrose of Tver and Kashin. About 500 people took part in the service, procession, unveiling and consecration of the monument.

PHOTO: Metropolitan Ambrose of Tver and Kashin performs the act of consecration

PHOTO: more than 500 people attended the unveiling and consecration ceremony

The height of the monument [with pedestal] is 3 meters [nearly 10 ft.]. The Tsar is depicted in uniform, wearing his coronation mantle, a sword on his left side. He is holding an orb in his left hand, while the fingers of his right hand are poised to make the sign of the cross. The figure stands on a massive pedestal with the inscription “Nicholas II Tsar and Passion-Bearer.”

PHOTO: “Nicholas II. Tsar and Passion-Bearer.”

PHOTOS: front and rear views of Russia’s second largest monument to Nicholas II

During the Soviet years, Nicholas II was vilified and forgotten. Not a single memorial of any kind existed in the Soviet Union, however, during the last 30 years more than 100 monuments, busts and memorials in honour of Nicholas II have been erected in more than 30 regions of the country.

© Paul Gilbert. 16 September 2021

Nicholas II and the opening of the Romanov Museum in Kostroma, 1913

PHOTO: Nicholas II opens the Romanov Museum in Kostroma, 19th May 1913

The idea of ​​creating the Romanov Museum belonged to the chairman of the Kostroma Provincial Scientific Archive Commission, who proposed opening a special Romanovsky department “for collecting and storing information and data about the ancestors of the ancestor of the reigning house of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich.” His proposal was supported by Emperor Nicholas II, who approved the official use of the name “Romanovsky department”.

As the number of exhibits multiplied each year, the Romanovsky department ran out of space, and the question of creating a separate museum building arose. In 1907 the governor of Kostroma Alexei Porfirievich Veretennikov (1860-1927), reported to Moscow about the funding for the construction of the museum (donated by the Kostroma City Duma, industrialists, nobles and local residents) and a plot of land for the future museum. The permission to use the name “Romanov Museum” and the promise of co-financing came from Moscow.

In 1908, the project of the building was developed by the architect Nikolai Ivanovich Gorlitsyn (1870-1933), the construction began in 1909. In 1912, Nicholas II issued an order of 35 thousand rubles for the completion of the internal arrangement and interior decoration of the Romanov Museum, as well as the external decoration necessary for the opening of the museum.

In May 1913, Nicholas II and his family arrived in Kostroma as part of the celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty and attended the official opening of the Romanov Museum. The Emperor and his family became the first visitors to the museum and left their names in the memorial book, which has survived to this day.

Currently, the Romanov Museum has several expositions, but one remains unchanged – about the role of Kostroma in the history of the Romanov dynasty.

***

Bust of Nicholas II unveiled in Kostroma

Earlier this week, a new bronze bust of Emperor Nicholas II was presented to the Romanov Museum in Kostroma, where it now stands in the foyer of the museum [photo above]. The Emperor is depicted wearing the uniform of the Guards crew, complete with orders and medals.

The inscription on the wall reads: “The Romanov Museum began construction on 21 June 1909, and opened on 19 May, 1913 in the presence of their Imperial Majesties, the Tsesarevich Alexei and the August daughters of their Imperial Majesties”

The bronze bust was created by the contemporary Moscow sculptor Vasily Moskvitin [photo below]. The sculptor who is passionate about Russian history, has created sculptures and busts dedicated to Russian princes and saints, including Patriarch Tikhon (1865-1925).

The theme of the last emperor is the latest in the work of Moskvitin. For the Romanov Museum in Kostroma, however, the master decided to create a different sculptural portrait.

“Yes, he was also made to wear a crown of thorns, however, I did not want to present Nicholas II in the tragic image he is so often depicted. Instead, he is presented as the living soul of a person, to reveal his true character. Nicholas II was a very intelligent person, cheerful, with radiant eyes, which emitted kindness. I tried to capture all these features in my bust,” said Moskvitin.

© Paul Gilbert. 23 July 2021

Britain’s first memorial to the Russian Imperial Family

Up until a few years ago, Britain’s first and only memorial to Emperor Nicholas II and his family was located in the Battenberg Chapel in St Mildred’s Church, Whippingham, Cowes, on the Isle of Wight.

It was here that Princess Victoria Mountbatten (1863-1950), the elder sister of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, created a memorial plaque for the members of her family who were brutally murdered in the Urals by the Bolsheviks in July 1918.

The memorial is tucked away in a corner of the Battenberg Chapel.

“Give rest O LORD to the Souls of thy Servants
who have fallen asleep, for they have set their hope on Thee”.

In loving memory of
ELISABETH, Grand Duchess Serge of Russia – b. Nov. 1st 1864
perished in the Russian Revolution on the 18th of July 1918

ALEXANDRA, Empress of Russia – b. June 6th 1872
NICHOLAS II, Emperor of Russia – b. May 18th 1864*
and of their children
OLGA – b. Nov. 5th 1895 TATIANA – b. June 10th 1897
MARIA – b. June 26th 1899 ANASTASIA – June 13th 1901
and ALEXEI, the Caesarevich – b. Aug. 17th 1904
perished in the Russian Revolution on the 17th July 1918

* Nicholas II was born in 1868, not 1864, as shown on the plaque

On 7th July 2018, a granite memorial [above photo] with bronze relief portraits of the Russian Imperial Family, was unveiled at East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The monument marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Nicholas II and his family was created by the Moscow sculptor Elena Bezborodova.

On 13th July 2018, a monument [above photo] was also erected in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, on the grounds of the Cathedral of the Nativity Of the Most Holy Mother of God and the Royal Martyrs in the London Borough of Hounslow.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 July 2021