Memorial plaque to Nicholas II established in Omsk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lyubinskaya Station

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

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 27 May 2019

Tambov honours last Russian Emperor

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Memorial plaque to Nicholas II and station signal bell, Tambov

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

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

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Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna arrive in Tambov, 1914

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monument to Nicholas II, Pitirim Tambovsky Chapel

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

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 22 May 2019

Monument to Nicholas II at Vasilievsky Palace in Vyritsa

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The Vasilievsky Palace

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

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

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

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

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Column bearing monument of Nicholas II 

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

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

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 14 May 2019

Billboards depicting Nicholas II in Novosibrisk

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Novosibirsk billboard bearing the inscription “Holy royal passion-bearers pray for us”

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In February 2019, a billboard bearing a portrait of Nicholas II and family and the inscription “Holy royal passion-bearers pray for us” was established on Karl Marx Square, in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. 

“Our city bore the name of Emperor Nicholas II for almost thirty years. From 1895 to 1904 – as a village. From 1904 to 1926 – as a city. This year marks the 115th anniversary since the decree signed on 10 January 1904 [O.S. 28 December 1903] by Emperor Nicholas II on the transformation of the village into the city of Novo- Nikolaevsk. The billboards are a reminder to the people of Novosibirsk about the history of our city,” said the Novosibirsk Orthodox social activist Ivan Kvasnitsky, noting that billboards depciting the Imperial family have appeared on the main streets of the city every month since June 2017.

He added that this action is being carried out by the Novosibirsk Coordination Council in defense of public morality, culture and traditional family values ​​with the support of donations from caring Siberians. Kvasnitsky noted that more historical banners will continue to be established on the streets of the city, with the help of additional donations.

***

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Monument of Emperor Nicholas II and Tsesarevich Alexei in Novosibirsk

A monument of Emperor Nicholas II with his son and heir Tsesarevich Alexei was established on 17th July 2017, on the grounds of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Novosibirsk.

The following month, a 31-year-old Novosibirsk man placed a ladder against the newly-consecrated monument, and, having climbed up it, dealt several blows with an axe. The man was arrested and charged. The monument was restored and reconsecrated in September 2017.

Click HERE to read my article Monument to Russia’s Last Emperor Nicholas II and Tsesarevich Alexei Unveiled in Siberia, published on 17 July 2017; and HERE to read my article Monument to Tsar Nicholas II, Tsesarevich Alexey in Novosibirsk Attacked with Axe, published on 1 August 2017.

© Paul Gilbert. 19 February 2019