Monument to 4 faithful servants to Nicholas II installed in Ekaterinburg

On 13th June, a new monument to four faithful servants of Emperor Nicholas II, was installed and consecrated on the grounds of Novo-Tikhvin Convent.

The monument featuring four bas-reliefs, honours Prince Vasili Alexandrovich Dolgorukov (1868-1918), Lieutenant General Ilya Tatishchev (1859-1918), Tsesarevich Alexei’s “nanny” sailor Klimenty Grigorievich Nagorny (1887-1918) and boatswain Ivan Dmitriyevich Sednev (1881-1918). It was installed in Zelenaya Grove, of the convent, and the solemn consecration was performed by Metropolitan of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Evgeny.

PHOTO: Metropolitan of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Evgeny performing the act of consecration

After the 1917 Revolution, with Christian courage and nobility, these four men remained faithful to the Emperor. They voluntarily followed the Imperial family into exile, first to Tobolsk, and then Ekaterinburg, were they were all murdered by the Bolsheviks in the summer of 1918: Dolgorukov and Tatishchev were shot on 10th June 1918, while Nagorny and Sednev were shot on 28th June 1918.

They were all eventually buried in the cemetery of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent, although their respective graves were lost during the Soviet years. The necropolis is gradually being restored, sadly, however, the burial place of these four faithful servants has not yet been found.

PHOTO: detail of the four bas-relief images, from left to right: Ivan Sednev, Lieutenant General Ilya Tatishchev, Prince Vasily Dolgorukov and Klimenty Nagorny

The four-meter stone stele with relief images of the Tsar’s four faithful servants was made at the St. Petersburg workshop of Mikhail Parfentiev, the sketches for the monument were prepared by the sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent.

Tatishchev, Dolgorukov, Nagorny and Sednev were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in 1981, and rehabilitated by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation on 16 October 2009. They have yet to be canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate. 

Memory Eternal! Вечная Память!

PHOTO: sculptor prepares bas-relief model of Lieutenant General Ilya Tatishchev

The sketches for the monument were prepared in the icon-painting workshop by the sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent Striving for historical accuracy, the sisters consulted on archival documents and photographs of the uniforms and respective awards worn by Prince V. A. Dolgorukov, I. L. Tatishchev, K. G. Nagorny and I. D. Sednev. In addition, they consulted with historians and other experts on the history of the uniforms of the Russian Empire. At the same time, in order to show the height of the feat of the Tsar’s faithful subjects, who in fact were martyred, the sisters supplemented the images with details characteristic of icons: holding Orthodox crosses in their hands, and fluttering cloaks worn on their shoulders – this is customary for depicting Orthodox martyrs on icons. General Ilya Tatishchev is depicted holding the Gospel, which he knew by heart.

PHOTO: drawings and photos of Lieutenant General Ilya Tatishchev

PHOTO: plaster and stone bas-relief of Lieutenant General Ilya Tatishchev

When the sketches were ready, the sculptors got down to work. First, it was necessary to make models from plasticine – a putty-like modelling material made from calcium salts, petroleum jelly and aliphatic acids. In order to “turn” a drawing into a three-dimensional figure, the sculptor constantly checks it with photographs. From the plasticine model, an exact plaster copy is made, and from that, the stone carvers copy the image. The talented masters of the St. Petersburg workshop of Mikhail Parfentiev carefully worked on every detail of the four-meter stele with relief images of the Tsar’s subjects. Work on the monument took nearly three years to complete.

PHOTO: sketches, photos and stone bas-relief of Klimenty Grigorievich Nagorny

© Paul Gilbert. 13 June 2022

Faithful to the End: Klimenty Nagorny and Ivan Sednev 

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Klimenty Grigorievich Nagorny (left). and Ivan Dmitriyevich Sednev (right)

Today – 28th June 2021, marks the 103rd anniversary of the death and martyrdom of two faithful servants to Emperor Nicholas II and his family – Klimenty Grigorievich Nagorny and Ivan Dmitriyevich Sednev. 

Klimenty Nagorny and Ivan Sednev selflessly served the Tsar’s children. Nagorny in particular, lay the great responsibility of protecting the Tsesarevich, even the slightest injury could put the heir to the Russian throne in danger, due to his hemophilia. Alexei was very fond of Nagorny, who in turn showed complete devotion to the Tsesarevich, faithfully sharing with him all the joys and sorrows.

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Nagorny and Tsesarevich Alexei in Tsarskoe Selo, 1907

Klimenty Nagorny and Ivan Sednev voluntarily stayed with the Tsar’s family during their house arrest in Tsarskoe Selo, and then followed them to Tobolsk, where Nagorny shared a room with the Tsesarevich, serving him day and night. Together with the Imperial family, Nagorny also attended all the divine services, and the only member of the family’s retinue who was a member of the choir organized by the Empress: he sang and read for the Imperial family during services held in the house church.

In the spring of 1918 Nagorny and Sednev once again, voluntarily followed the Imperial family to Ekaterinburg. They spent only a few days in the Ipatiev House, and then were separated from the Imperial prisoners. They were arrested and imprisoned, their sole crime had been their inability to hide their indignation on seeing the Bolshevik commissaries seize the little gold chain from which the holy images hung over the sick bed of the Tsesarevich.

On 28th June 1918, they were shot in the back by the Bolsheviks, in a small wooded area behind the Yekaterinburg-2 railway station (modern name – Shartash). Nagorny and Sednev were “killed for betraying the cause of the revolution” – as indicated in the resolution on their execution. The murderers left their bodies unburied.

When Ekaterinburg was occupied by the Whites, the the half-decayed bodies of Nagorny and Sednev, were found and solemnly buried near the Church of All the Afflicted (demolished). Witnesses at the funeral recall that the graves of the former sailors of the Imperial Yacht Standart were strewn with white flowers. Their graves were not preserved – they were destroyed when the Soviet authorities built a city park on the site of the cemetery.

Both Nagorny and Sednev were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) on 14 November 1981, and both rehabilitated by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation on 16 October 2009. They have yet to be canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate. 

Memory Eternal! Вечная Память!

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Sednev and Alexeei Nikolaevich, in the Finnish skerries, 1914 

Nagorny, Klementy Grigorovich (1887—1918) – from 1909, he served on the Imperial yacht Standart and appointed as a footman to the imperial children. He received the Court title Garderobshik (wardrobe keeper) in 1909 and accompanied the Imperial family on every tour. In November 1913, he was appointed assistant dyadka to guard the Imperial children. He travelled with the Tsesarevich Alexei to Mogilev during 1914-16. After the Tsar’s abdication, he lived under detention with the Imperial family in Tsarskoe Selo, Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg.

Sednev, Ivan Dmitrievich (1881—1918) – was recruited into the Russian Imperial Navy in 1911, where he began as a machinist on the Imperial Yacht Polyarnaya Zvezda (Polar Star) then transferred onto the Imperial yacht Standart. By invitation he became a Lakei (liveried footman) to the Grand Duchesses, and subsequently to the Tsesarevich. Ivan lived under detention with the Imperial family in Tsarskoe Selo, Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg.

© Paul Gilbert. 28 June 2021