Sunday 4th September, marked the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of the Countess Anastasia Vasilievna Hendrikova (1888-1918), the personal lady in waiting of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
A Divine Liturgy was performed in the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, situated in the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.
– Today, exactly 100 years have passed from the day of the martyrdom of Anastasia Vasilievna Hendrikova, the personal maid of honour of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. She was killed by the Bolsheviks in Perm on September 4, 1918. Anastasia Vasilievna was distinguished by deep piety, nobility, selflessness and in the most difficult circumstances retained her faith in God. In our metropolia, they collect materials for the glorification of Anastasia Hendrikova in the saints’ face. And today we will honor her memory, serve liturgy, pray for her, and she will pray for us before the throne of God,” said the priest who performed the Divine Liturgy.
Countess Anastasia Vasilievna Hendrikova was born in 1888. Although Anastasia Vasilievna born to the nobility, she was very simple in her way of life from early youth, she dressed very modestly, even old-fashioned and, unlike most noble girls, never participated in balls and entertainments.
In her youth, the Countess Hendrikova became the personal maid of honour of the Empress. The Empress, the Grand Duchesses, and the courtiers loved her for her kindness, affability, meekness, simplicity and openness in communication.
In February 1917, Countess Hendrikova, at the insistence of the Empress, went to a seriously ill Sister of Mercy in Kislovodsk, but when she arrived there she learned that the Emperor had abdicated the throne. Anastasia Vasilyevna hurried back to Tsarskoye Selo. It is known that at that time the majority of courtiers and servants, under different pretexts, took leave of the Tsar’s family, basically everyone cared only about their own well-being. Anastasia Vasilyevna could have remained in Kislovodsk where she would have been safe, but she, unlike the other courtiers, overcame all obstacles and returned to the Imperial family. A few hours after she arrived at the Alexander Palace, the former Imperial residence became a prison for all who voluntarily wished to remain in it. That evening, she wrote in her diary: “Thank God, I managed to arrive on time to be with them.” Her presence was a great support for the royal prisoners. Always happy, meek, smiling, she cheered everyone up.
Anastasia Vasilievna followed the Tsar’s family into exile to Tobolsk. Before leaving, she wrote in her diary: “I can not leave here without thanking God for that wonderful peace and power that He sent me and supported me for all these almost five months of arrest. I close my eyes, give myself completely, without questions or murmurings into the hands of God with confidence and love. “
In May 1918 Anastasia Vasilievna arrived in Ekaterinburg with four of the Tsar’s children. But she was not admitted to the Ipatiev House, but was instead transferred to a Perm prison. Anastasia Vasilievna, prayed fervently and tried to remain cheerful, although she was exhausted by the illnesses and burdens of imprisonment.
On the night of 4th September 1918, Countess Hendrikova was awakened and taken with a group of prisoners outside the city where they were killed. Only a few months later, after the arrival of whites, the bodies of the dead were discovered, and Anastasia Hendrikova was buried in the cemetery in Perm.
The bodies of Hendrikova and Ekaterina Adolfovna Schneider (1856-1918) were recovered by the Whites in May 1919, and were reburied in the Yegoshikha Cemetery. However, their graves were later destroyed when the Bolsheviks regained control of the city. In October 2012, thanks to the efforts of a group of parishioners from churches in the city, and with the blessing of the Metropolitan of Perm and Solikamsky Methodius, a new cross was erected at the site where their remains had been initially buried.
A memorial service with prayer was also performed for Hendrikova and Schneider on 4th September, at the alleged burial site in the Yegoshikha Cemetery, which is situated near the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Perm.
In October 1981, Hendrikova was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). On 16th October 2009, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation decided to rehabilitate 52 persons of the Imperial family and their retainers who had been subjected to repression, including Countess Anastasia Vasilievna Hendrikova.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 4 September 2018