Earlier this week, personal items belonging to Emperor Alexander II were handed over to Russian Ambassador Alexey Meshkov, during a solemn ceremony which took place in Paris as part of an evening carried out by the Franco-Russian Alliance.
Among the items is a shirt and vest with the remains of the emperor’s blood which he wore during the final hours of his life after his assassination on 13th March 1881. “These relics are part of our history, it is important to preserve them,” said Bishop Nestor of the Diocese of Korsun of the Russian Orthodox Church.
According to the head of the Franco-Russian Alliance Prince Alexander Trubetskoy, after the emperor’s assassination his widow Princess Ekaterina Dolgorukova (1847-1922) settled in Nice and carefully preserved the late tsar’s shirt and other belongings until her death. She bequeathed to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Nice a few personal things of the emperor. In addition to the shirt and vest there were three scarves with his initials, a portrait of the emperor and his uniform.
After the Russian Revolution, the Russian Cultural Orthodox Association in Nice (Association Culturelle Orthodoxe Russe Nice – ACOR) seized the cathedral and all Imperial relics stored there. After a long legal process, the Russian side confirmed its property rights for the St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Nice, but ACOR refused to give up the relics. However, with the help of the French government, Russia was able to return them. Alexander Trubetskoy called the return of the relics a historical moment.
The Russian embassy noted that our country has very good friends in France. Moreover, the French Cultural Ministry is very serious about the problems of the historical values protection.
Alexey Meshkov recalled that the work on the historical heritage return lasted for several years. He thanked once again the official authorities for the support and promised that in the shortest time the relics would take their place in the cathedral in Nice.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 November 2018