Exhibition: ‘The Romanovs. Family Chronicles’ opens in Moscow

Beginning 14th September 2018, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow will present unique materials from the archives of the Russian Imperial family. An exhibition of photo documents from the Gallery’s collections will showcase a previously unknown collection of photographs.

The Romanovs. Family Chronicles exhibition features photographs taken during the reign of Russia’s last three emperors – Alexander II (1855-1881), Alexander III (1881-1894) and Nicholas II (1894-1917) – the collection dating from the 1870s to 1914. 

The exhibits were sent to the Tretyakov Gallery in 1932 from two former imperial residences: the Gatchina Palace, where the Empress Maria Feodorovna Dowager lived after the death of her husband Alexander III, and the Alexander Palace, the last residence of the family of Emperor Nicholas II. 

From the middle of the 19th century, the Imperial families employed the services of court photographers for both official and leisure images, photographing them in the interiors of the Imperial palaces and country residences, at official receptions, on vacations, hunting trips, and other leisure activities. The  “Kodak” camera was first used by the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna (future Empress Maria Feodorovna) in the 1860s, when she took a great personal interest in photography. Over time, her enthusiasm for photography was taken up by her son Nicholas II and his family. His wife Alexandra Feodorovna are often seen in leisure photographs with the famous Kodak Brownie camera in hand.

Various photos from the time of the Emperor Alexander III include: portraits of Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, Prince George Maximilianovich, Duke of Leichtenberg (K. I. Bergamasco), Grand Duchess Olga Aleksandrovna (S. L. Levitsky). The Polish photographer Conrad Brandel recorded events and trips of Emperor Alexander III with his family to Poland: a military review in Brest, an inspection of the new station in Brest, Emperor Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna with a delegation of local residents or at a children’s choir performance. 

A series of photos from the family album-boxes of Maria Feodorovna are also featured. These charming amateur photographs offer an intimate look at family time together: walks to the Finnish skerries on the Imperial yacht Tsarevna, picnics on the beach, and leisure time onboard the yacht. In the album there are 60 photographs-business cards. A small folding album contains nine photographs of the installation of the monument to Empress Catherine II by the sculptor M.M. Antokolsky in Vilna in 1904.

In the section dedicated to the family of Emperor Nicholas II, photographs include the exteriors and interiors of the Alexander Palace, views of the park and pavilions scattered throughout the parks in Tsarskoye Selo, as well as photos from “Yacht Zarnitsa” album.

These historic photo chronicles are represented mainly by beautifully bound albums, some of which are interesting examples of arts and crafts of the turn of the century. These albums were produced in a single copy, using precious metals on the occasion of significant events for the members of the imperial family.

The album “Medzhybozh” was presented to Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, chief of the 12th Hussar Akhtyrsky Regiment, on the occasion of her visit to the headquarters in the Medzhibozh Castle on 11th December 1908. The album includes 30 photos documenting the anniversary visit: the chief of the regiment enters the castle, the review of the regiment, the squadron’s songwriters, the hunting team, a group of regimental officers among others. 

The photo album, which belonged to the heir Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, contains 289 small-format photographs from 1909-1914, which depict trips made by the imperial family to Germany, the Finnish skerries and Crimea, and onboard the Imperial yacht Standart, among others.

The exposition also includes a unique series of 40 photos received as a gift in 2004, dedicated to the first official visit of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna to France in 1896.

During the preparation of the exhibition, the staff of the scientific and reference department of photo-materials of the Tretyakov Gallery conducted research work to determine the names of the photographers and unknown persons in the photographs, dates and places. The results of the work are included in an exhibition catalogue published in the Russian language only. 

The Romanovs. Family Chronicles exhibition runs from 14th September to 28th October 2018, in the New Tretyakov Gallery, Halls 80-82

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 September 2018

Monument to Alexander I Established in Omsk


A monument to the Emperor Alexander I (1777-1825) was unveiled on 8th September, in the Siberian city of Omsk.

The bust was established on the grounds of the Omsk Cadet Military Corps, which was  founded by Alexander I in 1822, as the First Siberian Cadet Corps.

The opening ceremony was attended by cadets and the leadership of the corps, as well as the provincial governor of the Omsk region, Alexander Burkov, the mayor of Omsk, Oksana Fadina, deputies, clergy and citizens.

The memory of the emperor in Omsk was immortalized, since it was during his reign (1801-1825) that Omsk became a district city, when the headquarters of the Governor-General of Western Siberia were moved from Tobolsk to Omsk. 

The installation of the monument was a project of the Russian Military Historical Society. It was consecrated by the Metropolitan of Omsk and Tauride Vladimir.

In recent years, monuments to Emperor Alexander I have been established in Taganrog, Lipetsk region, Czech Republic, Finland, and near the walls of the Moscow Kremlin.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 September 2018

This Week in the News – The Romanovs and Imperial Russia


PHOTO: The newly restored Equestrian Portrait of Emperor Alexander II (1875), went on display this week in the Museum of Fine Arts in Veliky Novgorod. The portrait, which depicts the emperor in the uniform of the His Majesty’s Life-Guards Hussar Regiment, was painted by Nikolai Yegorovich Sverchkov (1817-1898).

Presumably, the ceremonial portrait was ordered for the museum of the His Majesty’s Life-Guards Hussar Regiment, which was located at the headquarters in Tsarskoye Selo. The portrait was transferred to the Novgorod Museum in 1948.

* * *

This Week in the News includes a link and brief summary to full-length articles published in the past week from English language media and internet sources.

This initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page – now, with more than 156,000 followers from around the world!

Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 8 September 2018:



ARTICLES – click on the red headline text below to read the respective articles

Conference Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Royal Martyr Nicholas II to Take Place in late October

Thank you to the Russian Orthodox web site PRAVMIR.COM for posting the following notice, about the Nicholas II Conference, to be held on Saturday 27th October, in Colchester, England

Exhibition: The Cross of the Romanovs

One more exhibition devoted to the Russian Royal Family was produced by the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Romanov Society and will present about 140 professionally restored archival photographs including some very recent discoveries, films, rare documents and oil painted portraits.

6 Russian-British royal relations that changed the course of history

The notorious Ivan the Terrible almost married Elizabeth I, but things got complicated. Here’s our story about who married whom, and who’s related to whom in the British and Russian royal families.

Ever your devoted friend: Alix and Pollie

Royal historian Elizabeth Jane Timms writes about the friendship between Princess Alix of Hesse (future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Marion Louisa ‘Pollie’ Delmé-Radcliffe, Baroness Ungern-Sternberg.

Found: A Coin That Stopped the Tsar’s Police From Shaving You

Archaeologists in Russia have recently stumbled upon a 1699 coin issued to mark compliance with the “Beard Tax,” which Tsar Peter the Great had introduced the year before.

* * *


© The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve

PHOTO: The restoration of the Chapelle, located in the Alexander Park at Tsarskoye Selo, is nearing completion. Constructed between 1825 and 1828 by the famous architect Adam Menelaws, the Chapelle was badly damaged during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45). Restoration on the pavilion began in 2015, and is scheduled to be open to the public in the autumn of 2018.

* * *

Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only,
and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia

100 Years Ago – Lenin Unleashes Red Terror on Russia


The term ‘Red Terror’ is often associated with the horrifying purges carried out by Joseph Stalin, however, it was his predecessor and found of the Bolshevik Revolution Vladimir Lenin, who unleashed the first Red Terror upon Russia on 5th September 1918.  

During the Soviet years the Red Terror was justified in Soviet historiography as a wartime campaign against counter-revolutionaries during the Russian Civil War of 1918–1921, targeting those who sided with the Whites (White Army). Under the slogan “Who is not with us, they are against us”, Bolsheviks referred to any anti-Bolshevik factions as Whites, regardless of whether those factions actually supported the White movement cause. 

The campaign of mass repressions officially started as retribution for the assassination (17 August 1918) of Petrograd Cheka leader *Moisei Uritsky by Leonid Kannegisser, and for the attempted assassination (30 August 1918) of Lenin by Fanni Kaplan. While recovering from his wounds, Lenin instructed: “It is necessary – secretly and urgently to prepare the terror”

*Uritsky is responsible for the deportation of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich to Perm, where he was held under house arrest, until his murder by the Bolsheviks on 13th June 1918. 


‘Attempt on Vladimir Lenin’s life’ by Pyotr Belousov (1957)

Earlier this week, Time Magazine published an interesting article How the Red Terror Exposed the True Turmoil of Soviet Russia 100 Years Ago.

The author Danny Bird is a graduate of UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, with a special interest in modern Russian and Spanish history. He writes:

‘On Aug. 31, the state-controlled media responded by launching a vociferous campaign aimed at whipping up popular bloodlust. A frenzied article inciting violence appeared in Pravda exclaiming: “the time has come for us to crush the bourgeoisie or be crushed by it … The anthem of the working class will be a song of hatred and revenge!” 

‘The following day, the Petrograd newspaper Krasnaia Gazeta asserted that: “only rivers of blood can atone for the blood of Lenin and Uritsky.” Bolshevik newspapers became the key instigators and chroniclers of the sudden escalation in state violence. Indeed, on Sept. 3, Izvestia reported that in the four days since the attempted assassination on Lenin, over 500 hostages had been executed in Petrograd alone. Finally, on Sept. 5, the Soviet government adopted a decree sanctioning “Red Terror,” which prescribed “mass shooting” to be “inflicted without hesitation.” ‘


Bird estimates that 10,000 to 15,000 innocent people were victims of Lenin’s Red Terror, but Russia Beyond the Headlines (RBTH) offers more staggering estimates of victims in an article How many lives did the Red Terror claim?  Author Timofeychev writes: 

‘The figures differ greatly. Historian Sergei Volkov asserts that in 1917-1922 the Bolsheviks killed up to 2 million people. At the same time historians who refer to archival materials of those bodies that were responsible for the repressive policies argue that the organized terror claimed 50,000 lives. Some double this figure to include the victims of peasants’ revolts against the Soviet government.

‘Over 100,000 people killed is a shocking number but it constitutes only a small fraction of all the victims of the civil war estimated between 10 and 12 million people.’ 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 7 September 2018


Bust of Nicholas II to be Established in Zlatoust


Sculptor Alexander Sadovsky poses next to his Nicholas II bust

On 19th September 2018, the forum of the World Russian People’s Council will take place in the Ural city of Zlatoust, situated about 160 km west of Chelyabinsk, or 266 km southwest of Ekaterinburg.

The theme of this year’s forum is: “Emperor Nicholas II and Russia. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow”. The forum is timed to the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas II and the 100th anniversary of the formation of the diocese in Chelyabinsk region. 

The plenary session that will take place on this day will be attended by invited bishops and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church, representatives of the scientific community and the delegation of municipalities of the Chelyabinsk region.

A large-scale event is being announced with the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers. According to the Zlatoust eparchy, the goal of the public forum is to consolidate society on the basis of the millennial historical, spiritual and cultural traditions of Russia, to reveal the significance of the sacrificial exploit of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers for the revival of the state.

A Divine Liturgy will be performed at the Cathedral of St. Seraphim in Zlatoust on the opening day of the forum. It will be headed by the permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, Head of the Central Asian Metropolitan District – Metropolitan of Tashkent and Uzbekistan Vikenty. 

The Divine Liturgy will be followed by the unveiling and consecration of the monument to the Emperor Nicholas II. The monument is based on original drawings created in 1904 for the creation of the monument to Nicholas II in the city, and after more than a century, will finally become a reality.

Nicholas II visited Zlatoust on 30 June 1904 – see photos above – where he attended a Divine Liturgy in the Holy Trinity Cathedral, hosted a military parade in the station area, and instructed regiments, going to the front during the Russo-Japanese War.

“Undoubtedly, I have a positive attitude to the idea of ​​installing a monument to Emperor Nicholas II ,” historical justice will triumph, “ said Yury Okuntsov, the head of the history department at the Zlatoust Museum of Local History– “The fact is that right after the Tsar’s visit to Zlatoust, the city duma decided to build and install a monument to him, but the event remained on paper. Apparently, we, the descendants, are now given an opportunity to keep their word.”

It was in May 2013, that a photograph album which once belonged to Emperor Nicholas II was discovered in the vaults of the Municipal Regional Studies Museum in Zlatoust. The grey calico album, containing 210 photographs dated from 1913-1916, was discovered in an old cigar box in the vault of the museum storage rooms. A multimedia virtual mode copy of the album is currently on display in the Museum and Exhibition Center, which is located in the Church of the Reigning Mother of God at Ganina Yama. Click HERE to read more about this historic discovery. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 5 September 2018

Old Ekaterinburg through the lens of Prokudin-Gorsky


Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky, self-portrait 1912

I have had the pleasure of visiting the Ural city of Ekaterinburg on three occasions over the past six years: 2012, 2016, and most recently in July 2018. Out of all the Russian cities which I have visited since 1986, Ekaterinburg has become my favourite. 

It is a city rich in history, and the setting for one of the darkest pages in 20th century Russian history: the final days and murder of Russia’s last tsar Nicholas II and his family in the Ipatiev House on the night of 16/17 July 1918.

Sadly, the city is overlooked by most visitors to Russia. It is seldom included in group tours, relying mainly on foreigners travelling on the Trans-Siberian Express. Many of them stay for only one or two nights, which really is not enough time to explore and appreciate what Ekaterinburg has to offer. Having said this, however, Ekaterinburg is becoming increasingly popular with Chinese tourists, and the FIFA World Cup matches held in the city in June 2018 have helped spread the word to foreigners, that Ekaterinburg is indeed worth visiting.

As a devout book collector, I have always been on the hunt for pictorials, which offer vintage photographs of what life was like in Russia before the 1917 Revolution. During my most recent visit to Ekaterinburg, my book hunting skills produced a couple of gems to add to my personal home/office library.  


Дом Ипатьева: летописная хроника в документах и фотографиях

“Дом Ипатьева: летописная хроника в документах и фотографиях” (Ipatiev House. Documentary and Photographic Annals. 1877-1977) by photojournalist and historian Vitaly Shytov. Published in 2013 in a hard cover edition in Chelyabinsk by the Auto-Count Publishing House, the book features more than 700 pages and more than 1,000 photographs. Only available in Russian. Shytov has dedicated 40 years of study to the tragic history of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. There were only 500 copies printed, and it remains the the most comprehensive study of the Ipatiev House to date. Sadly, Shytov’s research has been virtually ignored by Western historians, who have written on the last days of the Imperial family in the ‘House of Special Purpose’. 


Екатеринбург: История города в фотографии

Екатеринбург: История города в фотографии. Том 1: Вторая половина XIX – начало XX веков (Ekaterinburg: History of the City in Photographs. Volume I. Second half of 19th – early 20th century) by A.V. Berkovich and O. A. Bukharkina. Second edition published in 2015 by the Ekaterinburg City Administration. Published in a hardcover edition, the book features 208 pages, and more than 200 vintage photographs. Despite the Cyrillic text on the book’s cover, the contents are in both Russian and English.

The latter presents a very different view of Ekaterinburg, in that it presents for the first time, a selection of historic photos from the most famous photographer of old Ekaterinburg Veniamin Leontiyevich Metenkov (1857-1933).


The Metenkov House and Photographic Museum is situated near the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg

Sadly, the Revolution destroyed the photography business which Metenkov created. He died in obscurity in 1933, his name forgotten for more than half a century. After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the house where Metenkov lived and worked was turned into a museum named after him. Until recently Metenkov’s archive was believed to be lost, however, a persistent search for the photographers’ legacy yielded the discovery of more than 200 negatives in the funds of the Sverdlovsk Oblast State Archive. 

Another noteworthy Ekaterinburg photographer was the city doctor Vladimir Alexandrovich Paduchev (1859-1919). The Paduchev family archive of more than 500 negatives focus on the private world of the city middle class, taken during the first decade of the 20th century. The collection lay hidden in an old barn for more than a century, before their discovery.

ALL colour photographs below are courtesy of the Ekaterinburg City Administration

The unique photographic view of Pre-Revolutionary Russia and Ekaterinburg, however, belong to the pioneer of colour photography Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (1863-1944).

His photos of Russia’s nature and monuments earned him invitations to show his work to the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1908, and to Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1909. The Tsar enjoyed the demonstration, and, with his blessing, Prokudin-Gorsky got the permission and funding to document Russia in colour. In the course of ten years, he was to make a collection of 10,000 photos.

Using a railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II, Prokudin-Gorsky traveled the Russian Empire from 1905 to 1915, using his three-image colour photography to record its many aspects. He arrived in Ekaterinburg in 1909, where he gave lectures and visited Veniamin Metenkov at his home. Metenkov accompanied Prokudin-Gorsky on his trips in and around the city, suggesting interesting locations to be photographed. 

Prokudin-Gorskii left Russia in 1918, after the Russian Revolution, and eventually settled in Paris, where he died in 1944. While some of his negatives were lost, Library of Congress purchased a collection of more than 2,600 images from the photographer’s sons in 1948.

All three photographers are represented in this handsome volume. Their legacies transcend a century, allowing the reader to look back to a unique and beautiful city, far removed from the ancient Russian capital of Moscow, and the glittering Imperial capital of St. Petersburg. These images document daily life in the Ural city, which has changed beyond recognition, many historic landmarks lost forever, and only the photographs preserve the flow of a lost world. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 5 September 2018


Divine Liturgy for Countess Anastasia Hendrikova Performed in Ekaterinburg


Countess Anastasia Vasilievna Hendrikova (1888-1918) in Tobolsk 1917 

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 corpse of Countess Anastasia Vasilievna Hendrikova, discovered in Perm between November 1918 to January 1919


Memorial cross to Countess Hendrikova and Ekaterina Schneider in the Yegoshikha Cemetery, 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.


Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Perm

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

Monument to Nicholas II Established Near St. Petersburg


On 2nd September, a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II, was unveiled in the village of Efimovsky, situated in the Boksitogorsky district of the Leningrad region. The opening of the monument is timed to the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Imperial Family.

The monument was established on the grounds of the church in the name of the Holy Prophet Elijah. The church was constructed in 1908, for which half of the necessary sum for its construction was paid by Nicholas II from his personal funds.

A large area was arranged for the monument. It is situated at the end of a wide avenue, lined with flower beds. The monument is situated between an old pine tree, which symbolizes the glorious past of the House of Romanov, and a very young birch tree, which symbolizes hope for the future restoration of the tsar’s throne in Russia. The bust of the Sovereign is turned to face the church, which he helped build.

The bust is mounted on a high granite pedestal, standing on a pile of collapsed Golgotha ​​stone. The inscription on the monument reads: “Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, Emperor of All Russia. In gratitude for the building of the church of the holy prophet Elijah of God. In memory of the 100th anniversary of the martyr’s death.”

The opening of the monument was attended by the head of the local administration Sergei Ivanovich Pokrovkin, which gave the event a state status. The consecration of the monument was performed by the priest of the church, Fr Mikhail Lomakin and Archpriest Father Gennady Belovolov. After the consecration, a prayer was offered to the Holy Royal Martyrs at the monument. The ceremony ended with the singing of the former national anthem “God, Save the Tsar”, to the accompaniment of the accordion.


Father Mikhail thanked the head of the Alley of Russian Glory Foundation Mikhail Leonidovich Serdyukov for the charity donation of the bust. Serdyukov made busts of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsesarevich Alexei specially for the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Tsar’s Family, and is willing to donate them to those who wish to establish them in significant places in Russia.

This event is important not only for the village of Efimovsky, but also for the whole of Russia. The fact is that in this year of this tragic year marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Russia’s last emperor and tsar, virtually no events were held at the state level, a program for the memorialization of the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs was not realized, and very few monuments were established to the Tsar-Martyr.

Such monuments are very necessary for Russia, since the monuments are considered by some as a “public canonization” to the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs. Although the Moscow Patriarchate canonized the Imperial family 18 years ago, there still remains great disagreement among many Russians with regard to the reign of the last Russian Tsar, a lack of understanding of his deed and service, condemnation and denigration of his image.

Thanks to such monuments, we return the name of Nicholas II to our public consciousness, we affirm the tsar’s idea among the people, we conclude the tragic century, which lived without a tsar on the Russian throne.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 3 September 2018

This Week in the News – The Romanovs and Imperial Russia


PHOTO: Portraits of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Collection. Artist: Nikolai Bodarevsky, 1907; and Emperor Nicholas II, Private Collection. Artist: Nikolai Avenirovich Shabunin, 1902-1903.

* * *

This Week in the News includes a link and brief summary to full-length articles published in the past week from English language media and internet sources.

This initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page – now, with more than 154,000 followers from around the world!

Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 1 September 2018:


ARTICLES – click on the red headline text below to read the respective articles

‘New perspective on Tsarist Russia’

Writer Frank Shatz writes about Royal Russia Founder Paul Gilbert, in the August 28th issue of ‘The Virginian’

Why are we still so obsessed with the Romanovs?

They ruled Russia for centuries before they were overthrown – a hundred years later, we can’t get enough of their stories…

Exploring Catholic Moscow: History, beauty and where to worship

Despite being a city closely connected with Orthodox Christianity, Moscow features two acting Catholic parishes, a Franciscan monastery and hosts diplomatic missions from both the Vatican and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

“The Door Passes Through a Door”

58 beautiful colour photos of Dormition Holy Sites in Russia – a person does not need to be Orthodox to appreciate their beauty, their significance, or their history – PG

The Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos is a feast of great importance to the Orthodox Church, as well as to people of Russia. It is celebrated on 28 August N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar or 15 August O.S. for those following the Gregorian Calendar.

In celebration of this great feast, let us virtually pass through the doors of some of the most beautiful Cathedrals, Monasteries, and Holy sites in the Rus’ Lands, dedicated to Her Dormition. Through Her prayers, may She protect us all!

How did Africans prosper in the Tsarist Russia?

Russia’s greatest poet had an ancestor from Africa, and many people of color made fortunes at the imperial court.

15 posters about the war Russia catastrophically lost

Russian posters depicting the Russo-Japanese War predicted an easy victory over the enemy, but the country suffered a humiliating defeat and for decades lost its powerful geopolitical position in the Far East.

Hollywood actors who could play the most famous Romanovs’

RBTH has compiled a list of 11 Hollywood actors who “they” believe could play Russia’s rulers – from Sophia Alekseyevna to Nicholas II. Do you agree with their selection?

* * *


The Marble Fountain in the Private Garden of the Catherine Park at Tsarskoye Selo reopened on 28th August, after a thirty-year sleep and a six-month restoration. The garden is laid out on the south facade of the Zubov Wing (the upper floor of which contained Empress Catherine II’s apartments) of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.

* * *

Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only,
and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia

Third lazurite portal to be installed in the Lyons Hall of the Catherine Palace


Boris Iğdalov, Head of the Lyons Hall restoration project

The reconstruction of the third lazurite portal has been completed, and will soon be installed in the Lyons Hall of the Catherine Palace. For its construction, it took more than 200 kilograms of lapis lazuli, and dozens of people, eight months to complete. The portal was made in the famous Amber Workshop at Tsarskoye Selo, where the Amber and Agate rooms were recreated by a team of experts and artists.

The Lyons Hall was created by the architect Charles Cameron in 1781 – 1783 and was named after the elegant walls, which were made with silk, manufactured in Lyon, France. The room was one of the private apartments of the Empress Catherine II, along with the Arabesque and Chinese halls, the Silver and the Blue rooms.


The reconstruction of the third lazurite portal is presented at a press conference 

The Lyons Hall featured bright Lyon gold silk, and rich blue lapis lazuli – creating a combination of luxury and impeccable taste. The blue lapis lazuli is mined in the Baikal region of Siberia, as well as from the north-east provinces of Afghanistan.

The Lyons Hall was lost during the Second World War. The legendary art historian Anatoly Mikhailovich Kuchumov (1912-1993) was here on April 27, 1944. He wandered among the ruins of the Catherine Palace and found pieces of charred lapis lazuli on the floor of the former Lyons Hall. He recovered 25 pieces of lapis lazuli and a chandelier. Three gilded bronze and lapis lazuli portals, as well as the Lyons silk, perished in the shelling and subsequent fire.


The Lyons Hall as it looked at the end of the Great Patriotic War

The Nazis had stolen the parquet floor of the Lyons Hall “made from twelve varieties of rare woods”, inlaid with mother of pearl. It was discovered in 1947 in Berlin and returned to Tsarskoye Selo. The original parquet floors are currently being restored, and once completed, will be reinstalled in the hall. 

The Lyons Hall was recreated when the Catherine Palace was rebuilt after the Great Patriotic War. The interior restoration project of the Lyon Hall was prepared in 1983 under the guidance of the unique architect-restorer, the chief architect of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve Alexander Kedrinsky, who also initiated the project for the reconstruction of the Amber Room. Sadly, however, the restoration of the Lyons Hall sat idle for many years. The museum required three and a half tons of lapis lazuli, and genuine Lyon silk – made be the same manufacturer, using the same technology, in order to recreate the golden shining, weaving garlands and branches, pheasants, peacocks and swans. In 2013, the Trans-soyuz Charitable Foundation provided the museum with the necessary funding. 


A gilded element of the lazurite portal

The walls of the hall will once again be decorated with Lyons silk. “It is made for us as a gift in Lyon. According to the texture and color, the material fully corresponds to the historical one. We still have fragments of the original. Now we are waiting for delivery, then we will start cutting and sewing,” said artist and restorer Alexander Soloviev.

In the Tsarskoye Selo Amber Workshop panels and elements of the portal are spread on a large table. Boris Iğdalov, the head of the restoration workshop, says that the reconstruction of the portals: “Is complicated, each element went through a long process of creation and coordinating.” First you need to draw, then sculpt, then create a cast, then consult with the museum experts advice, and finally, we can create the finished element from metal and then gild. When asked about the complexities and peculiarities of the work, Igdalov notes that the most difficult is keeping the workshop together. The average age of restorers – who became famous throughout the world, for the recreation of the Amber Room – are now approaching their sixties.


Panels and elements of the lazurite portal are spread on a large table in the Amber Worshop

“Lapis lazuli is a complex material with many inclusions. You need to first select the raw materials, and then also cut it correctly to reveal the most beautiful areas. All work is done manually, using only a small mechanization. Architects, art historians, metalworkers, jewelers, stone cutters work on the portals – our teamwork, “said Igdalov.

The Lyons Hall is scheduled to open to visitors in June 2019.

Click HERE (includes VIDEO) to read more about the restoration of the Lyons Hall, and HERE to read about the installation of another lazurite portal in the in the Lyons Hall in March 2017.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 31 August 2018