10 October 2014

RPU hosts a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna

The Russian Orthodox University (RPU) Hosts Ceremonies Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Grand Duchess Leonida of Russia

October 6, 2014, marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Her Imperial Highness The Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna of Russia, mother of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

The principal organizer of the celebrations that took place in Moscow on October 10 at the Russian Orthodox University (RPU) was the national civic organization “For Faith and Fatherland.” A solemn panikhida, or requiem service, was held at the university’s Chapel of the Holy Evangelist John the Theologian under the Elm, officiated by Hieromonk Nikon (Levachev-Belavenets), the chaplain for the organization “For Faith and Fatherland.” Also serving at the panikhida was Deacon Boris Yakovenko of the Church of St. Dmitrii Donskoi in the Raevo section of Moscow.

Attending the panikhida were members of the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, including its Director and the Private Secretary of the Imperial Family, Alexander Zakatov; members of the Russian Nobility Association, including its chairman, Oleg Shcherbachev; members of “For Faith and Fatherland,” including the vice-chairman of its executive council, A. V. Kulyomin; the chairman of the Societies of Descendants of the Wars of 1812 and 1914, V. I. Aliavdin; the chief of the administrative offices of the Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation, Major-General A. V. Kirilin; the Distinguished Artist of Russia I. G. Mashkov; members of the public; and parishioners.

After the conclusion of the service and a brief sermon by Fr. Nikon, A. N. Zakatov announced the next event in the campaign “Gifts for the Grand Duchess—Charity,” which is timed to coincide with the anniversary of Grand Duchess Leonida’s birthday. In accordance with the wishes of H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, donations are being accepted to commission an Icon of Holy Martyr Anastasia the Alleviatrix of Captives for the Church of St. John the Theologian under the Elm and for the construction of a case (or kiot) for it. Those who make donations for this purpose will receive in return a commemorative certificate acknowledging their gift. A list of all donors and the amounts of their donations will be presented to Her Imperial Highness.

Later, in the university’s conference hall, a photo exhibit entitled “Preserver of the Foundations of the Dynasty,” dedicated to the life and work of Grand Duchess Leonida, was opened, and then Hieromonk Nikon formally opened the conference. First, Hieromonk Matfei (Muntianu), an instructor at RPU and the assistant rector of the chapel, welcomed all the participants and conveyed to all those gathered the warmest wishes and gratitude of Hegumen Peter (Eremeev), the Chancellor of RPU, for all that they are doing to help the church. Next, Alexander Zakatov discussed the celebrations marking the 100th birthday of Grand Duchess Leonida in St. Petersburg and the recent visit to the Northern Capital of the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia. Then followed speeches from O. V. Shcherbachev and A. V. Kulyomin, who welcomed the conference participants on behalf of the Russian Nobility Association and Societies of Descendants of the Wars of 1812 and 1914, respectively. Then the participants of the conference heard the fascinating paper by Dr. S. V. Dumin, King-of-Arms and in charge of the Office of Heraldry in H.I.H.’s Chancellery, about the Georgian Royal House.

Dr. F. V. Shelov-Koveliaev, the former First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, gave a paper on the reactions of the Russian political elite during the first official visit to Russia of Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich and Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna in November 1991. The many difficulties of the first visit of the Imperial Family to Moscow at the end of May 1992 was the topic of the next paper by Dr. V. I. Bragin, the former Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation. At the end of the session, chess Grandmaster and National Sports Laureate of the USSR L. S. Belavenets shared her impressions of meeting the members of the Imperial Family.

The conference ended with a reception and concert by stars of the Russian stage, Inna Subbotina and Iurii Filatov.

Photos courtesy Maria Temnova

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