22 November 2016

The Grand Duke George of Russia visits Moscow for the celebration of the 70th birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, November 19-21, 2016

On November 19-21, 2016, H.I.H. the Grand Duke George of Russia visited Moscow to attend church services marking the 70th birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and to convey to him birthday greetings from his mother, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

On November 19, the Grand Duke arrived in Moscow from Madrid.  His Imperial Highness met with members of Her Imperial Highness’s Chancellery to discuss on-going projects being carried out by the Chancellery and by other organizations supported by the Russian Imperial House.

On November 20, the birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia, accompanied by the Director of H.I.H.’s Chancellery, Alexander N. Zakatov, and by the Advisor to the Chancellery for Public Relations and Publications, David G. Mepurishvili, went to Christ the Saviour Cathedral, where a Divine Liturgy was served by His Holiness and representatives of other Local Orthodox Churches, including His Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria; His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine; His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia; His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia; His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus; His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania; His Beatitude Metropolitan Savva of Warsaw and All Poland; His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; His Beatitude Archbishop Tikhon of Washington and All America; other hierarchs and clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church, and representatives of other Local Orthodox Churches, who were themselves unable to attend the service.

Among those attending the liturgy were: the Speaker of the State Duma, V. V. Volodin; the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the President of the Russian Federation, S. V. Kirienko; Deputy Prime Minister S. E. Prikhodko; Minister of Culture V. R. Medinsky; the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President in the Central Federal District, A. D. Beglov; the Mayor of Moscow S. S. Sobianin; the member of the Federation Council A. A. Klishas; the Chairman of the Committee for International Affairs of the State Duma, L. E. Slutsky; member of the State Duma V. I. Resin; and representatives of numerous other state and public organizations.

After the Divine Liturgy, H.I.H. the Grand Duke George of Russia met with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and gave him a letter from the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, congratulating His Holiness on his 70th birthday.  He also presented the devices of the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker to His Holiness, as well as a very old icon of the St. Nicholas, the Heavenly Patron of this Order, from the private collection of the Imperial House.

Here is the text of the congratulatory letter from Her Imperial Highness:






to His Holiness

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia


Your Holiness,

I send you my heartfelt congratulations on your 70th birthday.

Your pious grandfather and father, who lived through the crucible of atheistic persecution, instilled in you a strong and abiding faith and taught you to defend your faith with courage and wisdom.

More than 50 years ago, you chose to follow in their pious footsteps. You pursued your education in the theological schools of the Northern Capital, took on yourself the mantle of monasticism and the priestly office, and then were given the dignity of episcopal rank.  At each level of service assigned to you by the Holy Church, you fulfilled your duty to God, your fellow clergy, and your flock with a deep and profound sense of responsibility.

In 2009, the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, recognizing your spiritual gifts and vast experience as an archpastor, elected you to the throne of the Russian patriarchate.

From the very first meeting with my parents, which took place exactly a quarter century ago, in November 1991, you showed unwavering love for us, respect for the historical heritage of our House, and a keen understanding of its mission in the modern world.  You have assisted us with your prayers and advice, and have supported us at difficult moments in our lives.

Together with all the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church and of Orthodox Churches the world over, I pray that God will send down upon you health, many years, and unfailing strength as you continue to carry the Cross of Christ in your service as Patriarch.

In honour of your birthday, I ask you to accept the devices of the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker I Class, and an icon of the Heavenly Patron of the Order.  The Order of St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker is one of our Dynastic Orders, your membership of which derives from your membership of the Imperial Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, the highest of our Dynastic Orders.

I have sent my son and heir, the Grand Duke George of Russia, to convey to you this letter and these gifts, and also to demonstrate personally and publicly the love and respect our House has for you, our Holy Father and Intercessor.

Entrusting myself to your holy prayers and asking your blessing, I remain ever yours in faith and devotion,


Madrid, November 7/20, 2016


His Holiness expressed his gratitude to the Head of the House of Romanoff and to her Heir for these congratulations and gifts, and spoke warmly of his many meetings over the years with Grand Duchess Maria of Russia and Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna, in particular the time when they together attended the consecration of the memorial church in honour of the Icon of the Mother of God “Seeking of the Lost” on Soloviev Crossing (see

http://www.imperialhouse.ru/rus/allnews/news/2002/91.html), at which time there took place one of the first investiture ceremonies for the Order of St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker (see http://www.runivers.ru/upload/iblock/1c8/IV%209.pdf), and when the Grand Duke received a blessing for his upcoming trip to Antarctica

From Christ the Saviour Cathedral the Grand Duke made his way to the D. D. Pletnev City Clinical Hospital No. 57, where he attended a service in the first church in Russia dedicated to the recently canonized Holy Physician and Passion-Bearer Evgeny (Botkin), who on July 4/17, 1918, was martyred in Ekaterinburg with the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

The son of Dr. Sergei P. Botkin, the founder of modern Russian medical science, Evgeny Sergeevich Botkin was a lecturer at the Military Medical Academy, a hero of the Russo-Japanese War, and, from 1908 on, the physician to the court of Emperor Nicholas II.  But it was not the glitter and gold of the court that attracted Dr. Botkin to his new duties.  A deeply pious Orthodox believer, Evgeny Botkin was devoted to the Imperial Family and genuinely loved them, admiring their talents and nobility of spirit and understanding them as people, and so able to forgive their faults.  The relationship between the doctor and his Imperial patients was not without its bumps, but at that tragic moment when a decision had to be made, he without the slightest hesitation acted on the basis of duty and devotion.  Taken with the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers down into the basement of Ipatiev House, he alone understood that they were being led to their deaths.

The chapel at the D. D. Pletnev City Clinical Hospital No. 57 was the brainchild of the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital, Distinguished Doctor of the Russian Federation Irina A. Nazarova; the Academician and Chief Internist of the Department of Public Health of the City of Moscow, Alexander G. Chuchalin, and Archpriest Maksim Siniuk.  The chapel was consecrated on March 25, 2016, by His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuyevo.  Now, any of the approximately 50,000 patients who receive treatment at this hospital each year can also benefit from the spiritual comfort offered in this holy place.

In the summer of 2016, the first Russian biographer of Dr. Evgeny Botkin—the historian and writer A. N. Krylov-Tolstikovich—presented as a gift to the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, an old icon of Christ “Behold the Man,” depicting the Saviour in the Crown of Thorns.

The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia had accepted this gift with enormous gratitude, but expressed her desire to keep the icon in Russia so it would be available for veneration by the people of her country.  Recognizing the historical significance of the consecration of this church—the first dedicated to Dr. Botkin—the Grand Duchess asked to have the icon installed in this new church.

After the moleben in the chapel served by Archpriest Maksim Siniuk, the Grand Duke presented the Icon of the Saviour “Behold the Man” to the church.  Dr. Irina Nazarova, Dr. Alexander Chuchalin, and the biographer A. N. Krylov-Tolstikovich attended the service and were present during the presentation ceremony of the icon.

Then the Grand Duke met with the hospital staff in the main auditorium.  Dr. Irina Nazarova and Dr. Alexander Chuchalin gave short speeches formally greeting the Grand Duke, and Alexander N. Zakatov, the Director of H.I.H.’s Chancellery, rose and spoke about the activities of the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research, which the Grand Duke founded and continues to serve as its Trustee and Director.  (See http://www.imperialfund.org/). The discussion quickly turned to how the hospital and the Imperial Foundation can work together in the future.  The Grand Duke then took questions from the hospital staff and from the press.

Also present were members of the Chancellery, representatives of the organizations “For Faith and Fatherland” and the Russian Nobility Association, the famous Georgian actor and director David B. Giorgobiani, and representatives of other civil organizations.

Irina Nazarova and Alexander Chuchalin presented a Bible to His Imperial Highness.

After his visit to the D. D. Pletnev City Clinical Hospital No. 57, the Grand Duke George of Russia visited the oldest member of the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker, Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolai Ignatievich Furmanov, whose 103rd birthday is fast approaching.  His Imperial Highness wished Colonel Furmanov health and spiritual strength, and presented him a silver Icon medal of the Feodorov Mother of God—the patron icon of the House of Romanoff.

On November 21, the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel and the other Heavenly Powers, H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia met with members of H.I.H.’s Chancellery and with others working on projects supported or connected with the Imperial House.  He then departed from Moscow for Madrid.

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