06 June 2017

Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia travels to Moscow and St. Petersburg, May 23 – June 4, 2017

Between May 23 and June 4, 2017, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia, the Heir of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, traveled to Russia and visited Moscow and St. Petersburg.

On May 23, Grand Duke George of Russia arrived in Moscow and that evening met with members of the Chancellery of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia. The Grand Duke also that evening honoured the memory of his grandmother, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna, who reposed in the Lord on this day in 2010 at the age of 96.

On May 24, the feast day of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril and Methodius, Teacher of the Slavs, and the name day of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Grand Duke George of Russia attended the Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral, which was served by the Patriarch and other hierarchs and clergy.

Before the Liturgy began, the Tsesarevich venerated the holy relics of St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia, which had been brought to Moscow from Bari and placed at the western entrance of the Cathedral.

After the Liturgy and moleben (an intercessory prayer service) to Ss. Cyril and Methodius, the Heir of the House of Romanoff congratulated the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church on his name day, and presented him a copy of volume 22 of The General Armorial of the Russian Empire, which contains illustrations and descriptions of 170 coats of arms that had been confirmed by the Heads of the Imperial House of Russia between the years 1917 and 2012.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill blessed Tsesarevich George, greeting him warmly and asking him to convey to his mother his archpastoral blessing and greetings.

Then the Grand Duke attended a festal meal, or trapeza, during which he had the opportunity to speak with metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, with visiting hierarchs and clergy from other Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church, philanthropists and foreign guests.

After the trapeza, the Tsesarevich, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, presided over an investiture ceremony for members of the Italian delegation that brought the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia to Russia. The Grand Duke presented several Imperial and Royal Orders of Knighthood to those whom his mother, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, was pleased to raise to the dignity of knight.

The members of the Italian delegation expressed their heartfelt thanks to the Head of the Imperial House of Russia for the honour accorded to them. Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto warmly recounted his meeting with Grand Duchess Maria during her pilgrimage to Bari in 2010.

For more on the service in Christ the Savior Cathedral.

In the afternoon, the Grand Duke held meetings with public figures and philanthropists.

That evening, the Tsesarevich and Grand Duke visited the new Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ and the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow, and remained to attend the all-night vigil. In the altar of the cathedral, Grand Duke George of Russia spoke with the monastery’s abbot, His Grace Bishop Tikhon of Yegorievsk, who described the plan and construction of the new cathedral.

On May 25, the Grand Duke traveled to St. Petersburg, where he attended a series of meetings connected with the activities of his Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research. That evening, His Imperial Highness attended a dinner to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Alexander Tkachenko, the General Director of the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research.

On May 26, the Tsesarevich attended a requiem service (panikhida) at the New Mausoleum for the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birth (August 17/30, 1917), and the 25th anniversary of his death (April 8/21 1992)—both of which fall in 2017. The service was officiated by the rector of the cathedral, Archimandrite Alexander (Fedorov), along with other clergy of the cathedral and Hieromonk Nikon (Levachev-Belavenets), who is an advisor to Her Imperial Highness’s Chancellery for historical and memorial affairs. Also commemorated during the service was Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich’s spouse, Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna, parents, Emperor-in-Exile Kirill Vladimirovich and Empress-in-Exile Victoria Feodorovna, and grandparents, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna.

Attending the service was a delegation of officers and crew from the Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav the Wise, which is currently undergoing routine maintenance in St. Petersburg and which since 2012 has been under the patronage of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

After the conclusion of the service in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral, His Imperial Highness the Heir, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia presented the commander of the Yaroslav the Wise, Captain 3rd Rank Alexander Novozhilov, an Imperial standard and his own personal standard (the Tsesarevich’s flag).

Captain Alexander Novozhilov was also awarded the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker III Class, and members of the crew were awarded the Imperial medal “In Commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the House of Romanoff, 1613-2013.” The Grand Duke himself pinned the medals upon each of the recipients.

By decree of the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko was appointed a member of the Chancellery and awarded the Imperial Monogram I Class. Both the Monogram and the signed Certificate confirming the award were personally presented to Fr. Alexander by Grand Duke George.

Having thanked Archimandrite Alexander (Fedorov) and all the clergy and faithful for their prayers on behalf of his reposed ancestors, Tsesarevich George, Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko, and members of the Chancellery departed for the City Clinical Oncology Dispensary, where the Grand Duke was greeted by the chief medical officer, Dr. Georgii Moiseevich Manikhas.

The Board of the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research then gathered in the Conference Hall for its regular meeting. H.I.H. the Grand Duke George of Russia listened to a report on the various activities of the Foundation in 2016, presented by the General Director of the Foundation, Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko.

Over the course of the past year, the Imperial Foundation continued its various activities in supporting the research and training of oncologists and other medical professionals. The Imperial Foundation provided financial support for two doctors at the City Clinical Oncological Dispensary to spend two weeks training at one of the best medical institutions in the United States, the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. In addition, funds from the Foundation went to support the residencies of two young doctors in the field of pediatric oncology. The Grand Duke, in his capacity as Chairman of the Board, confirmed the programme of charitable activities for next year, which had been proposed by the Board. In particular, the Board approved the idea of supporting the development of oncology centers across the regions of Russia.

It was also decided by the Board that the Foundation would from this year going forward award the Prize of the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Foundation as part of the Raisa Gorbachev International Symposium.

The meeting was attended by the chief medical officer of the City Clinical Oncological Dispensary, Dr. Georgii Manikhas; the Director of the Raisa Gorbachev Institute for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology, and Transplantation, Boris Afanasiev, and his Asst. Director, Inna Markova; and members of the Advisory Board of the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research, Prof. Iurii Punanov and Svetlana Safronova. At the conclusion of the session, His Imperial Highness expressed his heartfelt thanks to all the participants in these discussions for their ongoing efforts for the Foundation and in the fight against this dreaded disease.

Later, Grand Duke George visited the Alexandrinsky Theatre, the oldest national theatre in Russia. He was given a tour of the performance hall and museum by the Director of the theatre, Grigory Borisovich Popov; the Assistant Artistic Director and the President of the Russian State Institute of Cinematic Arts, Alexander Anatolievich Chepurov, PhD; and the Assistant Artistic Director for Creative and Organizational Work, Ekaterina Sergeevna Slepyshkova. These administrators of the Alexandrinsky Theatre described in detail for the Grand Duke the significance of this historic theatre to the Imperial Family; and after the tours, the administrators of the theatre hosted a luncheon in honour of the Grand Duke.

That afternoon, the Grand Duke visited the offices of the House of Architects, where he was greeted by the President of the St. Petersburg Union of Architects, Oleg Sergeevich Romanov. Also greeting and meeting with the Grand Duke were the Vice-President of the Union of Architects of St. Petersburg, Valerii Zinovievich Kaplunov; the Chief Architect of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Anatolievich Grigoriev; the corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, Valerii Alexandrovich Kim; and member of the Legislative Assembly of the Leningrad District, Ildar Fagimovich Gilyazov.

After a brief tour of the House of Architects (which is the former Polovtsev Mansion on Bol’shaya Morskaya Street), the Grand Duke sat in on a round table discussion on the future development of Russia’s northern capital and ways to preserve its unique architectural “look.” Then the Grand Duke attended a concert of the “Taurida” International Symphonic Orchestra, which performed a number of well-known works by Russian and foreign composers, as well as musical compositions by Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna and Emperor Alexander II the Tsar-Liberator. That evening, the Grand Duke attended a formal dinner in his honour hosted by the administration of the St. Petersburg Union of Architects.

On May 27, Grand Duke George visited the frigate Yaroslav the Wise and personally thanked the crew for its service to the nation. He also conveyed to the officers and crew a few small gifts from his mother, the patroness of the ship, sampled some of the shipboard fare, and toured the ship.

In the afternoon, His Imperial Highness met with the sculptor Vinera Zavievna Abdullina, and then he gave a press conference on the International Dressage Tournament, the winner of which receives the House of Romanoff Cup.

That evening, the Grand Duke met with the Commissioner for the Defense of the Rights of Entrepreneurs in St. Petersburg, Alexander Vasilievich Abrosimov.

On the morning of May 28, Grand Duke George of Russia attended the Divine Liturgy at the Church of Our Lady of Vladimir. In the church’s altar, His Imperial Highness offered his congratulations to Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga on his 88th birthday. His Eminence recounted his meetings with the Imperial Family during their visits to Russia, beginning as far back as the 1990s, and he gave his blessing to the Grand Duke and asked him to convey to his mother, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, his warmest archpastoral greetings.

Then the Grand Duke attended the International Tournament “House of Romanoff Cup in Dressage,” organized by the Forside Equestrian Club, and which took place this year from May 24-28, 2017.

The competition was in six traditional equestrian categories—CDI2*/CDIY/CDIJ/CDICh/CDIP/СDIYH—and the Russian riders in the tournament also competed for the House of Romanoff Cup. Judging this year was Maribel Alonso from Mexico, a member of the Dressage Committee of the Fédération Equestre internationale (FEI).

Also attending the tournament with the Grand Duke and members of the Chancellery was Olga Vladimirovna Raiman, a member of the Presidential Council of the Federal Equestrian Sports in Russia.

The winners of the international competition for the House of Romanoff Cup — 2017 were:

  • Children’s Category: Taisia Rusakova, Terrano.
  • Junior Riders Category: Valeria Dounikova, Dream Boy.
  • Young Riders Category: Alexandra Mksakova, Scampalo 6.
  • Adult Category: Natalia Sinilnikova, Hawk’s Flight.

The House of Romanoff Cup for Dressage has been awarded annually since 2015, and is given to Russian riders who have accumulated the highest number of points in international tournaments. 

That evening, Grand Duke George of Russia took part in the formal presentation of the illustrated book Uhlans: Warriors of the Great Steppe. During the ceremony, the Grand Duke expressed his thanks to the authors and publishers of the book, and afterward spoke with the Director of the L. N. Gumilev Northwest Research Center of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, Shamil Kamilevich Akhmetshin (the author of a larger portion of the book), and the Chairman of the Tatar Nobility Association of St. Petersburg, Salim Talkhinovich Khasanov. During their conversation, Messrs. Akhmetkhin and Khasanov described the educational and philanthropic work that their respective organizations do.

On May 29-30, Grand Duke George toured the city of St. Petersburg and attended a series of meetings on expanding the charitable and cultural activities of the Imperial House of Russia, and on future possible international economic collaborations between Russia and nations of both the West and East Asia.

On May 31, His Imperial Highness attended the plenary session of the meeting “Sport—The New Platform for Dialogue on International Economic Forums,” which was part of the larger International Economic Forum of St. Petersburg. The Grand Duke gave a brief welcoming speech to the participants of the Forum.

Also attending the presidium were: member of the State Duma, Hero of Russia, three-time Olympic champion, and knight of the Imperial Order of St. Michael the Archangel, Alexander Alexandrovich Karelin; the Deputy General Director of “Roskongress,” Georgii Pavlovich Briusov; the Director of VTB Arena, Andrei Nikolaevich Peregudov; the Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the European Tennis Federation, Vladimir Alexandrovich Dmitriev; members of the Olympic Committee, including Marcus Keith; and others.

On June 1, the Grand Duke visited the hockey demonstration game “Team SPIEF—World Team,” with leading business leaders and world champions in ice hockey playing each other. During the break between periods, the Tsesarevich had the opportunity to meet and speak with many of the players.

Then His Imperial Highness visited a friendly basketball match between Team Russia and Team Serbia, where he was greeted by the President of the Russian Olympic Committee, Alexander Dmitrievich Zhukov, and by the players of both teams.

After the match the Grand Duke met with some of the guests at the match, including the Ambassador of the European Union to Russia, Vygaudas Ušackas.

On June 2, the Tsesarevich attended the plenary session of the International Economic Forum, which was formally opened by President Vladimir Putin. Among those also attending were: the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi; President Igor Dodon of Moldova; and Chancellor Christian Kern of Austria. Also in the hall were members of the government of the Russian Federation, and deputies to both the State Duma and Federation Council.

After the plenary session, the Tsesarevich met a delegation from Monaco, which arrived at the Forum in an antique Rolls Royce. The delegation included the Heir to the Italian Royal House, H.R.H. Prince Emmanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Juan Henry, Kyuri Usmanov, and others.

On June 3, Grand Duke George opened the “White Nights: Cup of the Roskongress Foundation” Tennis Tournament. The competition took place on one of the most picturesque places of St. Petersburg—Elagin Island.

Later, the Grand Duke took part in the awards ceremony of the St. Petersburg Corporate Games, which took place at the V. I. Alekseev Sports Complex.

Then the Grand Duke participated in the awards ceremony of the Gazprombank Private Banking 2017 golf tournament. The golf club “Peterhof Lakes Course” is located in Peterhof, next to the historic Alexandria Park and the Mikhailovka summer palace. During the ceremony, His Imperial Highness met with the First Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gazprombank, Dmitrii Peshnev-Podolsky.

The Grand Duke was accompanied at these events by the General Director of the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research, Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko, and by the head of security for the Chancellery, Mikhail Grigorievich Shakhov.

On June 4, H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia departed St. Petersburg for Brussels.

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