30 August 2017

Church services mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich

August 30 (August 17 according to the Old Calendar), 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of H.I.H. the Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich—the father of the current Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

This historic anniversary was marked by a solemn church service, which was performed with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in the Annunciation Chapel of the Epiphany Cathedral in Moscow, where His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei II is buried. Patriarch Aleksei II had greeted the Head of the Romanoff dynasty in St. Petersburg in 1991, during the first visit in 74 years of a member of the Imperial House to Russia, and gave his blessing for the members of the Imperial House of Russia to return to their homeland regularly.

A Divine Liturgy and requiem (panikhida) service for His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei II, for Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, and for his wife, Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna, was served by the rector of the cathedral, Mitred Archpriest Alexander Ageikin, who was joined by the priest Fr. Aleksei Artamonov and deacon Fr. Aleksei Katannikov, as well as by the Hieromonk Nikon (Levachev-Belavenets), an advisor to the Chancellery of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia for historical and memorial events, and by Hierodeacon Sofronii (Mikhalsky) of the Archangelsk Eparchy.

Attending the services were members of the Chancellery of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, led by the Director of the Chancellery, Alexander N. Zakatov. Also attending were: the Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, V. E. Churov; the Secretary of the Knights’ Council of the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Colonel O. V. Kuznetsov; members of other Imperial Orders, including Colonel (ret.) V. P. Peterukhin, the most senior member, by age, of any of the Imperial Orders; representatives of the organization “For Faith and Fatherland,” led by the President of its Governing Council, A. V. Kulyomin; members of the Russian Nobility Association, led by its President, O. V. Shcherbachev; the Chairman of the Board of the “Foundation for the Support and Development of Education, Creativity, and Culture,” E. V. Bayakhchian; members of a range of social organizations; and parishioners of the cathedral.

During the Litanies and at the Great Entrance in the Divine Liturgy, the clergy prayed by name for the current Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and for her son and heir, Grand Duke George of Russia.

With the blessing of the rector of the cathedral, the homily before Communion was given by Hieromonk Nikon. Fr. Nikon described in moving detail the biography of Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, and concluded by recalling the words of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, that in the persons of Grand Duchess Maria and Grand Duke George, the House of Romanoff continues its vital service even in our own day: preserving the continuity of the dynasty and the historical legacy and traditions of Russia—despite the fact that the Russian Throne is no more.

After the requiem service, the Director of the Chancellery of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, Alexander N. Zakatov, conveyed the deepest gratitude of the Grand Duchess and the Tsesarevich to Archpriest Alexander Ageikin, the clergy, and all those gathered. Then a brief investiture service followed, during which Alexander Zakatov and the King of Arms and Head of the Office of Heraldry in the Chancellery, Stanislav V. Dumin, presented Imperial medals and awards from the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (of which the Grand Duchess is an honorary member). The devices of the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker I Class was awarded to Colonel-General Fedor Ivanovich Ladygin, who from 1992 to 1997 was the commander of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and who now is the Vice-President of the Council of Veterans of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff and a member of the Advisory Committee for International Affairs of the Federation Council.

The award of the St. Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky) Krasnoyarsk Branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was presented to the Head of the Legal Office of the Chancellery of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, attorney G. Iu. Lukianov; and to the philanthropist and active participant in numerous cultural and educational projects of the Imperial House of Russia and the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Major-General I. I. Polenyachenko.

This same day, a requiem service took place in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in the Ss. Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg at the grave of Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich. The service was officiated by the rector of the cathedral, Archimandrite Alexander (Fedorov). In the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow, a requiem service took place in the Church of St. Roman the Melodist, at the gravesites of the ancestors of the House of Romanoff and of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. (The service was officiated by the abbot of the monastery, the Vicar of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow, His Grace Bishop Savva of Voskresensk). In San Francisco, in the Holy Virgin Cathedral — Joy of All Who Sorrow, a requiem was served by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Second Deputy of the President of the Synod of Bishops and Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. Other requiem services were held in countless other churches across Russia and the world.

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