13 September 2017

The Director of the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Alexander Nikolaevich Zakatov, is appointed an honorary member of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society

On September 13, 2017, at the central offices of the Imperial Russian Palestine Society in Moscow, a ceremony took place during which newly-appointed honorary members of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society received their membership documents and medals.  The ceremony was attended by Sergei Vadimovich Stepashin, the President of the Imperial Russian Palestine Society, as well as Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin, the Executive Director of the Society. 

Among those appointed to membership in the Imperial Russian Palestine Society was the Director of the Chancellery of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, Alexander Nikolaevich Zakatov, Ph.D.  Dr. Zakatov was invited to become a member of the Society personally by President Stepashin during their meeting on July 25, 2017.  In presenting the membership certificate and medal, President Stepashin noted the special significance of this ceremony, taking place, as it did, on the 100th anniversary of the tragic events of 1917.  President Stepashin expressed his belief that Dr. Zakatov’s membership in the Society will open a new page in the history of the warm and productive relationship between the Society and the Imperial House of Russia.  In response, Dr. Zakatov conveyed to President Stepashin the warm greetings and best wishes of Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, the Head of the Imperial House.  Dr. Zakatov also reflected on how receiving these emblems of membership in the Society was for him personally very significant and symbolic in that exactly 20 years ago, on September 13, 1997, he was appointed to the position of Personal Secretary to the Imperial House, the title then used for the Director.

The Imperial Russian Palestine Society was founded in 1882 by Emperor Alexander III.  Its first President was Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich—the younger brother of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, the great-grandfather of the current Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.  The Grand Duchess has been an honorary member of the Society since 2006.  The Committee of Honorary Members of the Society is chaired by His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

After the conclusion of the ceremony, Dr. Zakatov met with Iu. P. Smirnov, the President of the Moscow Regional Branch of the Society, and with V. I. Tokarev, a cosmonaut and test pilot, Hero of the Russian Federation, and administrator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow, better known as Star City (Zvyodnyi gorodok), who were both made honorary members of the Society on this same day.  Joining the conversation after the ceremonies were other members of the Society, including Hieromonk Nikon (Levachev-Belavenets), an advisor to the Chancellery for historical and memorial activities, and E. A. Shcherbakova, the General Director of the Society’s “Holy Land” Pilgrimage Center.  The First Assistant President of the Society, Major-General G. V. Verenich, also offered his formal congratulations to Dr. Zakatov on becoming a member of the Society.

For more information, see www.ippo.ru

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