MONUMENT TO GRAND PRINCE S.A. ROMANOV

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The monument to Grand Prince S.A. Romanov, Governor General of Moscow, was erected on the site of his death – on the north side of the Senate Square, near the Nikolskaya Tower.

The fourth son of Alexander II, Grand Prince Sergey Alexandrovich, born in 1857, took part in the Turkish campaign of 1877-1878, founded the Palestine Society for the exploration of ancient Palestine, and participated in the establishment of the Moscow Museum of Fine Arts. In 1891 he was appointed Governor-General of Moscow.

The monument was created by artist V. Vasnetsov from the voluntary donations of the Fifth Kiev Grenadier Regiment, of which Romanov was the commander. It was a tall bronze crucifixion cross placed on a stepped base of dark green Labrador grass. The cross was decorated with enamel inlays. A bowing figure of the Virgin Mary in mourning was placed above the cross under the gently curved roof. The Gospel inscription on the cross reads: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do". The monument was unveiled on 2 April 1908.

The remains of the Grand Prince were buried in the burial vault in the basement of the Church of St Alexius the Metropolitan, in the Chudov Monastery. Architects V.P. Zagorsky, P.V. Zhukovsky and R.I. Klein were involved in creating the tomb. The icons in tempera technique were made by the academician of painting K. Stepanov. The crypt was located exactly under the coffin of Metropolitan Alexius. It was consecrated in 1906 as a chapel in the name of St Sergius of Radonezh.

The widow of the Grand Prince, Elizaveta Fyodorovna, the elder sister of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, devoted herself to charity after her husband's death, founding the Marfo-Mariinsky Community of Sisters of Charity. For many years she worked there, caring for the sick. After the Bolshevik seizure of power she refused to leave Russia. In 1918 together with the relatives of Emperor Nicholas II she was taken to the Urals’ city of Alapaevsk, where they all died at the hands of Bolshevik executioners.

On 1 May 1918, on the orders and with the direct participation of Lenin, the monument to Grand Prince S. A. Romanov in the Kremlin was savagely destroyed.

After the demolition of the monument, an attempt was made by church officials to save at least the cross made by V. Vasnetsov. On 5 May 1918, N.D. Kuznetsov – a member of the All-Russian Local Council – submitted a request to the Council of People's Commissars to give the cross from the monument to the Chudov Monastery or the Assumption Cathedral since the cross was a subject of religious veneration. But there was no response from the authorities to this request.

Unveiling the monument to Grand Prince S.A. Romanov in 1908Monument to Grand Prince S.A. RomanovMonument to Grand Prince S.A. RomanovUnveiling the reconstructed monument to Grand Prince S.A. Romanov in 2017

In 1985, while digging a trench on Ivanovskaya Squire, a vault with S.A. Romanov's burial place was discovered; it was again covered with earth after the silver parts were uncovered and removed from the coffin. In 1995, the miraculously preserved remains of the Grand Prince were solemnly transferred from the Kremlin to the revived Novospassky monastery and buried in the family vault of the Romanov boyars.

On 4 May 2017, the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia took part in the ceremony of unveiling the monument, reconstructed on the place where the Grand Prince Sergey Alexandrovich Romanov was killed – in the pocket park in the Moscow Kremlin.