Author Topic: Olga might have become a nun  (Read 13634 times)

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Offline aligertz

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Olga might have become a nun
« on: January 21, 2005, 02:23:19 AM »
 :)
greetings all
  I have always believed very strongly that had she
lived Olga Nicholaievna would have ultimately gone
on to become an Orthodox nun much as the Grand
Duchess Ella;Olga DID have a normal romantic bent
but her spirituality was deeper than even that of her parents;she must have determined (privately) that
she in her august position might never 'get hitched'
and that she were 'meant' for the life of holy service.
and sacrifice.
Any takers? :)

ali

Offline matushka

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2005, 03:47:10 AM »
Dear Ali, I wish Olga Nikolaevna had such aspiration! She reaaly was a deep orthodox christian, as (but not more) her sister Tatiana Nikolaevna. BUT I doubt she might have become a nun. Read her letters from Tobolsk. In one of them (I do not remember what, I have them not by hand) she wrote about the ordination of grand Duke Ioann as a sub-deacon and said, that his wife was not very glad of that. She added  "I understand her, being wife óf a priest, matushka, is not very funny" or something like that ( I do not know the english version). I think it is the answer to your question! Olga Nikoleavna was a real christian girl, she might have become an excellent christian wife and mother, and is a model for all girlies our time, but is not a model of ascetical and monastic life.

Offline Lanie

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2005, 01:34:07 PM »
Olga said something about how being a nun "musn't be very jolly".  TN wasn't very religious, no doubt she believed in God and the Orthodox Church, but she overdid her piety (according to some who knew her including Gibbes) to please Alexandra.  Anyway, I doubt any of the girls would have become nuns.  ON didn't have the temperament, she was too moody and romantic!

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2005, 03:57:39 PM »
So there are no moody or temperamental nuns?
Those entering the Monastic life are subject to strong temptations, and have to be fighters. In the Orthodox faith, our life here is a fight and struggle to overcome sins, and we are expected to be proactive - the Gospel says (paraphrased) thet the violent take Heaven by force - meaning that through our personal inner-struggle we are meant to strive to attain Heaven.
I disagree about Tatiana being not overly religious. From writings of hers, and quotes she noted down from various Church men, she shows a deeply Orthodox way of thinking and outlook.

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2005, 04:36:02 PM »
No one really knows what is in a person's heart . . . sometimes the person himself/herself doesn't even know.

And yes, we have memoirs to go by, but if you compare them detail by detail you'll notice some areas of conflict. (Remember the parable about the group of blind men being asked to describe an elephant, and each had a different description?) Plus, almost 100 years later, it is especially difficult to discern what went on in the hearts and minds of people from a different time . . . even if we possess fragments of letters and diaries. After all, how well does your random correspondence and hastily jotted diary entries reflect every thought, every aspect of your personality?

That being said, though, I like the frequently noted comparison of Olga's piano technique to Tatiana's piano technique. Tatiana, it was written, played with precision. But Olga played with feeling, and after hearing a song had the ear and skills to improvise the same melody on a piano keyboard.

I think Tatiana's religious piety may have been one of unquestioning acceptance, partly due to her practical, matter-of-fact personality, and partly due to her desire to please her mother.  I can see Olga's religious feelings, however, being an ongoing process of both intellect and heart, with tremendous contemplation and questioning.

And I cannot see Olga taking on the mantle of a nun, unless (1) all chances for physical love were denied her and (2) she somehow was able to develop the discipline that came so naturally to Tatiana.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2005, 04:40:12 PM »
Quote
No one really knows what is in a person's heart . . . sometimes the person himself/herself doesn't even know.

And yes, we have memoirs to go by, but if you compare them detail by detail you'll notice some areas of conflict. (Remember the parable about the group of blind men being asked to describe an elephant, and each had a different description?) Plus, almost 100 years later, it is especially difficult to discern what went on in the hearts and minds of people from a different time . . . even if we possess fragments of letters and diaries. After all, how well does your random correspondence and hastily jotted diary entries reflect every thought, every aspect of your personality?

That being said, though, I like the frequently noted comparison of Olga's piano technique to Tatiana's piano technique. Tatiana, it was written, played with precision. But Olga played with feeling, and after hearing a song had the ear and skills to improvise the same melody on a piano keyboard.

I think Tatiana's religious piety may have been one of unquestioning acceptance, partly due to her practical, matter-of-fact personality, and partly due to her desire to please her mother.  I can see Olga's religious feelings, however, being an ongoing process of both intellect and heart, with tremendous contemplation and questioning.

And I cannot see Olga taking on the mantle of a nun, unless (1) all chances for physical love were denied her and (2) she somehow was able to develop the discipline that came so naturally to Tatiana.


I so completely agree with all of your observations, Janet. In fact I believe one of the witnesses at Tobolsk said pretty much what you do in comparing Tatiana's religiosity with Olga's. I also believe Olga would not have taken "on the mantle of a nun," as you so poetically put it, precisely for the reasons you state. She was far too passionate, as witnessed by her childhood letters to Rasputin about some adolescent crush (was it on "Kolya"? I don't remember). In this she took after both her parents, but especially her mother.
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2005, 07:10:20 PM »
Janet_W - as usual, I enjoyed and quite agree with your eloquent post.  I really think you hit the nail right on the head :)

Georgiy - Your knowledge and information regarding the Orthodox faith is much appreciated - especially on such a thread as this one. :D

Offline matushka

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2005, 11:42:25 AM »
I would like to add some ideas about this theme
First, Ali wrote about « sacrifice ». I am afraid you do not know that orthodox people do not go to monastery in order to make something like a redemption, to “offer themselves”, sacrifice themselves. These ideas are just not orthodox. People go to monastery in order to cry about there own sin, sing all time to God “have mercy upon me”, to pray for their salvation and salvation of there who ask their prayers. For this reason, Olga could not think about “sacrifice” herself, it is something impossible in our tradition.
Second, I remember some quotation of Alexandra Feodorovna’s letters. In June 1916 (if my memory is good), she wrote that she wanted to prepare herself to the Holy Communion (she means fasting and praying) and added she would like her daughter preparing to. But, she wrote, they do not want. Another case: for the new year 1916, the Tsaritsa wanted spend time in prayer; but “it will be boring” for the girls. Could prayer and Communion be “boring” for someone who think about becoming a nun? No of course!
And third, Olga Nikolaevna liked, for example, dancing and other such thing: that is really good and normal for a girl. But someone who wanted to became nun would have renounce of all that!
About Tatiana, it makes no sense to surch "who is a deeper christian": only God knows about that, and Olga and Tatiana are now both saints! But I want to add, that I totally agree with Georgy: reading her letters and writings, you understand she was a profound christian girl. And not at all a formal one. For her (as I think) church services, church prescriptions was an evidence, a necessity. She notice in her diaries what she read about faith and spiritual life, what shows that she do not just wanted to please her mother.
Another day I will continue this theme! I so am sorry, I do not speak English, I hope you all can understand what I have so bad written!

Offline bookworm857158367

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2005, 12:40:28 PM »
I have my doubts that any of the girls would have become nuns in the ordinary course of events. If they'd made it out of Russia, they would have been married off fairly quickly. Olga didn't have the right temperament, anyway.

Offline grandduchess_sofia

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2005, 01:00:17 PM »
I don't think any of them would have become nuns either, considering that they were young and from what we hear lively and perhaps the events of their captivity might have changed them, maybe they would have lost faith and re-nounced( is that the right word?) the God that had put them in this situation and had caused them so much pain?
sops

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2005, 03:18:57 PM »
Ah, but part of our faith is bearing whatever crosses we may have - it can make us stronger. But of course it is hard. I think a lot of teenagers will be less inclined to put in the hard work of prayer, fasting etc, but if it has been a strong part of their formative years, as they outgrow the ususal teenage rebellion they will probably find their faith strengthened again.

I think that Olga's faith was more of the heart, and Tatiana's more of the intellect, but faith is not exclusive to either the heart or the intellect, and exists in both. I find in myself it is more an intellectual acceptance, and wish it were more from the heart...but that is also part of my personality.

Offline Anastasia

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2005, 03:44:14 AM »
I don't know if Tatiana's faith was more "intellectual" and if Olga's was more of the "heart". Faith is faith regardless. It's been said before but I'll say it again that it really isn't anyone's place to judge someone's "piety" or to judge in general. Therefore as far as that argument is concerned, I don't think that's anyone's business honestly.

As far as Olga being a nun? She could have been. She also could have been a wife. All of these options were open to her. I think it's kind of an irrelevent thread though because she didn't become a nun. And from the historical evidence it seemed like she had more of a desire towards the wife/mother vocation. But to judge it on something like "Olga liked dancing, therefore she wouldn't have been a nun." I don't think that's the case. Now had she taken the veil, no she wouldn't have been dancing. But Olga was very young when she "enjoyed dancing", remember she died at 22 so had she lived longer maybe she would have chosen to be a nun when she was in her mid-twenties. But balls were part of Russian court life and part of a Grand Duchess' life and Olga wasn't a nun nor a novice so yes she enjoyed dancing. And from what I grasp, it isn't that nuns don't enjoy dancing-it isn't that they have different desires than we do entirely-it is that they have chosen to give them up.

What I mean to say is, maybe if Olga had lived she might have later decided to give them up. Who knows. Like I said, we'll never know because she was killed with her family which Orthodox would view as a higher calling than a veil because it could be considered a crown of martyrdom or a bearing of passions.

Anyway, just my two cents.

-Anastasia

Offline cimbrio

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2005, 05:16:29 AM »
I nthink it's totally RIDDICULOUS to speculate about a thing like this. All the children were religius, granted, but to wonder wether they would have turned out to be nuns or not is just like asking anything else, we just DON'T KNOW! and we shall never know, we cannot ask ourselves "what if" all the time!

Offline matushka

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2005, 09:22:22 AM »
Yes, Cimbrio, you are totally right! Answering to this question, I just wanted to say that at the moment of her death, Olga Nikolaevna was not prepared to become a nun, had not such ideas. Discussion about "what if" has no sense.

Offline La_Mashka

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Re: Olga might have become a nun
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2005, 03:33:09 PM »
ummm...

what if.. what if


what if Aleksey didnt have hemophilia

what if one of the abortions Aleksandra had was a boy

etc...etc...etc..

I havent read ANYWHERE anything that indicates that any of the girls was considering becoming a nun...

Had they survived, they could have married, or become a nun, or travelled around the world, or become actresses..... who knows.... we can all speculate...  
Tishie mushi kot na krushie