Author Topic: Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral  (Read 116985 times)

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Sunny

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2004, 03:53:27 PM »
So many, many thanks for this remarkable thread.  For some reason I couldn't see several of the pictures, but those that I did were more than touching... especially the face of Kuchumov. Bob, Rob, Antonio, and all who contribute here, have made this forum a very special place.

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2004, 07:15:57 PM »
Thanks everyone for mentioning Kuchumov and talking about him.  If he were here he would be so pleased to know he had friends like us around the world - maybe he knows that wherever he is now.

He never lived to see the reopening of the rooms of the palace, but he know the decision had been made.

I promised him he would see the Mauve Room restored in his lifetime the last time I saw him and he cried.  It tore me up inside.  He tried to hold on and worked even harder on the research we were doing. Maybe it was some consolation to him that some of his vast knowledge was passing on through me, Rifat and a few others of our core group around him.  Had God given him two or three more years....

I know he died with hope for the future but he was also bitter about the helplessness of his body and how poor he was - he was so worried about who would pay for his funeral and have decent clothes to be buried in.  He was also bitter because he had been ostracized by many of the museum people.  He still had a great relationship with Pavlovsk and the Director, Yuri Mudrov and many of the curators from Pavlovsk would come and see him in his tiny apartment.

His last months were very hard, Rifat was with him - he stayed with him and took care of him.

Kuchumov wanted me to take his photo albums to America - he had around a hundred pictures of the AP that he had saved.  No one wanted these - only he did and he preserved them with the hopes they would be used to restore the rooms of the AP.  He was afarid that after he died people would come in and take the photos and destroy all of his research.  There were rumors that he had treasures from the AP - even Faberge - in his rooms and there were thieves and greedy people who wanted to grab his things as soon as he took his last breath.

Kuchumov also asked me to take fragments of cloth and other things he had for safe keeping.  I just could not do this, I thought all of these things should stay in Russia.  I went to the Russian Museum and they agreed to scan all of the photographs so they would be saved.  A copy of these scans were kept in safe-keeping by them and another set was given to me.  In addition, Kuchumov had the pictures copied on slides and gave me a set.  I had these duplicated and gave them back to him.  Our agreement was that I could use these pictures anyway I wanted to help the restoration, Kuchumov and I were going to do a book on the AP and he gave me a complete outline of how were going to do it.  We were well along on it when he passed on.

When the Internet happened I decided to put the pictures on the net so that as many people as possible could see them hoping that this wouold help promote the restoration.

Indeed, when Kuchumov died his things vanished for a while and then they resurfaced in a number of museums.  If he hadn't given me the pictures none of this would have happened and only a small percentage of people would ever have seen them.

Kuchumov also gave me a small piece of fabric from the Mauve Room and  two small ikons.  One was of paper that he had been given in Pskov and the other was a brass ikon that he said had been with him for many, many years.  I have no idea where it came from.  It was of the Feodorovsky Mother of God.  He told me that these ikons had been his spiritual support through many dark days, he then told me about the bad things that had happened in his life.

He lived for the Alexander Palace, it was what kept him going - trying to save the things he had and the pictures.  I suppose he must have seen me as a God-send to help, Rifat as well.

When I think of how much he knew about the palace, I mean he was there practically everyday for years and years, I feel rather ashamed at how little I know.  His passing is a horrible loss but we all have to do what we can to carry the torch for him.

Bob
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by BobAtchison »

Offline JM

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2004, 08:17:56 PM »
Wow Bob, I don't know if I've ever felt so intensely as I did when I read your post. Kuchumov truly is a magnificent person and a wonderful story. It's so terrible to read how he was worried about his financial state and concerned about his burial during the years of his life when he shouldn't have had any worries. It is even worse to think how he would've felt if no one had cared about the AP- if he died without hope for the restoration. It's amazing that all of us can share in the legacy of the AP and Kuchumov through this website and by visiting the palace. Thanks.

Offline Louise

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2004, 08:47:50 PM »
Thank you Bob. I may say that alot on this board, but I truly mean it. Thank you and thank you Kuchumov.

At times when you think of man's inhumanity to man and the destruction and horror that is inflicted day after day and century after century, it is so nice to know that there is someone out there that can change the world. Someone who has the strenght of their convictions, and dedication to endure sorrow, pain, and isolation. Kuchumov has shown what lhis love of Alexander Palace, and it's restoration meant to him and to the lucky people he shared it with.

Bob, thank you for sharing Kuchumov's story with us. It makes me so humble to even be on this board.

Louise
The sign of a sick mind is studying for a final exam and thinking it's the

Sunny

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2004, 09:34:42 PM »
Bob,

The devotion that was the life of Kuchumov is not often seen, and when it is, is not forgotten. After the difficulties, sorrows, and aloneness he must have felt, he certainly must have experienced you as a God send.
Excuse me for being personal, but I feel that there is
a heartfelt link that joins those who love The Family.
Through your site, and all of the work you have done, and continue to do, Kuchumov's dream burns brightly,
and all of us can feel the glow.

Sunny

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2004, 10:03:53 PM »
Dear Bob,
Reading about the life and last days of a true hero, Mr. Kuchumov, makes one weep. I am so grateful that he could pass his wisdom, his knowledge and some of his precious artifacts to you. I am sure that it made him feel that his struggle had not been in vain, that the torch had been passed to a soulmate. I am also sure that at the end of his life he was tormented with the idea that when he died, everything he struggled to save and remember would go with him. Thanks to a few people like you and Suzanne Massie, he could die with the peace of knowing that his work and life passion had been passed on, not lost. And I am sure that your wonderful website and this discussion group would fill him with great joy, and pride in your accomplishment. I am quite sure that he knows, and that connecting with you gave him, and his life work, the push into the future he once despaired of having. What an extraordinary man. I wish I could have known him, done something for him. I will always honor his memory. Melissa K.

Offline lolajl

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #36 on: May 05, 2004, 08:48:32 PM »
Bishop Vasili was, indeed a truly spiritual man who suffered much.  I was there at one of the panakhidas served after he reposed and there was such an outpouring of grief.  His grave is at Rock Creek Cemetery in our parish's plot.

Christine Martin

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2004, 12:42:55 PM »
Dear Bob

How delighted I was to find your discussion forum.  Your recollections of your first visit to the Feodorovsky Sobor have stirred my memories.

The first time I visited, it was a ruin - virtually inaccessible due to the mounds of rubble.   What I will never forget in the midst of this mayhem, was one man.   Dressed in trousers rolled up to his knees, in a dirty, worn vest, a wooden crucifix threaded on string around his neck, a spade with a broken shaft in his hands, he paused on our approach.  'What are you doing?' we asked.   'I'm rebuilding the Church', was his proud reply.   With his broken spade he was chipping mortar off the bricks with a view to reconstituting it and relaying the walls.   What faith.

Our next visit coincided with the opening of the crypt church.   I recall fumbling down those stone spiral stairs in total darkness.   The church was black.   Soot and tar smeared and stained the walls (the crypt was used as an incinerator by Lenfilm during the Soviet period).   The only light came from the flicker of candles and from an electric chandelier which dangled from the ceiling.   The electricity was 'borrowed' from the nearest street lamp.   A cable wound its was through the trees and into the church with a feeble power supply.   The crypt church was packed with people.   The choir sang like angels.   This visit to the Feodorovsky Cathedral changed my life.

Over the years my husband, myself and many people from throughout Scotland have endeavoured to send aid in various forms to the Feodorovsky Cathedral and community.   We have sent containers of clothing, bedding and food.   We bought a minibus.   This was dedicated to the memory of Tsarevich Alexei and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.   It was purchased to convey the children from an orphanage supported by the Cathedral on trips to the countryside or to the shore of the Finnish Gulf.   It is now a general workhorse - transporting priests to cemeteries to officiate at funerals.   Even carrying the dead for burials.   Funerals are prohibitively expensive.   Another practical resource gifted by a small community in Scotland was a computer and printer.

Alongside this, an enterprising young businessman from Pushkin devoted almost all his capital to the reconstruction of the Tsar's Porch, including the commissioning of the Romanov double-headed eagle which once again surmounts this entrance.   Valeri has rebiult the steps leading to the Great Doors.had the steps rebuilt.   He also returned bells to the belfry.

A chronic problem in the crypt church was the constant threat of inundation due to the collapse of the drains.   The late Alexander Kedrinsky - whose grandfather had once been a priest at the Feodorovsky Cathedral - helped trace the drains.   These were isolated and replaced - funded by Valeri.   Without this unseen yet vital work, we would not be able to worship in the glorious church depicted in Antonio's fine photographs.

The inspiration behind all this work is one man.   Father Markel Vetrov, Dean of the Cathedral.   Father Markel is a monk priest.   An academic, he is also Professor of Church history at the Theological Academy in St Petersburg.   In addition to his priestly and academic duties, he has overseen the work of reconstruction as well as the rebuilding of the church community.

We were privileged to have him visit Scotland where he could personally meet and thank just some of the many people who have kindly helped the Cathedral over the years.   Without exception, everyone was impressed by this quiet, modest, unassuming and spritual man.   I am so fortunate - he is my spiritual father.

My husband, David, and I have been honoured with the Order of St Nicholas.   This new order was created in the name of the recently canonised saint and last Emperor of Russia.   It is indeed a privilege beyond my imaginings.

Please think and pray for Father Markel, the priests, deacon and the congregation of the Feodorovsky Sobor as they embark on their next mammoth task - the reconstruction of the upper Church.

Christine.

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2004, 01:09:24 PM »
Christine:

Thank you so much for all you and your husband have done for the Cathedral.  While others have just talked you, this man you mention by the name of Valeri, Father Markel, Kedrinsky and the people in Scotland who are doing this with you, have done so much.

I didn't know about the Valeri you mentioned.  Someone else has claimed they did this work, now we know the truth.  If you speak to this Valeri will you please let him know how much we all appreciate what he has done?  Thank you again for explaining what's been done to date.

I hope we'll have some way of helping with the restoration of the upper church as it moves along.

I was astounded to hear that the famous Father Kedrinsky from the early days of the Sobor was in fact Alexander's grandfather.  This is simply amazing to hear that the family continued to live in Tsarskoe Selo and was involved with the palaces.  I hope you can tell us more about that someday.

You account of your visit to the crypt was quite moving. The computer and the printer you donated to the church - well, that was a wonderful gift. I heard they had one and now we know where it came from! You and your husband DESERVED that award!

About Father Markell - well I wish more people knew him - he is a shining light - so humble and kind.  As you and I know he has suffered much in his life. The good and selfless are often preyed upon as the Bible says - "the Devil, as a lion, prowleth about, seeking whom he may devour".  Thank you for helping this great man.

Bob
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by BobAtchison »

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2004, 01:37:58 PM »
Dear Christine,
Let me also thank you for letting everyone know what has been going on at the Feodorovsky Cathedral. Your efforts are typical of the real spirit of what has really rebuilt this place.  It is the dedication and work of people like you, David, the good people of Scotland and Valeri, all working together, helping Father Markel, doing this important work - not for the ability to shout their acheivments to the world, but rather for the quiet personal knowledge of having done something that is right. We should also remember the "little" donations, those hundreds and hundreds of people who visit the Feodrovsky, and leave whatever they can afford in the collection box, $10, $20...no one will ever know who they are.  In the Jewish tradition, a true gift of "Tzedakah" or charity is only blessed in heaven if it is done anonymously... Thank you for your works of "Tzedakah".
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by admin »

Offline Coldstream

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #40 on: May 11, 2004, 11:31:01 AM »
Antonio/Bob, I am absolutely floored!!!  When I saw the crypt in 1997, there were just bare walls and a makeshift iconostasis.  To see it as it is now brings tears to the eyes, and a deep appreciation for what the Russian people are doing to resurrect their spiritual heritage which was so ruthlessly suppressed by the militant godless.  I also hope to see the cathedral fully restored in all its former glory.

Regards,

W. McCaughey

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #41 on: May 18, 2004, 09:57:12 AM »
We so much insanity in the world it is great to see something real and positive being done.

Bob

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2004, 11:23:35 AM »
Christine, thank you so much for all that you are doing, and for sharing it with us. Bob is right...in a sea of insanity, stories such as this provide a heartening antidote. Reading this on the birthday of Nicholas is a gift.

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2004, 08:43:55 AM »
Yes, Christine - our thanks to you and your husband again.  Next time you speak to the Valeri you mentioned please let him know how much we all appreciate what he has done.

Bob

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Re: Feodorovsky Cathedral
« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2004, 09:03:11 AM »
Here's an amazing comparison showing the current state of the stairs from the crypt church as they were last year compared to an illustration of how it was in Imperial times.  GREAT THANKS to Antonio for these pictures.

Bob