26 September 2006, 15:38
Funeral service for Empress Maria Fedorovna ends in Petergof (updated)
St. Petersburg, September 26, Interfax - A funeral service for Empress Maria Fedorovna, the mother of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II, has ended in Petergof.
"It was an important historical ceremony performed in a very Christian way, as the Empress's last will required," St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko said.
"It is also a very significant act of restoring historical memory which must unite the nation and remind it of its great history. This ceremony is a symbol of life in a new Russia," Matviyenko said.
The church, where the Empress's coffin is displayed, will be open to the public.
About 30 believers, who had gathered near the doors of the Alexander Nevsky Chapel, enter the chapel in groups.
"My journey from Denmark lasted for three days. Without going into detail, it's just a unique event - for the mere reason that Danish and Russian soldiers marched side by side for the first time ever," head of the Romanov Family Association Dmitry Romanov told the press after the funeral service.
The service was conducted by Rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy Archpriest Konstantin (Goryanov.)
Empress Maria Fedorovna, left Russia after the 1917 October Revolution and died in Denmark. Her remains have been returned to Russia and will be re-buried in St. Petersburg.
The Alexander Nevsky Church, also known as the Gothic Chapel Museum, served as the empress's home church during the reign of Alexander III.