2017-05-05 10:46:00

President and patriarch unveiled cross in memory of Great Duke Sergey Alexandrovich at the site of his tragic death in Kremlin

Moscow, May 5, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia consecrated a cross in memory for former Moscow general governor Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich at the site of his tragic death in Kremlin in 1905.

He also prayed for the repose of the grand duke.

"Restoration of the cross in memory of Sergey Alexandrovich is an act of restoring historical justice, but justice is not a search of those who are right and who are guilty. Perhaps there is no such family in Russia that was not divided by the revolution. Today we should learn from St. Yelizaveta Feodorovna, Sergey Alexandrovich's wife, who forgave her husband's assassin," the patriarch said at the ceremony, which was also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the patriarch, the great duke was killed not because he was a bad general governor.

"His attention to the residents of the city was well known. Best traditions of Russian charity is connected with the name of his wife Yelizaveta Feodorovna, a German princess who adopted Orthodoxy and later was canonized. This act of terrorism destroyed the value of a human life," the primate said.

He reminded that recently a monument to St. Vladimir was opened not far from Kremlin, his civilizational choice "spiritually transfigured peoples of Russia."

"At the site where Great Duke Sergey Alexandrovich was killed an opposite choice was made - in favor of contempt to a human life, readiness to bring human lives to a bloody altar of political revolt," the patriarch said and noted that was important in the year of the hundredth anniversary of the revolution "a lesson of fraternal dispute gives us moral power to see brothers and sisters in our compatriots."

The Russian president said political murders were unacceptable.

"This crime was a forerunner of dramatic events, discord, civil opposition, which Russia then faced. They turned to become hardest losses, real national catastrophe, threat of losing Russian statehood," he said noting that "violation, murders cannot be justified no matter in what political slogans they are disguised."

The cross commemorating Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich was erected on public donations near St. Nicholas Tower in 1908. On May 1, 1918, the monument, designed by Viktor Vasnetsov, was torn down during a spring cleaning event (subbotnik), with personal participation by Vladimir Lenin and Yakov Sverdlov.

The new cross was laid down and consecrated at the Kremlin on November 1 last year.

The instruction to consider recreating the cross at its historical site in memory of the tragic death of Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich was given by Vladimir Putin in August 2016 after visiting a park that has replaced the dismantled Building N14 on the Kremlin grounds.

Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich Romanov (1857-1905) was the fifth son of Emperor Alexander II and Moscow Governor-General from 1891. He was among the founders of the Historical Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, urban economy, and provided patronage for the creation of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. It was during his governorship that Moscow had its first streetcar fleet and experienced industrial development and construction boom.

The grand duke was assassinated in a terrorist attack by Socialist Revolutionary Party member Ivan Kalyayev on February 17, 1905, when passing through the gates of St. Nicholas Tower at the Kremlin.

Initially the grand duke was buried at the Kremlin's Chudov Monastery, which was demolished after the 1917 revolution. The crypt with the duke's remains was only discovered in 1986, during restoration work at the Kremlin. In 1995 the remains were moved to Novospassky Monastery where the first copy of the cross was erected.