Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley

V

His soul with tired wings
Will fly up, murdered, to the Creator.

All that used to interest me formerly, those brilliant ballets, those decadent paintings, that new music—all seems dull and tasteless now. I seek the truth, the real truth, the light, and what is good…

1916bis

Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley, 28 December 1896/9 January 1897–18 July 1918

Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley was the firstborn child of his parents’ relationship, though each had children from previous marriages. His father, Grand Duke Pavel Aleksandrovich (a son of Tsar Aleksandr II), was married to Princess Alexandra of Greece and had a girl and a boy, Mariya and Dmitriy. “Greek Alix,” as his first wife was known, died shortly after Dmitriy’s premature birth, but miraculously, Dmitriy survived without any apparent health issues.

Prince Vladimir’s mother, Olga Valerianovna Karnovich, was married to Erich Gerhard von Pistohlkors, and had four children, Aleksandr, Olga (died in infancy), a second Olga, and Marianna. In 1893, Olga and Grand Duke Pavel became acquainted, and they began an affair while she was still legally married to her first husband.

The ridiculously out of touch Nicholas II typically refused to approve their morganatic marriage (since the draconian House Laws crafted by an inept Tsar in 1797 were working out SO well for the Imperial Family), so they moved to Paris. Vladimir, called Volodya, was born in 1896, and his sisters Irina and Natalya were born in 1903 and 1905, respectively.

Olga_Valerianowna_Paley_with_family

Young Volodya, far right, with his parents and sisters

In 1902, Olga and Grand Duke Pavel married in Livorno, Italy, and in 1904, Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria created Olga and Vladimir Countess and Count of Hohenfelsen. Grand Duke Pavel was severely punished for marrying for love and not kowtowing to the House Laws, and was removed from all his military commissions, had his assets and properties seized, and lost custody of his older two children to his brother, Grand Duke Sergey (the anti-Semitic governor of Moskvá, who was later assassinated).

At age thirteen, Volodya became a poet, and showed great talent, skill, depth, and creativity. Everything spoke to him in poetry, no matter how seemingly silly or insignificant, like the scent of a flower or the way the sunlight fell across the grass. He loved Nature, and transmitting that love into poetry. Volodya was also very gifted in music, art, and languages. He published volumes of his poetry in 1916 and 1918, wrote several essays and plays, and translated The King of the Jews, a play by Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich the elder, into French.

Prince_Vladimir_Paley

Eventually, the family got permission to return to Russia, and in 1915, Vladimir and his mother were created Prince and Princess Paley, with the style Serene Highness. His little sisters were also created princesses. Though he was really a Romanov, he was forbidden to use his own family name because his parents’ marriage was morganatic.

Volodya entered the esteemed Corps des Pages military academy attended by most other male Romanovs, and in December 1914 entered the Emperor’s Hussars regiment. He served bravely in the Great War, and his poetry turned to the ugliness, suffering, devastation, and destruction of war, the deaths of his friends, and the kindness of the nurses. Volodya became a lieutenant and was decorated with the Order of St. Anne.

Владимир_Палей_1898

Volodya as a baby, 1898

He and his family were briefly under house arrest in summer 1917, after he wrote a poem about Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerenskiy. Then, in March 1918, he fell into Bolshevik hands. Volodya could’ve been spared because he was morganatic, but he bravely, wordlessly refused Bolshevik orders to deny his belovèd father. During his captivity, he lost interest in all the things he’d previously enjoyed, like ballet, music, and art, and focused only on his faith and the real things in life.

Volodya was initially held in Yekaterinburg and then moved to nearby Alapeyevsk, along with Princes Ioann, Igor, and Konstantin Konstantinovich; Grand Duke Sergey Mikhaylovich and his secretary; and the Tsaritsa’s sister Ella and one of her nuns. On 18 July 1918, the day after the Imperial Family’s murder, the Alapayevsk prisoners were taken to an abandoned mineshaft full of water, blindfolded and hands bound, and thrown in alive. Most of them died of starvation and their injuries.

Владимир_Павлович_Палей

After the White Army came too late to Alapayevsk and discovered the bodies, Volodya and the others were buried in an Orthodox cemetery in Beijing. Sadly, the cemetery was bulldozed during the Cultural Revolution, and now a parking lot is on top of it. Only Ella and Sister Varvara were spared this fate, having been moved to Jerusalem.

747px-The_family_of_Princess_Oga_Paley

Volodya, second from right, with his family, about 1914

In my alternative history, the Alapayevsk martyrs are rescued, and Volodya becomes Grand Duchess Tatyana’s husband.

Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich the younger and the Kunstkamera

K

Prince_Konstantin_Konstantinovich

Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich the younger, 1 January 1891–18 July 1918

Prince Konstantin was the fourth child and third son of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich the elder and Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Mavrikiyevna (née Princess Elisabeth Auguste Marie Agnes of Saxe–Altenburg). The family eventually grew to nine children, of whom eight survived into adulthood. They were among the few branches of the extended family tree to have a fairly close relationship with Nicholas II’s family, since they were so normal and moral in comparison to many of their other relatives.

konstantin as the sun

Dressed as the Sun, in a play put on for his parents on their 25th anniversary

Like just about all Romanov males, Konstantin, called Kostya, attended the Corps des Pages military academy from a young age. He was also taught at home by tutors, though the most brilliant member of the family was his younger brother Oleg. Konstantin had crushes on Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna and Princess Elisabeta of Romania, and was so eager to start his own family after seeing the happiness of his oldest brother, Ioann, and his older sister Tatyana. He was described as a sweet, shy, silent person.

479px-Игорь_и_Константин_Константиновичи_Романовы

Prince Konstantin, right, with his younger brother Prince Igor

Konstantin, along with his brothers Ioann, Gavriil, Oleg, and Igor, served in the Izmaylovskiy Guards Regiment during the Great War. They all became decorated war heroes, risking their lives in the front-line trenches along with everyone else, and were well-liked by their fellow soldiers. Sadly, Oleg was killed in action in 1914, though that probably spared him the fate of Ioann, Igor, and Konstantin.

Konsztantyinovics_gyerekek

The eight surviving siblings circa 1907; I’m at least 90% sure Konstantin is third from the left in the front row

In April 1918, Konstantin, Igor, and Ioann fell into Bolshevik hands and were taken to the Urals. They initially were held in Yekaterinburg, and then taken to nearby Alapayevsk. Also with them were Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley, Grand Duke Sergey Mikhaylovich and his secretary, and the Tsaritsa’s sister Ella and one of her nuns.

On 18 July 1918, the day after the Imperial Family were murdered, the Alapayevsk prisoners were blindfolded, had their hands bound, and were taken by wagons to an abandoned mineshaft. Only Grand Duke Sergey knew they were being taken to be murdered, and tried to resist several times. The prisoners were beaten and thrown alive into the water-filled mineshaft, with grenades thrown in after them. Some of them took several days to die. When the White Army found the bodies, they saw Konstantin’s mouth and stomach stuffed with dirt, a desperate attempt to quench his hunger and thirst.

VAxBdVf1RlQ

Ikon of the Alapayevsk martyrs; I can discern just enough Church Slavonic to understand Konstantin is on the far left in the group on the right

In my alternative history, Konstantin is rescued, and becomes the husband of Grand Duchess Olga, one of the women he had a crush on. Sadly, in real life, this sweet, shy prince never found the marriage and family he longed for so badly.

View of the Kunstkamera from across the Neva River, Copyright FlorsteinCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license

The Kunstkamera is a largely ethnographic and anthropological museum, which I’d best compare to Philadelphia’s creepy Mütter Museum. Basically, it’s full of medical curiosities like deformed skeletons and human remains. Established in 1727 by Peter the Great, it holds the distinction of being Russia’s very first museum. In addition to its massive cabinet of curiosities, it also has a large mineralogical collection, the first 1,195 of which came from Peter the Great himself. Sadly, some of the objects were lost to a 1747 fire.

Copyright Витольд Муратов (Vitold Muratov), Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Prince Igor Konstantinovich and the Iverskaya Chapel

I

7049498_133198628408

Prince Igor Konstantinovich, 10 June 1894–18 July 1918

Prince Igor Konstantinovich was the sixth child and fifth son of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich the elder and Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Mavrikiyevna (née Princess Elisabeth Auguste Marie Agnes of Saxe–Altenburg). This large, close-knit family of eventually nine children (of whom eight survived into adulthood) stood in stark, welcome contrast to the decadent, dysfunctional antics of many other members of the extended Imperial Family.

Igor and his siblings were the first to be affected by a new law passed by Tsar Aleksandr III, dictating that, henceforth, only the children and male-line grandchildren of a Tsar merited the titles Grand Duke or Duchess and Imperial Highness. This law was meant to cut down on the amount of people getting salaries from the Imperial Treasury. These great-grandchildren and their descendants, thus, were simply to be known as Prince or Princess and Highness.

igoralexey

Prince Igor (left of centre) during the war, developing into a rather handsome fellow

Igor and his siblings grew up in Pavlovsk, a St. Petersburg suburb. Like all Romanov males, he entered the Corps des Pages military school at a young age, and was taught at home by tutors. He was closest to his brother Oleg, who was killed in action in 1914. Their father, a man of letters, wrote poems and plays under the initials K.R., and founded several literary societies. Because he was so attracted to the old Russian traditions and customs, he gave his children old-fashioned, folksy names which weren’t in vogue in Imperial society, like Ioann, Tatyana, Oleg, and Igor. They represented a romantic ideal of Russia as it was.

Igor and his brothers Konstantin, Oleg, Ioann, and Gavriil served in the Izmaylovskiy Guards Regiment during the Great War. They served with distinction and became decorated war heroes, well-liked by their fellow soldiers. Igor earned the rank of captain. However, he fell sick with pleurisy and pneumonia in 1915, and still wasn’t well after he returned to the trenches.

romanovs

Prince Igor and Tsesarevich Aleksey at Stavka (military HQ) during the war

In April 1918, he fell into Bolshevik hands and was taken to the Urals along with his brothers Konstantin and Ioann; their cousins Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley and Grand Duke Sergey Mikhaylovich; the Tsaritsa’s sister Ella and one of her nuns; and Grand Duke Sergey’s secretary. They initially were held in Yekaterinburg but denied communication with the Tsar’s family, and then taken to nearby Alapayevsk.

On 18 July 1918, a day after the Imperial Family’s murder, the Alapayevsk prisoners were blindfolded, had their hands bound, and were taken to an abandoned mineshaft in wagons. Only Grand Duke Sergey knew they were being taken to be murdered, and tried to resist. They were all thrown alive into the mineshaft, which was full of water. Not everyone died instantly, but they were all dead by the time the White Army reached the area and discovered what had happened.

In my alternative history, the Alapayevsk prisoners are rescued, and Igor becomes Grand Duchess Mariya’s husband.

800px-Manezhnaya

19th century view of the Iverskaya Gate and Chapel, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Iverskaya (Iberian) Gate, alternately called Resurrection (Voskresenskiye) Gate, is one of the historic entrances to Moskvá’s Red Square and Kreml. It’s surrounded by Red Square, Manezhnaya Square, Voskresenskaya Square, the State Historical Museum, and City Hall.

800px-Woskresenskije_Worota

Modern view of Iverskaya Gate and Chapel, Copyright Stoljaroff

Since 1669, Iverskaya Chapel has been home to a copy of the Panagia Portaitissa (Ikon of the Blessèd Virgin of Iveron), which according to legend was created by Saint Luke. The original ikon is resplendent in silver and gold. Tradition dictated everyone visit the chapel to venerate the ikon before entering Red Square, no matter how high or low one’s birth. Prisoners and outlaws could pray right beside the Tsar.

Brama_Zmartwychwstania_na_Placu_Czerwonym_w_Moskwie_02

Iverskaya Gate towers, Copyright Hons084Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0

The day before his coronation, the Tsar came to Iverskaya Chapel to venerate the ikon, just like any other worshipper. Coronations were held in Moskvá, the ancient capital, not St. Petersburg, the modern capital.

368px-Iveron

Ikon of the Blessèd Virgin of Iveron

Déjà Vu Blogfest 2015—In Memoriam

Today’s my English birthday (eight days after my Hebrew birthday this year), and I think I’ve finally reached the age where I simply want to say I’m old enough instead of giving my true age. It’s not like anyone would believe me if I told them my true age anyway, since I don’t look a day over 25, if that. Though don’t worry I’ll be one of those people pretending to be turning 21, 25, or 29 every single year from now on!

deja_vu 2015

As in previous years, D.L. Hammons is once again hosting his Déjà Vu Blogfest, wherein participants repost something they felt didn’t get enough exposure, or their favorite post from the past year. Click on the button for more information and the list of participants.

My Friday posts generally don’t get many views, and this one has under 30 to date since its 17 July posting. It’s a memorial post for Russia’s last Imperial Family, with nothing more than their names, pictures, birthdates, and death dates. I felt that would convey the enormity of this loss of life far more than some overly graphic account of the murders. The Mourner’s Kaddish doesn’t once mention Death, and the Torah portion Chayei Sarah (The Life of Sarah) starts by talking about how Sarah lived, not that she died. In mourning Death, we celebrate Life.

I also avoided any discussion of the ongoing arguments over whether the Imperial Family (particularly Nicholas and Aleksandra) should’ve been canonized, or which people in particular. To make a long, heated story very short, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad canonized everyone but Fyodor Remez as New Martyrs (including two other servants murdered in September 1918), whereas the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia only canonized the immediate Imperial Family as passion-bearers, plus Aleksandra’s sister Ella and her nun Varvara as New Martyrs.

Originally published 17 July 2015:

In memory of the 19 souls murdered 97 years ago, victims of Bolshevik repression and now elevated to sainthood by the Russian Orthodox Church:

Murdered on 17 July 1918:

Tsarevich_Nicholas_Alexandrovich

Tsar Nicholas II (Nikolay Aleksandrovich), born 6/18 May 1868

Princess_Alix_of_Hesse_1890

Empress Aleksandra Fyodorovna, née Princess Viktoria Alix Helena Luise Beatrice of Hesse and by Rhine, born 6 June 1872

Olgachair

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna, born 3/15 November 1895

800px-Tatyana_Nikolaevna_1914

Grand Duchess Tatyana Nikolayevna, born 29 May/11 June 1897

368px-Maria_Nikolaevna_1914

Grand Duchess Mariya Nikolayevna, born 14/27 June 1899

800px-Anastasia

Grand Duchess Anastasiya Nikolayevna, born 5/18 June 1901

02943lg

Tsesarevich Aleksey Nikolayevich, born 30 July/12 August 1904

BotkinES

Dr. Yevgeniy Sergeyevich Botkin, born 27 May/8 June 1865

Anna_Demidova

Anna Stepanovna Demidova (lady-in-waiting), born 14/26 January 1878

Ivan_Mihaylovich_Haritonov

Ivan Mikhaylovich Kharitonov (cook), born 2/14 June 1870

Aloise_(Alexei)_Yegorovich_Trupp

Aloiziy Yegorovich Trupp (footman), born 5 April 1856

Murdered on 18 July 1918 (though most took several days to die):

800px-Grand_Duke_Sergei_Mikailovich_0

Grand Duke Sergey Mikhaylovich, born 25 September/7 October 1869, and his secretary, Fyodor Remez

Elizaveta_romanova

Sister (formerly Grand Duchess) Yelizaveta Fyodorovna, née Princess Elisabeth Alexandra Luise Alice of Hesse and by Rhine, born 1 November 1864

Varvara_Yakovleva

Sister Varvara Alekseyevna Yakovleva, born circa 1850

Ioann_Konstantinovich_of_Russia

Prince (né Grand Duke) Ioann Konstantinovich, born 23 June/5 July 1886

Prince_Konstantin_Konstantinovich

Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich the younger, born 20 December 1890/1 January 1891

Prince Igor Konstantinovich

Prince Igor Konstantinovich, born 29 May/10 June 1894

1916bis

Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley (really a Romanov), born 28 December 1896/9 January 1897

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a)

In Memoriam

In memory of the 19 souls murdered 97 years ago, victims of Bolshevik repression and now elevated to sainthood by the Russian Orthodox Church:

Murdered on 17 July 1918:

Tsarevich_Nicholas_Alexandrovich

Tsar Nicholas II (Nikolay Aleksandrovich), born 6/18 May 1868

Princess_Alix_of_Hesse_1890

Empress Aleksandra Fyodorovna, née Princess Viktoria Alix Helena Luise Beatrice of Hesse and by Rhine, born 6 June 1872

Olgachair

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna, born 3/15 November 1895

800px-Tatyana_Nikolaevna_1914

Grand Duchess Tatyana Nikolayevna, born 29 May/11 June 1897

368px-Maria_Nikolaevna_1914

Grand Duchess Mariya Nikolayevna, born 14/27 June 1899

800px-Anastasia

Grand Duchess Anastasiya Nikolayevna, born 5/18 June 1901

02943lg

Tsesarevich Aleksey Nikolayevich, born 30 July/12 August 1904

BotkinES

Dr. Yevgeniy Sergeyevich Botkin, born 27 May/8 June 1865

Anna_Demidova

Anna Stepanovna Demidova (lady-in-waiting), born 14/26 January 1878

Ivan_Mihaylovich_Haritonov

Ivan Mikhaylovich Kharitonov (cook), born 2/14 June 1870

Aloise_(Alexei)_Yegorovich_Trupp

Aloiziy Yegorovich Trupp (footman), born 5 April 1856

Murdered on 18 July 1918 (though most took several days to die):

800px-Grand_Duke_Sergei_Mikailovich_0

Grand Duke Sergey Mikhaylovich, born 25 September/7 October 1869, and his secretary, Fyodor Remez

Elizaveta_romanova

Sister (formerly Grand Duchess) Yelizaveta Fyodorovna, née Princess Elisabeth Alexandra Luise Alice of Hesse and by Rhine, born 1 November 1864

Varvara_Yakovleva

Sister Varvara Alekseyevna Yakovleva, born circa 1850

Ioann_Konstantinovich_of_Russia

Prince (né Grand Duke) Ioann Konstantinovich, born 23 June/5 July 1886

Prince_Konstantin_Konstantinovich

Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich the younger, born 20 December 1890/1 January 1891

Prince Igor Konstantinovich

Prince Igor Konstantinovich, born 29 May/10 June 1894

1916bis

Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley (really a Romanov), born 28 December 1896/9 January 1897

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a)