The Beginning of the Romanov Dynasty
from Treasures of the Czars from the State Museums of the Moscow Kremlin
Presented by Florida International Museum St. Petersburg
Booth-Clibborn Editions, London, 1995.
Library of Conress N6981.T74 1995
The Origins of the Romanov Dynasty
In the early 1600s, the Poles captured Moscow and many other Russian cities during the Time of Troubles. As a result, most of the gold and silver in the Royal Treasury and the largest cathedrals was stolen.
The Consecration of the Czar - based on the coronation of Mikhail Feodorovich
The night before, long services are held in churches and monasteries. In the morning, festive crowds fill the streets and squares of the Kremlin. At midday, the new czar makes his way to the Gold Chamber, a ceremonial hall of the royal residence renowned for its bright wall hangings. Here the retinue puts on the golden robes and the czar summons his closest boyars to accompany him.
The ceremony takes place in the Dormition (Uspenskii) Cathedral, the most important religious building in all Russia where all the state ceremonies took place. The route to the cathedral was laid with broadcloth and red velvet. A lecturn covered with rich cloth stands in the center of the cathedral to hold the regalia. Beside it is a throne on a dais. The Metropolitan's chair set nearby and two benches flanked the dais for the clergy. The cathedral itself is fully decked out with icons, frescoes, cloth of gold, and sacred vessels.
The senior clerics in heavy vestments enter the cathedral first. The Metropolitan, in his most sacred robes, approaches the altar and makes his preparations. A second group of clerics, also in luxurious robes embroidered in pearls, process to the Royal Treasury to collect the royal regalia. The procession is led by the Czar's confessor, supported by two deacons. He is usually the senior priest of the Annunciation (blagoveshchenskii) Cathedral, the private church of the royal family. On his head he bears a golden paten draped with rich cloth and containing the Cross of Life, the crown, and the barmy (collar). Behind him leading princes and boyars carry the jeweled scepter, the orb, and the rest of the regalia. These are placed on the lectern in the Cathedral and covered with a rich cloth.
Outside, the strel'sty clear a path from the royal residence to the cathedral as the Kremlin bells ring out. The new Czar and his retinue emerge from the Gold Chamber and move slowly to the cathedral. As he enters, he kisses the icons and the tombs of the saints. Solemn prayers are said to the Trinity, the Mother of God and St. Peter, the first Moscow Metropolitan who moved the seat of the church and was considered the defender of the Muscovite state.
After the prayers, the czar ascends the dais and speaks of the sanctity of the Russian throne, the chain of succession, the legitimacy of his claim to the throne. Then the Metropolitan speaks to recognize the succession of the new czar, remind all of the recent trials and tribulations of the nation, and enjoins the new czar to defend the faith and rule properly.
The ceremony then begins - conducted according to ancient custom. The ritual dated back to the time of Great Prince Ivan III 1462-1505. The crown and barmy he used to consecrate his grandson Dmitrii were said to have been a gift from the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Monomachus to his grandson, Kiev Prince Vladimir Monomach. They became the symbols of supreme power in Muscovy.
It was during Ivan III's reign that Rus' was finally liberated from the Tartars. And, since Byzantium fell to the Turks in 1453, Russia claimed to be its successor. This was enhanced by Ivan III's 1472 marriage to Sophia Palaeologus, the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor, and by the legend (clearly false now) of the origin of the crown and barmy. The Byzantine two-headed eagle was added to the seal of the Great Prince in 1497.
The ceremony followed the Byzantine mode. The Cross of Life was placed around the Czar's neck, the barmy was placed during the reading of prayers. (The barmy is made with large badges protraying saints.) The Cap of Monomach (the crown) is placed on his head, the sceptre in his right hand and the orb in his left.
The royal costume consists of many layers of clothing, it being indecent to do otherwise. The items are made of brocade, velvet, and satin and encrusted with pearls and gems. For Feodor Alexeevich, these included a tall fur cap; cloak with sleeves stretching to the ground worn over his shoulders made of light silver brocade with gold braid, emerald buttons, and bordered and hemmed with pearls; caftan of rich gold silk with red stain and pearl embroidery visible under the cloak, with short broad sleeves bordered with bearls and gold badges with diamons, rubies and emeralds; a coat of light snow-white taffeta was under the caftan with diamons in gold mounts in the borders of its long narrow sleeves; the silver and gold cloth of the trousers matched the cloak; coplete by bright red velvet boots with pearls and dimond, ruby and emreald studs. Once in the Dormition Cathedral, he wor a plano, state robe, of orange velvet with flowers in high relief all decorated with pearls and gems and in place of the fur cap, the Czar wore a golden crown with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls. The immense weight of all this regalia meant that attendants supported the czar under both arms on his way to the Cathedral.
The ceremony concluded with the annointing to signify the holy patronage f the Czar and the sacred nature of his power. After the ceremony, the Czar walks to the Archangel Cathedral where the Great Princes and Czars are burried in order to kiss the graves of his ancestors and then he visits his private church, Annunciation Cathedral, being showered with golden coins on his way.
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