Описание коронации Николая II и Ходынской трагедии епископом Лондона Менделем Крайтоном. В 1896 году Крейтон представлял Англиканскую церковь на коронации царя Николая II в Москве. Любитель пышных церемоний, Крейтон носил коронационные робы епископа, позаимствованные в Вестминстерском аббатстве, и взял свою митру и пастырский посох для этого события. По возвращении он написал яркий отчет о коронации в журнале Cornhill Magazine, который после привлечения внимания королевы Виктории получил от нее письмо с просьбой о нескольких экземплярах для королевской семьи. Вот этот отчёт:
THE IMPERIAL CORONATION AT MOSCOW
It is easy to mistake the significance of any ceremony, to dismiss it as so much empty show, or to account for it on grounds of policy. No one who used at Moscow the slightest power of sympathetic observation would accept either of these explanations of the ceremony of the coronation. It may be true that the form of government which Russia has inherited lends itself to display ; but this display is very far from being empty of meaning. It may be true that Russia has a large Oriental frontier ; but Orientals are not to be impressed by any palpable imitation of their own methods.
The Russian coronation is a ceremony of great antiquity, and expresses the sentiments of the Russian people. It is an event in the history of the nation, an event of great importance, which they wish to realise in a pictorial and dramatic form, so that its full impression may be carried over the wide extent of territory which all alike is their country and is kept together under one ruler. There are different conceptions of the State, but those conceptions range between two primary ideas — those of a family and of a joint-stock company.
Changes in a board of directors require little outward notice. Even the election of a new chairman does not call for more than a public dinner. But the accession of a new head of the national family is an event which appeals directly to every member. It awakens all the memories of the past, and kindles manifold hopes for the future. It is a great epoch in the national life, and must be expressed with fitting dignity and solemnity. In doing honour to their new Emperor the Russian people feel that they are doing honour to themselves. There is probably no people which has such a strong historic consciousness as the Russians.
There has been no great break in their development, no new object of their common effort. They have not undergone the transformation from an agricultural to an industrial civilisation, which puts much into the background, and fills men’s minds with new problems. There has been to them no sudden extension of boundaries. In their vast plains they always knew the world was large, and that numbers of their brethren might be added to their family—brethren already likeminded with themselves. Their past history is a long record of struggles after union, which might make them strong against barbarous invaders, of untold sufferings endured with patient perseverance, of monotonous surroundings and constant conflict with churlish nature. In all this there are but two things that helped them—their Church, which bound them together and gave them courage to endure ; their national leaders, who trained them into strength, drove back their foes, and welded them into a mighty nation. Indeed, there were not two but one, for Church and State are indissolubly connected.
There was no ecclesiastical system with an independent head whose claims might divide their allegiance. They received their Christianity from Byzantium, not from Rome. Their ruler inherits the claims of no Holy Roman emperor crowned by a Pope, but is the representative of the rulers born in the purple chamber of the Bosphorus, who never had to divide his authority with a bishop whose sway extended beyond his realm. All this is not mere ancient history, but is living truth to the Russian peasant.
He may not be able to read or write, but he knows about his country’s past. The nomadic habits of the people have always been remarkable, and have at times caused difficulties. The melancholy of a vast expanse with no natural barriers has always attracted men to ramble. The Russian peasants go on pilgrimages, men and women alike. When family ties cease to be pressing, they take their bundles on their back and their staves in their hands, and set forth to visit the holy places. Many go to the Holy Land ; more to Mount Athos, passing Constantinople on the way, and gazing with longing eyes on St. Sophia. Crowds of the less adventurous visit the monasteries and churches of Russia itself, and venerate the tombs of the saints. And these saints are not merely holy men who withdrew from the world at the call of devotion. They are national heroes, connected with some great national victory.
Did not St. Sergius inspire Demetrius of the Don to win at Koulikovo in 1380 the first great battle against the Tartar hordes? The crowds of pilgrims who daily, and all day long, throng the church of the great monastery of the Troitsa, where Sergius lies at rest, know well his story and that of many another saint and hero. Kieff, Novgorod, and Moscow, all have their tales to tell, which are well learned. There can be few villages in Russia which have not a returned pilgrim, who, sitting by the stove on the long winter nights, tells of what he has seen and heard, and weaves the story of Russia’s history into the life of his hearers.
The streets of Moscow were full of pilgrims who had come to see the coronation of their “little father,” the Emperor, not as spectators of a splendid spectacle, but as assisting at a great religious rite which closely concerned their country’s weal. This strong sense of an historic past is expressed in the fact that coronations take place in Moscow, the city which is hallowed to the Russian mind as the centre of national resistance to their foes, sacrificed to Tartars, Poles and French alike, but rising again with renewed splendour, and dearer for all that it had suffered. Petersburg may be the seat of Government, and the means of communication with the West ; but Moscow is the abiding home of Russian sentiment, the local centre round which patriotism gathers. It is from its situation and appearance worthy to be regarded as a symbol of a nation’s growth. Some one, I believe, has said that there are only two cities in the world which tell at a glance their people’s history—Moscow and London.
An Englishman may well pause and reflect on the different memories which gather round the two ; one indicating the continuous and peaceful expansion of a people steadily growing into freedom and power, saved by its situation from foreign interference, and with communications open to all the world ; the other slowly struggling into existence, as the only position of any strategical value in a country exposed to constant menace, and bearing the scars of many a bitter conflict. He cannot venture to measure a nation which had so different a past with the same rule that he would apply to himself.
The site of Moscow tells its own story. It was built on a spot where was a piece of broken ground, through which the river Moskva ran in tortuous windings, and afforded something like a defence to a triangular eminence, the broadest side of which dropped to the river. This was fortified and formed the Kremlin, or Acropolis, of a little town which gathered round it, and gradually became the centre of resistance to the Tartars. The Kremlin still lies within the line of its old walls, and round it gathered another town, the Kitai Gorod, which also keeps its walls and towers. Round these grew the modern Moscow, and the stages in its growth are still distinctly marked. You can trace the process of gradual expansion round a definite centre. It is this which gives Moscow its distinctive features, and marks the Kremlin with a peculiar dignity of its own. It made the great city which lies round it, and Russia grew into a consciousness of its unity by the influence which Moscow supplied.
There is no place in the world whose memories are so vital for the living history of a great nation. Moreover, its buildings have not been encroached upon. The palace stands, with the arsenal and the senate-house behind it. By its side are the three great cathedrals, a monastery, and rising above them all the lofty bell-tower. There are large open spaces, and from the terrace the full extent of Moscow can be seen. There is nothing to diminish the significance of the site itself or rob it of its unique interest. Nowhere are so many buildings of historical importance visible at once, and suffering from no interference.
The stranger from the West, as he gazes for the first time on this scene, feels that he has passed outside the circle of European experience, and has entered upon a new phase of culture which must be judged by canons of its own. The Kremlin Palace in itself resembles other buildings of the same kind ; but the numerous churches which he can see built up within it, and the others which surround it, tell of a striking difference between East and West.
There is no one mighty building which claims by its size and magnificence to be an overpowering memorial of the Christian faith. The palace has grown round churches older than itself, and has found room for them. The three churches outside are each of them small, and stand within a stone’s-throw of one another. Each has its own special purpose. In one the Emperors are crowned ; another is set apart chiefly for marriages and baptisms ; the third contains the tombs of the Imperial family.. Religion is regarded as inherent in man’s nature, allied to his common and domestic life, something which need not be enforced from without, but which is personal and intimate.
The monastery which stands near, is simply a large house arranged as such, with no air of severity or exclusiveness. It is an abode of men set apart for worship ; but their duty is only part of a common duty, and their life is part of the common life. As the eye ranges over the city beneath, it gathers the same impression. Countless little churches rise among ordinary buildings. Monasteries ring the city round, conspicuous by their tall bell-towers, and many of them girt with their old walls of defence, which tell that they were the fortresses of patriotism in evil times. The city is gay with bright colours. Its brick buildings are for the most part washed with pale pink or blue or red. Churches and monasteries are recognisable by their clusters of cupolas, gleaming with gold or green or blue enamel.
The impression is unlike anything that can be seen in Western Europe. We are in a region where architecture, the most truthful guide to the prevailing ideas on which common life is founded, betokens influences which are strange to us. We are reminded that Russian civilisation came from Byzantium, and followed a different course from ours. The West may have contributed its commodities and its ideas to the more modern buildings before us, but these have all been modified and adapted to more primitive ideas which were already firmly rooted. Nothing is more significant than the Renaissance porches appended to many churches ; they are obliged to revert to early, almost barbaric, forms of ornament, and hide their origin beneath an appearance of greater antiquity.
These are outside impressions, but they serve to explain the ceremony which drew to Moscow a crowd of representatives from every part of the world. Russia, at all events, is a great force, and it is well to try and understand it. No ceremony on such a scale as that of the coronation can exist merely as a ceremony. It has a profound meaning to the Russian mind as a memorial of national life. It does not take place vaguely anywhere and under any sort of surroundings. It is only intelligible with reference to its actual setting, which is a dominant element of all that actually took place. The coronation was not a series of festivities arbitrarily arranged, but was a continuous act, every part of which followed immemorial custom, and all had reference to a central idea.
First of all it was necessary that the new ruler should come to Moscow, leaving behind the modern seat of government, and recognising the historic capital with its ancient traditions. This must be done formally, after due preparation.
So on Monday, 8th May, the Imperial family arrived by train at Moscow, and took up their abode in the Petrovsky Palace, outside the city boundary, where two days were passed in comparative privacy. In Moscow itself all was bustle and activity. The decorations were being completed, and every one was learning what part he had to play. Stages were being erected for spectators, and unsightly scaffolding was being draped into shape.
On Wednesday evening all was finished, and the people seemed to betake themselves to prayer. At seven o’clock the bells of all the churches tolled for a service, which was to last for four hours—a service of solemn prayer and intercession for the new ruler who was to enter to-morrow for his coronation. Every church was thronged with an eager and devout congregation. It was impossible to mistake the earnestness which was depicted on the faces of the throngs. The Russian is not ashamed of his religion. If the mood is on him he stops outside a church in the busy street, and bows himself in prayer.
The passers-by make room for him, and it may be cross themselves as they see him. Inside a church each worshipper indulges in such demonstration of devotion as he thinks fit or can find room for. He follows no ritual instructions, but the emotions which arise in his own mind. It was with a solemn sense of religious duty that the main mass of the crowd gathered on the morning of Thursday, 21st May, in the streets along which the Imperial procession was to come. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and every house was gay with flags. I was told of a typical conversation in the crowd.
One man remarked to his neighbour that it was lucky that the day was fine. ” Do you not think,” was the exalted answer, ” that the Lord knows the day on which His anointed comes to His holy place ? ” It was no mere pageant which the people were assembled to behold : it was an acceptance on their part of a ruler who represented to them power making for righteousness. Every street and window was crowded with spectators when at midday the tolling of the great bell on the Kremlin announced that the Emperor had left the Petrovsky Palace and was on his way. Presently the bell, which had been tolling slowly, quickened into a lively peal, which was re-echoed by every bell in Moscow.
Minute guns were fired, and a crash of sound rang through the air. The bells of Moscow are famous for their size and tone alike, and when all are rung together the effect is at first overpowering. It was the sign that the Emperor had entered the boundary of Moscow, and was advancing through his capital. His progress was slow, for he had to receive many signs of homage. The governor of Moscow met him at the gateway and offered bread and salt — the old symbol of welcome.
Farther on the municipality tendered a similar offering, and along the route were deputations representing the various elements of Russian life, who each did homage in some characteristic form. The procession itself was headed by mounted soldiers in splendid uniforms ; then came the chiefs of the Russian nobility ; the Asiatic princes in the garb of their several countries ; the officials of the Imperial court. Before the Emperor rode a troop of Horse Guards. The Emperor rode by himself, attired in a simple uniform, mounted on a white Arab steed. At some distance behind him came his staff; then the members of the Imperial family and the representatives of foreign Powers.
The Dowager Empress and the Empress followed in gilded carriages drawn by six horses ; after them came the ladies of the Imperial family. A guard of soldiers brought up the rear. All this was splendour such as might adorn any other royal procession, though none perhaps could bring together on so large a scale such varied elements drawn alike from East and West. In fact, this procession showed more clearly than anything else the vast scale on which everything was done. The number of horsemen, the universal magnificence, the varieties of costume were astounding. But as the Emperor approached the Kremlin the object of the procession was emphasised. At the entrance to the Kitai Gorod, the Emperor dismounted and waited for the Empress.
Together they entered the Iberian Chapel, which contains an ancient picture of the Virgin, regarded with peculiar devotion by the people. The Emperor was coming to the holy places, and must behave as became a devout member of the orthodox Church. But his long progress was now nearing its end. He had left the Petrovsky Palace at midday ; it was half-past two before he reached the Kremlin, where another throng was awaiting him. In the great courtyard were erected stages in which were placed the Russian nobles, and in front of them the representatives of the various Eastern peoples under the Emperor’s sway.
The Ameer of Bokhara and the Khan of Khiva sat with Oriental impassiveness, clad in magnificent brocades of red and green. Roman Catholic archbishops, Armenian patriarchs, Lutheran superintendents sat side by side. Next to them were lamas from the Thibetan provinces, resplendent in yellow satin, with curious metal headdresses, and Mussulmans from the Caucasus in more familiar attire. In the adjoining stage were Russian nuns, whose sober black costume formed a strong contrast. Beyond were rows of school-children, representing various charitable institutions. In the open square were members of industrial guilds, who sat upon the ground with patience, awaiting the arrival of the procession. In the middle of the square was a raised platform with a balustrade, running between the three cathedrals, and outside it stood a row of soldiers on guard. The sun shone brightly, and threw into brilliant relief the groups of ecclesiastics, vested in rich brocades of cloth of gold, who filled the porches of the churches.
Along the platform paced the marshals of the court, in uniforms of black and white, deeply embroidered with gold lace. It was a sign that the Emperor was drawing nigh when some servants swept the red cloth that covered the platform. The incense was kindled in the censers, and the Metropolitans took their places, with crosses and icons.
The cortege all dismounted, and went on foot to the churches. First came five marshals, bearing huge gilt staves surmounted with jewels. Then the Emperor advanced between the two Empresses, whose flowing trains were borne by pages. Next came the grand dukes, and behind them the grand duchesses and ladies of the Imperial household. Then came the representatives of foreign princes with their suites. It was a splendid blaze of colour when they filled the platform and all the spectators had risen to their feet.
The Emperor advanced to the porch of the Cathedral of the Assumption, where he and the Empresses were first aspersed with holy water. Then they kissed the cross and greeted the Metropolitans. This was in itself a significant sign of the relations between Church and State. They clasped hands, and, each bending, kissed the other’s hand at the same moment. The Emperor kissed the hand of the Metropolitan as his bishop : the Metropolitan kissed the Emperor’s hand as his ruler : the recognition was simultaneous.
Then the clergy and choir preceded the Emperor into the church. The bells suddenly ceased to ring, and caused a strange sense of silence, in which was heard floating through the air the strains of the ” Te Deum ” sung by the choir inside the church. After a brief service the Emperor reappeared, and the procession THE IMPERIAL CORONATION AT MOSCOW 309 re-formed itself and proceeded to the Cathedral of the Archangel, where the Emperor and Empresses were greeted, in like manner. Here they entered the church alone, and spent a short time in silent prayer at the tombs of their Imperial ancestors. Then they departed by the opposite door, and went to the remaining church, where again a few prayers were said.
Now that his devotions were over, the Emperor mounted the Red Staircase leading to the Kremlin Palace, and, amid the enthusiastic acclamations of the crowd and the roar of cannon, took proud possession of the Imperial abode. Thus was accomplished the first act in a great national drama. It was the solemn home-coming of the father of his people. He came to take possession of what was his own, but was held under the sanction of the immemorial traditions of the family which he was called to rule. Those traditions were embodied in the national religion, and it was through the church that the Emperor reached his palace. The crowds along the way all had their eyes turned to the end of the Emperor’s progress.
When the joy-bells ceased to toll, men knew that the Emperor had entered the church, and they joined their prayers with his. No sooner had Russia received the guarantee of his acceptance of his position as held under God, than he gave the further guarantee of acceptance of the historical usages of his country, by praying at the tombs of his predecessors. As the declared upholder of the principles of national life and of its continuous policy, the Emperor mounted the steps which led to the palace where his forefathers had lived and ruled.
The day following was spent by the Emperor in the reception of envoys extraordinary. When this concession had been made to necessary courtesy, the proceedings of the coronation were resumed. The Emperor and Empress spent the afternoons and evenings of the next three days in preparation for the reception of the Holy Communion, as is customary to all members of the Orthodox Church. Moreover, they did so in a recognisable manner by withdrawing from the Kremlin Palace, and spending the evenings quietly in the Alexandrina Palace outside Moscow by the Sparrows Hills. Meanwhile, each morning the coronation was proclaimed at the gates of the ancient city with all the pageantry of state.
After the proclamation had been read, beautifully printed copies of it were thrown among the crowd ; but such was the eagerness to obtain the precious documents that they were generally torn in pieces by a multitude of hands, and were afterwards carefully joined together and restored to some resemblance of their original form. On Sunday, 24th May, the Imperial banner was blessed with a religious service in one of the chapels of the Kremlin, and the Emperor swore allegiance to it as any soldier would do. In fact, during those days the Emperor was solemnly discharging all the duties of an ordinary Russian subject. On Monday the regalia were brought from the Treasury and placed in readiness for use, with a religious ceremony suited to the occasion. In the evening all the churches were again crowded with congregations, earnestly praying for God’s blessing on the Emperor who was to be crowned on the morrow.
At daybreak on 26th May the Kremlin was surrounded by a serious throng, through whom those privileged to enter slowly made their way. A Russian crowd is always quiet and speaks softly ; it is also orderly and kindly. There was genuine magnanimity displayed by the inhabitants of Moscow, who would say with a smile, “We are glad that you strangers should see as much as you can ; we can see very little, because we have to wait till all the guests who have come from a distance are provided for before there is any room for us “.
The question of finding room for all who wished to witness the coronation would have baffled human device, and those outside the Kremlin wall had nothing to see save the arrival of guests and officials in their splendid uniforms. Inside the Kremlin the stands were rapidly filled by those who had been lucky enough to secure tickets, and every available foot of standing ground was occupied by the people.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, in which the ceremony was to take place, seemed marvellously disproportionate to the preparations which were being made outside. It looked like a small chapel, and indeed only admitted the presence of some six hundred, who slowly took their places in perfect order. Yet much of the impressiveness of the ceremony itself was due to the smallness of the building, which gave an air of intimacy to everything that was done, and harmonised with the sense of family relationship which underlay it all.
The cathedral stands in the very centre of the Kremlin ; and though it has been rebuilt more than once, it still occupies the old site and reproduces the ancient ornamentation. Like all Eastern churches, it seems disproportionately high. Four round pillars rise aloft, bearing the five gilded domes which surmount the pile. They, as well as all the walls and roof, are covered with frescoes painted on a gold background in the simple traditional style which has prevailed in sacred art in Russia. On the north wall is represented the life of the Virgin ; on the west wall is the Last Judgment ; on the south wall are depicted the Seven General Councils of the undivided Church. On the pillars are the saints and martyrs, and on the roof choirs of adoring angels.
The east end shows a shallow choir, cut off by the inconostass, which rises the full height of the church, and conceals the altar, save when the central door is open. Along this screen are arranged formal rows of pictures, one below another. Highest are ranged the patriarchs, with God the Father in the midst; next come the prophets, grouped round the Virgin and the Son ; then are represented the chief events in the life of our Lord ; below He is in glory surrounded by angels and apostles. On the lowest line, level with the eye, are placed the most ancient and venerated pictures : the “Virgin of Vladimir,” brought by the first Christian ruler from Kherson, and believed to have been painted by St. Luke ; a picture of our Lord sent by the Eastern Emperor Manuel ; the death of the Virgin, painted by the Metropolitan Peter.
These are all adorned with jewels of countless value ; and amid the silver shrines which surround them and other pictures gleam the Royal Gates, on which are painted the Evangelists and the Annunciation. Wherever the eye wanders through the building it lights on something which aims at teaching the meaning and history of the Church, and its connexion with the individual life and the life of the Russian people. There is a persistent intensity of meaning, from the influence of which it is hard to escape. The stillness inside the cathedral, where the congregation slowly assembled, was a great contrast to the bustle outside.
The ecclesiastics performed their offices of preparation for the Communion, the choir assembled, invited guests came in one by one. Then the diplomatic corps entered and took their places, the ladies on one side, the gentlemen on the other. They were followed by the special representatives of foreign courts and the members of the Imperial family, who were similarly placed. The clergy left the choir and went to meet the Dowager Empress, who was escorted from the palace beneath a canopy of crimson and gold. She was conducted to her throne against the southern pillar of the nave, next to the Emperor’s throne, but a little behind.
The officials who had taken part in the procession defiled through the church, where there was no room for them to stay. Next came the bearers of the regalia, which were borne in state from the Throne Room in the palace. Soon the sound of drums and trumpets announced that the Emperor was on his way. Again a body of deputies and representatives of the towns and provinces of the empire entered the south door of the cathedral, escorting the Emperor, and, after a hurried glance at the glittering throng therein assembled, passed out at the north door to join in the service in their hearts outside ; a few only, to represent the peasants, were found a place among the choir.
The Emperor and Empress advanced under a velvet canopy, their path was sprinkled with holy water, and when they reached the centre of the church they bowed three times to the iconostass before mounting the steps to their thrones. The dark uniform of the Emperor and the white dress of the Empress, whose hair hung in plaits on either shoulder, were the simplest costumes in the building. It was just ten o’clock when the ceremony was begun by the choir chanting Psalm ci. : ” My song shall be ” of mercy and judgment “.
The clergy formed a line on either side of the iconostass ; beyond them stood the Ministers of State, reaching up the steps towards the dais which stood in the centre of the church. On each side of it were placed the Imperial family and foreign princes ; behind them were the ambassadors and the high officers and chief nobles of the empire, the ladies on the south side and the men on the north. Behind the Imperial dais with its three thrones, each surmounted by a canopy, the officials and nobles were ranged on a stage which mounted up so as to afford a full view.
Special favour was shown to representatives of the press, who were placed against the western wall. The church was as full as it could be, but there was no crowding nor confusion. Everything was simple and intelligible in the arrangements. There stood the Emperor in the midst of the church, surrounded by representatives of his empire and of the world, awaiting the solemn moment which was to seal the responsibility of his office.
Exquisite was the chanting of the psalm by a choir trained to admirable precision, because no accompaniment is allowed in the Eastern Church. But music is the special gift of the Russian people, who wile away the long winter evenings in song, and pour into it all the melancholy and passion of their souls. Their popular music is not different from their church music ; old motives are elaborated and simplified ; but all is simple, melodious and pathetic, rendered with deep feeling and the utmost care.
While the voices rose and fell in solemn cadence, and struck the keynote of the solemnity that was to follow, the regalia were placed in position on a little table by the Emperor’s seat. When the psalm was ended, the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg stood before the Emperor and reminded him that he must profess himself before his subjects as a true member of the Holy Orthodox Church. He ended, almost abruptly, as to a child saying his Catechism: “What is thy belief?” In answer, the Emperor in a loud and clear voice recited the Nicene Creed.
When he had done, the Metropolitan, accompanied by all the bishops, softly said, ” The blessing of the Holy Ghost be with thee “. Very significant was this prelude to the ceremony. Great as might be the Imperial claims afterwards, it was through the door of the Church that he entered upon them. The one guarantee which he gave to his people was the guarantee of fidelity to the Church of the nation. When this had been done, the choir softly sang an invocation to the Holy Spirit. Then a deacon, with the cry ” Let us in peace pray to the Lord,” began a Litany of intercession for the Church and people, and their ruler. His magnificent bass voice rolled through the church, while the choir’s response, “Lord, have mercy upon us,” sounded like a far-off echo.
The Litany ended in thanksgiving, and as the strains of the choir died away the deacon directed the congregation to what was to follow by a cry, ” Wisdom, let us attend,” the usual introduction to the reading of Scripture. Then lessons were read, one from Isaiah xlix. 13-20, another from the Epistle to the Romans xiii. 1-7, and finally from the Gospel according to St. Matthew xxii. 15-22. Due religious preparation had now been made for the coronation itself, and the Emperor ordered the Imperial mantle to be brought.
This was done by two Metropolitans, and as it was placed on the Emperor’s shoulders the third Metropolitan exclaimed, ” In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost “. Again the first step in the assumption of the Imperial dignity was taken under the protection and sanction of the Church, and the first sounds that fell upon the Emperor’s ear afterwards were the deacon’s cry, ” Let us pray to the Lord,” and the choir’s response, ” Lord, have mercy upon us”. Before proceeding farther the Emperor was reminded of the source of all power, and bowed his head while the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg advanced and placed his hands crosswise on the bent head, and prayed that the symbolical acts which were to follow might not be void : ” Make thy faithful servant, the mighty Lord Nicolas Alexandrovitch, whom Thou hast set as Emperor over Thy people, worthy to be anointed with the oil of gladness : clothe him with power from on high ; set upon his head a crown of precious stone, and bestow on him length of days. Give him in his right hand the sceptre of salvation ; set him upon the throne of righteousness ; defend him with the whole armour of the Holy Spirit ; strengthen his arm ; subdue before him all warlike barbarian peoples ; plant in his heart Thy fear and compassion towards all his subjects.”
The Emperor then asked for the crown, and, standing with it for a moment in his hand, placed it upon his head. It was a mighty crown of diamonds and pearls, divided into two parts, symbolising the Eastern and Western Empires ; the two parts were joined by a superb ruby, from which sprung a cross of pearls. The Metropolitan addressed him : ” Emperor of all Russia, this visible and tangible adornment of thy head is a manifest sign that Christ, the invisible King, crowns thee head of all the Russian people”.
In like manner the Emperor took in his right hand the sceptre, and in his left the orb of empire, and was reminded that they were symbols of the power of government. When this was done the Emperor stood for a space, clad in all the insignia of his office, the undisputed ruler of his vast dominion, crowned by his own hand, and responsible to God alone. It was a moment of incomparable dramatic effect, overpowering in its significance.
The next act came as a relief, and brought back the tense feelings of all to the simple elements of human life. The Autocrat of All the Russias could not endure his solitary grandeur. He laid down his sceptre and globe, and beckoned to the Empress, who rose and knelt before him. Taking his crown from his head he touched her forehead with it, as a token that she must help him by sharing his burden. Then he placed on her head the small diadem which was to be hers, wrapped round her the purple mantle, and fastened round her neck the collar of the order of St. Andrew. She returned to her throne, and the Emperor, again taking the sceptre and the globe, sat in his throne, while the deacon, in tones throbbing with exultant joy, proclaimed the Imperial titles. Louder and louder rose his voice as the long list went on, till it rolled through the building and broke upon the ear in almost overwhelming waves of sound.
Rarely could the majestic effect of territorial names be more distinctly recognised, or more magnificently expressed : ” To our mighty Lord, crowned of God, Nicolas Alexandrovitch, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, of Moscow, Kieff, Vladimir, Novgorod, Tsar of Kazan, Tsar of Astrachan, Tsar of Poland, Tsar of Siberia, Tsar of the Tauric Chersonese, Tsar of Georgia ; Lord of Pskoff Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia and Finland ; Prince of Esthonia, Livonia, Curland and Semgallen, of Bielostok, Coria, Tver, Ingria, Perm, Viatka, Bulgaria and other lands ; Lord and Grand Duke of Nijni Novgorod, of Tchernigoff, Riazan, Polotelsk, Rostoff, Jaroslavz, Bielolersk, Udoria, Obdoria, Condia, Vitebsk, Mstislaff and . all northern lands ; Ruler and Lord of the Iverskian, Kartalian and Kabardinskian lands, as of the region of Armenia Ruler of the Circassian and Hill princes and other lords ; Heir of Norway ; Duke of Schleswig Holstein, Stornmarn, Ditmarsch and Oldenburg ; grant, O Lord, a happy and peaceful life, health and safety and prosperity in all good, victory and triumph over all his foes ; and preserve him for many years.” The choir took up the refrain “
For many years,” and repeated it antiphonally till the sounds softly died away. Again the deacon began : ” To his wife, the orthodox and religious, crowned and exalted Lady, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, for many years ; ” and again the choir repeated the good wish. The coronation ceremony was now accomplished, and the bells clanged out and the cannon thundered, to announce the fact to the dense throng outside, who shouted out their joyful congratulations.
The members of the Imperial family left their places and did homage. It was pathetic to see the wistful look in the face of the Dowager Empress as she tenderly embraced her son, and both were overcome by deep emotion. Then all others in the cathedral bowed low three times to the Emperor, who stood to receive this acknowledgment of their fealty. The bells and cannon ceased, and there was profound stillness as the Emperor knelt, and in clear earnest voice prayed for himself : ” Lord God of our father, and King oi Kings, Who hast created all things by Thy word, and by Thy wisdom hast made man, that he should walk uprightly and rule righteously over Thy world ; Thou hast chosen me as Tsar and judge over Thy people, I acknowledge Thy unsearchable purpose towards me, and bow in thankfulness before Thy Majesty. Do Thou, my Lord and Governor, fit me for the work to which Thou hast sent me : teach me and guide me in this great service. May there be with me the wisdom which belongs to Thy throne ; send it from Thy holy heaven, that I may know what is well-pleasing in Thy sight, and what is right according to Thy commandment. May my heart be in Thine hand, to accomplish all that is to the profit of the people committed to my charge, and to Thy glory, that so in the day of Thy judgment I may give Thee account of my stewardship without blame ; through the grace and mercy of Thy Son, Who was once crucified for us, to Whom be all honour and glory with Thee and the Holy Ghost, the Giver of Life, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Then the Emperor rose, and all others in the church, for the only time in the service, knelt while the Metropolitan, on his knees, took up and expanded these simple petitions. All rose, and the Metropolitan, standing before the Emperor, spoke a few earnest words of greeting, after which the choir sang the ” Te Deum “. This was the end of the coronation service proper but it was followed at once by the Communion Service, which need not be described. During the Communion of the priests, inside the sanctuary, a carpet of gold cloth was unrolled and spread between the throne and the royal gates of the iconostass.
The gates were opened and two Metropolitans appeared, accompanied by two deacons, and invited the Emperor and Empress to come for their anointing and for the Holy Communion. The Emperor unbuckled his sword, for no weapon may approach the altar, and with the regalia carried before him, and his heavy train borne by eight officials, descended the steps and moved to the gate. The Metropolitan of St. Petersburg took in his hand the vessel containing the holy oil for the chrism.
This oil is some of that which is carefully prepared every year for use at confirmation. With it the Metropolitan anointed the Emperor on his forehead, his eyelids, his nostrils, his mouth, his breast and both sides of his hands, saying, ” The seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost”. The other Metropolitan wiped him with a silken cloth. Then the thunder of a hundred cannon announced to those without that this solemn rite was accomplished.
Meanwhile the Emperor stood to one side, while the Empress advanced and was anointed on the forehead only. She stood aside as the Metropolitan led the Emperor inside the gates, for the only time in his life in which he may enter the place reserved for the priests. He who had just been crowned and anointed as head alike of Church and State was more than a layman, and, though not called to the priestly office, was admitted to priestly privileges. He entered the sanctuary and took the Holy Elements as a priest.
When the Emperor returned, the Empress advanced to the gates, where the Metropolitan met her and administered the Communion according to ordinary custom. Then their Majesties returned to their thrones, and the Thanksgiving was said ; after which the deacon prayed for their health and happiness, and the choir again responded, ” For many years ; for many years ”. The Metropolitan brought the Cross for them to kiss, and the service was now over. The Emperor assumed his regalia, which he had laid aside during the Communion office. Again all present bowed three times in recognition that he was duly crowned and anointed.
Bells and cannon again filled the air with sound as the procession left the church. The Emperor and Empress, each under their canopies, borne by high officials, with their heavy trains carried by pages, proceeded slowly to visit the other cathedrals, where the deacon again wished them health and happiness as they bowed at the tombs of their ancestors. Then they mounted the steps leading to the palace, amidst the acclamations of the mighty crowd. On reaching the balcony the Emperor turned and faced his people. It was the formal recognition of their homage, and he bowed in acknowledgment. Then the long procession passed into the palace. It was by this time half-past one o’clock, and the strain of the long ceremony had been severe. But little rest was given to the Imperial party.
At half, past two there was a State Banquet, according to custom, at which the Emperor dined in public. This survival of ancient times was extremely interesting, as it carried the spectator back to the old customs of monarchy throughout the world. The banqueting hall in the palace, the Granovitaja Palata, is the most ancient part of the building, and was erected in 1491. It is a vast room, with a low vaulted roof, which makes it seem smaller than it really is.
The vault rests on a square central pillar, which is formed into a buffet, and was adorned with ancient plate, of which the Russian Emperor possesses a magnificent collection. Amongst the pieces are five which are of special interest to Englishmen, as they were the gift of Queen Elizabeth to Ivan the Terrible, when intercourse was first opened up between England and Russia. The walls and vault of the room are adorned with frescoes, painted in the style of ancient ecclesiastical art ; conspicuous amongst the subjects is a series illustrating the life of Joseph.
The floor is of inlaid wood in floriated patterns—a kind of work for which Russia is remarkable, as its woods are of almost every shade of colour and vie in richness with marble, while they excel it in warmth of tone, and are more easily arranged in flowing designs. On one side of the hall was placed a daVs, on which were three thrones, richly gilt and surmounted by a canopy. Opposite to this stood the members of the Imperial court. In another corner of the room was an orchestra and a choir, who performed during the banquet.
Three tables were set for the chief ecclesiastics and the high nobility of the empire. Presently the National Anthem sounded forth, and the Emperor, with the two Empresses, wearing the regalia, and preceded by the marshals of the court, entered and took his place upon the throne, while all bowed low before him. As- soon as he was seated, the dishes were brought in, and were handed from one officer to another till they reached the table, where they were placed by one who knelt. After a few minutes the Emperor called for wine, which was a signal that the court might withdraw. They did so, bowing as they went.
The guests then took their seats, and their dinner was quickly served. At intervals toasts were given by the chamberlain, and were drunk in silence. Towards the end of the repast all the guests were presented with gold medals commemorative of the coronation, bearing on one side the Emperor and Empress, on the other side the arms of the empire, beautifully executed in bold relief. This banquet was, as has been said, confined to representatives of the Russian nation its highest officials in Church and State.
The members of the lmperial family and other distinguished foreigners were served in a gallery whence they could look down upon the scene. It is a noticeable fact that amongst the ecclesiastics were reckoned the representatives of religious bodies recognised by the State—two Roman Catholic prelates, two Lutheran superintendents, two Armenian bishops. And though it is not my intention to speak of myself, I am bound to acknowledge the signal courtesy which was shown to the English Church by including me among the guests, though I had no claim of any kind, and was the only one who was not a Russian subject.
The dinner was over by half-past four, and we all dispersed with the sense that we had been present at a demonstration of national sentiment unparalleled in its deep significance, and in the profound emotion which it expressed and created. Outward magnificence leaves the beholder interested, it may be, but unmoved ; here the splendour was but an attempt to set forth in a becoming way the sentiments of a people, who wished their ruler to feel how entirely their hopes were set upon him, and who commended themselves and him alike to God’s guidance and direction.
Outside the palace was still standing an eager throng, who gathered round the ecclesiastics, kissed their hands and begged their blessing. The whole atmosphere seemed charged with a simple, childlike earnestness, an intensity of faith and hope. The accomplishment of the coronation was a signal for popular rejoicing, and never has a crowd been entertained by a more beautiful spectacle than the illumination of Moscow, The plan pursued was regulated by a harmonious design, which was carried out throughout the city, where the architectural features of the chief buildings were outlined by electric lamps of various colours.
The chief interest centred in the Kremlin, where the long line of walls and towers, the outlines of domes and cupolas, all the strange and fantastic forms of its Oriental architecture with their wealth of detail, were painted in brilliant and harmonious colours upon the background of a perfect summer night. The delighted crowd of peasants from various quarters filled the streets and gazed with deepening delight upon a sight which surpassed all their imagination. For three nights the illuminations were repeated, and the intense enjoyment of the crowd, its perfect order, and the simple, kindly feeling which it displayed, were as interesting as the illuminations themselves.
After the coronation the Emperor and Empress spent three days in receiving congratulations from the numerous deputations sent from every quarter. In the evening of each day was provided some form of entertainment. First came a dinner, which afforded a remarkable token of the union between Church and State in Russia. At the Imperial table were seated the Emperor and Empress and royal guests. Opposite to them were the ecclesiastics, the Emperor facing the oldest Metropolitan, and so on in order of dignity. The varied uniforms and dainty toilettes on one side of the table formed a striking contrast with the episcopal robes of violet, surmounted by tall headdresses of white and black, on the other.
To strangers few incidents in the festivities looked more curious and picturesque. On the following evening was a reception in the palace, to which 8000 guests were invited, and the Imperial party walked through the crowded rooms, accompanied by the ambassadors, to the strains of a Polonaise, for three hours continuously, that all might have an opportunity of seeing them. On the third day an entertainment was given in the Opera House, where the appearance of the stage was eclipsed in splendour and variety of costume by the audience. So far all had gone admirably, and the arrangements had called forth universal praise.
On Saturday, 30th May, the Emperor gave according to custom a great festival for the people on the Chodinsky Field. As a prelude there was to be a distribution of presents to the number of 400,000. Early in the morning the expectant crowd rushed to the booths where the distribution was to be made, and a few moments of wild confusion caused the death of nearly three thousand people. By some terrible irony of fate more destruction was wrought by a good-natured crowd, bent upon a holiday, than could have been accomplished by two armies engaged in battle. It is easy to be wise after the event, and to lay down ideal precautions which ought to have been taken. It is obvious that anything must be avoided which directs a mass of people towards any given point.
The plainest moral to be drawn is that old customs, which grew up before the days of rapid communication, are no longer possible when railways create an incalculable crowd. In a vast treeless plain, absolutely unbroken, the direction and control of a huge multitude becomes a matter of extreme difficulty. But it is clear that they cannot be trusted to control themselves, and the ancient custom of publicly distributing doles must be discontinued. I can add nothing to the records of this grievous catastrophe ; but no one could have failed to be impressed by the way in which it was universally regarded.
Every one deeply felt its sadness, but the popular sentiment would not endure that private sorrow should check the course of public rejoicing. We in England would have shrunk from any further demonstration of loyalty, and would have dispersed sadly to our homes in mourning. It was not so at Moscow. The crowd remained, scarcely abated in numbers, and awaited the coming of the Emperor at two o’clock. When he arrived he received an enthusiastic greeting. The roar of the crowd drowned the strains of the National Anthem, sung by a vast choir again and again. Hats were waved and thrown heedlessly into the air, which grew thick with the dust caused by the movements of the multitude.
There was no cessation in the shouts till the Emperor withdrew to the Petrovsky Palace close by, where he entertained at dinner the bailiffs of the communes, and addressed them in words of heartfelt welcome. The Imperial entertainments were now at an end, and it was the turn for others to entertain the Emperor. I need not speak of the balls given by the French Ambassador, the Governor of Moscow, the nobility of Moscow, of the dinner at the English Embassy, and the concert at the German Embassy.
These were eclipsed by a ball at the Kremlin Palace. But one ceremony remained to be performed as a necessary sequence to the coronation—a visit by the Emperor and Empress to the Monastery of the Troitsa, situated about sixty miles from Moscow. This is the most holy place in Russia, and St. Sergius, its founder, is the most popular, because the most truly national, saint. In the dismal times of the Tartar domination he withdrew for prayer and devotion to a secluded spot, where a brotherhood soon gathered round him.
The princes of Moscow, who were placing themselves at the head of a national resistance, frequently sought his advice, and he blessed Demetrius of the Don, and sent two of his monks to pray for him at the celebrated battle of Kulikova. The monastery which he founded became the centre of national independence against the Tartars, and afterwards against the Poles ; it was the refuge and support of the rulers of Moscow, and had such narrow escapes from destruction that it was regarded as under the special protection of Heaven.
A visit to the tomb of St. Sergius is one of the objects of every pious Russian, and no great event in the life of the Imperial family is complete without a visit to the place which is fullest of lofty memories of national history. Thither the Emperor went, accompanied by a few ecclesiastics and officers of State ; he went privately as an ordinary pilgrim, to confirm and renew in that quiet spot the vows which he had made at his coronation. If in the Kremlin he was surrounded by the memorials of his ancestors on the Imperial throne, at the Troitsa he was led back to the lives of simple men, instinct with faith, who supplied the motive power and maintained the principles to which their ancestors had given shape, and round which the Russian nation had been formed.
I have written as one who tried to lend himself to the meaning of a great national ceremony, unique of its kind. I have written as one who tried to understand rather than to criticise. Such a ceremony cannot be measured by our standards ; it was an expression of national sentiment, penetrated by a poetry and a passion unknown to us, or rather I should not say unknown in the sense of unfelt, but such as we should not care to express in any visible form. It was an exhibition of national self-consciousness upon a mighty scale, and as such produced a deep impression on all beholders. It focussed many national characteristics, and showed a serious sense of a great national mission, with which every Englishman could feel himself in fundamental sympathy.
Mandell Creighton (/ˈmændəl ˈkraɪtən/; 5 July 1843 – 14 January 1901) was a British historian and a bishop of the Church of England. A scholar of the Renaissance papacy, Creighton was the first occupant of the Dixie Chair of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Cambridge, a professorship established around the time that history was emerging as an independent academic discipline. He was also the first editor of the English Historical Review, the oldest English language academic journal in the field of history. Creighton had a second career as a cleric in the Church of England. He served as a parish priest in Embleton, Northumberland and later, successively, as a Canon Residentiary of Worcester Cathedral, the Bishop of Peterborough and the Bishop of London. His moderation and worldliness drew praise from Queen Victoria and won notice from politicians. It was widely thought at the time that Creighton would have become the Archbishop of Canterbury had his early death, at age 57, not supervened.
Creighton’s historical work received mixed reviews. He was praised for scrupulous even-handedness, but criticised for not taking a stand against historical excesses. For his part, he was firm in asserting that public figures be judged for their public acts, not private ones. His preference for the concrete to the abstract diffused through his writings on the Church of England. He believed that the church was uniquely shaped by its particular English circumstances, and advocated that it reflect the views and wishes of the English people.
Creighton was married to the author and future women’s suffrage activist Louise Creighton, and the couple had seven children. The Creightons were passionately interested in the education of children and together wrote over a dozen school history primers. A man of complex intelligence and exceptional vigour, Mandell Creighton was emblematic of the Victorian era both in his strengths and in his failings.