Nun Agnia [Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya]

An online Synaxaristes including martyrologies and hagiographies of the lives of the Orthodox Church's saints. All Forum Rules apply. No polemics. No heated discussions. No name-calling.

Moderators: Maria, phpBB2 - Administrators

User avatar
Barbara
Protoposter
Posts: 3447
Joined: Sat 29 September 2012 10:03 pm

Re: Nun Agnia [Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya]

Postby Barbara » Thu 20 October 2016 9:30 pm

Painting from Tambov Regional Art Gallery of Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya.

The blue beribboned ornament adorning her gown is likely the award mentioned in the previous post of the dual portrait of Nicholas I and his consort Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. So as not to be confused with the wife of Tsar Nicholas II, the latter was the former Princess Charlotte of Prussia [13 July 1798 – 1 November 1860 ].


Image

User avatar
Barbara
Protoposter
Posts: 3447
Joined: Sat 29 September 2012 10:03 pm

Re: Nun Agnia [Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya]

Postby Barbara » Thu 10 November 2016 4:28 pm

Here is another less refined photo but it gives the feeling of the time period, 1805-1810. Countess Anna wears the Kashmiri or similar Eastern shawl made popular by Empress Josephine of France. During the early 1800s, the Russian court copied the French styles, ironically of the era of Napoleon I.
The lowcut neckline with Empire waist [ so named after France's First Empire style ], flimsy lightweight dress material, puffed sleeves as in the portrait above, and the hairstyle of short hair with accentuated curls around the face are typical.

This is by an anonymous artist, locatd in the Rybinsk State History, Architecture and Art Museum.

Image

User avatar
Barbara
Protoposter
Posts: 3447
Joined: Sat 29 September 2012 10:03 pm

Re: Nun Agnia [Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya]

Postby Barbara » Fri 11 November 2016 4:06 am

Today being the Feast of St Job of Pochaev, here is the best summary of specifics of Countess Anna's great financial contributions to Pochaev Lavra. This is the only place I found the precise details of her gift of the Saint's reliquary :

".... it was Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya, a lady-in-waiting at the tsar’s court, who made the most munificent donations to the monastery: in 1842 she presented the lavra with a 147-pound fancy silver reliquary (to keep the remains of the blessed Iov [ Job ]), silver icon-lamps weighing four pounds, and a heavily-gilded silver icon-case worth about 7,500 rubles in 1850.
The countess also bequeathed 30,000 rubles — a huge sum in those days — to the monastery."


http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin ... on&id=I113

User avatar
Barbara
Protoposter
Posts: 3447
Joined: Sat 29 September 2012 10:03 pm

Re: Nun Agnia [Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya]

Postby Barbara » Mon 14 November 2016 2:37 am

Here are 2 references to Countess Anna in the Vladimir Znosko biography of St Feofil. All the accounts of Blessed Feofil's great deeds were carefully recorded in the Archives of the Kiev Caves Lavra and based upon interviews with the people concerned while they were alive :

First is the full story I summarized in the 2nd post on this thread.

"Even the eminent philanthropist and devout Countess Anna Alexeevna Orlova-Chesmenskaya was not spared by the Starets. The Countess once came to the Blessed One on the advice of Metropolitan Filaret. When she asked for his blessing for the beginning of some important matter, the Starets did not answer a word, but gathered up a pile of fine sweepings and poured it into the skirt of her dress. Orlova was so devout and honoured the Starets so much that she left, humbly carrying the sweepings, and all the way home she contemplated about the significance of this action of the Blessed One.

"Another time she came to him on the eve of the Feast of the Dormition. The Starets was in the habit of cleaning up his cell on this day. He was washing pots and dishes when Countess Orlova arrived. Seeing her, he exclaimed joyously:

"Ah, a maiden, a maiden has come! Opportunely, very opportunely. Pray, dear one, go down to the Dniepr and wash a couple of little pots for me."

"He handed her an armload of dirty dishes.

"Anna Alexeevna only smiled and, without any embarrassment, went down to the Dniepr where she diligently took to washing the pots, dirtied with age, with her own hands which were decorated with precious rings. Her servant stood at a respectful distance and marvelled, seeing the Countess at such menial work.

********************************
The second excerpt shows how Countess Anna became the instrument of Blessed Feofil's marvelous plan to answer the prayers of a postulant of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. Not only was the pazluzhnik thereby able to pay the vast sum demanded by the government to skip compulsory military service but also to cover all of his personal expenses :

"Few people had the chance to approach Starets Feofil for his blessing. He spent entire days in the woods at prayer and would return home to the hermitage only towards vespers in order to be in time for the beginning of the Divine Service. If anyone succeeded in approaching him, the Starets would give his blessing without stopping, as if in a great hurry. In general, the Blessed One disliked having attention turned upon him and thus being distracted from his prayers.

"When he noticed pilgrims waiting for him on the road, he would turn off somewhere to the side, into the bushes, or if it was in the cloister itself, he would climb to the top of a large oak growing near the hostel, or he would hide in the monastery orchard in a deep hole which he had dug for that purpose.

"And here is an example of the secret charity of the Blessed One.

"There lived in the Lavra a postulant who was serving his obedience in the Novopasechny orchard. Upon attaining his maturity, he was called into the military service as a recruit. He was judged suitable for service and inducted. The young ascetic of piety was overwhelmed with grief at his impending separation from the cloister. He could not buy his way out of the service, because he had no money. (At that time, a recruit could pay for his obligated service instead of serving himself. This cost up to 1,000 rubles).

"He happened to meet Starets Feofil soon after this and the Blessed One looked at him intently and said:

"Why have you become sad, soldier? Because you don't want to serve the earthly king? You want to become employed for service to the Heavenly King?"

"Oh, I'm not worthy of this mercy from God. There is no place for me a sinner, in this holy cloister of the Lavra," the postulant said and tears poured from his eyes like hail.

"Well, well, don't weep, don't grieve, brother. You will remain living in the Lavra," the Blessed One said, and went on his way.

Three days later, Countess Orlova Chesmenskaya came to Kiev on a pilgrimage and, having finished her podvig of worship, she went to see Starets Feofil in order to take confession with him. She did not find him in his cell but seeing Feofil in the courtyard, she set out towards him. Having guessed Orlova's intention, the Blessed One decided to test her humility and, as if he had not noticed her, he quickly set out for the woods. Orlova did not wish to lose sight of the Starets because it was not always easy to find him, so she began to follow him. The Starets increased his pace. Orlova did the same. Making sharp turns and detours so that Orlova would lose sight of him, Feofil would again appear in the distance. The Blessed One was heading for the Novopasechny orchard and, having entered the wicket-gate, he quickly disappeared from her view.

The anxious countess had lost Feofil's track and so she stopped in confusion. To her good fortune, that same postulant-recruit was sitting near the gate and she walked up to him with the question: "Tell me, please. Did Father Feofil pass through here?"

"He has just entered the orchard," the postulant replied, bowing respectfully and he opened the gate in front of the countess.

"Allow me..." Forgetting herself from joy, Orlova took a handful of gold coins from her purse and gave it to the postulant in gratitude.

The money was not only sufficient for the paying out of the recruit's service requirement, but there was some left over for his other needs as well."

http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com ... art-9.html

User avatar
Barbara
Protoposter
Posts: 3447
Joined: Sat 29 September 2012 10:03 pm

Re: Nun Agnia [Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya]

Postby Barbara » Mon 12 March 2018 3:14 am

Today is the repose day of the controversial Archimandrite Photius [Spassky] in 1838.
I have other material to post about him, but to observe this day, I looked for a photo of the Holy Transfiguration Church in the Yuriev Monastery where, it turns out, both Anna and he are buried. However, without searching in Russian language, I could find only this beautiful Cathedral, which is dedicated to the Exaltation of the Cross. Seems fitting as today is the Sunday of the Cross, 180 years after this enigmatic figure's repose.

To some, he was a brave champion of Russian Orthodoxy who persuaded Emperor Alexander I to make decisions against the Masonic lodges and various strange sects which were proliferating at that time. But this boldness seems to have inspired many to speak against him, politically and personally.

The post on page 1 briefly covers the slanderous rumors about him and Countess Anna Orlova-Cheshmenskaya, which Pushkin promulgated in 3 or 4 quite insulting quatrains. More of a concern to many at the time and all the way up through the present was his [mesmerizing ?] influence over Countess Anna. How was it that he persuaded her to give the equivalent of 740 MILLION DOLLARS in today's money to the Novgorod Diocese ? Specifically for the rebuilding of the ancient Yuriev [ St George ] Monastery, it appears. Countess Anna inherited her fortune in 1808 and spent the next 40 years until her own repose in 1848 lavishing money on both Archimandrite Photi's projects as well as donating to various Churches and Monasteries [ and freeing a young novice from his obligatory military service ! ].

This financial topic needs to be explored for the truth to be reached.

For the moment, we will assume the best, that Archimandrite Photius was given talents by God to help the Orthodox Church in a time of peril. Some authors posit that he was the most influential churchman in recent centuries, wielding unheard of power over Tsar Alexander I. [ I would think more of Patriarch Nikon and Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich in this context, but compared with later times, even up to the end of the Romanov Monarchy, it seems that the energetic Fr Photi [Spassky] stands out. ] All these contentions will hopefully be examined as much as possible for a non-Russian-speaking researcher.

Archimandrite Photius reposed a full decade before Countess Anna. One wonders where she sought spiritual guidance after his death. Perhaps she felt all the more urgency to visit St Feofil of the Kiev Caves, traveling all that distance in the mere hope of finding him, as recounted in an above post.

A complete biography of Anna needs to be written to fill in all these blank spaces in her life !

Here is that 5-domed Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross in the venerable Yuriev Monastery, which both of these intriguing personalities labored much to restore in the early decades of the 19th century.

Image

As for Archimandrite Photius, we can take this vignette as perhaps the tip of the iceberg of what he was able to accomplish :


"One contemporary recounts how Photius drove with him across Vasilevsky Island in St. Petersburg and pointed out with satisfaction the many homes where once Masonic lodges had met and where unorthodox religious groups had held services. Now they were no more."

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals ... 733443DB63

However, this Cambridge article calls Photius by the epithet "Apostle of Obscurantism", reminding us that what may have been a valiant deed from the traditional Orthodox point of view provoked furious outrage from the Western European secret societies trying to gain the upper hand in Russia in the early 1800s.

PS Many will remember that Vasilevsky Island is the site of St Xenia of St Petersburg's shrine.


Return to “Synaxarion Orthodoxia”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests