Royals Retiring into Monasticism

News about traditional Orthodox monastics and how these monks and nuns are living out their vocations in monasteries and convents.

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Royals Retiring into Monasticism

Postby Maria » Sat 25 July 2015 11:34 pm

Russian tsar 'lived secretly as monk in Siberia' for decades after history books say he died
By Anna Liesowska
24 July 2015

Rumours have long suggested that emperor Alexander I staged his death in 1825 and became holy man Feodor Kuzmich, also known as Feodor Tomsky.

A theory was that he wanted forgiveness for any role he may have played in the assassination of his father Pavel I in 1801, or in benefiting from the work of others in slaying the tsar.

Now analysis by Svetlana Semyonova, president of Russian Graphological Society, suggests strong similarities between the handwritings of Alexander I and the mysterious monk. 'I was given a handwritten by Alexander I at the age of 45, and also another handwritten sample by Feodor Kuzmich,' she said. 'As a graphologist, I have noted an unusual style of both handwritings.'


To read this interesting story of Emperor Alexander I and his wife, who both apparently left the world for monasticism, please click this link: http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/n ... ooks-said/

Image

holy man Feodor Kuzmich on his deathbed
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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m. Evfrosinia
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Re: Royals Retiring into Monasticism

Postby m. Evfrosinia » Sun 11 October 2015 1:54 pm

Most Russian historians believe that the holy elder Feodor Kuzmich was in fact Tsar Alexander I. It was quite common for royalty and those of noble birth to accept the monastic tonsure befor death. St. Alexander Nevsky died as the monk Alexey, for example. And there is the example of the Holy New Martyr, the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna. There is also an account of one of the meetings of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church not long before the Revolution. The future Tsar Martyr Nicholas II was present, and the possibility of the restoration of the Patriarchate was being discussed. The Tsar offered to abdicate, be tonsured a monk and to become the 1st Patriarch. In still more recent times, St. Gregory Palamas monastery in Etna recently published a very intersting life of Princess Alice, a grand neice of St. Elizabeth Feodorovna, the mother of Prince Phillip of England. Like St. Elizabeth, she converted to Orthodoxy and became a monastic. She is buried at the ROCOR-MP Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in the Holy Land, in the crypt where St. Elizabeth's remains were before her relics were opened in 1981.

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Re: Royals Retiring into Monasticism

Postby Barbara » Mon 12 October 2015 1:15 am

Wonderful to see you back, Mother Evfrosinia ! Was it your namesday a few days ago [ St Evfrosinia of Suzdal ] ?

I did not know that about Tsar Nicholas II's offer to abdicate and become the next Patriarch after Patriarch Adrian, who was the last permitted. He reposed in the early 1700s. From then on, it's so sad that there was only a Holy Synod overseen by a layman. Of course, this was to keep the Church under tight governmental control. Awful...

Interesting, indeed ! What was the response at that time ? I wonder how much history could have been changed had this proposal been implemented. Would it have averted the Bolshevik Revolution, one wonders and hopes ?

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Re: Royals Retiring into Monasticism

Postby Barbara » Mon 12 October 2015 1:21 am

I was searching for that book on Princess Alice ! I have the general biography by Hugo Vickers, which does talk quite a bit about the reburial in St Mary Magdalene Convent. It took years and much maneuvering to make that wish of Princess Alice's finally occur.

I remember especially that Princess Alice copied as much as she could Grand Duchess Elizabeth, for example, starting nursing programs to help the wounded in one of the many conflicts in Greece at that era. And of course, as you said, converting. What were the details of her becoming a monastic ? Where did that happen ? It was almost at the end of her life, right ?

I do recall the commentary made at the time of the wedding of her son, Prince Philip, with Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Alice wore robes like a nun and had an ascetic demeanor, commanding the attention of all eyes as she processed up the aisle.

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Re: Royals Retiring into Monasticism

Postby m. Evfrosinia » Mon 12 October 2015 12:04 pm

She was tonsured on the island of Tinos, and attempted to start a monastery based on the same principles as St. Elizabeth's Convent of Sts. Mary and Martha in Moscow-- dedicated to charity work. It ultimately didn't work out. She also hid and saved a lot of Jewish children and refugees during World War II. Her health was always poor, and she ended up living in retirement in Buckingham palace.

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Re: Royals Retiring into Monasticism

Postby Barbara » Thu 15 October 2015 2:29 am

Thank you for that info ! Why did I think she resided in Kensington Palace ? Maybe she stayed there temporarily at some point. It's too bad that her newly planned order did not work. Probably there was no publicity and few women applied.

Was the wonderworking Tinos Icon there on the island at that time ? Perhaps that Icon would have been a factor in her decision to convert and do work on the island ?

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Re: Royals Retiring into Monasticism

Postby Barbara » Sun 1 November 2015 3:21 am

A cursory look late last night revealed that it was her mother, Victoria, Marchioness of Milford-Haven, the sister of Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who had quarters at Kensington. Alice stayed in those apartments. I could get more details but I doubt anyone is interested !
The Buckingham Palace period was at the end of her life.

Now since the thread is about royals retiring into monasticism, I want to point out for the sake of accuracy that Alice wore the grey robes of a nun after her time at Tinos. But she never actually became a nun.
Many people thought she was, but she was never tonsured.

Her mother perhaps summed up the clashing characteristics of Alice with a quip : "Who ever heard of a nunn who smokes cigarettes and plays Canasta ?"

Nonetheless, Alice certainly deserves credit for trying all her adult life to emulate her aunt, Grand Duchess Elizabeth.


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