5 November 2013, 00:48

Russia marks National Unity Day

Russia marks National Unity Day

On November 4 Russia marked National Unity Day, one of the recently established public holidays. The festive events began with a communion service in the Assumption Cathedral in Moscow’s Kremlin conducted by Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. After that an obelisk dedicated to the Romanovs was unveiled in the Alexander Garden outside the Kremlin wall.

© Photo: Voice of Russia

The public holiday was established in honour of events of 1612 when Russian voluntary troops commanded by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky liberated Moscow from foreign invaders. In the church calendar this is Day of Our Lady of Kazan whose icon was the main relic of the voluntary troops.

© Photo: Voice of Russia

This year all the festivities are associated with the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov. The first czar of this dynasty Mikhail Romanov ascended the throne in 1613. During the holy communion Patriarch Kirill stressed the fact that Russia became strong and powerful while the Romanovs ruled the country. Without idolizing anyone from the ruling dynasty we can state confidently that all the Romanovs, irrespective of their personal abilities, did what no one else had done for Russia before them, the patriarch said.

© Photo: Voice of Russia

After the communion the Romanov Obelisk was unveiled in the Alexander Garden. It so happened that in the past it was the last monument in honour of the ruling dynasty and the first Communist monument after the October revolution. Vladimir Legoyda, the chairman of the Synodal Information Department of the Russian Orthodox Church, explains that the Romanov Obelisk was established in the Alexander Garden in 1914 to mark the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov. In 1918 after the revolution the Communist government issued a decree that stipulated either destroying pre-revolutionary monuments or revamping them. The Romanov Obelisk became the first experience of this kind. All the Russian czars’ names were erased from it to be replaced with the names of European proto-Socialists and Russian revolutionary philosophers.

© Photo: Voice of Russia

Now the obelisk has been restored in its original shape. It has been established near the Kremlin wall next to the Ruins grotto. The golden eagle, the Romanovs’ coat of arms, can be seen from far away. The obelisk stands next to the statue of Patriarch Hermogenes who blessed the new Romanov royal dynasty in 1613.

© Photo: Voice of Russia

The highlight of today’s celebrations was the opening of an exhibition dedicated to Orthodox Russia. This year the main subject of the exhibition is the Romanovs. The visitors will be able to travel through the centuries with the help of modern technologies, such as 3D installations, animation photo montage, sensor tables and panels and gigantic plasma screens. The exhibition does not allow forging history because it demonstrates true facts about the time when the Romanovs were on the Russian throne.

The exhibition ‘Orthodox Russia and National Unity Day’ will be open until 12 November.

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