SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: September 14, 2006
Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia Will Participate in the Transfer of the Remains of Empress Maria Feodorovna
The ceremony of the transfer of the remains of Empress Maria Feodorovna, wife of Emperor Alexander III, from the Danish city of Roskilde to Russia, will begin with pannikhida, reports Interfax News Agency. According to information posted on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, the ceremonious transfer of the remains of the empress will begin on the evening of September 22. The pannikhida will be performed by Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany along with other clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The service will be attended by members of the Romanov family and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church. The coffin, covered with a Russian flag, will remain in the chapel overnight.
In the early morning of September 23, eight officers, comprised equally of members of the Danish Royal Guard and the Russian Presidential Regiment, will take the coffin out of the chapel and into the cathedral. Six Danish generals and admirals will stand and salute. A commemorative service will then begin, attended by members of the Danish Royal Family, ministers and members of the Danish Parliament, representatives of the Russian and St Petersburg governments, members of the Romanov Family, and church hierarchs. At the end of service, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, along with her consort, will escort the remains of the Russian empress. The honorary funeral cortege consisting of 40 cavalrymen of the Royal Hussar Regiment will escort the remains to the Port of Copenhagen. Here, under a rifle salute and the playing of the national anthem, the joint Danish-Russian officer guard will place the coffin on the Danish warship Esben Snarre. Under a 21-gun artillery salute, the ship will depart for the city of Kronstadt.
On September 26, at the maritime border of Russia, the ship will be met by a Russian naval vessel which will escort the Esben Snarre to Kronstadt. In honor of the arrival, there will be a 31-gun artillery salute. Officers of the honorary guard will take the coffin on shore and place it on a bier. The Master of Ceremonies will make a report to the Governor of St Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, and will hand over the protocol of the transfer of the remains of Empress Maria Feodorovna to the Russian side.
Then, under the peal of church bells, escorted by a military squadron, the coffin will be delivered to Peterhof, to the Church of St Alexander Nevsky (this was the Empress' Court church during the reign of Tsar Alexander III). After a divine service, visitors will be given the opportunity to view the open casket until the evening of September 27.
On the morning of September 28, the cortege will head for St Petersburg, making stops at the plaza of Ekaterininsky Palace, where bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate will perform Divine Liturgy.
The itinerary will continue to Isaakievsky Cathedral under the flags of Russia and St Petersburg and funeral ribbons. In the Cathedral, the coffin of Empress Maria Feodorovna will be met by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.
Then the cortege will continue to the Fortress of SS Peter and Paul. Lined along the Admiralteysky and Dvortsovy Streets, from the Bronze Horseman to the Zimny Canal, will be students of military academies and schools of St Petersburg, officers, drummers and floutists. During the procession, flags and ribbons will be lowered as drummers and floutists will perform the Funeral March, in accordance with the Military Guidelines of 1908.
On Troitsky Square, the catafalque will be greeted by the peal of the bells of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul. The coffin will be brought inside by senior officers of the Russian military.
At the end of the pannikhida that follows, the coffin bearing the remains of the Empress will be place side by side with the tomb of Emperor Alexander III. The officers will remove the Imperial Standard from the coffin and hand it over to the Master of Ceremonies. A 31-gun artillery salute will fire at the time the coffin is set in place.