The Isle of Wight is one of the largest islands located 2 miles off the coast of Hampshire. Its total area is just 148 square miles, a fact that gave this island its name, which literally means ‘something tiny’.
However, it was this place that became the centre of solemnities dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Russian Royal Family of Romanovs. The solemn events were organised by the Great Duchess Elisabeth Romanov (GDER) Society in Great Britain with the support of the local authorities and partner organisations.
This location was not chosen by accident. The Romanovs actually visited the island in 1909. It is here that Princess Victoria of Hesse and Darmstadt, who was Grand Princess Elisabeth’s sister and Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter, is buried.
A memorial to the Russian Royal Family was opened in East Cowes as part of the anniversary ceremonies. His Grace Irenei, Bishop of Sacramento, led the festivities on July 7. The monument consists of a cross with bas-relief faces of the Holy Royal Martyrs and Grand Princes Elisabeth, who was the Empress Alexandra’s sister.
Helena Bezborodova, the sculptor who created this monument, admits that she attempted to show the martyrs as they had been during their lifetime: joyful and filled with the Divine Light and spiritual power that allowed them to carry their cross till the end.
Members of the Monastic Choir of St Elisabeth Convent conducted by Nun Juliania (Denisova) also visited the island. They performed a concert of two parts, along with a Divine Liturgy and the festive events. According to the sisters, it was an honour for them to be part of the events related to the heavenly patroness of St Elisabeth Convent and the Holy Royal Martyrs. There is a fair chance that the hospitable Isle of Wight will see the Monastic Choir again.