Coronation of the Russian tsars and emperors

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Scene from the coronation ceremony of Nicholas II on May 14, 1896 in the Assumption Cathedral in Moscow. Emperor and Empress are depicted immediately after the coronation
Painting by Laurits Tuxen , Danish painter (1853–1927)

The coronation of the Russian tsars and emperors was a ceremonial inauguration of the designated Russian monarch. It consisted of the actual coronation as well as a series of rituals that preceded or followed it.

In the long history of the Russian coronations, the ceremonial was repeatedly adapted to the circumstances of the time. In essence, however, it remained almost unchanged, from the first coronation of Ivan IV. In 1547 to the last coronation of Emperor in 1896, Nicholas II. It developed from a coronation without anointing to a series of festivals and events that sometimes lasted several months the actual coronation ceremony. The biggest changes underwent the ceremony of acceptance of the imperial title by Peter I. There are thus the tsar coronation of the imperial coronations to distinguish.

History of the Russian Coronation Ceremony

Byzantine origins of the ceremonial

An appointment of rulers, as it was common in medieval Europe, was not known in the area of ​​the Russian principalities. There was a solemn enthronement every now and then, but in most cases the new ruler was simply appointed without anointing or other religious ceremony. At the time of the Tartar foreign rule , the Russian grand dukes were also relatively powerless and, in addition to their inherited rights, had to have their rule legitimized by the Tatar khanes .

Grand Duke Ivan III. , was the first Moscow Grand Duke to use the title Tsar
from: A. Teve: Cosmography. 1575

With the decline of the khans, the Grand Duchy of Moscow grew stronger. Until the reign of Grand Duke Ivan III. (1440–1505) the smaller Russian principalities were then almost completely united with the Moscow Empire. The increased political prestige required a corresponding external representation of power. Therefore, Ivan III. temporarily the title Tsar of Russia . Another new symbol of rulership was the first coronation act in Russian history in 1498. This had never happened before in either the Kievan Rus or the Vladimir-Suzdal principality , which had been the most important Russian grand duchies before the rise of Moscow.

On February 4, 1498, Ivan III. crown his grandson Dmitri Ivanovich (1483–1509) as co-regent . Grand Duke Ivan III. only took part in the ceremony as ruler, but was not crowned. The ceremony was modeled on the imperial coronations of the Byzantine Rite .

Ivan thus probably deliberately placed himself in the tradition of the Eastern Roman emperors, because after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and the fall of the Byzantine Empire , the Moscow grand princes raised the controversial claim that Moscow was, after Rome and Byzantium the Third Rome . The theory of the Byzantine succession was based on the marriage of Tsar Ivan III in 1472. with the niece of the last Byzantine emperor Zoe Palaiologa , who was called Sophia in Russia. As a result of the marriage, Ivan also adopted the double-headed eagle of the Byzantine emperors as a symbol of Russian tenderness.

The coronation of Dmitri Ivanovich also deviated from the Byzantine model in several points. Since he was only crowned as co-regent, he was neither given the title of emperor nor was he raised to the rank of clergyman. Both were indispensable for a Byzantine emperor. Overall, the Russian ceremony was more national and Christian than the Byzantine.

Antonia von Reiche doubts a conscious adoption of the Byzantine ceremonial. For her the contradictions seem too big:

“However, these considerations are almost unfounded against the background, since it was not Sofia's son who was crowned, but his rival and it was precisely not the endeavors of Ivan III. was to take up the "Byzantine Heritage". "

The fact that the coronation ceremony is based on Byzantine customs is explained by the strong connection between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church .

The first tsar coronation on January 16, 1547

Apart from the coronation of Dimitri as co-regent, the coronation of Ivan IV on January 16, 1547 was the first ceremonial appointment of a grand duke in the Moscow Empire. Why Ivan IV decided to do this can no longer be said with any certainty today, as the sources are contradictory and incomplete. Likewise, the actual existence of a meeting named in some sources at which the coronation was decided is questionable. But there is evidence that Ivan IV was crowned.

Ivan IV followed his father Vasily III. already in power at the age of three. He was enthroned by a council of boyars and blessed, but not crowned, by the metropolitan. A period of reign of the council followed, which only ended with the coronation of Ivan IV and his sole rule . The 1547 ceremony was based more on Byzantine customs than on the example of the coronations of co-regents from the 10th century. The tradition of the Orthodox Church also played a decisive role. The coronation was carried out by Metropolitan Makari, to whom the idea and the design of the ceremony go back.

Depiction of the coronation of Ivan IV.
Woodcut from the series of pictures in the Book of Tsarism from 1547. Further pictures from this series can be found in the gallery.

The coronation insignia used in the ceremony were brought from the palace to the Kremlin's coronation church by senior ministers . They consisted of the Monomakh's cap , a pectoral cross, a scepter and the barmen , a shoulder cape. The metropolitan received them before they were placed openly on the altar in front of the icon wall . Subsequently, the entourage of Ivan IV entered the church with the cry of homage "Many Years", sorted by rank. Ivan IV's confessor walked with a cross and holy water before the Grand Duke, who was followed by his brothers and their children. At the end, high dignitaries and nobles entered the cathedral.

In the church there was a twelve-step pedestal with two thrones , one for the Grand Duke and another for the Metropolitan. Both climbed the dais after praying. While the Metropolitan took his place on his throne, Ivan IV remained standing in front of him on the lowest step. The Grand Duke invoked the right to be crowned, as his ancestors had already been Grand Dukes of Vladimir , Novgorod , Moscow and all of Russia. The metropolitan recognized Ivan IV's claim and blessed him. Ivan IV asked the metropolitan to be crowned tsar according to the old rite and sat on his throne. An anointing, as was customary later, had not yet been given to Ivan.

The designated Tsar then received the insignia to the singing of the clergy. First the metropolitan put the bar on him before he put the Monomach's cap on him. Then he received the scepter and was proclaimed tsar crowned by God. Then the metropolitan instructed the tsar about his rights and duties. The teaching was like a spiritual consecration that united the Tsar and the Russian Orthodox Church .

It is not certain whether Ivan IV received the Lord's Supper , but it is rather unlikely. He was probably only an eyewitness to the Lord's Supper. After the homage , Ivan IV left the cathedral in full coronation regalia. Outside the church, the crowned man was showered with gold and silver coins three times. This scenario was repeated in other Kremlin churches where the tsar prayed and remembered his ancestors. A banquet in the palace concluded the first tsar coronation in Russian history.

With the coronation, Ivan IV was appointed tsar of all Russia and thus founded the Russian tsarism . With his coronation as tsar, he was no longer just reigning grand duke, but also not emperor, as was customary in Byzantium. The development of the tsar title, which under Ivan III. had started and under Vasily III. continued, ended with the coronation of Ivan IV as tsar.

Coronations of the tsars in Russian tsarism 1584 to 1682

Ivan IV's successor Fyodor I (1557–1598) was crowned on May 31, 1584 and ruled for fourteen years. Since he was physically and mentally handicapped, the boyar council ruled in his name, to which the upstart Boris Godunov also belonged. Under Tsar Fyodor I, the Church established the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1589 . From then on, the patriarch carried out the coronations up to the imperial coronations. At his coronation ceremony in 1584, Fyodor I changed the custom of pouring out coins so that the coins were scattered in front of him. He was also the first tsar to receive communion at the altar.

After the death of Tsar Fjodor I in 1598, the throne remained vacant as he himself had no descendants. His brother and Tsarevich Dimitri fell victim to an assassination attempt in 1591, the exact circumstances of which have never been clarified. Because Tsar Fjodor's I widow Irina Godunova refused the throne, a new heir to the throne had to be found. This marked the beginning of the time of the Smuta , also known as the time of turmoil , in Russia . In order to determine an heir to the throne, the boyars elected the new tsar for the first time in Russian history in a national assembly. The choice fell on Boris Godunow (1552-1605), who was crowned on March 9, 1598 immediately. During this time, the coronation ceremony was particularly dedicated to legitimizing rule.

Of all the tsars, Tsar Boris Godunov was able to hold onto the throne the longest during the time of turmoil . After his death in 1605 his son Fyodor followed for two months. The false Dimitri (approx. 1580–1606) overthrew him and was crowned in his place. Unrest soon put an end to his rule, with the result that the throne became vacant again. Vasily IV (1552-1612) ascended the throne after another controversial tsar election. He, too, was crowned immediately to support his claim.

However, he was deposed in 1610 after a Polish invasion in the course of the Polish-Russian War and banished to the monastery. For the next three years the throne remained vacant. After the external security situation had eased somewhat, in another national assembly ( Semski Sobor ) around 700 representatives from all strata of the people decided the only sixteen-year-old Mikhail I (1596–1645) of the Romanov family to be the new tsar. On July 16, 1613, the Metropolitan of Moscow crowned him in the Assumption Cathedral. It is not known whether he was showered with gold and silver coins like his predecessors and how solemn the ceremony was after the time of turmoil. As the first tsar, Mikhail wore the insignia regularly. He received delegations with the monomachio crown, the scepter and orb and the barmen. He managed to maintain the throne and consolidate the Romanovs dynasty during his reign.

The coronation ceremony had changed little from that of Tsar Ivan IV in 1547 to that of Peter I in 1682. The double coronation of Ivan V (1666–1696) and Peter I (1672–1725) in 1682 was the last coronation performed in Russia according to the old rite.

Imperial coronations in the Russian Empire 1721 to 1896

Representation of the Imperial Regalia of Russia. Chromolithography after a picture by Bagantz

Establishment of the imperial dignity

At the beginning of the 18th century, Tsarism in Russia was consistently modernized by Tsar Peter I according to western standards and was fully integrated into the European state system. However, the title of tsar resulted in ambiguities in the question of dynastic hierarchy , which was very important in diplomacy at the time , which could have tangible effects on the results of negotiations and lead to disputes among the monarchs. For example, in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the Tsar was still referred to as Grand Duke of Muskowia .

Due to the favorable outcome of the Great Northern War in 1721 for Russia , Russia also took over the status of a major European power previously led by Sweden . Czar Peter I took this as an opportunity in March 1721 to adopt the title of Kaiser for himself in a ukase , which was a title that was also used in Western Europe. The term tsar remained common in unofficial use, while the term emperor was limited to the official area. International disputes arose above all with the Habsburg Empire , whose ruler was the Holy Roman Emperor , who felt himself to be the successor of the Western Roman Empire and therefore claimed the only legitimate claim to leadership in the Christian world. The imperial title was only recognized by the defeated Sweden and the Netherlands, with which Peter the Great had good connections.

Changes in ceremonial

The acceptance of the imperial title by Peter I in 1721 led to some changes in the coronation ceremony:

  • From then on the emperors crowned themselves and then the empress, so Catherine I , who Peter crowned himself in 1724, was the first crowned wife of a tsar since 1606. Because the emperor endowed himself with imperial dignity and no longer carried it through received the Metropolitan or Patriarch, the role of the Church in the coronation also changed. With the self-coronation of the monarchs, the change from tsarism to empire in Russia was completed. Like an absolutist ruler , self-coronation meant that the emperors were subordinate to neither secular nor ecclesiastical power, but received power directly from God.
  • The new meaning of the coronation also influenced their ceremony. If the metropolitan had previously sat next to the emperor, he now sat with the clergy. In addition, since then several high dignitaries of the Church have performed the imperial coronations, no longer the metropolitan or the patriarch alone.
  • After Peter the Great accepted the imperial title, the coronation insignia was supposed to symbolize Russia's political orientation towards the west. Therefore, the traditional Russian cap of Monomakh was replaced by the tsar's crown and the barmen by the chain of the Order of Andrew . He also had a new coronation gown made. Under Emperor Paul (1796–1801), the insignia were restored to their original meaning, which they had at the time of the coronation of the tsars. After Paul, the regalia again symbolized the monarchy and the ruling dynasty.

Changes to the time between accession and coronation

The emperors and empresses who succeeded Peter the Great performed the coronation ceremony as soon as possible, because the accession to the throne was only considered to be complete with the coronation. Another reason for the coronations that followed quickly was the uncertain succession plan. Peter the Great had changed it so that the emperor could choose his successor directly.

Catherine I had Peter crowned while he was still alive. Peter II was crowned after nine months, Anna after a little over two months, Elisabeth after five months and Catherine II after three months. Before the coronation, Ivan VI lost . and Peter III. their throne. Peter III repeatedly postponed his coronation, despite warnings such as those from Frederick the Great . He ignored the fact that an emperor of Russia was only seen as such through his coronation. A coup ended his reign before he even set a date for his coronation.

Facsimile: Original document of the proclamation on the coronation and anointing

In the 19th century, the date of the coronation moved further and further back. Since the succession to the throne had been clearly regulated by the primogeniture since Emperor Paul , a clear and early sign of the legitimacy of a rule had become superfluous. Nicholas II waited with his coronation until the end of the mourning period for Alexander III. The longest period between accession to the throne and coronation was approximately two years with Alexander III. As a reason, the security situation after the assassination attempt on Alexander II probably had the largest share in the waiting time. Since the legality no longer had to be supported by the coronation, it took on a new meaning under Nicholas I. As a traditionally monarchical element, it was intended to combine the monarchy and the Romanov dynasty .

Introduction of the primogeniture and posthumous coronations

With the coronation of Emperor Paul and the introduction of the primogeniture, the possibility of women to ascend the imperial throne almost completely ended. The primogeniture provided for male succession to the throne; only women were considered in the absence of a male heir to the throne. Even before his own coronation, Paul left the reputation of his father Peter III. restore. Catherine II had previously tried to erase the memory of him. Paul wanted his father to be remembered as emperor, so that he had him crowned posthumously in a ceremony. Catherine II was also crowned again in the posthumous coronation, but with the small tsar's crown. Emperor Paul proclaimed himself head of the Russian Orthodox Church and at times wore a dalmatic during the ceremony , which was intended to underpin his clerical claims.

Stay in Moscow and self-portrayal of the emperor

Peter the Great had moved the capital to Saint Petersburg , but the coronation continued to take place in Moscow. The length of the imperial couple's stay in Moscow varied from coronation to coronation. If the first empresses stayed in the old capital for months, it was only six weeks for Alexander I, four for Alexander II and only two for Alexander III. The security situation has also led to a tightening of the celebrations. The extent of the public elements of the coronation varied. In addition, the one time the importance of the religious was particularly emphasized, another time the political or dynastic importance.

Coronation place

The seat of the Grand Dukes of the Moscow Empire was in the Moscow Kremlin . It was therefore natural that the tsars of the Russian Empire, which succeeded the Moscow Empire, were crowned there. Dimitri's co-regent coronation took place there, as did the first tsar coronation of Ivan IV.

The coronation celebrations were intended to emphasize that the secular ruler was closely associated with the church. The ceremony took place in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin. Ivan III had commissioned this and had it built from 1475 to 1479. The church was intended as a coronation church from the start. Although there were no coronations of the grand dukes at the time of construction, the metropolitans and patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church were to be installed in it. It also served as a tomb for high clergy. From Ivan IV to Peter the Great, all tsar coronations took place there.

Peter the Great accepted the imperial title in 1721 and moved his seat of power from Moscow to the new capital Saint Petersburg . The coronation ceremony of the emperors of the Russian Empire continued to take place in the old capital Moscow. On the one hand, this was because Moscow remained the spiritual center of Russia; on the other hand, tradition required adherence to the traditional coronation ceremony. The ancestors of the emperors were installed here and all emperors of Russia, as well as the tsars before them, always made sure to emphasize this legacy.

In addition to the tsars, all crowned emperors from Catherine I to Nicholas II were anointed and crowned in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.

Course of the ceremonial in imperial times

(Source reference)

Death and Succession

The designated emperors of Russia ascended the throne with the death of the reigning emperor. In the days that followed, ministers, other high dignitaries, authorities and the military took their oaths on the new emperor. In general, the son followed the father. This is especially true of the emperors of the 19th century. This had not always been the case before, as the example of the usurper Catherine II showed. It was also her son Paul who introduced the primogeniture at his coronation and thus clearly laid down the succession plan.

At the time of the imperial coronations, the rituals of the new monarch's takeover became increasingly complex. Only through the coronation ceremony did the emperor receive the consecration of the Russian Orthodox Church. The various celebrations were intended to indicate that the emperor had taken over secular power. The downside of these extended festivities was a very long and expensive preparation time. So many officials were only busy organizing the ceremony.

Moved to Moscow

Entry of Emperor Alexander II into Moscow. Chromolithography based on a picture by Mihály Zichy

Since Peter the Great moved the capital to Saint Petersburg, the emperor had to travel to Moscow, about 640 km south-east, for his coronation. The emperor's entry into the old capital became an integral part of the coronation ceremony , which steadily increased in importance. Almost all of the emperors and empresses crowned after Peter the Great marched splendidly for the coronation. Anna is an exception, as she was already in Moscow when she ascended the throne, which made her entry unnecessary. The fact that the march in for the coronation was of great importance is shown, among other things, by the fact that in Elisabeth's official coronation album 21 of the 128 pages reported on the magnificent march.

Emperor Paul I spent the last days before the official move into the Petrovsky Palace outside Moscow. All subsequent emperors followed suit at their coronations.

Grandstands were set up on the streets for the onlookers. Since the arrival of Emperor Paul I in 1797, the emperors rode down the main road to the Kremlin on a white horse studded with silver. Up until now it was customary for the previously crowned empresses to travel in a splendid carriage. At the head of the procession rode the guard regiments of the Cossacks as well as the Turkmen and other tribes of Russia. Only then did the emperor follow. Domestic and foreign princes and delegations then followed, before the carriages of the Empress and the Empress mother arrived.

Emperor Paul I's entry in 1797 led to another innovation that lasted: he interrupted the ride at the chapel of the Iberian Madonna and prayed there in front of an icon before the procession continued. Through the Spassky Gate , the emperors rode into the Kremlin fortress with their heads uncovered.

In the days that followed, heralds proclaimed the day and hour of the coronation. In the time between arrival and coronation, the imperial couple received numerous missions and delegations who had come to Moscow.

Panorama of Moscow: Arrival of Alexander II for the coronation. Lithograph by Bachelier and Bayeux from the 1856 Coronation Album

The coronation

The coronation of the Russian emperors and empresses since Catherine I contained four important elements.

  1. The ceremony began with the procession to the Coronation Cathedral.
  2. During the handover of the imperial regalia
  3. and the following Orthodox liturgy formed the main part,
  4. the exodus from the Coronation Cathedral including the train to the Cathedral of Archangel Michael and the Cathedral of the Annunciation concluded the coronation ceremony.

The procession

Alexandra Feodorovna's procession to the Coronation Cathedral. Painting by Mihály Zichy from the coronation album from 1856

On the evening before the coronation, vigils traditionally took place in all churches, monasteries and cathedrals . The day of the coronation began with fanfare and heralds proclaimed the act of coronation in the morning.

The ceremony began with the procession to the Coronation Cathedral. The start of the procession began with cannon salutes and all the bells in the city joined in after the big bell had started. The clergy gathered in the cathedral and waited in full regalia for the arrival of the emperor.

First the imperial family left the palace. This went straight to the coronation church. If the empress mother was still alive, she went to the church under a canopy and in full coronation robes, that is, with cloak and crown. There she sat on a throne like the emperor and the empress.

In another procession, the imperial couple moved out of the palace via the red stairs . Before that, the protopresbyter, who carried the holy cross , had made his way to the church together with two deacons , who sprinkled the route with holy water from golden bowls.

Elizabeth's procession at her coronation. Image by Ivan Sokolov

The imperial insignia preceded the procession of the emperor and empress. The order of the regalia in Elizabeth's procession is shown in the picture below:

  1. the state banner
  2. the imperial seal
  3. the imperial sword
  4. the coronation mantle
  5. the orb
  6. the scepter
  7. the tsar's crown

Accompanied by the ringing of bells, the imperial couple moved to the coronation church under a golden canopy carried by twenty-four adjutants general . When the imperial insignia arrived, they were smoked with thyme and sprinkled with holy water before they were brought into the church.

The clergy met the monarch at the door and welcomed him. The Metropolitan of Moscow passed the blessing cross to the coronation couple for a kiss and sprinkled them with holy water like the insignia before. Then the high clergy led those to be crowned to the church.

Handover of the insignia

Coronation of Alexander III and Maria Fjodorownas from 1883. Painting by George Becker.

First, the Emperor and Empress went to the royal door of the iconostasis , bowed three times and kissed the icons placed there . Then they settled on erected in the middle of the church under canopies thrones down while the 100Psalm was sung by the clergy. The metropolitan went to the ambo and addressed the emperor:

“God-fearing, great monarch, our emperor and self-ruler of all Reussians! Because after the good pleasure of God, after the cooperation of the holy and all-sanctifying spirit, and according to your deigns, the coronation and holy anointing of your imperial majesty should now take place in this original coronation dome: this is how Christian monarchs and your god-crowned ancestors want to and Your Imperial Majesty deign to give priority to the Orthodox Catholic creed of your loyal subjects. "

Then the emperor read out the Orthodox Creed . When it was over, he was blessed by the Metropolitan. The choir accompanied the blessing by the Metropolitan and the Protodeacon. He then sang the Troparion three times . Various passages of the Bible were read before the handover of the imperial insignia began.

The metropolitan dressed the emperor in the coronation cloak and equipped him with the chain of the Order of St. Andrew. Before he handed him the tsar's crown , the emperor bowed his head to be crossed at the head. Then the emperor visibly held up the crown. After the emperor had crowned himself, the metropolitan gave the following address:

"... This visible and tangible adornment of your head is a clear picture that Christ the King of Honor himself, through his gracious blessing, invisibly crowns you as the head of the Reussian people, and affirms the supreme power that belongs to you."

Finally, the metropolitan handed the monarch the orb in his left hand and the scepter in his right hand. Another address to the emperor followed:

Coronation of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna by the Emperor. Chromolithography after a painting by Mihály Zichy.

"... Take the scepter and the imperial orb, which are the visible image of the sovereignty given to you by the Most High over his people in order to rule them and to give them every welfare that is desirable."

This completed the decoration of the emperor with his insignia, and now it was time to crown the empress. She knelt in front of her husband to receive the crown. The emperor touched the head of the empress with his crown before crowning her with the little crown. She also received the coronation mantle and the chain of the Order of St. Andrew . The protodeacon then proclaimed the full title of emperor and empress. The chorus sang three times after each title the cry of homage “For many years” .

The cannon salute and the peal of bells announced the completion of the handover of the shelves to the people. At the same time, those present in the cathedral paid homage to the emperor by bowing three times. This was followed by the knee prayers of the emperor and the metropolitan. After the prayer, the Ambrosian hymn of praise rang out .

The liturgy

Anointing of the forehead of Nicholas II. Painting by Valentin Serov

At the beginning of the liturgy, the emperor took off the crown and only put it back on his head at the end. Passages of the Gospel were read out again, at the end of which the Emperor kissed the Gospel.

While the Kinonikon was being sung, the priests received communion at the altar. With the end of the Kinonikon and communion, the emperor's anointing began . The imperial couple then went to the iconostasis behind the regalia carried by imperial dignitaries . While the emperor stood on a previously laid out golden cloth, the empress stayed in the background. The metropolitan anointed the emperor with the anointing branch. The empress was then only anointed on the forehead. Once again bells and cannons announced the act.

For communion, the metropolitan led the emperor through the royal door into the iconostasis. The emperor bowed to the altar and received communion, that is, the Lord's Supper , in a priestly manner. Archbishops handed him the antidoron and the wine before another gave him water to wash. The emperor then returned to the throne, wearing the insignia. Conventionally, the Empress received sacrament at the door before returning to the throne. The emperor's confessor then said the prayer of thanks and the protodeacon afterwards the blessing of discharge.

“Grant, oh Lord, a happy and peaceful life, health and salvation and well-being in everything, and defense and victory against enemies to our orthodox and pious, Christian, most arrogant and great monarchs, god-crowned, exalted and anointed emperors, rulers of all Russians, and his wife, the orthodox and pious, crowned, exalted and anointed Empress and keep her for many years. "

Once again the choirs sang the hymns of homage "Many Years" three times and those present, both secular and spiritual, paid homage to the crowned man with three bows. The Majesties kissed the blessing cross. The liturgy was over and the exodus from the church followed.

Moving out of the cathedral

The members of the imperial family went straight back to the palace from the coronation church. The emperor's departure was more extensive. To the ringing of bells and the salute of cannons, they left the cathedral in the full regalia of their coronation and walked under a golden canopy to the cathedral of Archangel Michael. There they prayed at the relics and remembered their ancestors. This scenario was repeated at the Cathedral of the Annunciation before they returned to the palace. On the red stairs of the palace the crowned turned to the people and bowed three times to them. Since Nicholas I, this had become a traditional act of going out to pay homage to the people.

The imperial couple then moved into the palace and attended the coronation banquet there in their coronation robes . The banquet in the Faceted Palace of the Kremlin followed strict rules. So the imperial couple sat elevated under canopies on their thrones and the members of the imperial family sat apart from them. Only the empress mother sat with the imperial couple. At the banquet, the emperor received the clergy in a secular setting. The church leaders sat at one table, the boyars at another table on the emperor's right. The top court ranks first served the imperial couple the meals. Only the highest dignitaries and guests ate the meal with the emperor. Other companions and delegations dined in separate rooms.

The papal nuncio did not arrive until evening . As a protest, the latter always came too late for the coronations of Russian monarchs, since according to the Roman Catholic Church only the Pope or one of his legates had the right to crown an emperor.

Festivities after the coronation

The day after the coronation, the emperor received congratulations. Princes, high officials, parts of the nobility , representations of the Zemstvo and cities paid their respects, as did the diplomatic corps. Many presented the crowned winners with bread and salt on silver plates according to the old tradition .

The festivities that followed in the days after the coronation sometimes lasted for months. From one coronation to the next, the celebrations became more and more important. Especially at the coronation of Catherine II, the festivities reached their first climax in their importance. At the folk festival, she had silver and gold coins thrown into the crowd.

Various festivals were held in honor of the imperial couple. The already mentioned folk festival on the Chodynka field was just as traditional as masked balls, theatrical performances in the Bolshoi Theater , ballets, banquets by ambassadors and a myriad of parades and other events. The festivals and celebrations were intended to increase contact with the people, and therefore the emperor often appeared in public.

The conclusion of the coronation celebrations was the pilgrimage of the imperial family to the Trinity Monastery of Sergiev Posad to see the remains of St. Sergius .

See also



  • Karol Kuzmány: Rite of the Orthodox Catholic Church at the coronation of their imperial majesties the emperors and self-rulers of all Reussians. Printed by L. C. Zamarski Universitäts-Buchdruckerei, Vienna 1856.
  • Hermann Goltz : The Moscow Tsar Coronation of 1856: Alexander II and Maria Alexandrovna; the description in the giant, magnificent edition of the Tsar's court. Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-515-08314-6 .
  • The coronation of the tsars in Moscow, their order and their historical, religious and political significance. Rudolph Roth Verlag, Stuttgart 1883, OCLC 46568208 .

Secondary literature

  • Richard S. Wortman: Scenarios of power: myth and ceremony in Russian monarchy. Vol. 1: From Peter the Great to the death of Nicholas I. Univ. Press, Princeton 1995, ISBN 0-691-03484-2 .
  • Richard S. Wortman: Scenarios of power: myth and ceremony in Russian monarchy. Vol. 2: From Alexander II to the abdication of Nicholas II. Univ. Press, Princeton 2000, ISBN 0-691-02947-4 .
  • Carl Graf Moy: As a diplomat at the Tsar's court. Prestel-Verlag, Munich 1971, ISBN 3-7913-0003-2 .
  • Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. Heyne Verlag, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-453-17988-9 .
  • Hans-Joachim Torke (Ed.): The Russian Tsars 1547–1917. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-406-42105-9 .
  • Lothar Ruehl: Russia's path to world power. Econ Verlag, Düsseldorf / Vienna 1981, ISBN 3-430-17836-3 .
  • Henri Troyat: Ivan the Terrible. Knaur Verlag, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-426-02337-7 .

Web links


  1. Antonia von Reiche: The way of the Russian Tsarism. 2001, p. 42.
  2. Antonia von Reiche: The way of the Russian Tsarism. 2001, p. 43.
  3. Antonia von Reiche: The way of the Russian Tsarism. 2001, pp. 44/45.
  4. Antonia von Reiche: The way of the Russian Tsarism. 2001, p. 45.
  5. a b c Antonia von Reiche: The way of the Russian Tsarism. 2001, p. 46.
  6. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, pp. 43/44.
  7. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 27.
  8. a b Antonia von Reiche: The way of the Russian tsarism. 2001, p. 47.
  9. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, p. 49.
  10. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, p. 92.
  11. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 21.
  12. ^ A b Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 38.
  13. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, p. 93.
  14. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, p. 95.
  15. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, p. 97.
  16. ^ Hans von Rimscha: History of Russia. 1983, p. 256.
  17. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, p. 101.
  18. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, p. 102.
  19. ^ Geoffrey G. Butler, Simon Maccoby: The Development of International Law. Lawbook Exchange, Union, New Jersey 2003, ISBN 1-58477-215-8 , p. 34.
  20. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 90.
  21. Coronation of the Tsars in Moscow , Stuttgart 1883, pp. 12-14.
  22. ^ Richard Wortman Scenarios of Power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 177.
  23. ^ Coronation of the Tsars in Moscow. Stuttgart 1883, p. 14.
  24. ^ A b Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 89.
  25. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 132.
  26. ^ A b Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 2. Princeton 2000, p. 212.
  27. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 282.
  28. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 173.
  29. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 176.
  30. ^ Alan Palmer: Alexander I. Frankfurt 1994, p. 63 below.
  31. Gudrun Ziegler: The gold of the tsars. 2000, p. 28.
  32. ^ A b Alan Palmer : Alexander I. Frankfurt 1994, p. 64.
  33. The basis for this part of the article, in particular for the part of the coronation, is the coronation of Alexander II and Maria Alexandrovna from 1856. The book on the rite for this coronation and the splendid edition of the coronation book from 1856 served as sources Some of the pictures from this coronation book have also been included in the article. Passages in the text that are not based on these sources are noted separately.
  34. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 135.
  35. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 93.
  36. ^ Alan Palmer: Alexander I. Frankfurt 1994, p. 63.
  37. ^ A b Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 151.
  38. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 175.
  39. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 152.
  40. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 154.
  41. The splendid editions of the imperial coronations, which appeared for the first time for the coronation of Catherine I, were supposed to be a glamorous book of memories and at the same time represent the strength and size of the Russian monarchy. Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 68.
  42. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 2. Princeton 2000, p. 35.
  43. ^ A b Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 160.
  44. ^ Alan Palmer: Alexander I. Frankfurt 1994, p. 65.
  45. Rite of the Orthodox Catholic Church. Vienna 1856, pp. 6/7.
  46. ^ A b Alan Palmer: Alexander I. Frankfurt 1994, p. 66.
  47. a b Rite of the Orthodox Catholic Church. Vienna 1856, p. 17.
  48. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 162.
  49. Rite of the Orthodox Catholic Church. Vienna 1856, p. 24.
  50. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 163.
  51. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 163/164.
  52. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 2. Princeton 2000, p. 224.
  53. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 165.
  54. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, p. 166.
  55. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 1. Princeton 1995, p. 118.
  56. ^ Carl Moy: Diplomat at the court of the tsars. Munich 1971, pp. 167-170.
  57. ^ Richard Wortman: Scenarios of power. Vol. 2. Princeton 2000, p. 231.
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