Archaeologists or archimandrites
The ROC does not want to stop at St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Now the church is once again trying to squeeze out the territory of the “Chersonese of Tauris” national reserve, one of the most important and richest archaeological sites in Europe. The previous attempt was made in the summer of 2015.
Interestingly, the emperor Alexander III drove the churchmen out of Chersonesos in 1887. After receiving the report of the Chairman of the Moscow Archaeological Society Countess Praskovya Uvarova. Countess Uvarova visited Chersonesos on her way from Constantinople a few months before. And upon her return to Moscow, she sent a detailed report on what she saw to the august name.
Uvarova writes to the emperor:
“... The French occupied Chersonesus and arranged their main apartment here, with the troops there were scientists who wanted to extract the values of Chersonesus, whom they met through the works of the graph <...>.
But what fate saved from foreigners, it should perish at the hands of those who should more than cherish the first Christian antiquities of the Russian people <...>.
Everybody knows howarchimandrite of the local monastery Eugene plundered Chersonesosand, loading at night full of barges, he sold his prey to the factory of sparkling wines in Sevastopol.
It is possible to foresee a time when from the ancient Korsun there will be one pile of stones not needed by anyone, not speaking about anything <...> ”.
In the margin against this paragraph with the own hand of Emperor Alexander III left a note: "Yes !!!"
Uvarov, meanwhile, continues: “This desolation is increasing every year, it even amazes a stranger and cannot but serve as a reproach to any truly Russian person.”
“I agree,” writes the sovereign in the fields.
We read further: "Your Imperial Majesty was pleased to visit ancient Chersonesos last summer, and we do not need to extend to the account of the desolation in which Chersonesus appeared before your August eyes."
“Indeed, I was struck by this disgrace!” Confirms Alexander III right there, on the contrary to this paragraph.
What exactly happened at that famous imperial visit to the reserve, I found out and described in detail in the article on Saratov historian Vladimir Katz, which was specially dedicated to this event:
“... A visit to the emperor of Chersonesos ended with a“ nasty anecdote, ”as some newspaper feuilletonists called the incident.
After completing the traditional ritual at Chersonesos, a solemn service in the church of St. Vladimir, the emperor wished to familiarize himself with the newly discovered monuments on the settlement. He was accompanied and explained by the hieromonk, who led the excavations in recent years. Alexander III had already heard that the ruins of a small temple with a well-preserved marble mosaic floor were recently discovered. When they came to the temple, it turned out that a wall of ashlar was built around its remains for the sake of preservation, a wooden door with a hanging large lock was made. However, it was not possible to get to the temple, the chicherone who accompanied the emperor did not have a key. We ran to find the father-key, but did not find.
The emperor, with a retinue at the closed door, rotated and left with nothing. The ordinary reporters found out that even if they had managed to cope with the lock, they would not have been able to get acquainted with the required mosaic. The wall was built, but they forgot to build a roof and put a guard. As a result, one night, some intruders climbed over the wall, broke down and took away the mosaic ... "
In the final of her report, Countess Uvarova begs the emperor:
“They led, the Sovereign, and the ancient Chersonesos will become Russian Pompeii, will interest all good-thinking Russia, will attract not only Russian scholars, but also travelers from Western Europe to the study of their antiquities <...>.
This difficult and at first ungrateful task can be entrusted to one of the archaeological societies, demanding from it a device at the site of a separate archaeological station, with its watchman and workers, inspector and conservator <...>. ”
The general resolution left by Alexander III on the letter looked like this:
“This needs to be done in order not to be known as barbarians. Talk about this case with who you are and give me a conclusion and as soon as possible to save everything that can be saved. ”
The report of Countess Uvarova is still kept in the scientific archive of the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences (f. IAK. 1/1894, d.250, l. 1-2).
Based on the highest order, the chairman of the Imperial Archaeological Commission, Count A.A. Over the next few years, Bobrinsky secured a ban on making any excavations in this area by monastic employees. And on June 24, 1887, the chief procurator of the Most Holy Synod, K.P. Pobedonostsev sent a special notice addressed to the Bishop of Tauride Martinian, in which he said that “on the basis of the petition of the Moscow Archaeological Society, the emperor ordered to banexcavation to the monastery servantsSt. Vladimir as wellsale of items found by monks».
Thus, the current approach of the Russian Orthodox Church to the pressing of the Chersonesus Reserve should be considered not the second, but the third. And it is even better to be aware that the epic of robberies and vandalism, carried out on this territory by various church-economic swindlers, has a long history.