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Entries / Funeral Rites (entry)

Funeral Rites (entry)

Categories / Architecture/Cemeteries (see also Municipal Economy)
Categories / City Services/Cemeteries (see also Architecture and Urban Planning)

FUNERAL RITES. Burials during the building of St. Petersburg were noted for their utmost simplicity. As C. Weber (1718) witnessed, "a body wrapped in a coarse bast sack, tightened with ropes, and put on a bier, which was then carried by porters on their shoulders to the grave", which is how common people were interred. Grand scale burials at cemeteries at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery (see Alexander Nevsky Lavra) followed a special ritual created by Tsar Peter the Great. In 1719, he attended the burial of Field Marshal B.P. Sheremetev, whose ashes had been brought from Moscow; in 1723, he attended the burial of Tsarina Praskovia Fedorovna, the widow of Peter's brother, Tsar Ivan V Alexeevich (the coffin with her body was brought to the monastery along the Neva River). Funerals following the Orthodox ceremony were usually carried out on the 3rd day after the death. The body was taken to church for the burial service, after which the coffin was placed in the grave. Several funeral processions went down in St. Petersburg the history. Starting with Peter I, all Emperors (except for Peter II) and members of the Imperial family were buried in the SS. Peter&Paul Cathedral (see Funerals of Emperors). Funerals of high ranking officials and military men followed a similar procedure, but were much more modest. In 1800, many St. Petersburg residents followed the coffin with A.V. Suvorov; the procession became a sign of opposition to Emperor Pavel I, who had disgraced the commander. M.I. Kutuzov's funeral at the Kazan Cathedral in 1813 was a unique exception to a rule banning burials in city temples, and demonstrated the nation's love for the victor of the Patriotic War of 1812. The funeral chariot was unhorsed and the coffin was carried throughout the city. In the second part of the 19th century, funerals of cultural figures gained a large-scale public significance. The first funerals of this kind took place in 1860, when the coffin with A.E. Martynova (an actress who died on tour) was carried along Nevsky Prospect from the railway station to Smolenskoe Cemetery. Hundreds of people followed the coffin with N.A. Nekrasov, from Liteiny Avenue to the cemetery at the Novodevichy Monastery in 1879. The funerals of F.M. Dostoevsky in 1881 at the Lavra and I.S. Turgenev in 1883 at the Volkovskoe Cemetery (to which the writer's ashes were brought from France) became most the famous funerals of 19th century writers. The funerals of P. I. Tchaikovsky at the Lavra in 1893, and of D.I. Mendeleev at the Volkovskoe Cemetery in 1907, were both distinguished by their solemnity and an exceptional numbers attendees. On 22 December 1908, the whole capital, from high state officials to the poor population, bewailed the death of Fr. Ioann of Kronstadt, future St. John of Kronstadt, whose remains were delivered from Kronstadt via Oranienbaum to the Baltiisky Railway Station, from which, on a catafalque harnessed with six horses, the coffin was brought to the St. John Monastery on the Karpovka River. The 20-hour long burial ceremony for victims of street fighting who had fallen in common graves, held on 23 March (5 April) 1917 on the Field of Mars, came to symbolise modern times. Under the Soviets, the official funeral rite was deprived of its religious component. So-called civil funeral rites, with speeches, became mandatory elements of any funerals. No state funerals of Party and Soviet top-ranking officials were carried out in Leningrad. Funeral processions disappeared completely from city life in the second part of the 20th century, the funerals of A.A. Akhmatova in 1966 did not hold any official status, but attracted thousands of people to the burial service held at the St. Nicholas Cathedral, and became an historic event. Recent years have been marked with an increased emphasis on ceremonies of publicly important funerals (A.A. Sobchak, D.S. Likhachev, L.N. Zaykov), with the public farewell held at the Tauride Palace, and a burial service in one of the main St. Petersburg cathedrals.

Reference: Кобак А. В., Пирютко Ю. М. Очерк истории петербургского некрополя // Исторические кладбища Петербурга: Справ.-путеводитель. СПб., 1993. С. 7-14.

Y. M. Piryutko.

Akhmatova Anna Andreevna
Dostoevsky Fedor Mikhailovich
Ivan V Alexeevich, Tsar
Kutuzov (Golenishchev-Kutuzov) Mikhail Illarionovich, Gracious Prince
Likhachev Dmitry Sergeevich
Martynov Alexander Evstafievich
Martynov Andrey Efimovich
Mendeleev Dmitry Ivanovich
Nekrasov Nikolay Alexeevich
Paul (Pavel) I, Emperor
Peter I, Emperor
Peter II, Emperor
Praskovya Fedorovna, Tsarina
Sergiyev (Kronshtadsky) Ioann Ilyich, the Saint
Sheremetev Boris Petrovich, Count
Sobchak Anatoly Alexandrovich
Suvorov Alexander Arkadievich, Count
Tchaikovsky Peter Ilyich
Turgenev Ivan Sergeevich
Weber Friedrich Christian
Zaykov Lev Nikolaevich

Liteiny Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Nevsky prospect/Saint Petersburg, city
The Field of Mars/Saint Petersburg, city

Кобак А. В., Пирютко Ю. М. Очерк истории петербургского некрополя // Исторические кладбища Петербурга: Справ.-путеводитель. СПб., 1993

The subject Index
Alexander Nevsky Lavra
SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Imperial Funerals
Volkovskoe Cemeteries
Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole), ensemble
February Revolution of 1917
Tauride Palace