A. A. KRYUKOV
Head of the Representative Office of Rossotrudnichestvo in Israel
For many decades, the phenomenon of "Russian Palestine" - the scientific, cultural and spiritual presence of Russia-has been firmly established in the public consciousness in Israel.
Considerable credit for this belongs to the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IPPO). This charity organization, which was influential in the 19th century, was renamed the Russian Palestine Society in the 20th century and began to operate under the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1992, the organization was restored to its former name. Both in the 19th and 20th centuries, the IPPO united major Russian orientalists.
The initiator of the organization of an official mission from Russia to Palestine was at one time the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice-Chancellor Karl Nesselrode. It was after Count Nesselrode's report to Emperor Nicholas I, which described the oppression of Orthodox Christians in Palestine by both Muslims and Catholics and Protestants, that Archimandrite Porfiry (Uspensky), head of the first Russian ecclesiastical mission in Jerusalem, was sent to the Middle East. One of these missions was later led by the equally famous Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin). After Russia's victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, a charitable organization, the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, was established in St. Petersburg in 1882 by the will of Tsar Alexander III. It was headed by the Emperor's brother, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, after whose death the baton was taken over by his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. Her remains are buried in Jerusalem under the arch of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (belongs to the Russian "white", i.e. the Church abroad) in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The soul and actual manager of the IPPO was a Russian writer and public figure, a brilliant financier Vasily Nikolaevich Khitrovo. The IPPO included the highest nobility, major civil officials, church leaders, an ... Read more