An expanded meeting of the commission processing the burial of the Royal family took place in St. Peter and Paul Cathedral on July 6. Governor of Saint-Petersburg and other officials attended the meeting. Representatives of all services involved in the ceremony reported on the work they had done. The coffins and the pedestal they will be placed upon during the ceremony are nearly ready. At present the tree-storied wooden pedestal is being covered with an ornamental film imitating marble. On the top of the pedestal the coffins of the Emperor and the Empress will be placed. On the middle tier there will be three coffins of the princesses and, as for the servants, their coffins will be positioned along the lower tier. The clergy will also be standing near the pedestal during the requiem service. Currently the pedestal is in the Western nave of St. Peter and Paul Cathedral but on the day of the burial it will be replaced to the altar. The sides of the pedestal will be covered with mourning draping. According to a Christian tradition the windows of the Cathedral will be curtained. The attending Romanovs will be in the Southern nave while all the other guests and the press will take their places in the Northern nave. St. Peter and Paul Cathedral accommodates about 250 people all in all.
Nine black .Gazels. will bring the coffins to the burial place on July 17. The chief of the Motor transport depot declared that their service is ready for the ceremony at all 300%. The chief architect of the History of Saint-Petersburg Museum Yevgenia Arapova told us how they began to work over the burial project.
Yevgenia Gavrilovna, how long did it take you to work out the plan of the burial ceremony?
- We began to work out the project in 1993 after getting the results of the first anthropological examination. After that the authenticity of the remains of the Emperor and his family became clear for all sensible people. On the initiative of the museum we began arranging the Catherine`s Chapel. It was drained and examined. After that the sketch of the decoration of the Catherine`s Chapel was made.
Did you know at that time that the burial ceremony would take place in St. Petersburg?
It was our suggestion and we insisted on it. There were three variants altogether the Catherine`s cathedral, the main hall of the cathedral and the Royal burial vault. The Catherine`s Chapel seemed to us and the public to be the most appropriate place because it is separated from the Cathedral and serves for a small burial vault for a family and the servants.
Why did you decide to bury all of them together?
We made such a decision because of the request of the Romanovs` family. In 1992 the sent a long letter to Mr. Sobchak asking our government to bury all of them in one grave whether they are noble or not. They asked to do it on the grounds that they all met a passion-bearing death, the servants following the Romanovs voluntary. There is no such a place as the Catherine`s Chapel. We can`t bury the servants in the main hall of the Cathedral because it would be an act of disrespect to the Russian Emperors buried there earlier: Peter the Great, Elizabeth, the two Catherines... We can`t be disrespectful to them.