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Westminster College Professor of History Awarded Commemorative Medal by Grand Duchess of Russia

Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa ? Dr. Russell Martin, Westminster College professor of history, spent a week in Moscow during March and was awarded a medal by the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

Martin attended "The Imperial House of Romanov: 400 Years of Service to Russia" conference. It was organized by the Russian Nobility Association and the Russian social organization "For Faith and Fatherland" at the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Foundation. The Grand Duchess attended the opening session of the conference and awarded Martin the new commemorative medal, "The Anniversary of the Ending of the Time of Troubles, 1613-2013."

"I was quite surprised to be given this medal and to have it pinned on me personally by Her Imperial Highness. I am deeply grateful to her," Martin said.

He also received copies of a book he translated titled By the Grace of God: The 400th Anniversary of the Ending of the Time of Troubles, The Reestablishment of the Russian State, and the Ascension of the House of Romanov (1613-2013).

"It was a great honor to work on the book, especially because the Grand Duchess is now presenting it as a gift to important figures in society and government that she meets during her tours of Russia and other places in connection with the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, which is being celebrated this year," Martin said.

Martin attended the official church celebration of the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov, a patriarchal service held in the Dormiton Cathedral in the Kremlin, served not only by Patriarch Krill I of Moscow and all of Russia, but also by six other metropolitans and archbishops and more than two dozen priests and deacons.

"It was a majestic service - easily the most amazing church service I've ever attended - and made even more meaningful by the fact that the patriarch read off the names of all the tsars and emperors of the House of Romanov, offering prayers for the repose of their souls," Martin said.

That same afternoon, Martin presented a paper in Russian during the plenary session of the conference "Four Centuries of the House of Romanov, A Global Social-Cultural Perspective: A Historical, Documentary, and Biographical Discussion." The conference was held at the Russian State University of the Humanities (RGGU) in Moscow. Martin's paper examined the customs and practices of commemoration of the dead by the Romanov family before and after they became tsars in 1613.

"The evidence I examined, all from archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg, reveals how the dynasty was able to use remembrance of ancestors as a means for strengthening and solidifying their legitimacy as the new royal dynasty in Russia," Martin said.

After the plenary session concluded, Martin was interviewed for Voice of Russia, and then attended the first-ever presentation by the Grand Duchess of the new Romanov Prize at the Russian National Library. The prize is given to leading figures of Russian art and culture. Martin was also able to speak with the Grand Duchess about on-going projects he is working on for the Russian Imperial House and for its official website. Martin was previously awarded the Imperial Order of St. Anna, second class, by the Grand Duchess for his work on behalf of the House of Romanov.

While in Russia, Martin also spent the week conducting research for his upcoming book at the Russian State Archives of Ancient Acts. The book will examine the laws of succession from 1613 to the present.

Martin, who has been with Westminster since 1996, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

He appeared on A&E Biography in a broadcast on Ivan the Terrible as an expert on the controversial ruler.  He is the co-founder of the Muscovite Biographical Database, a Russian-American computerized register based in Moscow of early modern Russian notables.  The Neville Island, Pa., native is not only fluent in Russian, but also reads Old Church Slavonic/Russian, French, German, Latin, and Polish.

Contact Martin at (724) 946-6254 or email for additional information.

The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia pins a commemorative medal on Dr. Russell Martin, Westminster College professor of history
"The Anniversary of the Ending of the Time of Troubles" medal awarded to Dr. Russell Martin