Monument to Olga Constantinovna, Grand Duchess of Russia and Queen of the Hellenes, to appear in Greece

Moscow, August 26, 2016

 

As part of the cross-cultural year between Greece and
Russia and in connection with the 165th anniversary of the
birth of Grand Duchess Olga of Russia, Queen consort of
All the Hellenes, a monument to her will be unveiled in
Thessaloniki as a result of the joint efforts of the
Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture, the
Russian Military Historical Society, the Charitable
Foundation of Ivan Savvidi, and the Federal National
Cultural Autonomy of Greeks in Russia, reports the Russian
Military Historical Society’s official website.

Queen Olga went down in Russia’s and Greece’s
history not only as a lady of royal blood. Famous for her
wide-ranging charity both in Russia and Greece, she was a
true example of Orthodox ministry to the people. She
opened hospitals (including military ones), orphanages,
and infirmaries. During the Balkan Wars she presided over
“The Hospital Movement” in Greece which gave
support to the wounded, ran the Hellenic Red Cross, with
Russian Navy sailors under her special protection.

* * *

Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna (1851-1926) was the wife
of George I of Greece. Her grandfather was Emperor
Nicholas I of Russia, and her parents were Constantine
Nikolaevich and Alexandra Iosifovna. Her brother was Grand
Duke Constantine Romanov, a well-known poet.

The Queen consort devoted her energies to works of
charity; in the city of Piraeus which had a Russian naval
base she founded a naval hospital. Olga opened medical
courses for women doctors which she herself attended as
well. After the beginning of the First World War she moved
to Russia where she worked in military hospitals and cared
for the wounded. Olga Constantinovna inherited a love for
the Russian navy from her father and she kept this love
throughout her life. At the height of the war of the
Balkan States with Turkey which began in 1912, King George
fell victim to a terrorist attack. After his death, Queen
Olga Constantinovna (who stayed in Russia up to the
Revolution) resided, among other places, at the Strelna
Constantine Palace (now within the city of St. Petersburg,
overlooking the Gulf of Finland), then the family home of
the Konstantinovichi branch of the Romanovs. In 1920,
after the repose of her grandson Alexander and following
the second accession to the throne of her son, Constantine
I of Greece, Olga became Regent of Greece. She passed away
in 1926. Initially her remains were buried in the crypt of
the Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ and St.
Nicholas the Wonderworker in Florence (the Greek Royal
Family used a part of the crypt as a burial vault for
monarchs in exile). In 1936, following the restoration of
monarchy in Greece, the remains of Queen Olga were
reburied at Tatoi Palace—an estate of the former
Greek Royal Family near Athens.

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