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/ Main / News / 143rd anniversary of the monument to Mikhail Vorontsov in Odessa

Placed: 10.11.2006 12:42:43

143rd anniversary of the monument to Mikhail Vorontsov in Odessa

On November, 9, 1863, Odessa citizens observed the opening ceremony of the monument to Novorossiyskiy region and Bessarabskaya region general-governor, His Eminence general-field marshal Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov.


The idea of erecting a monument to Mikhail Vorontsov after his death belonged to Southern Russia Empire Agricultural policy union deputy President Count M.D. Tolstoy, who announced this at the union’s extraordinary meeting. The offer was adopted unanimously and then agreed by the Emperor Alexander II. A lot of Odessa citizens took part in the monument construction. They have gathered over 37 000 Roubles. In Odessa State Scientific Library, one can still find a book named “Account on receipts and expenditure of constructing monument to His Emence prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov”. And it is evident, that the monument had been being sponsored from all over the Russian empire.
The monument project was ordered to the German sculptor Friedrich Brugger. He has created such beautiful monuments as “Young Tezeus in joy after having found his father’s sword”, “Odysseus by Calipso”, “Bavaria in the chariot harnessed with a horse” at the Triumphal gates in Munich and the gravestone of the famous historian Johann von Miller in Casselle, Brigger’s work of art was known all over the world, including Russia. In 1863 Odessa city bought Brugger’s statue “Penelope” to present to the Empress. The artist took part in erecting the monument to Vorontsov at the Sobornaya square and was present at the opening ceremony.
According to Empire Agricultural policy union members offer, the monument was to be composed of pedestal, bronze statue and three bas-reliefs depicting the battle of Craone, Varna siege an agriculture and trade having been greatly developed under Vorontsov’s protectorate. The writing on the monument had to go like “To His Eminence prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov from the grateful comrades. 1863”.All the bronze parts were ordered in Germany, where the manufacture works were supervised by the Russian ambassador in Munich secret councilor Severin. Brugger created the statue in accordance with Vorontsov’s portrait by Franz Krueger painted in 1853. As one of the contemporaries said, “The prince’s face is always calm, tender and always enlightened with a thought to make something good for the others”.
But it turned out to be rather difficult to deliver the pedestal. It was decided to compose it of the tough stone manufactured in Crimea. The pedestal was agreed to be delivered by the Sevastopol 1st Guild merchant P.A. Telyatnikov, but he set one condition: he should be given the case not as a contractor, but as a committee member. He also sponsored the building with his own capital, when the sum turned out to be not enough. 11 great stones were taken from the secret councilor Potemkin’s estate in Artek. The smallest one weighed 200 pounds. Transporting them turned out to be even more difficult. Over 70 workers were transporting them to the seashore for three months.
Such stones weren’t allowed to be transported by a ship, but still they were. Because of this, the vessel was in great danger, even though it was accompanied by “Alexander” towing vessel. But the stones were transported to Sobornaya square.

On November, 9, 1863, Odessa citizens observed the opening ceremony of the monument to Novorossiyskiy region and Bessarabskaya region general-governor, His Eminence general-field marshal Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov.  There was a great firework, many speeches were spoken out, an Orthodox ceremony was carried out.

But 70 years have passed, and the other times were come. Scary ones. Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy cathedral was to be demolished. The Red Army soldiers have broken the marble slab, destroyed the coffin slab, where the remnants of Vorontsov and his wife Elizabeth were...

The Vorontsovs were reburied t the Slobodskoye cemetery by the driver Nikifor Yarovoy. In secret. But he had to pay dear for this valiant deed: he was shot on public.

After having demolished the cathedral, the Red Army soldiers decided to do the same with the monument. The writing was destroyed and replaced with another one by Pushkin:
“He’s half a lord and half a merchant,
Half a wise man and half a fool,
Mean for a half, but there’s a hope soon
He will be full one in the end”.

But they thought it’s not enough. Both monuments of Vorontsov and Ekaterina II were decided to be demolished. A tractor was delivered, and the statue was fixed with an iron chain. The tractor moved, the chain tightened… and broke. And Vorontsov, beautiful, wise, proud was left on his pedestal.

In the end of the 80’ies of the XX century Vorontsov started coming back as a person he’s always been: a great historical hero, whose contribution into the state development and Odessa as a part is really immeasurable.
On November, 10, 2005, the reburial of Novorossiyskiy region and Bessarabskaya region general-governor, general-field marshal His Eminence prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov (1782 - 1856) and his Eminent spouse Elizabeth Xaverievna Vorontsova (1792 - 1880) took place in Odessa Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy cathedral.

149 years ago, on November, 10, 1856, Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov was buried with the highest honors in Odessa Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy cathedral, where his wife was later buried in 1880. In 1934 after demolition of the Cathedral their remnants were reburied at Odessa Slobodskoye cemetery.
On September, 29, 2005, Odessa city council issued a decision of renewing the historical justice – reburial of the Vorontsovs couple in the rebuilt Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral. To demonstrate their respect, the deputies stood up while voting.

Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov’s battle path:
1803-1805  Caucasian war
1805-1807  European war with Napoleon
1809-1812  Turkish war
1812  Civil war. Commander of Grenade division. Heavily injured in the end of the Borodino battle. Founds a hospital for the injured soldiers in his Andreevskoye estate.
1813-1814  Foreign battles. Victory over Napoleon at Craone.
1815-1818  Russian occupation corpus in France commander. Paid out all the debts of the Russian officers.
1828  Victory over the Turks in Varna

Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsovas a states-man:

May, 3, 1823, - NovorossiyskiyregionandBessarabskayaregiondeputy.
1844 – Caucasian deputy while administrating the Novorossiyskiy region. Rewarded with St. Andrey Pervozvanniy, St. Alexander Nevskiy, Sv. Georgiy Pobedonosets decorations and many other foreign decorations.

Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov’s merits to Odessa:

Trade flourish.
Roads building to connect Odessa with all the other empire.
Building the first steamships to connect Odessa with the Russian cities and Istanbul.
Agriculture flourish.
Establishing a lot of educational institutions.
Establishing the Municipal Public Library.
Building up central parts of Odessa.

Elizabeth Xaverievna Vorontsova(born Branitskaya)
Rewarded with the empire’s highest rank decoration for women - the decoration of St. Anne for charity.


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