Freeman’s is honored to offer the collection of Father Ivan Storojev, including materials relating to the last days of the Imperial family and a collection of theological works. The lot is to be sold on the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in our Oct. 17 Silver, Objets de Vertu, & Russian Works of Art sale.
On July 14, 1918, only two days before her execution by the hands of a Bolshevik firing squad in the basement of the Ipatiev house in Ekaterinburg, the former Empress Alexandra Feodorovna wrote In her diary, “10:30. Had the joy of an obednitsa [church service] - the young Priest [came] for the 2nd time.
This was the last religious service the deeply pious Imperial family would ever attend, and the ‘young priest’ was Father Ivan Vladimirovich Storojev (1878-1927).
“… Guards from the Ipatiev House had banged on his door early that morning. Father Storozhev thought they had come for him, but no, they wanted him to go next door to conduct a service for the family. “Just stick strictly to what the service is all about”, they warned. “We don’t believe in God now, but we remember what the service, the funeral service, is all about.
So, nothing but the service. Don’t try to communicate or anything or else we’ll shoot.
…During the service, the whole family had seemed to Storojev to be greatly oppressed in spirit … He came away shaken to the core by what he had seen. The Romanovs had, uncharacteristically, all fallen to their knees when his deacon, Buimirov, had sung rather than recited ‘At Rest with the Saints’ — the Russian Orthodox prayer for the departed.*
… At the end of the service they had all come forward to kiss the cross and Nicholas and Alexandra had taken the sacrament. Covertly, as Storojev passed them to leave, the girls softly whispered a thank-you. “I knew, from the way they conducted themselves,” Father Storojev later recalled, “that something fearful and menacing was almost upon the Imperial Family.”
Rappaport, Helen. The Romanov Sisters, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014. Pps. 374-375
Storojev was shaken by the experience and wrote about it in pages of the missal he used at the final service for the Romanovs. He preserved the items he used at Ekaterinburg for the rest of his life. Storojev later fled to China where he lived in Harbin, becoming one of the central figures of the Russian community. His family fled China during the Japanese occupation ultimately settling in the West.
The collection includes theological books from the 18th through the 20th century all with marginalia notes. The collection includes the missal, blessing cross, pectoral cross, and gospel used at the final church service attended by the Romanovs. The collection also includes medals and orders by Keibel and Eduard, as well as personal effects, such as a silver pocket watch by J. Blondel.
Freeman’s is honored to be offering the library and collection of Father Ivan Storojev which has descended in the family, and which will be offered as a single lot, to maintain the integrity of this valuable historic collection.