Eternal Memory to Prince Vladimir Galitzine
Nine days ago, the president of the Russian Nobility Association in America, Prince Vladimir Kirillovich Galitzine, reposed in the Lord. His friends and colleagues remember him.
Always True to the Church, to Russia, and He Loved Her People.
Protopriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and Rector of Saint Seraphim of Sarov Memorial Church to the Restoration of Unity Within the Russian Orthodox Church in Sea Cliff, NY:
Vladimir Kirillovich Galitzine was a very decent and honest person. He was remarkably calm, joyous and had a very fine sense of humor. He treated everyone with great respect, anyone who came to the cathedral church where he was Warden, everyone he ever met. Since I work at the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops, and he was the warden of the Synodal Cathedral, we often had the opportunity to jointly organize important Church events, Councils of Bishops, meetings of the Synod of Bishops, and meetings with different Bishop of the Russian church and of other churches. Vladimir Kirillovich never complained, always happily fulfilled all duties entrusted to him, which were often very complicated affairs.
He loved divine services. He revered the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign," and was witness to many miracles which happened as a result of prayers before this great and ancient icon.
Vladimir Kirillovich was always true to the Church, true to Russia and loved her people. He raised his children in the same spirit. He was a humble man and never boasted of his princely ancestry. But from his childhood he was nourished with love for Russia, and a sense of duty before his Fatherland. This was expressed in his participation in many patriotic organizations and youth groups. He was an eminent social and church activist.
His main task in life was as warden of the Synodal Cathedral, the home of the Kursk Icon. Vladimir Kirillovich was also a delegate to the 4th All-Diaspora Council and supported the process of reestablishing unity within the Russian Church. He suffered for those people who for various reasons could not accept the reconciliation of the two parts of the Church of our Fatherland and found themselves outside of the bosom of the Church. Long before the restoration of unity, he was in contact with parishioners and clergymen of St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral and attended receptions at the Russian Consulate General in New York.
In 2005, Vladimir Kirillovich accompanied the remains of General Denikin to Moscow for re-interment. I also went, with the blessing of Metropolitan Laurus. I remember the trepidation and joy with which Vladimir approached this great event. I sensed this throughout our trip, both here during divine services to mark the return of the remains of the great general to Russia, and in Paris where we received the remains of the Ilyin family, and in Moscow. He was happy to be a witness of such great events in the life of the Church and of the Russian state, which his parents and grandparents had dreamed of.
He Never Spared Himself.
Ludmilla Selinsky, a member of the Russian Nobility Association, is also the Editor-in-Chief of its publication.
When in the 1950s, Vladimir Kirillovich's parents came to the United States, they lived very poorly. His mother and my father-in-law, as did many other Russian emigres of the White Movement, worked at a match factory. They all lived in Brooklyn, where at the time several Orthodox parishes were established. The Church, of course, was an inseparable part of our lives; without the church the Russian diaspora would not have survived.
Our parish of Archangel Michael was very poor--we had no resources to build a real church, so we obtained a storefront on the first floor of a residential building.
There was a Saturday Russian school in honor of Saint Joasaph of Belgrade at the church where they taught Russian language, Russian and world history, the Law of God, as well as geography of Russia. The church premises were tiny, and so often we had to hold lessons in the foyer and the boiler room.
Vladimir Galitzine and I shared a bench. Frankly, few of us kids really wanted to rise early in the morning on Saturdays after a week of American school. Vladimir loved to play sports and kick a ball around on Saturdays. But our parents insisted that we go to Russian school, and it proved worthwhile. Many of us who couldn’t wait till classes ended grew up to apply ourselves to preserving Russian culture, language and the Orthodox faith within the succeeding generations.
The Galitzine family, as most families of the time, lived under harsh material conditions. Vladimir’s mother did everything she could to send her child to a private school. He got a full scholarship, which only a select group of kids got. His family then moved from Brooklyn to Upper Manhattan. After that we really didn’t see each for several years until later we met at the Synodal cathedral, where I was invited to sing in its choir. Then our families became close friends. His sons, Kyrill and Gregory, joined the Russian scout organisation, St George Pathfinders, where my father, Rostislav, and I were counselors. Vladimir often visited the summer camp on weekends and vacations. He did all he could to support the patriotic and spiritual education of youth. He was very enthusiastic with regard to cultural performances at the camp. I remember once we staged a performance of Prince Igor by Borodin. Vladimir’s elder son Kyrill played the role of Prince Igor brilliantly.
Vladimir himself wasvery talented and had a good ear for music and a good voice. We would often visit and sing Russian songs--his favorite was “Down the River Volga.” The Galitzines were a very hospitable family. They often hosted open houses on Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays.
When in 2005, the Russian Cultural Foundation asked my help in reentering the remains of General Denikin, Vladimir represented the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad in this endeavor. We accompanied the remains of the general to Moscow together. This was a great event for us both, which we will never forget. In the necropolis of Donskoy Monastery in Moscow, where General Denikin and his wife and the Ilyin family were re-buried, Vladimir said to me, “Mila, my ancestors are also buried in the cemetery.” The feelings that we had there were indescribable.
Vladimir was a member of the Russian Nobility Association for many years, first its vice president, then its president. My father always told me that if a nobleman does not serve his fatherland, that he is not worthy of the name nobleman. It was this attitude towards his princely title that Vladimir had. For the first decades after emigrating, Russian nobles hoped to quickly return to Russia, and the organizations they founded were mostly paramilitary. When it became obvious that any return would not happen soon, they turned to organizing charities, and to preserve the good name of Russia, her values and the traditions that she lived by before the Bolshevik Revolution.
Since the 1990s, when the possibility afforded itself, a large part of the charitable efforts of the Russian Nobility Association was sent to Russia, to orphanages, hospitals and scout and cadet organizations. I know that Vladimir’s family personally supported a hospital in Moscow that had always enjoyed the patronage of the Galitzine family in Old Russia.
Vladimir was also a longtime member and treasurer of the New York chapter of the Russian Cadet Corps abroad. During one of my trips to Moscow he gave me archival materials of the cadet organization to donate to the House of the Russian Diaspora, including unique family archives and letters from General Wrangel.
Vladimir was the nicest person, very easy to talk to, very friendly. He was tender, loving and kind, he helped everyone who asked. Vladimir made a brilliant career at the bank where he worked, thanks to his abilities and his intelligence. At the same time he was always the warden of the Synodal Cathedral, and even while in his office at the bank he would take phone calls from ladies of the parish asking why they didn't get a prosphora at the last Liturgy. He said that there were times when he received more parish phone calls than work-related calls. It was difficult for him, but he was always respectful and never complained.
About two years ago Vladimir and his wife moved to Pennsylvania. Every Sunday they got in the car and drove for two hours to make Liturgy at the Synodal cathedral in New York. This was even when he fell ill. He never spared himself.
For the funeral, the cathedral in New York was overfilled with worshippers just like during Easter. During the memorial luncheon that followed, his son Gregory said that the many people who gathered to bid farewell to his father bore witness to the accomplishments of his lifetime. May his example inspire many others.
His Death is a Great Loss in the History of Russian America.
Olga Zatsepina, the Russian American Cultural Heritage Center.
The death of Prince Vladimir Galitzine is an enormous loss not only for those who knew him personally but for the history of Russian America. For me as for many others it was a real shock. On February 20th, we had a long telephone conversation and discuss the plans of for the month to come. Vladimir was one of the directors of the Russian American Cultural Heritage Center and was an active member. During our last phone call he remembered he noted that he did not feel well but assured me that by April the beginning of Russian American month he would come to New York and speak at the Consulate General.
Two days later we learned that he had died. We had met with him hundreds of times at various events and became family friends. He was a remarkable person with a great sense of humor and he always helped everyone. Vladimir Kirillovich was also an active participant in many social organizations and we were very honored that he became a member of our board of directors. In 2012 thanks to his help we persuaded New York State to declare April Russian-American Month.
Several years in a row as part of Russian American History Month there were trips to various churches in the New York area, including Saint Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral and the Synodal Cathedral. Prince Vladimir himself was a tour guide. A great number of people including those who had nothing to do with Orthodox Christianity would participate in these tours to see the Prince, to get to know him better and hear the history of the churches.
The preservation of their culture for Russian families in America was very difficult and when the Galitzine family came to America in 1951 it was downright dangerous to identify as Russian. It was the era of McCarthyism in America and the years that followed were also not easy. Not all noble families were able to preserve the Russian language for their children, even less so for their grandchildren. Vladimir Kirillovich and his wife Tatiana were able to do this--they have six grandchildren who speak fluent Russian, sing Russian songs and dance Russian dances. Russia and her history are native to them.
The Galitzines—the Heart and Soul of the White Russian Emigration.
Konstantin Pio-Ulsky, committee member of the Russian Nobility Association.
I came to America in 1955. A week later I found myself at the Synodal Church of the Russian Church Abroad, where I began to serve as a subdeacon under Metropolitan Anastassy. There I met Vladimir when he was only 13. We were both born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. My cousin had studied with Vladimir Kirillovich 's father, Kirill Vladimirovich Galitzine, at the Cadet Corps. Later our families went to Berlin and from Berlin to the USA.
In the following years my mother and stepfather were the directors of the House of Free Russia in New York, where we had all sorts of banquets, concerts, lectures and formal balls. It was here that Vladimir and his wife Tatiana celebrated their wedding in 1963; a few years ago they celebrated their 50th anniversary. The Galitzine family is the heart and soul of the white immigration. Vladimir was very friendly to everyone, and everyone loved him. He was witty and the life of the party wherever he went. We would get together for all holidays, visiting each other’s homes.
I am on a committee of the Russian Nobility Association, of which Vladimir was first Vice President, then President. He was also a member of other social and church organizations of the Russian diaspora, including the Union of Graduates of the Russian Cadet Corps. Their members came to Vladimir’s funeral, they stood at attention, bearing the Cadet banner near his coffin, and sang the Cadet hymn after the burial.
Over the course of almost 40 years, Vladimir was the warden of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign.” He played an active role in parish life, he helped everyone. Many asked him to be their children’s godfather, and so he became one for many children of the congregation. He was often invited to weddings and family celebrations. He loved people, he loved life. He enjoyed participating in benefits, Russian émigré events and those of the Russian nobility. For him and for all of us, nobility is an enormous, invaluable gift to Russia and to the Church, given to us by our ancestors.
Edited by Polina Borovikova.