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The orthodox community of the Russian emigrants in Tunisia (1921-1941)



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The ORTHODOX COMMUNITY of the RUSSIAN EMIGRANTS IN TUNISIA (1921-1941)

In November, 1920 the general P.N. Wrangel reduced the ships of the Russian military Black Sea Fleet, transports and vessels of the Russian steamship companies which arrived from the Crimea to Constantinople in the Russian squadron under command of the admiral M.A. Kedrov. On the ground that Wrangel gave all vessels to France to "guarantee of payment of expenses", incurred by it on evacuation and keeping of refugees, the French considered them the property. Also took away to Bizerte, port in Tunisia which was under protectorate of France. So in December 1920 January, 1921 together with nearly eight dozen vessels of the Russian squadron, officers, cadets, sailors, women and children the Russian Orthodoxy also came to the earth of Tunisia.

Among nearly 6.5 thousand refugees there were 13 priests. From them it was allocated prot. Georgy Spassky is the chief priest of the Russian squadron. He was distinguished by high education, oratorical and literary abilities. He applied to the French authorities at once for permission to create the Russian Orthodox Christian prikhod1.

First services passed in ship churches: on the battle ships "Georges the Victorious" and "General Alekseev", on the cruisers "General Kornilov" and Almaz. On Georges the Victorious served prot. Georgy, prot. Ioanniky Poletayev and priest Nikolay of Bogomolov2.

When the Sea case was transferred from the battle ship "General Alekseev" in the former French fort of Jebel Kebir, near Bizerte, there transferred also ship church. And with participation prot. Georgy in a fort the St. Pavel Ispovednik's church founded in the Sea case in St.-Petersburg in 1797 and destroyed by Bolsheviks was restored. It became the first Russian Orthodox Church on the Tunisian earth.

Equipped it together: the iconostasis was taken from the battle ship; the shroud, wreaths, banners and icons were made by local artists; copes and church vestments sewed ladies. On holidays brought wild flowers. V. Berg described it in the memoirs: "You enter a dark casemate... Green garlands of fluffy wax and a thuja go down from a low, vaulted ceiling, fresh flowers are interwoven into them. Garlands surround with a dark frame a white iconostasis with the Royal gate. On an iconostasis of an image of Cristo Christ Redeemer and S. Paolo Ispovednik. On the right and at the left - two white banners and the well-known flag. White covers on analogions are sewed from coarse calico and gold braids, a church chandelier from tin. Through a narrow loophole the beam of the sun falls

on the Last Supper over the Royal gate" 3. Several years served in St. Pavel Ispovednik's church prot. Georgy, the deacon Ioann of Bayzdrenko4 served him.

Russians moved from the ships to the coast, in the camp, organized by the French. There also churches were based. In the Ayn-Drakhm camp served in church of the prelate Nikolay prot. Nikolay Vinnitsky from cruiser Almaz 5. In September, 1921, moving across Tunisia "from the ship to the ship, from the camp to the camp" 6, prot. Georgy held meetings of refugees - discussed with them creation of the Russian orthodox parish.

For 1922 the most part of Russians moved from camps to the city of Tunisia where search of the room for orthodox church began. They came to the end with the fact that M. Bakkush, the representative of one of the most aristocratic and influential families of Tunisia, free of charge provided the room in the small palace of Medina. In several rooms, with windows to the inside patio, house Church of the Resurrection was arranged. There brought an iconostasis from the cruiser "General Kornilov", church utensils from other ships. The altar was in the biggest of rooms. When there was not enough place - prayed in a court yard.

Served in the temple prot. Konstantin Mikhaylovsky. After departure prot. Georgy to Paris he became the prior of the Russian orthodox parish in Tunisia. It was highly esteemed both the Russian emigrants, and the Arab population, and the Greek diaspora in whose temple served in the absence of the Greek prior. The house church in Tunisia worked to his death in 1942

In 1922 the French began to sell the Russian vessels on scrap metal. In October, 1924 according to their requirement the Russian squadron was disbanded. The Andreevsky flag by the ships was lowered. All vessels transferred to the local sea prefecture.

The ship church from Georges the Victorious was transferred to apartment rented in Bizerte. The house church united both adults, and children: on Saturdays all came to a night service, and on Sundays - to a liturgy. Women baked prosphoras and church clothes, and children in turn prisluzhivali7 embroidered.

The orthodox parish formed in Tunisia was under control of Russian Orthodox Church abroad (RPTsZ)8.

So despite loss of the Fatherland, change of places and extremely limited material supplies, in Tunisia the Russian orthodox life proceeded by the ships, in refugee camps, in private apartments. The orthodox belief became the main factor of preservation of national and cultural accessory of the Russian emigrants.

Meanwhile emigrants went to France, in the mid-twenties in Tunisia remained about one thousand people. Among officers of a squadron there was an idea to immortalize the memory of the ships. The French naval command agreed, and in 1930 the Committee on a construction in Bizerte of a memorial chapel to the Russian squadron was formed. The admiral A.M. Gerasimov, after his death in March, 1931 - the admiral S.N. Vorozheykin became its chairman. Members of the committee captains 1-sh rangag.F consisted. Gil-debrandt and M.Yu.G of arshins, captain of the 2nd rank I.S. Rykov, first lieutenant A.S. Manstein and captain of artillery G.M. Yanushevsky. Honorary members - admirals M.A. Kedrov and M.A. Berens, prot. Konstantin9. Through "The sea magazine" the committee declared fund raising on construction hrama10.

In the early thirties the French sold the most part of warships of a squadron on scrap metal. "Will sort these remains of "General Alekseev" and from the Russian squadron in Bizerte there will be no nothing left... - wrote "Sea zhu рнал" in 1936 - there will be no nothing left... except grateful memory of thousands of Russian refugees, by these ships and thanks to these ships which kept the lives in awful days of November, 1920" 11

Donations were flown down from all corners Russian zarubezhya12. The committee already disposed to spring of 1936 the means allowing to buy the site and to build the temple without otdelki13. Financial support was rendered also by the government Tunisa14: so the authorities tried to win arrangement of Russians, to provide their loyalty.

On September 10, 1936 Russians of Bizerte provided the charter, the internal regulations and the list of member organizers of "Cult association of Orthodox Christians of Bizerte" in local administration. Because the Tunisian authorities were not able to allow foreigners to buy the land, to dispose of it, messages on it construction as to individuals - only their public associations. Specially made a reservation that the association will not pursue any political tseley15. On December 30, 1936 the prime minister of Tunisia allowed to create association. Its charter was approved on February 28, 1938 16 V to the first article were said that the association "opens in Bizerte representatives of various nationalities of Greek-orthodox religion" and its only purpose "is ensuring departure of an orthodox cult in the place specially allotted for this purpose" 17. At the head of association there was electoral Council as a part of five people: the president is the admiral Vorozheykin, the vice president - the captain 1 - go a rank of Gildebrandt, the secretary - Garshin, the treasurer - Yanushevsky, the assistant to the secretary - And. Petrov18.

Addressed to association the site in Bizerte, near railway stantsiyey19 was bought. On January 25, 1937 the decree beya Tunisia confirmed purchase of the land plot and allowed construction of the Orthodox Christian hra-

ma20. On the basis of the decision of municipality for No. 230 of September 11, 1937 began it stroitelstvo21. On October 10 took place its solemn zakladka22.

The temple was under construction on the project of the Russian military engineer colonel N.S. Sukharzhevsky entering into Committee as honourable chlena23. He imitated traditions of medieval architects of the Suzdal and Vologda lands.

On September 10, 1938 in Bizerte "the small consecration" of the memorial Temple to the ships of the Russian squadron took place. Made it prot. Konstantin. St. Alexander Nevsky's icon was at the same time consecrated. Because of a disturbing pre-war situation in the country and the world, the celebration took place in a modest house situation, but at it there was all Russian colony of Bizerte and also it is a lot of emigrants who arrived from Tunisia. The first prior of the temple of Alexander Nevsky became prot. Ioanniky.

The committee did not have enough funds for an iconostasis construction therefore collecting donations continued. Internal furniture of the temple was created gradually. Its basis was formed by the icons and church utensils transferred in October, 1924 from the ships to house church in Bizerte. On a royal gate of the temple - the faded Andreevsky flag from Georges the Victorious. From the same battle ship the most valuable icons got to the temple. Part in registration of the temple was taken also by parishioners: in different years they executed frescos on temple walls and also separate icons and almost all temple jewelry. So, icons of an iconostasis and two evangelists were written G. Chepegoy, small icons of an iconostasis - V.N. Zverev, "Last Supper" - Yanushevsky. St. Alexander Nevsky's icon was written by V.A. Gerasimov, the son of the director of the Sea corps of the admiral Gerasimov. The cross over an icon case was made by the first lieutenant Manstein.

On the right wall the commemorative marble plaque with the list of 33 Russian warships which came to Bizerte and also commemorative plaques with names of officers of a squadron was hung up.

Church of the Resurrection in Tunisia satisfied needs of emigrants less and less, and the idea of construction of the temple was born soon. However its embodiment dragged on for many years because it was for this purpose necessary to create new association. Tried to register it in October, 1940 24

Some Tunisian researchers are inclined to coordinate activization of actions of Russians for registration of new orthodox association to the expected internal political changes in Tunisia after occupation in June, 1940 of France German voyskami25. However and in the Russian diaspora of the relation became complicated: after June 22, 1941 among emigrants sympathies for the USSR and the Red Army extended that created

the soil for disagreements and disputes. Despite complexity of a situation, the French and Tunisian authorities, having obtained guarantees of political loyalty from Russians, did not begin to make difficulties for registration of association. Especially it was specified in the list of members of association attached to constituent documents that they do not pursue any personal aims, have good reputation, their social status is stable. Among them there were also Russians naturalized in frantsuzov26. These explanations were justified: the French authorities in the conditions of increase in Tunisia of the national liberation movement undertook precautionary measures, and presence of the French citizenship and lack of material problems at members of the created association gave them guarantees of its political neutrality.

As a result in 1941 the second association - "Orthodox Society of Church of the Resurrection of Tunisia" acquired the right for existence. It headed short time prot. Konstantin. It determined by the main tasks management of church, "keeping of the priest and necessary personnel for departure of religious services" 27. "Orthodox society" united the representatives of the Russian colony scattered through the whole country excepting members of "Cult association of Orthodox Christians of Bizerte". According to founders, about 300 entered into it chelovek28.

However the beginning of construction of the temple was postponed: in 1942 the military operations extended to the territory of Tunisia which was occupied soon by the italo-German troops. The same year died prot. Konstantin.

Thus, creation of orthodox associations and construction of Orthodox churches also became important milestones in the history of the Russian orthodox community of Tunisia. Around temples the Russian spiritual and welfare life for many years concentrated. As well as secular public organizations, orthodox associations and arrivals of Tunisia and Bizerte played an important role in unity of the Russian emigrants on the basis of maintaining national traditions, cultural and cultural values, the native language.

of the Note

& A OeryosIe Tigp51eppe. 1921. 9 Aup1.

2 The archive of Church of the Resurrection to Tunisia (is not described). The ship book of the cruiser Almaz for 1921; The Register of births about been born, brakosochetavshikhsya and the dead of the 2nd group of the Russian Squadron since the 1921st year; The Register of births issued by Managing church affairs and Sea Clergy in church - lx Georges the Victorious for record been born, marriage contracting and the dead for the 1921st year; The Register of births from Management of Military and Sea Clergy in church of the cruiser "General Kornilov" for record been born, marriage contracting and the dead for the 1920th year. The marked book is received for S. Giorgio Pobedonosz's church on byv. lean. Georges the Victorious for 1922, for 1923 in Bizerte. 1924th, 1925th
3 V. Berg. Last naval cadets//Prisoners of Bizerte. Page 92 — 93.
4 Archive of Church of the Resurrection to Tunisia. The register of births of Church of S. Paolo Ispovednik that at the Sea case, for 1920 — 1921; The Register of births of Church of S. Paolo Ispovednik that at the Sea case, for 1922; The Register of births of Church of S. Paolo Ispovednik that at the Sea case in Bizerte (Jebel Kebir, Sfayat, North Africa, Tunisia), on 1923, 1924, 1925
5 Archive of Church of the Resurrection to Tunisia. Metric notebook of church of the Seong-Jean and Remel camp, 1920 — 1923
6 Manstein-Chirinsky A. La derniere escale. Le siecle d’une exilee russe a Bizerte. Tunis, 2000. P. 174.

I H Knorring. Prisoners of Bizerte. SPb., 1998 Sfait//. Page 166.

8 Archive of Church of the Resurrection to Tunisia. The Russian orthodox community in Tunisia: historical information. L. 2.
9 Archive of Church of the Resurrection to Tunisia. The Russian orthodox community in Tunisia... L. 2; A.A. Shirinskaya Bizerte: Last parking. M, 1999. Page 195.
10 A monument to the ships in Bizerte//the Sea magazine (Prague). 1936. No. 3. Page 20.

II About a monument to the Bizertinsky ships//the Sea magazine. 1936. No. 11. Page 8.

12 Committee on a temple construction in Bizerte//the Sea magazine. 1939. No. 1. Page 16; Manstein-Shirinskaya A.A. Andreevsky banner//Russian messenger. 1995. No. 28 — 29. Page 6.; Laying of the sea temple in Bizerte//the Sea magazine. 1937. No. 10-11. Page 35; The Monument to the ships in Bizerte. Page 20; Prisoners of Bizerte. Page 13.
15 Monument to the ships in Bizerte. Page 20.
14 Archives Nationales de Tunisie a l’Institut du Mouvement National de Tunisie a Manouba. Universite Tunis 1. Archives de Nantes (ANT). Serie E. C. 503. D. 8. Lettre du 3.03.1938 de I’Association Culturelle des Orthodoxes de Bizerte au Directeur de l’Administration Generate et Communale.
15 G.V. Goryachkin, T.G. Gritsenko, O.I. Fomin. The Russian emigration in Egypt and Tunisia (1920 — 1939). M, 2000. Page 59.
16 Archive of Church of the Resurrection to Tunisia. The Russian orthodox community in Tunisia... L. 2.
17 ANT. Serie Tunisie. Bobine R 582. Dossier "Colonie Russe et Eglise Ortodoxe".
18 ANT. Serie E. C. 503. D. 8. Le Statut de 1’Association Culturelle des Orthodoxes de Bizerte.
19 ANT. Serie E. C. 503. D. 4. Lettre du 20.10.1936 du groupe fondateur de l’Association Culturelle des Orthodoxes de Bizerte au Premier Ministre Tunisien.
20 ANT. Serie E. C. 503. D. 8. Decret beylical du 25.01.1937.
21 Archive of Church of the Resurrection to Tunisia. The Russian orthodox community in Tunisia... L. 2.
22 Laying of the sea temple in Bizerte. Page 35.
23 Committee on a temple construction in Bizerte. Page 16.
24 ANT. Serie E. Page 503. D. 9. Note du 12.10.1940 du Chef de la Sflrete au Commissaire Central a Tunis.
25 Ka: daghli H. La communaute russe de Tunisie (1920 — 1956)//Rawafid, revue universitaire de Tunis. 1997. 1 36.
26 ANT. Serie E. C. 503. D. 9. La Notice de renseignement concemant les membres de la Communaute Orthodoxe de l’Eglise de la Resurrection de Tunis qui accompagne la Note du 12.10.1940 du Chef de la Sflrete au Commissaire Central a Tunis.
27 ANT. Serie E. C. 503. D. 9. Note du 12.10.1940 du Chef de la Sflrete au Commissaire Central a Tunis.
28 ANT. Serie E. C. 503. D. 9. La Notice de renseignement concemant les membres de la Communaute Orthodoxe de l’Eglise de la Resurrection de Tunis qui accompagne la Note du 12.10.1940 du Chef de la Sflrete au Commissaire Central a Tunis.

At the bookshelf

E.A. Thompson. Romans and barbarians: Fall of the Western Roman Empire. M.: Yuventa, 2003. - 288 pages

FALL of the WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE according to E.A. Thompson

Eduard Artur Thompson (Edward Arthur Thompson; 1914-1994) began the scientific activity even before World War II, in 1950-h-80-h he taught at the university of Nottingham, directed the edition of the Nottingham Medieval Studies magazine, was a member of British Academy. He wrote more than 90 works on the history of Western Europe in the period of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. The most significant of them - "And History of Attila and the Huns" (Oxford, 1948), "The Early Germans" (Oxford, 1965), "The Visigoths in the time of Ulfila" (Oxford, 1966), "The Goths in Spain" (Oxford, 1969). They were republished more than once.

In 2003 one of books appeared in translation into Russian - "Romans and barbarians: Fall of the Western Roman Empire".

Chronologically it covers the 5-6th centuries. During this period the contacts between the Roman Empire and barbarians became the most active. For the western historian this chronological framework is in many respects indisputable for this reason the author does not stop on their justification. The Russian historian requires an explanation. In a modern western historiography the opinion was already repeatedly expressed that in the 4th century the Roman Empire remained stable and to speak about the beginning of the processes which led of it to death, still early. At the same time not as absolutely exact it is necessary to recognize also traditional date of death of the Roman Empire - 476 g: and after overthrow of the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire in the West on an extent on extremely measure of several decades the Roman state institutes which were used by barbaric kings remained, there was the Eastern Roman Empire which was still far from decline and death. Moreover, in the 6th century an attempt to revive the Roman Empire under the power of Justinian was made: he managed to put considerable territories of North Africa and Italy where the Roman statehood was restored under the control. Thus, final disappearance of the Roman state institutes in For -

Todd Ethan Raymond
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