A group of Russian liturgical and personal objects belonging to Fr. Ivan Vladimirovich Storojev

various makers and dates

Comprising a Russian Orthodox bible, a missal, a miniature set of bound and cased gospels, a prayer book, and six additional theological works, a hand blessing cross, a priest's silver pectoral cross on chain, a 3rd class medal of the Order of St. Stanislas, a 3rd class medal of the Order of St. Anna with swords, and a 2nd class neck badge of the Order of St. Stanislas, a silver cased pocket watch. (17).


Property of Father Ivan Vladimirovich Storojev
Thence by descent
Estimate $30,000-50,000

Father Ivan Storojev was born on March 3, 1878, in the Arzamas in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, located on the Tyosha River (a tributary of the Oka), around 250 miles east of Moscow. Storojev attended the Alexandrovsky Institute for the local nobility in Nizhny Novgorod, and went on to study Law at St. Vladimir University at Kiev, from which he graduated in 1903. In 1906 he married Maria Dmitrievna Tikhon-Ravova. It appeared that Storojev would have a successful legal career ahead of him, however, at the peak of his professional life, Storojev felt the call to the priesthood, and at the age of 35 made a fateful decision. On August 30, 1912, he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Mitrophan (Athos) of Yekaterinburg and Irbit, and on September 2 he was named the rector of the Afanasyevsky Church at the Yekaterinburg Urals Mining School.

By the time of the Russian Revolution, Storojev was well-established as a local priest, known for his exceptional preaching abilities and his calm, pastoral manner. As a well-known local member of the clergy, Storojev was entrusted with spiritual ministration to the former Russian Imperial Family, who had arrived in Ekaterinburg as prisoners in two phases. The former Emperor, Nicholas II, his wife the Former Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their son and daughter Alexei and Maria arrived on April 30, 1918, and they were followed by their daughters Olga, Tatiana, and Anastasia later in May.

Father Ivan Storojev was one of the very few people from the outside who were permitted to meet with the former Imperial family, and he served as the last confessor of the Romanovs. He served several services for the Romanovs, until the last, which was held on the 14th July, 1918, which made him among the last people from the outside to see the Imperial Family alive.

"It was Father Ivan Storozhev who was one of the last people from the outside to see the imperial family alive, at a service he conducted in the house at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday 14 July. 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.'

Having climbed the stairs past young guards bristling with weapons, Storozhev found the family gathered in their sitting room, a table for the service specially prepared by Alexandra featuring their favourite icon of the Most Holy Mother of God. The girls were simply dressed in black skirts and white blouses; their hair, he noticed, had grown quite a lot since his previous visit on 2 June, and was now down to their shoulders.

During the service, the whole family had seemed to Storozhev to be greatly oppressed in spirit - there was a terrible weariness about them, quite markedly different from his previous visit, when they had all been animated and had prayed fervently. 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.

It seemed to give them great spiritual comfort, he noted, though for once they had not joined in the responses to the liturgy, something they would normally have done. 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 Storozhev passed them to leave, the girls softly whispered a thank-you. 'I knew, from the way they conducted themselves,' Father Storozhev later recalled, 'that something fearful and menacing was almost upon the Imperial Family.'" (From Helen Rappaport, The Romanov Sisters, MacMillan: New York, 2016, Chapter 22.)

Storjhev and his family later fled the Urals into China, where they settled first in Harbin and later in Tsientsin where there were large Russian émigré communities.

Storojev kept the gospel, missal, blessing cross, and pectoral cross he used in the last service he served for the Imperial Family, and they have remained with his descendants ever since. The missal, in particular, bears autograph marginalia relating to the occasion of the last service attended by the Romanovs, who are now considered saints in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Storojev died in China on February 8, 1927, and was buried in the Russian cemetery in Harbin. In the 1930s his family was able to emigrate, first to Japan, and later to the United States after the end of the Second World War.

Sold for $46,875 (buyer's premium included)