The Sevastopol Bratskoe Cemetery
by Deacon Ioann Bystryakov.
"Da v chadakh k rodine lyubov zazhgut otsov mogily!"
"Verily, the graves of the fathers kindle love for the motherland in the children!"
The present philanthropic publication continues to acquaint readers with Sevastopol's memorial sites. This isthe story of the Bratskoe Cemetery, located on a picturesque hill in the city's North Side. [Note: "Bratskoe" literally means "fraternal," but here its specialized sense is "communal grave" - M.C.]
Cemeteries are honored places, especially those in which rest the remains of warriors who "laid down their lives for their brothers." The Bratskoe Cemetery is a place of communal rest and contemplation in prayer, where the living and the dead are joined in mysterious communion.
Eulogies for the dead, prayers for those held in honorthese are inherent in the history of the Russian people. it is indisputable that the chief memorials in Russian cemeteries are the towers and chapels erected in them.
The ancient custom of funeral feasts (the trapeza, the feeding of the spirits of the dead) is blessed by the Christian church. It is with the hope of renewal and resurrection that we perform the most honored Orthodox church servicesburial rites. Ancient and deep is the custom of preserving in chapels the bones of martyrs, pious men, ascetics, and heroes who have suffered for Faith and Fatherland.
The St. Vladimir Cathedral is built over the graves of the admirals [Nakhimov, Kornilov, and Istomin - M.C.]. Its elder brotherthe chapel of St. Nicholas the Miracle Workeris at the foot of the communal grave of soldiers who died in the Crimean War. The two churches, by a miracle still whole after terrible times, rise opposite each other, as if parts of a set united by the theme of remembrance of our heroic past. These dominate the city. Sevastopol is unthinkable without them, and is consecrated by them.
Before the traveler picks up Deacon I. Bystryakov's guidebook and sets off for the North Side, here are a few words about the creator of these beautiful churches.
The St. Nicholas Chapel as well as the St. Vladimir Cathedral was designed and built by Aleksei Aleksandrovich Avdeev (1819-1885). He was an exceptional person. He came from the nobility of Tver Province and was educated at the Moscow Institue for Nobles.
Avdeev displayed architectural ability at a yung age. His first projecta bell towerwas for his own family estate and was constructed in 1840. He did not go unnoticed. Avdeev was invited to join the students of the famous young architect M. D. Bykovskii, under whose tutelage his talent was developed.
In the 1850s and '40s, Avdeev built many buildings in Moscow: the university observatory, private residencesKoloshev's on Povarskaya Street, Krotkov's on Nikitskaya Street, and others. During these same years he built a church in a Byzantine-Russian style on the estate of A. S. Khomyakov (Dankov District, Ryazan Province).
Building the church was the beginning of a study of ancient Christian architecture, a field in which the architect became a great specialist.
In February of 1850, Avdeev passed exams in the Department of Plans and Drafting which gave him the license to construct buildings. He perfected his architectural mastery in Italy, Germany, and France.
The successful design of the church for Khomyakov's estate led the minister of war, Prince V. I. Vasil'chikov, to commission Avdeev to build a church for the military cemetery in Sevastopol.
In 1857 the project was finalized. It was unusual in the special choice of architectural form. In the explanatory memorandum for the project it was noted that the chapel would be built in the form of a massive memorial over the graves, for which the style of an Egyptian pyramid would be appropriate and symbolica sign of eternity and rest. The plans received Highest approval and were realized in 1870. For this work Avdeev earned the rank of academician of the Imperial Academy of the Arts.
Next was the St. Vladimir Cathedral, begun in 1862 and finished in 1888 after the architect's death. The distinctive peculiarity of the church's design, besides its Byzantine aspects, was the strong influence of the ancient Georgian and Armenian churches which were an object of archaeological attraction for Avdeev. It must be noted that besides the overall project, the architect paid much attention to realizing the interior details: the roll of the dead, decorative details, and church-plate were all executed strictly according to his orders and sketches.
For the city of Sevastopol, Avdeev carried out a project for an Armenian church, built a tower over the grave of Prince Gorchakov and a tower on the Inkerman Heights (no longer standing). In addition, the architect's design was used to build the Pokrovskaya Church (1885) on the Oreand estate of Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaevich, echoing Armenian churches of the 6th century.
Outside the Crimea, Avdeev designed churches in Tula Province, built a tower in the Russian Cemetery in Paris, and a monument over the grave of Admiral Kazarskii in Nikolaev.
The architectural activity of the designer was combined with historical and archaeological work: excavations at the mouth of the Don (Tanais), in the Chersonese and environs of Sevastopol, and at Karasubazar and Kerch. He studied the antiquities of Chernigov, the Balaklava monastery, and the palace at Bakhchisarai, and made numerous reports on these at the meetings of the Moscow Archaeological Society, of which he was an active member. Accounts of his scientific work often appeared as articles in P. M. Leont'ev's Propilei, Russkii Vestnik, and Moskovskiya Vedomosti. In 1871 Avdeev prepared an edition of plans and sketches of St. Nicholas's Chapel in the Bratskoe Cemetery, which is now a great bibliographical rarity.
The architect did not have a permanent residence. The work of a scholar and architect required constant travel throughout Russia, as well as in other countries.
Aleksei Aleksandrovich Avdeev died in March of 1885 in St. Petersburg, where he had come for business relating to the building of the St. Vladimir Cathedral. He was buried in the Nikol'skoe Cemetery in St. Petersburg.
May every visitor to the Bratskoe Cemetery and St. Nicholas's Chapel remember Aleksei Aleksandrovich Avdeev along with the honored heroes, the humble creator of churches who left a significant mark in Sevastopol's history.
The proceeds from the sale of this book will be used for the restoration of churches created by this architect.
The present edition was made at the order of the Museum of the Heroic Defenders of Sevastopol. Proceeds from the sale of this book will be used for the restoration of St. Vladimir's Cathedral over the graves of the Admirals.
The Sevastopol Bratskoe Cemetery
Sevastopol. Printed by N. Kovalev, 1902.
Published with the permission of the Protopresbyter of the Military and Naval Chaplaincy, 7 August 1902, St. Petersburg.
"Da v chadakh k rodine lyubov zazhgut otsov mogily!"
"Verily, the graves of the fathers kindle love for the motherland in the children!"
"O ground of Sevastopol! Protect in your bosom the remains of the fatherland's sons and defenders. Be green and fruitful until that bright day when the dawn of eternity flashes and the sun of truth illuminates all who lie dried up in the grave." (Words from the sermon of His Sacred Eminence Innokentii, Archbishop of Kherson.)
On the southern edge of our fatherland, on the shores of the Black Sea which separates Orthodoxy from Islam, near ancient Korsun, where our Rus' were first enlightened by the teachings of Christ, in the city of Sevastopol and its environs, 50 years ago, every dayfor 11 months, heroic feats were performed by Russian soldiers, the memory of which will forever live in the hearts of the Russian people.
And what Russian has not heard of the glorious defense of Sevastopol? Whose heart has not quivered upon reading lines describing all the horrors of that war? Who has not exulted in the courage and self-sacrifice of the Russian fighting man, who in that trying year showed before the whole world's eyes that he knew how to defend the cause that is just and love his fatherland and his Father Tsar to the point of being ready to lay down his life?
Where the glorious Crimean battles took place there are many monuments, but the most important of them is the Bratskoe Cemetery.
The Bratskoe Cemetery is on Sevastopol's northern side. Its origins lie in the first days of the siege.
At the same time as the ceaseless roar of the cannonade was heard in the besieged part of the city, when every possible kind of projectile was flying through the air in all directions, and there were shouts of victory and groans and cries from the wounded and dyingat this time everything was relatively quiet and peaceful on the North Side. Only rarely, without causing anyone any harm, did a lost enemy cannonball reach here. But it was only here, on the North Side, that one could judge how many heroes' lives the previous day had cost. Here were carried all the killed and those who died from wounds, here graves awaited themready, crowded, dark.
Old timers tell how every day during the whole eleven-month siege slain soldiers were transported to the shore of the bay. Here they lay in rows, face up with their comrades' last gift in their handsa wax candle.
It was frightening, they say, to pass by the small Nicholas headland at night when it was covered with the dead. It was then that the candles in the hands of the deceased were lit and softly illuminated their pale blood-covered faces, while the sea waves soughed, as if taking in breath and then mourning them. Every day a big boat came here on which they were carried to the North Side. Here they were laid on long Tatar carts, and the sad train, accompanied by a priest with a cross and the hymn "Hold God," slowly ascended the hill.
Burial of the heroes was done simply. There was no special ceremony, the drawn-out notes of the funeral march did not sound forth over the area, no beat of drum was heard. Only now and then was there the quiet singing of the burial prayer by the old priest, and yes, there was heard the muffled strikes of the spade in the hard soil. They were digging right here, next to those who had just been buried, so there would be fresh graves for tomorrow.
The dead were laid fifty at a time, or a hundred or more, in one grave. The graves were covered with earth, and a wooden cross erected over them, or simply a stone laid down. Several such graves appeared each day and in this way the Bratskoe Cemetery was formed during the eleven-month siege of Sevastopol.
More than 40 years passed... During that time the Bratskoe Cemetery was finished thanks to the interest and efforts of the government. Like a big green carpet, it stands out amidst the barren environs of Sevastopol. The white monuments of the fraternal graves picturesquely stand out from afar against the deep green, and above them the memorial chapel stands tall, like an eternal witness to the past and a faithful guardian of the fallen heroes' final refuge.
The Cemetery is surrounded on all sides by a wall built from stone quarried locally. Iron gates on opposite sides lead into its interior. At each of the gates are two cannons from the time of Sevastopol's siege.
In picturesque disorder behind the walls there wind between the graves clean paths strewn with sea sand. Beautiful greenery grows everywhere; chestnut trees, lilacs, white and yellow acacia, almond and thuja trees thickly press against the heroes' graves from all sides. Here are also found pretty clumps of flowers of all possible colors.
On the graves, in place of the original wooden crosses, are now erected beautiful memorials of every possible kind. Some of them are in the shape of tombs, others are reminiscent of pyramids, on still others are placed a giant stone cross, and finally some graves simply have plinths laid over them.
On the left, at the very entrance, rest the remains of the famous Sevastopol hero General A. S. Khrulev. The memorial over his grave is distinguished by its beauty. Atop a fine large marble column sits an artistically executed bust of the deceased. Below, at the middle of the column, are a double-headed eagle and shield, ringed with laurels with the inscription "To Khrulev - From Russia. "Around the column the marbel bears the lines: "To his eternal glory after him he led those who gave of themselves, and among those who give of themselves he was honored for his great military glory." "Move aside, burial mounds! And press close, You who do a hero's duty! Here Your 'Old Man' came to show His love, so that everyone could see that he did not stand apart either in glorious battles or among the rows of graves; press your ranks more closely together, You brave men unsurpassed, and surround a hero of the Sevastopol battle in a more comradely fashion in your family grave!"
Khrulev died eleven years after the end of hostilities and willed that he be buried among those with whom for eleven months he shared all the adversities of a siege unparalleled in history. There was not a skirmish or sortie in which he did not take part. Soldiers idolized him and called him "our old man, dear fellow," and just on one word from him were ready to go through fire and water. on the last day of the siege, when the French occupied the Malakhov Kurgan's fortifications, Khrulev was wounded twice in a desperate attempt to turn them back. For the most part, Khrulev's services during the defense of Sevastopol were invaluable and give him an honored place in the circle of Russia's glorious defenders during the most difficult moment of her military history.
Uphill from Khrulev's grave there are long rows of huge mass graves in all directions. In them, many thousands of untimely fallen heroes sleep the eternal sleep from which they cannot be wakened! And here among the deep green, between gigantic mass graves, are sheltered hundreds of identical heroes' graves. Their burial memorials, erected through the efforts of relatives or comrades of the deceased are beautiful and splendid. Many graves of glorious military generals and admirals are counted among them, and even more of field and company-grade officers. All of them were either killed or died of wounds defending the fatherland from its enemies. More than once over these graves have surviving Sevastopol defenders wiped away a bitter tear.
Leading uphilslon the slope along the main way, on the left, near a pathway and under the shade of the trees, humbly lie two little graves of a young girl and little boy. In one of them, according to the tombstone inscription, rests Deonisiya Tuluzakova, killed at the 5th Bastion on 29 March 1855 when she was sixteen years old. A little further on, under a simple gray plinth, is hidden a victim of the warthe five-year old boy Ivan Simonenko, killed by a mortar bomb.
Where the main path takes a turn is the grave of Prince Gorchakov. Erected here is a tower of gray granite with groups of marble columns on the sides. In the middle is a bust of the deceased and under it a marble plaque in the wall with the inscription "The body of the deceased, buried according to his wish among the soldiers who did not allow the enemies of the fatherland to cross beyond the place where their graves lie." General-of-Infantry Prince M. D. Gorchakov was commander-in-chief of the Crimean War in 1855-56.
Nearby is the grave of Prince Maksutov. On a simple gray rock stands a white marble cross, while below is the bronze medal for the 349-day defense of Sevastopol. On a marble scroll unrolled at the foot of the cross we read: "Prince P. P. Maksutov, born 15 April 1825, died 2 May 1882. Took part in the Battle of Sinope on the ship Parizh and in the defense of Sevastopol for 349 days."
On the opposite side of the main path is interred the former Sevastopol city mayor and commander of the port, Rear Admiral M. N. Kumani. On his grave is a splendid marble memorial with a mosaic image of the archangel Michael under a white marble overhang. In the small doorway to the tomb can be seen many wreaths, laid at the deceased's grave by various government officials and personal admirers. Alongside, over the grave of Admiral Spitsyn stands a beautiful marble column with a bust of the deceased on top, all behind a magnificent iron grating made from anchors. Admiral A. P. Spitsyn commanded the frigate "Kagul" in 1852 and was at the Battle of Sinope and took part in the defense of Sevastopol from 13 September 1854 to 27 August 1855. Here are even more recent graves: Mol'skii, Stavraki, Reitlinger, Novikov, and others.
Just where the graves of defenders end is buried Graf Eduard Ivanovich Totleben, famed for building the hastily erected Sevastopol defenses. As a coastal city, Sevastopol was fortified only on the side facing the sea. On the landward side it was not even entrenched, and thus could have been made the easy prize of an enemy. But what cannot a Russian do at the decisive moment?!... The Sevastopol residents fiercely loved their native city and resolved as one to defend their home sand hearths to the utmost. Before the eyes of an amazed enemy, under a hail of bullets and cannonballs, there began to rise the shield that brought him to astonishment. Here the work went furiously both day and night. Everyone workedmen, frail women, and even small children. To the last one of them, they all made a great contribution, as much as each one could. Thanks to such a unity of spirit, with unbelievable speed the city was surrounded on the landward side with a line of imposing fortifications. The genius behind all these works was the young Totleben (at that time a colonel). By his example, eye, and voice he encouraged and exhorted the laborers. He did not know what rest was and hardly ever left the work sites. Five or six thousand persons worked under his direction from morning to late at night, and these efforts made him famous, giving him an honored place in the circle of glorious defenders of Sevastopol.
A Russian steps almost trembling past the fence into the heroes' burial sanctum. Inspired, he moves from one grave to another, duty bound to stop in front of each, admiring their beautiful monuments and with rapt attention reading on them the short stories of the heroes. To his mind's eyes appear the field of battle and these martyrs for the faith; the shouts of victory are heard, the groans and cries of the wounded and dying, and he hurries toward the chapel that can be seen on the hill among the greenery. He bows before the One Eternal God and places a candle for the repose of the souls slain on the field of strife.
On the highest point on the hill, on a level yard surrounded by a short six-sided enclosure, there stands on a grave of Russian soldiers the chapel-monument of St. Nicholas, built in 1870 by the wish of the late monarch Alexander II, now resting in God.
On the southern side of the yard are symmetrically placed imposing witnesses of the pastseven large English guns taken from the enemy in battle. From here can be seen a colorful view of Sevastopol and its nearest environs. The beautiful buildings of the city rise picturesquely in every kind of architectural style in tiers one above the other, at the head of which is St. Vladimir's Cathedral, all above the dark waters of Sevastopol Bay, always covered with tens of large and small ships, past which flash pretty skiffs in various directions with spread sails, looking like flocks of seagulls.
On the right can be seen the Chersonese Monastery with its magnificent chapel, the Chersonese lighthouse, and the boundless sea. On the leftthere rises the Malakhov Kurgan, soaked with the blood of heroes, and in the distance on the blue horizon, huge dark masses picturesquely outline the contours of the Crimean mountains.
The chapel-monument has the form of a massive carved pyramid with a great six-foot granite cross on top. It is all made from local yellow stone darkened over time and has now taken on the color of granite. On all four sides of the chapel, four feet above the ground, there are emplaced in the wall great dark-colored marble plinths on which are detailed the names of divisions, regiments, and naval équipages, the times they took part in the campaign, and their total casualties, namely:
Unit. Casualties. In garrison.
Belozersk Regiment 950 From 5 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Olonets Regiment 1604 " "
Schlüsselburg Jäger Regt. 919 " "
Ladoga Regiment 924 " "
5th Inf. Division
H.I.H. Grand Duke Vladimir
Aleksandrovich's Archangel Regt. 24 From 24 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Vologda 54 " "
Kostroma Jäger Regt. 273 From 26 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Galich Regt. 307 " "
6th Inf. Division
Murom Regt. 2371 From 27 May through 27 Aug. 1855.
7th Inf. Division
Smolensk Regt. 3 From 23 July through 2 August 1855.
Mogilev Regt. 6 " "
Vitebsk Jäger Regt 19 From 22 July through 1 Aug. 1855.
Polotsk Regt. 48 " "
8th Inf. Division
Graf Diebitsch of the Trans-Balkans'
Chernigov Regt. 3689 From 9 Apr. through 27 Aug. 1855.
Poltava Regt. 2868 From 7 April through 27 Aug. 1855.
Aleksandropol Jäger Regt. 2608 From 4 April through 27 Aug. 1855.
Kremenchug Regt. 2816 From 2 April through 27 Aug. 1855.
9th Inf. Division.
Yelets Regt. 2674 From 3 June through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 1).
Sevsk Regt. 2819 " "
Gen.-Adj. Prince Gorchakov's Bryansk Jäger Regt. 2640 From 27 May through 27 Aug. 1855.
Gen.-Field Marshal the Prince of Warsaw,
Graf Paskevich of Erivan's Orel Regt. 2412 From 23 Apr. through 27 Aug. 1855
10th Inf. Division.
Yekaterinburg Regt. 4648 From 22 Oct. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Tobolsk Regt. 4521 " "
Tomsk Jäger Regt. 3330 " "
Kolyvan Regt. 4238 " "
11th Inf. Division.
Selenginsk Regt. 2811 From 5 Nov. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Yakutsk. Regt. 1887 From 6 Nov. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Okhotsk Jäger Regt. 1799 From 5 Nov. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Kamchatka Regt. 2830 From 9 Dec. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
12th Inf. Division.
Azov Regt. 418 From 20 Apr. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
Dnieper Regt. 868 From 6 Mar. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
Ukraine Jäger Regt. 950 From 16 Mar. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
Odessa Regt. 601 From 30 Mar. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
14th Inf. Division.
Volhynia Regt. 3896 From 19 Oct. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Minsk. Regt. 4161 From 27 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Podolia Jäger Regt. 2878 From 20 Apr. 1855 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Zhitomir Regt. 2047 From 20 Apr. 1855 through 27 Aug. 1855.
16th Inf. Division.
Vladimir Regt. 3147 From 25 Mar. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
Suzdal Regt. 2099 From 13 Mar. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
Uglich Jäger Regt. 1864 From 5 Oct. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
H.I.H. Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich's
Kazan Jäger Regt. 2078 From 9 Mar. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
17th Inf. Division.
Moscow Regt. 294 From 19 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 3).
Butyrskii Regt. 1310 From 23 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
His Imp. Majesty's Borodino Leib-Jäger Regt. 448 From 19 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855
Tarutino Jäger Regt. 375 From 17 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Reserve Brigade of the 13th Inf. Division.
5th and 6th Battalions of:
Brest Reserve Regt.
Bialystok Reserve Regt.
Lithuania Reserve Regt.
Vilna Reserve Regt. 5511 From 13 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
From 5 Nov. through 27 Aug. 1855.
6th Rifle Battalion. 370 From 5 Nov. through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 4).
From 23 Apr. 1855 through 27 Aug. 1855.
4th Sapper Battalion. 513 From 24 Oct. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
6th Sapper Battalion. 756 From 13 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Reserve Brigade of the 14th Inf. Division.
6th Battalions of:
Volhynia Reserve Inf. Regt.
Minsk Reserve Inf. Regt. 1687 From 29 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
15th Reserve Inf. Division.
Modlin Reserve Inf. Regt. 1144 From 17 July 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
Praga Reserve Inf. Regt. 1077 From 17 July 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
Lublin Reserve Inf. Regt. 1803 From 20 June 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
Zamosc Reserve Inf. Regt. 1468 From 16 July 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 2).
10th Artillery Brigade.
Heavy Battery No. 1 94 From 24 through 27 Oct. 1854.
Heavy Battery No. 2 34 From 22 through 26 Oct. 1854.
Light Battery No. 1 20 From 27 Apr. through 27 Aug. 1855.
Light Battery No. 2 51 From 29 Oct. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
11th Artillery Brigade.
Light Battery No. 3 30 From 1 Apr. 1855 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Light Battery No. 4 46 From 27 Apr. 1855 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Light Battery No. 5 124 From 14 Nov. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
12th Artillery Brigade.
Light Battery No. 7 35 From 11 June through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 5).
Light Battery No. 8 88 From 11 June through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 5).
Light Battery No. 9 106 From 22 June through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 5).
14th Artillery Brigade.
Light Battery No. 4 26 From 13 Sept. through 15 Nov. 1854.
Light Battery No. 6 3 From 24 Oct. through 15 Nov. 1854.
16th Artillery Brigade.
Heavy Battery No. 1 39 From 13 Sept. through 24 Oct. 1854.
Light Battery No. 1 18 From 24 Oct. through 15 Nov. 1854.
17th Artillery Brigade.
Light Battery No. 4 108 From 13 Sept. through 31 Oct. 1854, and from 22 July through 27 Aug. 1855.
Light Battery No. 5 60 From 13 Sept. through 25 Oct. 1854, and from 1 June through 27 Aug. 1855 (Note 6).
Black Sea Cossack Host.
Battalion No. 2 540 From 20 Sept. 1854 through 24 Apr. 1855.
Battalion No. 8 1177 From 20 Sept. 1854 through 5 May 1855.
Kursk Opolchenie [mass levy].
Druzhina No. 47
Druzhina No. 48
Druzhina No. 49 From 22 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Greek Volunteer Battalion. From 1 Mar. through 27 Aug. 1855.
Military Labor Companies Nos. 14 and 15. From 13 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
Companies of the Sevastopol Artillery Garrison. From 13 Sept. 1854 through 27 Aug. 1855.
From 13 Sept. 1854
through 27 Aug. 1855.
Naval Équipages 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, and 45.
Cargo Équipage No. 4
Labor Équipages 17, 18, and 19.
Arsenal and laboratory companies.
Penal companies. 15,977(*) (Note 7.)
(*) In these military units, casualties are indicated in total without allocation to individual units.
Splendidly worked doors of cast bronze lead into the chapel from its west side. On their outside is a large mosaic image of Christ the Savior. Similarly on the opposite wall of the chapel is a sacred image painted on lacquer of the moment when the women carrying myrrh, in the words of the church hymns, early in the morning visited the tomb of the Giver of Life and found an angel sitting on a stone who announced to them the joyful news of the resurrection from the dead of Christ the Savior. Above this sacred image, on a gray granite frame, in big gold letters are written the angel's words to the women, "He has risen, and is not here!"
As the chapel's exterior appearance startles the unprepared visitor with its original and magnificent form, no less does its interior construction captivate the eye with its exquisite splendor and grandeur.
Four large arches, set one opposite the other, divide the chapels' interior into the form of the cross. The lower half of the chapel's walls are faced with Italian marble of great workmanship. Marble of various colors is set in straight rows, and each row is outlined by a edging of white marble. Above, along the whole length of the chapel's walls, horizontally run mourning plaques on which in gold letters are written the first and last names of the generals, admirals, and field and company-grade officers killed during the defense of Sevastopol. The accompanying list shows their numbers:
Field and company-grade officers:
General Staff 6
Naval officers 88
Marine artillery 20
Medical Establishment 3
Total 881 (Note 8)
Of the icons, the image of God's judgment is especially striking by its size5-1/4 feet squareand its artistic execution. On a throne surrounded by an assembly of angels and faces of the saints, the Lord sits over the heavenly hosts; below, underfoot, is a deep abyss into which sinners are plunging, their faces contorted with fear. A depiction of Christ's rising from the dead, of similar artistic work and size, can be seen on the opposite eastern wall.
Originally the chapel walls were decorated with fine paintings by the academician Korneev, Vasil'ev, and Markov, but this was damaged by damp and in some places completely destroyed. In 1885 the Sovereign Emperor Alexander III, now resting in God, after visiting the heroes' graves examined the chapel and ordered that the painting be replaced by a mosaic that would be an exact copy of the original work. This work was carried out in the workshop of Selviati in Venice by using copies of pictures and decorations in the chapel, and local artist M. N. Protopopov worked long and hard on the execution of this effort. Overall, the entire restoration was done under the direction and oversight of Engineer-Colonel Ya. P. Semenov.
In an separate part [raznitsa] is kept an image of Christ the Savior which suffered during the enemy bombardment of Sevastopol. Below it a short inscription reads: "On 10 June 1855, all of the decorative frame and metal mounting were destroyed and turned to ashes by an enemy 7-pood bomb that exploded in the house, but the image of the Savior remained unharmed." (Note 9.) In 1837 this picture had been a gift to bless the wedding of V. and A. Tuluzakov, whose descendants donated it to the chapel.
The chapel's historical significance, its location close to the graves of our country's heroes, and lastly its grandeur and beauty, produce a strong and deep impression. Many are the emotions felt by a true Russian in this chapel! While reading the heroes' names on the chapel's cold plinths, a long line of historical faces and events appears to stretch before him. On the field of battle a Russian warrior fights for his sacred faith and in the name of this faith becomes invincible, and therefore nothing can be more appropriate than building a religious monument.
Here in the quiet refuge, a bloodless sacrifice is made and fervent prayers ascend for the tsars and their servitors who have fallen on the field of battle. Here, in this chapel, the Russian warrior accumulates moral support to be fully worthy of his fathers.
Peace to Your ashes, glorious defenders of the fatherland! And let the memory of Your heroic deeds live forever in the hearts of the Russian people. Let Your graves serve as an example of the duty to love Faith, Tsar, and Fatherland.
May Your memory live forever, dear brothers! May the people's path to Your sacred graves never be overgrown from disuse!
Church of the Sevastopol Bratskoe Cemetery
Deacon Ioann Bystryakov.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Notes by the translator.
Note 1. Almost identical lists were published in Oborona Sevastopolya; Podvigi zashchitnikov, Colonel Zaionchkovskii, St. Petersburg, 1899, and in Sevastopol' i pamyatniki ego oborony, Lieutenant Colonel Parskii, 2nd edition, Odessa, 1903. For the Yelets Regiment, instead of "From 3 June through 27 August," Zaionchkovskii states "From 3 July through 27 August 1855," while Parskii states "From 31 July through 27 August 1855."
Note 2. The starting date in the garrison should be 1855 instead of 1854. Zaionchkovskii and Parskii correctly state 1855.
Note 3. Zaionchkovskii and Parskii state "From 18 Sept. 1854."
Note 4. Parksii incorrectly states "5th Rifle Battalion."
Note 5. Instead of June, Zaionchkovskii and Parskii both state July.
Note 6. Instead of 1 June, Zaionchkovskii and Parskii both state 1 July.
Note 7. Zaionchkovskii indicates 15,977 as total casualties for the Kursk Opolchenie, Engineer Department, and Navy Department, but totaling such disparate branches together seems unlikely. Parskii lists 1719 as total casualties for the Kursk Opolchenie and Engineer Department, and 15,977 for the Naval Department units alone. Furthermore, Parskii lists total army (i.e. non-naval) casualties as 101,941, and overall total casualties (army plus navy) as 117,918. Between Zaionchkovskii, Parskii, and Bystryakov, I find Parskii's figures to most likely be correct.
Note 8. Parskii lists by name 943 officers killed during the defense of Sevastopol, as taken from the inscriptions in the St. Nicholas Chapel plus casualties from battles that took place around the besieged city.
Note 9. Since a Russian pood is 36 pounds, this is perhaps a 13-inch mortar bomb, which weighed 213 pounds.
Translated by Mark Conrad, 2001.