Orthodox duchess canonised

Bobruisk’s Eparchy gathering materials to canonise granddaughter of famous poet Alexander Pushkin — Duchess Natalia Vorontsova-Velyaminova

By Yuri Bestvitsky

The Bobruisk Eparchy’s Department for Canonisation is convinced that Orthodox Duchess Natalia should be canonised, having worked to improve the life of those in her locality.

Using her own funds, she opened a school for peasant children in the Bobruisk’s District Telusha village in the late 19th century (at which she taught), constructed a library and built St. Nicholas’ Church. The latter still has a congregation, having survived revolutionary chaos and occupation by the Nazis. Now restored, it is a spiritual symbol and a major cultural and historical site.

The granddaughter of the prominent poet lived with her husband Pavel Vorontsov-Velyaminov (of the ancient ducal family) on the Vavulichi estate of his mother, not far from Bobruisk, until her death in 1912 of a sudden pneumonia. Most residents from neighbouring villages and the town of Bobruisk attended the funeral to bid her a final farewell and she is now buried in the local park, her grave tended by residents and pupils from the local school.

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