The Empire of Russia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 503 pages of information about The Empire of Russia.

Ivan IV., surrounded by all the splendors of his court, entered the church, where he was encircled by the ecclesiastics, and received the benediction of the metropolitan bishop.  A hymn was then sang by the accumulated choirs, which astounded the audience; after which mass was celebrated.  In the midst of the cathedral, a platform was erected, which was ascended by twelve steps.  Upon this platform there were two thrones of equal splendor, covered with cloth of gold, one for the monarch, the other for the metropolitan bishop.  In front of the stage there was a desk, richly decorated, upon which were placed the crown regalia.  The monarch and the bishop took their seats.  The bishop, rising, pronounced a benediction upon the monarch, placed the crown upon his head, the scepter in his hand, and then, with a loud voice, prayed that God would endow this new David with the influences of the Holy Spirit, establish his throne in righteousness, and render him terrible to evil doers and a benefactor to those who should do well.  The ceremonies were closed by an anthem by the choir.  The young emperor then returned, with his court, to the Kremlin, through streets carpeted with velvet and damask.  As they walked along, the emperor’s brother, Youri, scattered among the crowd handsfull of gold coin, which he took from a vase carried at his side by Michel Glinsky.  The moment Ivan IV. left the church, the people, till then motionless and silent, precipitated themselves upon the platform, and all the rich cloths which had decorated it were torn to shreds, each individual eager to possess a souvenir of the memorable day.

CHAPTER XIII.

THE REIGN OF IVAN IV.

From 1546 to 1552.

The Title of Tzar.—­marriage of Ivan IV.—­Virtues of His Bride.—­Depraved Character of the Young Emperor.—­Terrible Conflagrations.—­Insurrections.—­The Rebuke.—­Wonderful Change in the Character of Ivan IV.—­Confessions of Sin and Measures of Reform.—­Sylvestre and Alexis Adachef.—­The Code of Laws.—­Reforms in the Church.—­Encouragement To Men of Science and Letters.—­The Embassage of Schlit.—­War With Kezan.—­Disasters and Disgrace.—­Immense Preparation For the Chastisement of the Horde.—­The March.—­Repulse of the Tauredians.—­Siege of Kezan.—­Incidents of the Siege.

Though the monarchs of Russia, in all their relations with foreign powers, took the title of Tzar or Emperor, they also retained that of Grand Prince which was consecrated by ancient usage.  And now the envoys of Ivan IV. were traversing Russia in all directions to find, among the maidens of noble blood, one whose beauty would render her worthy of the sovereign.  The choice at last fell upon Anastasia, the daughter of a lady of illustrious rank, who was a widow.  Language is exhausted, by the Russian annalists, in describing the perfections of her person, mind and heart.  All conceivable social and moral excellences were in her united with the most brilliant intellectual gifts and the most exquisite loveliness.

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The Empire of Russia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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