Meeting with the Great-Granddaughter of Passion-Bearer Yevgeniy Botkin
The other day the Orthodox Ekaterinburg was festively celebrating the memory of the Royal passion-bearers and together with them, St. Yevgeniy Botkin, the personal doctor of the Royal family who was also glorified as a passion-bearer a year ago. Not too long before the Royal days, the great-granddaughter of St. Yevgeniy, Anna Konstantinovna, with her son George, visited Ekaterinburg. She also attended the Novo-Tikhvinsky monastery.
Saint Yevgeniy Botkin is very dear to the monastery. It so happened that namely the sisters of the Novo-Tikhvinsky monastery were the last people to show mercy to the Royal family and its loyal servants. From June 1918, the novices at the monastery, by the blessing of abbess Magdalina (Dosmanova) would bring daily the fresh produce into the Ipatyev house: baking goods, vegetables, milk, and eggs. Yevgeniy Sergeyevich Botkin, as the doctor and a loyal friend of the family, in his confinement cared only about relieving the state of the prisoners, and he was especially concerned for the health of the crown prince. He knew better than anybody else how essential good nutrition was for the boy's recovery, and he was very grateful to the sisters for their help. The last time they brought milk on July 17th, when no one from the Royal family and their servants were alive.
Many years have passed. The Royal passion-bearers have been glorified as saints. In 2014, through the blessing of the metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Kirill, the sisters of the monastery began collecting documents for the canonization of the loyal servants of the Royal family. In 2016, Yevgeniy Sergeyevich Botkin was glorified as a passion-bearer. Soon, his icon was painted by the sisters of the monastery.
And now the monastery welcomed with great joy the great-granddaughter of holy passion-bearer Yevgeniy Ц Anna Konstantinovna Pluette with her son George.
Ц I have long been dreaming of venerating the sites connected to the name of my great-grandfather, and I am very happy that I got acquainted with the Russian churches and monasteries, -- Anna Konstantinovna shared with us. Ц I see that only joy and the glory of God reign here.
On the last day of her visit, Anna Konstantinovna and George met with the parishioners of the monastery.
At the beginning of the meeting everyone would reminisce about the holy passion-bearer Yevgeniy Botkin, the personal physician of Emperor Nicholas II.
He was born in the family of a well-known Russian doctor Sergey Petrovich Botkin, a deeply religious man. In Yevgeniy's heart, from his childhood years were deeply ingrained magnanimity, modesty, and exceptional kindness. His brother Pyotr Sergeyevich reminisced: "He was infinitely kind. It could be said that he came into the world for the sake of the people and in order to sacrifice himself... He chose medicine as his profession. This corresponded to his calling: to help, to support at a hard moment, to relieve pain". Yevgeniy Sergeyevich Botkin became one of the best doctors in St.-Petersburg. He got famous for his talent to be a precise diagnostician and also or his immeasurable love for the sick. In 1908, Yevgeniy Botkin was invited to take the office of the personal physician of the Royal family. He served the family selflessly, having become intimate with all of the family's members. After the revolution of 1917, Yevgeniy Sergeyevich voluntarily stayed together with the Royal family until the end: in the Tsarskoye selo, in Tobolsk, and in the Ipatyev house. The night of 4/17th of July, doctor Botkin was killed together with the Royal family in the basement of the Ipatyev house.
His daughter, Tatyana Botkina, with her husband and child, in 1920 with great hardship, was able to leave Russia that was engulfed with the fire of the civil war. She spent most part of her life in France, where she raised three children and ten grandchildren, Anna among them.
Anna Konstantinovna told us about Tatyana's life in Francei, about what she told to her children and grandchildren about Yevgeniy Sergeyevich Botkin.
Ц My grandmother knew several languages and because of this, she was able to teach. This is how she would earn money for her family. She got a noble upbringing and had very refined manners.
She lived by faith. For many years, while Tatyana Yevgenyevna was able to walk, she would attend the Orthodox church on Rue Daru in Paris. Both then and in her old age, when she could no longer walk to the church, a priest would visit her once a week to hear her confession and give her communion. For us, her grandchildren, our grandmother would hold annual Christmas performances at her home.
I would often visit my grandmother, and she would always tell me about Russia, its history, and the Royal family. I remember she would draw the map of Russia for me. And, of course, she always talked about her father Ц Yevgeniy Sergeyevich. I don't remember when I learned that my great-grandfather was a personal physician of the Emperor. It seems to me, I've always known about this, because this was something constantly talked about. Grandma would tell us how much her father loved Russia and the Royal family. She tried to convey this immense love to us, her grandchildren.
In general, the most important thing that I took from grandma's stories Ц is that Yevgeniy Sergeyevich always carried great love in his heart. Love reigned in his family. His children loved being with their father, with each other, spending time together... Even in the most difficult of times, in exile, their love for each other would overshadow all hardships. Grandma said that they spent a great number of wonderful days in Tobolsk, Ц because there they were together with their father.
I am very grateful to my grandmother for passing on to us the memory of my great-grandfather and of Russia. Our family's motto is: "By faith, faithfulness, and labor." Yevgeniy Sergeyevich picked these words for the Botkin family coat-of-arms. Our grandmother's great achievement is that we know these words and that she was trying to raise all of us guided by these principles. I remember how she gave me her baptismal cross that her father bought her. I was very surprised: "Why me?" I greatly take care of this cross.
When doctor Botkin was canonized, so many friends of our family began venerating his memory. Everybody in the Russian diaspora in France knows about him, and for all people he is a model of noble spirit, love, and faith.
In one of her books, Tatyana Botkina wrote: "Life has triumphed over death." Holy passion-bearer Yevgeniy, while still living on earth, left a kind trace in the lives of many people, Ц he brought consolation and support to many, and he taught many people faith and love. So now, when he is already stands before God, his holy life keeps bringing good fruit here on earth. His descendants remember him and are inspired by his example of nobleness. Many thousands of Orthodox people remember him, too, and try to live the way he did. We believe that his prayers will help us all on the path of salvation.