January 26 - 88th anniversary of the tragic death of General V.O. Kappel
View of Holy Iveron Church
from the south side
The last few years of the White Warriors project to find and rebury the remains of General W.O. Kappel, which were safely completed a year ago,have invariably been associated with the Holy Iveron Church in Harbin, Unfortunately, in the church for more than a decade, services have not been carried out, and it has come to a complete desolation.
N.N. Ustiantsev (Australia) is the grandson of the first rector of the Holy Iveron Church in Harbin, Archpriest Sergiy Braduchan (1874-1940). Nikita Nikolaevich shared his personal memories of the Iveron Temple, and also sent some materials about him from his family archive.
Please tell us about your family.
- My grandfather, Sergiy Dmitrievich Braduchan, was originally from Bessarabia, in 1897 he graduated from the Odessa Spiritual Seminary, was ordained in 1898. Since 1906, he was the rector of St. Nicholas Church in Old Harbin. In 1907, Father Sergiy became one of the initiators of the construction of the Holy Iveron Church, the church of the border district of saamura. It was decided to build it on Officer Street - in the area of Harbin, where military barracks were located. The new temple was consecrated in June 1908, and St. Sergiy became its first rector. A few years later, the walls inside the temple were painted. On the walls and internal vaults were immortalized the names of the fallen soldiers of the Russian army, and after the Civil War - also the names of some fallen white soldiers. It was, you might say, a military temple-monument. Apparently, that is why in the autumn of 1920 the remains of General V.O. Kappel were reburied at the wall of the Holy Iveron Church.
Father Sergiy served in the Iveron Temple until his death in 1940, with a break of five years (1923-1928) when he served in St. Nicholas Cathedral. For many years he taught the Law of God: at the school-shelter named after the heir of Caesarevich for the children of officers of the zaamurborder district and in the women's gymnasium M.A. Oksakovskaya, where his daughter Galina (my mother studied). Father Sergiy was buried at the southern wall of the Iveron Church. My grandmother, Anastasia Minichna, passed away in 1942 and was buried in a crypt next to him.
My father, Nikolai Ustyantsev, was a member of the First World War, A St. George's Cavalier. In The Civic served as an officer in the army of Admiral A.V. Kolchak, then lived in Harbin, married the daughter of The Russian President Sergiy Galina, was an entrepreneur: he owned concessions for logging, horse factory, bakery, etc. In 1945, shortly before I was born, my parents were on their remote borrowed land near the village of Syamusi, near the border with the USSR. Soviet troops who entered Manchuria were on the territory of the borrowed, and his father, as its owner and former white officer, was arrested and immediately sent to the USSR (where he spent eight years in the Gulag). The mother managed to escape, and she and her friend (my future godmother) made their way to Harbin. I was born on the road, in the town of Togen, in October 1945.
- What memories do you have about the Iveron Church?
Iveron Church was associated with my entire childhood. My mother and I lived in an apartment in a two-story church house next to the temple. There were other buildings around, including the Iveron Parish, including the manger (which I visited in early childhood) and the Serafim Church Dining Room, as well as the former military barracks built in the early 20th century.
We lived modestly (father's possessions were confiscated or looted), the mother was forced to sell the remaining property, moonlighting as home sewing.
The parishioners of the Iveron Temple kept the memory of Father Sergiy. A friend told me that on one of the frescoes inside the temple in the face of an angel were visible facial features of my grandmother, Mother Anastasia, and in the face of another angel - my mother. I keep a portrait of my grandmother, painted by the artist V. Kazakov. His mother said that he was involved in the painting of the Iver church.
Since I was six years old, I have been at the altar all the time. During these years, the rectors of the Iveron temple were the mitrophoran proto-priest Aristarch Ponomarev, the proto-priest Antony Galushko and the last rector - the proto-priest Valentin Baryshnikov (by the way, he baptized me in 1945). All this time fr. Valentin Kormilov, who was the most beautiful person, always helped in the training of minions. I remember how Radonica was always taken out with voluminous memorials, which were recorded numerous names of dead Russian soldiers. Because of the control of the Soviet authorities in Harbin during these years it was no longer possible to openly remember the family killed in the service of the King's family, so the priests in the Iver on the temple remembered them as "The Warrior of Nicholas with the Family".
The school I had been attending since I was seven was called, like all Harbin schools at the time, "4th Soviet High School." Classes in it were held in two shifts. First it was located in a pink building on the Wharf (called it "Pink School"), then moved to the premises of the Hunting Club. We studied from Soviet-style textbooks. I remember well that in the very first years Stalin was often mentioned in textbooks, and then changes were made, his name was "crossed out".
On my way to school, I always walked past the tomb of General V.O. Kappel, who was at the northern wall of the Iveron Temple. One day, when I was about ten (i.e. around 1955) in the morning I, as always, walked past the monument on the grave of the general, and, returning from school, did not believe his eyes - there was nothing on this place! There was no trace of the monument, there was a flat place at the wall of the temple...
I noticed that shortly after this event, the years of their deaths were smeared on the walls inside the temple near the names of those who died in the Civil War. Apparently, it was done by someone from the parish council, fearing the continuation of abuse over the memory of the dead.
Around 1956-1957. the Chinese began to build a new building on the north side of the temple, at the same time having arranged a warehouse of building materials on the south side, where trucks were constantly approaching. The wall of the crypt in which The Revenite Sergiy was buried was damaged, and I had to fill the hole with earth. I think that in connection with this construction the level of the pavement has risen - as I noticed from the photos, the temple's paper is now much lower than it was 50 years ago. Unsurprisingly, Kappel's remains were so deep underground.
When did your family leave Harbin?
- My father was released in 1953 or 1954, then lived in Magadan and long sought permission to return to Manchuria. In 1956 he was released, and he came to Harbin (then I first saw him), but was already mentally and physically broken man. Like many other Russians, we had to leave Harbin. In September 1957 my mother and I went to Hong Kong, and my father had to follow us. However, in Hong Kong we were already waiting for a telegram with the news of his death in Harbin ... My mother and I stayed in Hong Kong for seven months and then got the opportunity to leave for Australia. My mother Galina Sergeevna died in Brisbane in 1993
- What did you know about the fate of the Iveron Church?
As our friends told us, after the death of O. Valentin Baryshnikov in 1962, services in the Iveron Temple ceased, and a few years later, during the "cultural revolution", the altar and all the interior were burned. I was told that at the same time the granite monument on the tomb of Father Sergiy was destroyed. The interior murals of the walls were later painted with paint. Such is the sad fate of the temple in which, one might say, I grew up.
- And in conclusion, what would you like to wish the Project "White Warriors"?
I would like to wish the agency "White Warriors" and personally Alexander Alekayev success in their future projects. This group of enthusiasts not only paid tribute to the heroes of the White Movement - in the process of searching, preparing excavations and reburial of the remains of General V.O. Kappel, they managed to find new materials about him and his associates, to open new pages of Russian history of the 20th century.
Once again I sincerely thank Alexander Nikolaevich and his colleagues for their significant contribution to the preservation of Russian history. I wish them great success in this noble cause!
I would also like to thank L.Y. Tremsina for preparing this publication.