PARIS: May 29, 2008
Communique of the Society of the Descendants of Gallipoli
THE RESTORATION OF THE MONUMENT TO THE HEROES OF THE WHITE MOVEMENT OF GALLIPOLI
In November, 1920, after the evacuation of Crimea, parts of the White Movement crossed the Bosphorus on 126 ships and arrived in Constantinople.
The soldiers were then assigned to various temporary camps in Turkey. On November 22, the first parts of the First Army Corps of the Russian Volunteer Army under General Kutepov landed on the northern (European) coast of the Dardanelles (now Gelibolu). Other portions of the military found hospice in other places, the Cossacks on the Isle of Lemnos, while the Navy went to the port of Bizert, Tunis.
The First Corps of the White Army broke camp in Gallipoli by regiment (including the Drozdov Division and the Alexeev Regiment), in a wide hardscrabble plain, where they remained from November 1920 until mid-1923. In 1923, the last White Army soldiers left Gallipoli. During the entire duration of their stay, the Army retained its weapons and stayed with their attachments: this period became known as the Gallipoli Standing. There were some 150,000 persons in exile, in Gallipoli and other places.
On November 15, 1921, a year after landing on the peninsula, Commander-in-Chief General Baron Wrangel had a medal minted to honor the podvig of the Russians of Gallipoli. A week later, the Gallipoli Society was organized.
On July 16, 1921, a monument was ceremoniously unveiled in the Gallipoli cemetery to honor the fallen warriors and civilians of Gallipoli buried there. The memorial took the form of a stepped pyramid, built by the people of Gallipoli, each placing his own stone by hand.
The monument survived under the oversight of the local Turkish population until 1949, when it was destroyed in an earthquake. In 1961, the Gallipoli Society built a smaller replica of the monument in the Russian cemetery of Sainte-Genevieve-du-Bois near Paris.
The Restoration of the Monument
In 2008, at the initiative of private individuals in Russia and with the help of the Russian Government, the monument was restored in its original form and ceremoniously unveiled on May 17. A plot of land was dedicated for it surrounded by a fence, and a memorial museum containing photographs, pictures and a krasniy ugol ["beautiful corner" with icons].
Representatives of the Russian Diaspora were invited to the unveiling ceremony: members of the Society of the Descendants of Gallipoli, who brought with them a painted icon of St Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia the Miracle-worker, the Protector of the White Army. The icon bears the following inscription:
"To the glorious people of Gallipoli, the heroes of the White Army and all the warriors who laid down their lives for the Homeland, tortured and killed in the time of troubles and to those who died in peace, Eternal Memory! Glory and honor to the Knights of Gallipoli! You shall always be our pride! The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the People of Gallipoli, 17-05-2008."
A delegation of 30 descendants of the people of Gallipoli attended the opening. The icon and monument were unveiled on May 17, 2008, in the presence of His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe and His Grace Bishop Mark of Egoriev. A male choir from among the descendants of the Russians of Gallipoli sang at the opening and pannikhida that followed under the wonderful direction of Andrei Konstantinovich Malinin.
After the pannikhida, the icon was taken in a procession of the cross under the singing of Christ is Risen to the icon corner of the museum and placed their on an analogion with a burning lampada and lit candle. After the prayers, the choir sang the Hymn of the White Army, Kol' Slaven [Glory to Our God].
The following day, the delegation was invited to a reception and concert with dinner at the Russian Consulate in Istanbul, where the Russian Consul and his wife warmly welcomed them.
During dinner, the President of the SDG, Alexei Pavlovich Grigoriev, gave a speech thanking the organizations participating in the reestablishment of the monument, the members of the Russian Diplomatic Corps, the clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He expressed the notion that it is the fervent love for Russian imparted to us by our fathers and grandfathers that unites us spiritually and binds us to the citizens of the Russian Federation, who are seeking our common roots and our common history. The delegation then sang the Alexeev Regiment March, after which the Vice President of the SDG, Maria Nikolaevna Apraksina, daughter of the Personal Secretary of General Wrangel, NM Kotliarevsky, also expressed her thanks and shared her personal memories of the figures of the White Movement in the diaspora.
So a monument to the White Warriors of Gallipoli stands again, and one can once again pray for them and light a candle to their protector, St Nicholas.
Glory to God!
Sergei S Tarasov
President, French Department of the
Society of the Descendants of Gallipoli
Paris, May 22, 2008