Грб Краљевине Србије Грб Центра






Serbian Orthodox Action ''Sabor''



064/ 201 27 26

Vladimir Moss, PhD



    In the last part of the reign of Catherine II, following the excesses of Jacobinism in France, a reaction had set in against Masonry. Catherine backed away from her Enlightenment ideas when she saw the effect they produced in the revolution. “’Yesterday I remembered,” she wrote to Grimm in 1794, “that you told me more than once: this century is the century of preparations. I will add that these preparations consisted in preparing dirt and dirty people of various kinds, who produce, have produced and will produce endless misfortunes and an infinite number of unfortunate people.’

    “The next year she categorically declared that the Encyclopédie had only two aims: the one – to annihilate the Christian religion, and the other – royal power. ‘I will calmly wait for the right moment when you will see how right is my opinion concerning the philosophers and their hangers-on that they participated in the revolution…, for Helvétius and D’Alambert both admitted to the deceased Prussian king that this book had only two aims: the first – to annihilate the Christian religion, and the second – to annihilate royal power. They spoke about this already in 1777.”

    In his estimate of Masonry and French influence, if in little else, Tsar Paul was in agreement with his mother. Well-known Masons were required to sign that they would not open lodges (the rumour that Paul himself became a Mason in the house of I.P. Elagin in 1778 is false), and the great General Suvorov was sent to Vienna to join Austria and Britain in fighting the French. But the French continued to extend their armies through Europe, and when, in 1797, Napoleon threatened the island of Malta, the knights of the Order of the Maltese Cross, who had ruled the island since the 16th century, appealed to the protection of Tsar Paul. Paul accepted the responsibility, and in gratitude the Maltese offered that he become their Grand Master. The Order was Catholic, but anti-French and anti-revolutionary, so Paul accepted.

    Events developed as follows. In 1798 Napoleon seized Malta. Paul then entered into an alliance union with Prussia, Austria and England against France. A Russian fleet entered the Mediterranean, and in 1799 a Russian army under Suvorov entered Northern Italy, liberating the territory from the French.

    However, writes Protopriest Lev Lebedev (Velikorossia, St. Petersburg, 1999), “in 1800 England seized the island of Malta, taking it away from the French and not returning it to the Maltese Order. Paul I sent Suvorov with his armies back to Russia and demanded that Prussia take decisive measures against England (the seizure of Hanover), threatening to break relations and take Hanover, the homeland of the English monarchs, with Russian forces. But at the same time there began direct relations between Paul and Napoleon. They began in an unusual manner. Paul challenged Napoleon to a duel so as to decide State quarrels by means of a personal contest, without shedding the innocent blood of soldiers. Bonaparte declined from the duel, but had a high opinion of Paul I’s suggestion, and as a sign of respect released his Russian prisoners without any conditions, providing them with all that they needed at France’s expense. Paul I saw that with the establishment of Napoleon in power, an end had been put to the revolution in France. [This was, of course, a great mistake. Napoleon was a child of the revolution and the instrument of the spread of its ideas throughout Europe. (V.M.)] Therefore he concluded a union with Napoleon against England (with the aim of taking Malta away from her and punishing her for her cunning), and united Russia to the ‘continental blockade’ which Napoleon had constructed against England, undermining her mercantile-financial might. [Another mistake, for it did precisely the opposite, weakening the continental economies and allowing England, with her superior navy, to seize the colonies of her rivals around the world. (V.M.)] Moreover, in counsel with Napoleon, Paul I decided [on January 12, 1801] to send a big Cossack corps to India – the most valuable colony of the English. [They had crossed the Volga on March 18 when they heard of the death of the Tsar…] To this day his Majesty’s order has been deemed ‘mad’ and ‘irrational’. But those who say this conceal the fact that the plan for this Russian expedition against India did not at all belong to Paul I: it arose under Catherine II and was seriously considered by her (Paul I only put it into action).

    “Russia’s break with England and the allies signified for them catastrophe and in any case an irreparable blow to the British pocket, and also to the pocket of the major Russian land-owners and traders (English trade in Russia had been very strong for a long time!). From the secret masonic centres of England and Germany an order was delivered to the Russian Masons to remove the Emperor and as quickly as possible!

    “Long disturbed by Paul I’s attitude, the Russian nobility were quick to respond to the Masonic summons. Even before this,… in 1798 the Russian Masons had succeeded in sowing dissension in the Royal Family. They slandered the Tsaritsa Maria Fyodorovna of supposedly trying to rule her husband and instead of him. At the same time he was ‘set up with’ the beauty Lopukhina, the daughter of a very powerful Mason, and a faithful plotter. But the affair was foiled through the nobility of the Emperor. Learning that Lopukhina loved Prince Gagarin, Paul I arranged their marriage, since he was just good friends with Lopukhina. The Masons had to save the situation in such a way that Prince Gagarin himself began to help his own wife come closer to Paul I. She settled in the Mikhailov palace and became a very valuable agent of the plotters. From the autumn of 1800 the plot rapidly acquired a systematic character. Count N.P. Panin (the college of foreign affairs) was drawn into it, as was General Count Peter Alexeyevich von der Palen, the governor of Petersburg and a very close advisor of the Tsar, General Bennigsen (also a German), Admiral Ribas (a native of the island of Malta), the brothers Plato, Nicholas and Valerian Zubov and their sister, in marriage Princes Zherbtsova, the senators Orlov, Chicherin, Tatarinov, Tolstoy, Torschinsky, Generals Golitsyn, Depreradovich, Obolyaninov, Talysin, Mansurov, Uvarov, Argamakov, the officers Colonel Tolbanov, Skaryatin, a certain Prince Yashvil, Lieutenant Marin and very many others (amongst them even General M.I. Kutuzov, one of the prominent Masons of those years). At the head of the conspiracy stood the English consul in Petersburg, Sir Charles Whitford. According to certain data, through him England paid the plotters two million rubles in gold.

    “The most important plotters were the Mason-Illuminati, who acted according to the principle of their founder Weishaupt: ‘slander, slander – something will stick!’ Floods of slanderous inventions poured onto the head of the Emperor Paul I. Their aim was to ‘prove’ that he was mad, mentally ill and therefore in the interests of the people (!) and dynasty (!) he could not remain in power. The slander was strengthened by the fact that the Emperor’s orders either were not carried out, or were distorted to an absurd degree, or in his name instructions of a crazy character were given out. Von Palen was especially successful in this. He began to insinuate to Paul I that his son Alexander Pavlovich (and also Constantine), with the support of the Empress, wanted to cast him from the throne. And when Paul I was upset by these communications, it was insinuated to his sons and Alexander and Constantine that the Emperor by virtue of a paranoid illness was intending to imprison them together with their mother for good, while he was supposedly intending to place the young Prince Eugene of Wurtemburg, who had then arrived in Russia, on the throne. Noble society was frightened by the fact that Paul I in a fit of madness [supposedly] wanted to execute some, imprison others and still others send to Siberia. Palen was the person closest to the Tsar and they could not not believe him! While he, as he later confessed, was trying to deceive everyone, including Great Prince Alexander. At first the latter was told that they were talking about removing his father the Emperor from power (because of his ‘illness’), in order that Alexander should become regent-ruler. Count N.P. Panin sincerely believed precisely in this outcome of the affair, as did many other opponents of Paul I who had not lost the last trace of humanity. At first Alexander did not at all agree with the plot, and prepared to suffer everything from his father to the end. But Panin, and then Palen convinced him that the coup was necessary for the salvation of the Fatherland! Alexander several times demanded an oath from the plotters that they would not allow any violence to his father and would preserve his life. These oaths were given, but they lied intentionally, as Palen later boasted, only in order to ‘calm the conscience’ of Alexander. They convinced Constantine Pavlovich in approximately the same way. The coup was marked for the end of March, 1801. Before this Ribas died, and Panin landed up in exile, from which he did not manage to return. The whole leadership of the plot passed to Palen, who from the beginning wanted to kill the Emperor. Many people faithful to his Majesty knew about this, and tried to warn him. Napoleon also heard about all this through his own channels, and hastened to inform Paul I in time…. On March 7, 1801 Paul I asked Palen directly about the plot. He confirmed its existence and said that he himself was standing at the head of the plotters, since only in this way could he know what was going on and prevent it all at the necessary moment… This time, too, Palen succeeded in deceiving the Tsar, but he felt that it would not do that for long, and that he himself ‘was hanging by a thread’. He had to hurry, the more so in that many officials, generals and especially all the soldiers were devoted to Paul I. Besides, the Jesuits, who were at war with the Illuminati, knew everything about the plot in advance. In the afternoon of March 11, in the Tsar’s reception-room, Pater Gruber appeared with a full and accurate list of the plotters and data on the details. But they managed not to admit the Jesuit to an audience with Paul I. Palen told Alexander that his father had already prepared a decree about his and the whole Royal Family’s incarceration in the Schlisselburg fortress, and that for that reason it was necessary to act without delay. Detachments of units loyal to Paul I were removed from the Mikhailov castle, where he lived. On March 11, 1801 the father invited his sons Alexander and Constantine and personally asked them whether they had any part in the conspiracy, and, having received a negative reply, considered it necessary that they should swear as it were for a second time to their faithfulness to him as to their Tsar. The sons swore, deceptively… On the night of the 11th to 12th of March, 1801, an English ship entered the Neva with the aim of taking the conspirators on board in case they failed. Before that Charles Whitford had been exiled from Russia. Zherebtsova-Zubova was sent to him in England so as to prepare a place for the conspirators there if it proved necessary to flee. On the night of the 12th March up to 60 young officers who had been punished for misdemeanours were assembled at Palen’s house and literally pumped with spirits. One of them drunkenly remarked that it would be good for Russia if all the members of the Royal Family were slaughtered at once! The rest rejected such an idea with horror, but it spoke volumes! After much drinking they all moved by night across Mars field to the Mikhailov castle. There the brave officers were scared to death by some crows which suddenly took wing at night in an enormous flock and raised a mighty cry. As became clear later, some of the young officers did not even know where they were being led and why! But the majority knew. One by one (and frightening each other), they managed to enter in two groups into Paul I’s bedroom, having killed one faithful guard, a chamber-hussar at the doors (the second ran for the sentry). Paul I, hearing the noise of a fight, tried to run through a secret door, but a tapestry, ‘The School in Athens’, a gift from the murdered king and queen of France, fell on top of him. The plotters caught the Tsar. Bennigsen declared to him that they were arresting him and that he had to abdicate from the throne, otherwise they could not vouch for the consequences. The greatly disturbed Paul I did not reply. He rushed to a room where a gun was kept, trying to break out of the ring of his murderers, but they formed a solid wall around him, breathing in the face of the Emperor, reeking of wine and spitefulness. Where had the courtier nobles disappeared! ‘What have I done to you?’ asked Paul I. ‘You have tormented us for four years!’ was the reply. The drunken Nicholas Zubov took hold of the Emperor by the hand, but the latter struck the scoundrel on the hand and repulsed him. Zubov took a swing and hit the Tsar on the left temple with a golden snuff-box given by Catherine II, wounding his temple-bone and eyes. Covered with blood, Paul I fell to the ground. The brutalized plotters hurled themselves at him, trampled on him, beat him, suffocated him. Special zeal was displayed by the Zubovs, Skoriatin, Yashvil, Argamakov and, as people think, Palen (although there are reasons for thinking that he took no personal part in the fight). At this point the sentries made up of Semenovtsy soldiers faithful to Alexander appeard (the soldiers had not been initiated into the plot). Bennigsen and Palen came out to them and said that the Tsar had died from an attack of apoplexy and now his son Alexander was on the throne. Palen rushed into Alexander’s rooms. On hearing of the death of his father, Alexander sobbed. ‘Where is your oath? You promised not to touch my father!’ he cried. ‘Enough of crying! They’re going to lift all of us on their bayonets! Please go out to the people!’ shouted Palen. Alexander, still weeping, went out and began to say something to the effect that he would rule the state well… The sentries in perplexity were silent. The soldiers could not act against the Heir-Tsarevich, but they could also not understand what had happened. But the simple Russian people, then and later and even now (!) understood well. To this day (since 1801) believing people who are being oppressed by the powerful of this world in Petersburg (and recently also in Leningrad) order pannikhidas for ‘the murdered Paul’, asking for his intercession. And they receive what they ask for!...

    “And so the plot of the Russian nobles against the Emperor they did not like succeeded. Paul I was killed with the clear connivance of his sons. The eldest of them, Alexander, became the Tsar of Russia. In the first hours and days nobody yet suspected how all this would influence the destiny of the country in the future and the personal destiny and consciousness of Alexander I himself. All the plotters had an evil end. Some were removed by Alexander I, others were punished by the Lord Himself. The main regicide Palen was quickly removed from all affairs and sent into exile on his estate. There he for a long time went mad, becoming completely irresponsible. Nicholas Zubov and Bennigsen also went mad (Zubov began to eat his own excreta). Having falsely accused Paul I of being mentally ill, they themselves became truly mentally ill! God is not mocked. ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’, He said. The joy of the Russian nobility was not especially long-lived. Alexander I and then Nicholas I were nevertheless sons of their father! Both they and the Emperors who followed them no longer allowed the nobility to rule them. Immediately the Russian nobility understood this, that is, that they no longer had any power over the Autocracy, they began to strive for the annihilation of the Autocracy in Russia altogether, which they succeeded in doing, finally, in February, 1917 – true, to their own destruction!.. Such was the zig-zag of Russian history, beginning with Catherine I and ending with Nicholas II.

    “The reign of Emperor Paul Petrovich predetermined the following reigns in the most important thing. As we have seen, this Tsar ‘turned his face’ towards the Russian Orthodox Church, strengthened the foundations of the Autocracy and tried to make it truly of the people. Personally this cost him his life. But thereby the later foundations were laid for the State life of Russia in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries: ‘Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality!’ Or, in its military expression – ‘For the Faith, the Tsar and the Fatherland!’”

    “The prophecy of the clairvoyant monk Abel was completely fulfilled. He personally foretold to the Emperor Paul: ‘Your reign will be short, and I, the sinner, see your savage end. On the feast of St. Sophronius of Jerusalem you will receive a martyric death from unfaithful servants. You will be suffocated in your bedchamber by evildoers whom you warm on your royal breast… They will bury you on Holy Saturday… But they, these evildoers, in trying to justify their great sin of regicide, will proclaim that you are mad, and will blacken your good memory.… But the Russian people with their sensitive soul will understand and esteem you, and they will bring their sorrows to your grave, asking for your intercession and the softening of the hearts of the unrighteous and cruel.’ This part of the prophecy of Abel was also fulfilled. When Paul was killed, for many years the people came to his grave to pray, and he is considered by many to be an uncanonised saint.” (“Monk Abel ‘the Prophet’ of Valaam”, The Orthodox Word, vol. 36, no. 1, January-February, 2000).

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