Miraculous Christ tombstone sculpture at the Novodevichy Cemetery
Sometimes it happens that the tombstone becomes famous, but we know very little about who lies beneath it. And this what has happened with the grave of AA. Vershinina. The road to the figure of Christ is unmistakable even for those who are here for the first time and by chance. The grave of the unknown generaless Anna Vershinina at the Novodevichy Cemetery of St. Petersburg turned into a city legend and became a place of pilgrimage. A lot of people come to the bronze sculpture of Christ set here daily with the hope for help. Here come not only Petersburgers, but also inhabitants of other cities. In recent years, this statue has acquired so many rumors that it is almost impossible to separate the truth from fiction.
They say, being childless, Anna Vershinina was very sad that after her death no one will remember her. Once, in a dream, she saw the Savior, who prompted to buy a place in the cemetery beforehand and set up his bronze image there – and then every passerby would certainly pray here. And the place in the cemetery had to be bought in advance, and who of the spouses will first go to the Lord, he will rest here.
So, the general bought a place at the Novodevichy cemetery near the monastery, and installed a bronze statue of Christ there. When Anna passed away, he buried her here, under a large granite crucifix. It was in July 1914. And soon the First World War began, and General Vershinin went to the active army. Revolutionary turmoil caught him abroad, and Vershinin no longer returned to his homeland, died in exile. So the promise of Christ came true – not “you both will rest here” – but only “which one of you will die first …”
In fact, executed by Petr Osipovich Kufferle the two-meter bronze figure of the Savior appeared on the grave only in 1915. Living in Russia Italian with German roots Kufferle managed to create a statue of Christ, which certainly became the pinnacle of his work.
Alexei Lvovich’s mourning for his deceased wife was so sincere and immeasurable that it was involuntarily transferred to the sculptor. The expression of the Savior’s face, depicted at the beginning of his procession, is sad and calm. Indeed, Kufferle managed the impossible: the statue of Christ, though not traditional for Orthodoxy, but surprisingly accurately conveys the meaning of suffering, love and forgiveness. Next to it, you want to cry and rejoice at the same time.
Meanwhile, in 1917, after the October revolution, the sculptor left Petersburg, which for a long time was his second homeland, and together with his wife and 15-year-old son left for Italy.
However, a few years ago, few knew about the statue of Christ on the grave of Vershinina. Only due to the accident the general public learned about it. The statue of Christ at that time was not under state protection, but to encroach on it seemed inconceivable. However, it happened. In the early 1980s the company of merry-minded youths with the help of a cable broke the bronze figure and threw it to the ground. Besides, unknown looters sawed off its legs. Mysticism, but the fact is, later, one of the vandals who cut off its legs, got under the tram, which cut his legs.
Deprived of legs, it seems a little disproportionate, but does not become less attractive from it. Rather, on the contrary, the deceived Christ became even more dear to those who had come to Him before.
After the incident, rumors spread throughout the city. They passed from mouth to mouth, drawing the most incredible details. The statue of Christ has acquired the status of miraculous, they say, healing takes place at this grave.
Everyone can come here to cry out pain or just stand under the forgiving sight of Christ. As usually happens with sculpture, the face of the Savior changes depending on the lighting, but in this situation it is perceived unusually.