The Crowning Of Mikhail Romanov

A long time ago in the vast and far away country of Russia, the old Rurik czars were gone and there was not a good ruler to take their place. Some people tried: Boris Godunov, Dmitrii and Vasilii Shuiskii.

But Russia's enemies continued to attack from outside the country, and inside there were many problems. There was no money to pay an army to protect Russia from her enemies, or control the bandits roaming the countryside. The farmers were unable to raise enough food to feed the people. The people were divided in their ideas and culture, and what they thought was important. There was not a good leader to take control and help the country meet the problems it faced. It was indeed a Time of Troubles.

In 1612, Prince Dmitrii Pozharzkii defeated Poland. It gave the Russian people a new outlook of hope. They wanted their country to do better, and to do that, they decided they must have a good leader. The search began for a new czar. Letters were sent throughout the land for elected representatives. From farms to noble estates, these deputies came to Moscow to choose the new czar. This was a time of religious influence in Russia, so when they came, they spent three days in fasting and prayer before making their choice.

In the end, everyone agreed that 16-year-old Mikhail Romanov was the best choice. His ancestor had been the wife of another czar, and both his parents had been very influential until Boris Godunov sent them to monasteries to break their power. However, nobody knew where Mikhail was, so the first job was to find him. Finally, they discovered he was in the same monastery where his mother was hiding. Messengers were sent to tell him of the decision made in Moscow.

Both Mikhail and his mother were aware of what a hard job it would be to be czar, especially at this time with all the problems Russia had. He told the messengers he did not want to be czar. They reminded him that if he did not take the job, Moscow and the whole country might be torn apart by the struggle for power as others decided who should rule. Since Mikhail loved his country, he finally agreed and began the long journey to the capital.

As Mikhail approached Moscow on May 2, 1613, all the men in the city went out to meet him and show their support. Several weeks later, just after he turned 17, Mikhail's coronation took place in the Dormition Cathedral.

The religious leaders and important leaders were first in the processional, but people of all classes were at the cathedral. Mikhail was dressed in royal purple. He wore the crown, which showed he would serve his people. He held the scepter and orb, symbols of his authority.

He prayed at the altar and spoke to the people about the problems they had. He was anointed then accepted the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ. He read a prayer for his people, and they said one for him. The coronation ended, and his reign began.

Source: Treasures of the Czars education guide by Kathy Sanz.

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