His Grace The Right Reverend
k.k. Irinej (Dobrijevich),
Bishop of The Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand
LEONID GUREVICH KULIKOVSKY:
PAN-ORTHODOX COMMUNITY IN DARWIN
HONOURSREPOSED RUSSIAN ROYAL
On Monday, 30 November 2015, the solemn Orthodox funeral service was celebrated in Darwin for a Russian Royal who died alone on 27 September 2015 in the Australian Northern Territory town of Katherine. His family was trying to find him just days before they learned he was dead.
Leonid Gurevich Kulikovsky, the great grandson of Russian Tsar Alexander III,who reigned in Russia in the 1800s and the great nephew of the last Tsar of the Imperial House of Romanov, Nicholas II, was bid farewell at a funeral service attended by at least 30 people in the St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in the Darwin suburb of Malak.
As there is no Russian Church in Darwin, with the blessings of His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the funeral service was held in Darwin’s Serbian Orthodox Church. The Funeral service was presided over by the Very Reverend Mitred Protopresbyter Dr Michael Protopopov, Chancellor of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The Northern Territory Government was represented at the funeral by Multicultural Affairs Minister Peter Styles, whilst the Russian Federation was represented by Mr Maxim Raku of the Russian Embassy in Canberra.
During the course of the funeral service a message from the Kulikovsky family was read out to those gathered, noting amongst all else: "The death of Leonid Gurevich Kulikovsky came as a great shock to his family".
As the family had lost contact with the late Leonid following his departure from Denmark to live in Australia in 1967, the message continued: "We had just been taught he was far away from Moscow, about finding him, and had renewed hope that we would be able to come into contact, but a few days later we were informed by the police that he was found dead."
"We guessed that not many of you know about his life before he arrived in Australia. . . Those who met him during his time in Sydney or in Katherine most likely did not know that he was a descendant of the Russian Tsar Alexander III. . . Leonid did not show or talk about his roots very much."
Mr Kulikovsky also had links to the British Royal Family. The brother of Leonid’s paternal great-grandmother,Empress Maria Feodorvna, was Prince William of Denmark, who became King George I of Greece. His son, Prince Andrew of Greece, was the father of Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh. In like manner, Leonid’s great-grandmother’s sister, Queen Alexandra, was the wife of King Edward VII of England. Through their son King George V and grandson, King George VI, Leonid was also related to Queen Elizabeth II.
Through both bloodlines, that of the Imperial Romanovs and the Greek and Danish Royal Families, the late Leonid is also related to members of the Karageorgevich Serbian Royal House.
Although his funeral service has taken place, his burial has been delayed as the Northern Territory's most prominent family, the Paspaleys, have offered a gravesite for the Russian royal at their private family burial area.
The Paspaleys, immigrants from Greece who fled the World War I conflict for Australia and made their fortune in pearling, approached Russian representative in the Northern Territory,Mr Simon Andropov, to make the offer as he was making enquiries to arrange a burial site. He conveyed the fact that he had been in touch with Leonid's sister, Kseniya, in Denmark, who asked that her brother be buried in the Northern Territory.
Mr Andropov said Leonid grew up in Denmark with his family and was "well aware" of his royal descent. However, it took two months for the local authorities to identify him as Leonid Kulikovsky, grandson of Olga, the daughter of Tsar Alexander III, sister of Tsar Nicholas II, and the last Grand Duchess of Imperial Russia.
While Tsar Nicholas, his Empress Alexandra and five children were all executed on the orders of Lenin in the summer of 1918, his sister Olga, Leonid’s paternal grandmother, and her second husband, a cavalry officer called Nikolai, fled to the Crimea with their two sons, Tikhon and Guri.
There they lived in constant fear of assassination at the hands of revolutionary forces until February 1920 when they managed to make their way to Denmark, homeland of Olga’s mother the Dowager Empress Maria. However, even Denmark felt uncomfortably close to the then Soviet Union. When Stalin came to power and in 1948 the Kulikovskys de camped to Ontario. By that time Guri had married his wife Ruth and their son Leonid had been born in Denmark in 1943.
At the age of 24, Leonid left for Australia.Accoring to Mr Andropov, "Leonid completed his education in Denmark, he worked for a while in Denmark and then he decided he wanted greener pastures and he immigrated to Australia."
He said he worked in Sydney for the Water Board, living "incognito, no-one knew of his royal heritage" before travelling around Australia on retirement. He never married nor had children. Alone, whilst walking his faithful dog, Leonid, aged 72,sat under a tree in Katherine and there, following a life lived far away from his native Denmark, meet a relatively peaceful end.
May his memory be eternal!