Anna Demidova
Anna Stepanovna Demidova (1878 - July 17, 1918) was a maid in the service of Tsarina Alexandra of Russia
Alexandra Fyodorovna of Hesse
Alix of Hesse and by Rhine later Alexandra Feodorovna Romanova , was Empress consort of Russia as spouse of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of the Russian Empire...

. She acquired posthumous fame because she was murdered alongside her employer in 1918.

She shared the Romanov family's exile at Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg following the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

 and was murdered with them on July 17, 1918. Like them, she was canonized as a martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia , also called the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, ROCA, or ROCOR) is a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church....

 in 1991 as a victim of Soviet oppression.


Demidova, whose nickname was "Nyuta," was described as a "tall, statuesque blonde." She was the daughter of Stepan Demidov, a well-off merchant from Cherepovets
Cherepovets is the largest city in Vologda Oblast, Russia, located on the bank of the Rybinsk Reservoir of the Sheksna River, a tributary of the Volga River. Population: 311,869 ; It is served by Cherepovets Airport.-Location:...

. Demidova graduated from the Yaroslavl Institute for Maids with a teaching certificate.

She was a good friend of Elizaveta Ersberg, a parlormaid at the court, and was once engaged to Ersberg's brother Nikolai. In 1900 Ersberg secured her friend a position at the court. During her service at the Romanov court as a chambermaid, Demidova became smitten with the Romanov children's English tutor Charles Sydney Gibbes
Charles Sydney Gibbes
Charles Sydney Gibbes was the English tutor of Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia. Later in his life he became an Orthodox monk, adopting the name of Nicholas after Saint Nicholas The Passion Bearer. After his return to Britain he became a prominent figure in Orthodoxy in Britain...

. In his memoirs, Gibbes described Demidova as "of a singularly timid and shrinking disposition."

Exile and death

Demidova accompanied Tsarina Alexandra, Tsar Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

, and Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia when they were transferred to Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk
Tobolsk is a town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh Rivers. It is a historic capital of Siberia. Population: -History:...

 in April 1918. The remaining Romanov children and other members of the group stayed behind in Tobolsk for a month because the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia
Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia
Alexei Nikolaevich of the House of Romanov, was the Tsesarevich and heir apparent to the throne of the Russian Empire. In English, his title is usually given as Tsarevich, a title that has a separate meaning in Russia. Alexei was the youngest child and only son of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress...

 was ill. As the group left, Demidova told Gibbes, "I am so frightened of the Bolsheviks, Mr. Gibbes. I don't know what they will do to us."

On the night of the murder, the family was awakened and told to dress. Demidova carried two pillows into which gems had been sewed. After the first volley of fire by the killers, Demidova, who had fainted after being wounded, revived and, finding herself still alive, exclaimed "Thank God! God has saved me!" Hearing her, the assassins turned on her. Screaming and crying, she attempted to defend herself, but was eventually stabbed to death with bayonets.


Demidova's great-niece, Natalie Demidova, attended the funeral held on July 17, 1998 in Peter and Paul Cathedral
Peter and Paul Cathedral
The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg, built between 1712 and 1733 on Zayachy Island along the Neva River. Both the cathedral and the fortress were...

 in St. Petersburg for Demidova, the Romanov family, and other victims killed by the Bolsheviks eighty years earlier.

See also

  • Romanov sainthood
    Romanov sainthood
    Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, his wife Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei are saints of the Orthodox Church...

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