Yesterday, September 21, on a nice sunny day the reburial ceremony of Vasily Engelgardt, a pre-eminent Russian astronomer, the founder of the Observatory of the Kazan University was conducted.
The ashes of the scientist arrived in Kazan and the Island City of Sviyazhsk on September 4. For two weeks the churchmen were preparing Vasily Engelgardt for the reburial. The farewell ceremony took place in the morning. After the hegumen of the monastery read the Orthodox litia, Ilshat Gafurov, the KFU Rector, addressed to the attendees.
?I believe today the soul of Vasily Engelgardt will find its final abode as his last wish to be buried in his native land, on the territory of the Observatory he established together with his friend Dmitry Dubyago, is fulfilled?.
The Rector reminded that Vasily Engelgardt had expressed his wish while alive in 1907 and the Board of Academics had assumed a commitment to bury him in the Astronomical Observatory named in his honour. The scientist died but the World War 1 prevented from fulfilling his last will. Then Russia was caught by the revolution of 1917, World War 2 and other political events that postponed the ceremony for 100 years.
The role of Vasily Engelgardt can?t be underestimated. On 21 September 1901 at the official opening of a new observatory of the Kazan University the researcher donated his equipment, then-best in Europe. He also made his property of 280-300 thousand rubles in gold over to the Kazan University. The new observatory got the official name of Engelhardt.
The reburial ceremony was attended by Mintimer Shaimiev, the 1st President of Tatarstan, State Counselor, and the Head of the Supervisory Board of Tatarstan Foundation for Revival of Historical and Cultural Monuments, Alexey Lavrov, Deputy Minister of Finance of Russia, the Head of Engelgardts Family with his wife, professors of Kazan University and the public.
After the eulogies, the funeral procession went to the burial site ? a vault constructed in early 1900s under the Byzantian style Southern mire of the meridian circle. In 1918 Dmitry Dubyago, a close friend of the astronomer, was buried there, the very friend Vasily Engelgardt wished to rest in peace with. The coffin was put into the vault, the hegumen saying, ?It is a man of merit, and his deeds should be a perfect paragon for us!?
After the ceremony, Baron Engelgardt spoke on the Russian and German history of his family and his impressions of Russia and Kazan. Several times he stressed that the event he had taken part in played a significant role in preserving scientific partnership between Russia and Germany, especially when the world peace was hanging by a single thread. ?Politics is a complicated thing, that is why it is crucial that we, people, could find it easy to talk to each other. We are impressed with Kazan and Kazan University, and are glad to find so many people at the ceremony?.
The very day the foundation stone was laid for a monument to Vasily Engelgardt and Dmitry Dubyago planned to be finished in a year and devoted to the 100th anniversary of the astronomer.
To finish the ceremony, Ilshat Gafurov said, ?The territory of the Astronomical Observatory should serve the young generation and change to the best. In the nearest future we?ll have a Roskosmos centre here. What we have today is just the very beginning of the Observatory?s life?.