1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eudoxia Lopukhina

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
21670471911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 9 — Eudoxia LopukhinaRobert Nisbet Bain

EUDOXIA LOPUKHINA (1669–1731), tsaritsa, first consort of Peter the Great, was the daughter of the boyarin Theodore Lopukhin. Peter, then a youth of seventeen, married her on the 27th of January 1689 at the command of his mother, who hoped to wean him from the wicked ways of the German suburb of Moscow by wedding him betimes to a lady who was as pious as she was beautiful. The marriage was in every way unfortunate. Accustomed from her infancy to the monastic seclusion of the terem, or women’s quarter, Eudoxia’s mental horizon did not extend much beyond her embroidery-frame or her illuminated service-book. From the first her society bored Peter unspeakably, and after the birth of their second, short-lived son Alexander, he practically deserted her. In 1698 she was unceremoniously sent off to the Pokrovsky monastery at Suzdal for refusing to consent to a divorce, though it was not till June 1699 that she disappeared from the world beneath the hood of sister Elena. In the monastery, however, she was held in high honour by the archimandrite; the nuns persisted in regarding her as the lawful empress; and she was permitted an extraordinary degree of latitude, unknown to Peter, who dragged her from her enforced retreat in 1718 on a charge of adultery. As the evidence was collected by Peter’s creatures, it is very doubtful whether Eudoxia was guilty, though she was compelled to make a public confession. She was then divorced and consigned to the remote monastery of Ladoga. Here she remained for ten years till the accession of her grandson, Peter II., when the reactionaries proposed to appoint her regent. She was escorted with great ceremony to Moscow in 1728 and exhibited to the people attired in the splendid, old-fashioned robes of a tsaritsa; but years of rigid seclusion had dulled her wits, and her best friends soon convinced themselves that a convent was a much more suitable place for her than a throne. An allowance of 60,000 roubles a year was accordingly assigned to her, and she disappeared again in a monastery at Moscow, where she died in 1731.

See Robert Nisbet Bain, Pupils of Peter the Great (London, 1895), chaps. ii. and iv.; and The First Romanovs (London, 1905), chaps. viii. and xii.  (R. N. B.)