Will the Bishops Council’s decision on the Ekaterinburg Remains cause a schism within the ROC?

PHOTO: Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev),

We are now just weeks away before the Russian Orthodox Church delivers its verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is scheduled to meet in Moscow from 15th to 18th November [now delayed until 26th to 29th May 2022], where they will review the findings of the multitude of examinations – requested by the ROC’s Investigative Committee – and carried out in different laboratories around the world. These included various examinations (molecular-genetic, physical-chemical, trace evidence, ballistic, handwriting, historical-archival, soil science, forensic, anthropological studies, and more).

Some members of the Moscow Patriarchate have expressed optimism, such as Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, who believes that the “Ekaterinburg remains will be recognized as genuine”.

PHOTO: Image of Tsar Martyr Nicholas II in the Hall of Church Cathedrals of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. It is here that the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in November, to (hopefully) confirm the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg remains.

“The examinations that have been carried out prove that the remains found near Ekaterinburg are indeed the remains of the Tsar and his family. But for the Church to recognize such, it is necessary that all bishops familiarize themselves with the results of the examinations,” he said.

The Metropolitan urged believers not to rush and not to anticipate events. “Bishops should have complete freedom to review to the information they receive,” emphasized. Hilarion. According to him, at the moment the members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church have familiarized themselves with the results of the examinations, it is then that a final decision on the recognition of their authenticity of the remains rests with the Bishops’ Council of the church as the supreme governing body.

Whatever decision the Bishops’ Council makes, it is sure to cause a schism among Believers who are divided on the authenticity of the remains. Many still adhere to Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov’s (1882-1924) theory that the bodies of the Imperial Family were completely destroyed with fire and acid at the Four Brothers Mine.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 September 2021