Unique icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs consecrated in the Urals

PHOTO: the new icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs in the Holy Trinity Cathedral on 6th January 2023

On 6th January 2023, Metropolitan Daniel of Kurgan and Belozersky visited the Holy Trinity Cathedral[1] in the Ural city of Kurgan[2], where he performed a Divine Liturgy followed by the rite of consecration of a new icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs.

What is unique about this particular icon is that it features a small antique icon of Our Saviour mounted into the larger icon. This icon belonged to Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, and accompanied Emperor Nicholas II and his family when they were sent into exile in August 1917. The icon was discovered among the items not pilfered or destroyed by the Bolsheviks in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg after the family’s murders in July 1918.

PHOTO: Tsesarevich Alexei’s small icon of Our Saviour (above) has now been mounted into Alexei’s hands in the larger icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs (below)

Metropolitan Daniel thanked the family of Russian Senator, member of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Sergei Nikolaevich Muratov, through whose efforts and generosity that the Holy Trinity Cathedral was rebuilt in Kurgan[1], and this new icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs was presented to the cathedral.

“I am sure that the faithful will come from near and far to venerate this small icon of Our Savior, mounted in the larger icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs. They will come to pray to receive help, because each member of the Imperial Family held the icon in their hands and prayed in front of it,” Vladyka Daniel said at the end of the ceremony.

Russian Senator Sergey Muratov told the story of how he managed to acquire this miraculously preserved icon, how he showed the image to the former Head of the Kurgan Metropolis, Metropolitan Joseph: “It was five years ago that Vladyka Joseph wisely proposed that the icon not be sold to a private collector or museum, but to be made public so that Orthodox Christians could come to the church and pray before it. He noted that this icon with such a significant provenance should be venerated according to the traditions of Russian icon painting. He suggested that the icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs should depict Tsesarevich Alexei holding the icon of Our Savior in his hands. “

PHOTO: full view of the icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs shows an empty box giving the impression that Tsesarevich Alexei is holding the icon of Our Saviour in his hands

Metropolitan Joseph’s wishes were honoured. As time passed, and already with the blessing of Metropolitan Daniel, the large icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs was created, in which Tsesarevich Alexei’s icon of Our Saviour was mounted into it. As planned, the work was completed by the feast of the Nativity of Christ, which is observed on 19th (O.S. 6th) January.


[1] The original Holy Trinity Cathedral was built on Trinity Square in Kurgan. Construction began on 16th (O.S. 5th) June 1763, the central altar was consecrated in 1805. On the night of 17/18 (O.S. 5/6) 1837, the heir to the throne Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich – the future Emperor Alexander II – attended a Divine Liturgy in the new cathedral. 

During the Soviet years, the cathedral was closed on 25th May 1937. Some twenty years later on 25th May 1957, the cathedral was blown up.

On 26th August 2017, construction began on a new Holy Trinity Cathedral just south of the original cathedral, on the bank of the Tobol River. The patron of the construction of the new cathedral was Russian Senator Sergey Nikolaevich Muratov. On 27th November 2021, Metropolitan Daniel performed the rite of consecration of the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

[2] Kurgan is situated 370 km [229 miles] southeast of Ekaterinburg

© Paul Gilbert. 21 January 2023