ROC hierarchs to discuss Ekaterinburg Remains this summer

On 19th July 2023, a bishops’ conference of hierarchs – not to be confused with the Bishops Council – will be held at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow on 19th July 2023. Among the topics for discussion will be the Ekaterinburg Remains.

According to the permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, and head of the Central Asian Metropolitan District, Metropolitan Vincent (Morari) of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, bishops from across Russia and other countries (who will be able to arrive in the Russian Federation) will meet to discuss further the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains. Metropolitan Vincent emphasized, however, that the final decision on the official recognition of the Ekaterinburg Remains by the ROC will be made by the Bishops Council at a later date.

The Bishops’ Council was originally scheduled to meet in Moscow from 15th to 18th November 2021, however, this was delayed “due to the difficult COVID-19 situation.” The meeting was thus rescheduled for 26th to 29th May 2022, but this to was postponed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finally, on 25th August 2022, the Holy Synod announced that the Bishops’ Council meeting had been postponed “indefinitely”, citing the “current situation in the world”.

Recall that the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Alexander Bastrykin reported that the Investigative Committee on the criminal case on the murder of the Imperial Family, which resumed in 2015 conducted 40 new examinations to eliminate any possible gaps and doubts about the remains found near Ekaterinburg. For the first time, the investigation studied materials located in archival funds which had been previously closed to investigators.

New DNA tests were conducted on a hair of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the maternal grandmother of Nicholas II, Queen of Denmark Louise of Hesse-Kassel, found by a collector abroad, the results of the examinations became known in January of last year.

In addition, a comparison by geneticists of the remains of Nicholas II and samples from the tomb of his father Emperor Alexander III in the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg by 99.99% showed the probability of their family relationship as that of a son and father. As Bastrykin confirmed, DNA examinations and other studies established that the remains belonged to Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

In January 2022, the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion, stated that “Nothing prevents the ROC from recognizing the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains”.

As previously noted, it is only after members of the Bishops’ Council have reviewed the findings of the Investigative Commission, that they will deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

Sadly, 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.


The Russian Orthodox Church and the Ekaterinburg Remains
by Paul Gilbert


Full-colour covers, 206 pages + 90 black & white photographs

Originally published in 2020, this NEW REVISED & EXPANDED 2021 EDITION features an additional 40+pages, new chapters and 90 black and white photos. It is the most up-to-date source on the highly contentious issue of the Russian Orthodox Church and their position on the Ekaterinburg Remains.

The world awaits a decision by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, who will meet in Moscow at some point, during which they will review the findings of the Investigative Commission and deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

The reopening of the investigation into the death of Nicholas II and his family in 2015, caused a wave of indignation against the Russian Orthodox Church. This book presents the position of both the Moscow Patriarchate and the Investigation Committee.

This is the first English language title to explore the position of the Orthodox Church in Russia with regard to the Ekaterinburg remains. The author’s research for this book is based exclusively on documents from Russian media and archival sources.

This unique title features an expanded introduction by the author, and eight chapters, on such topics as the grounds for the canonization of Nicholas II and his family by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000; comparative details of the Sokolov investigation in 1919, and the investigations carried out in the 1990s to the present; reluctance of the Moscow Patriarchate to officially recognize the remains as authentic; interesting findings of Russian journalist, producer and screenwriter Elena Chavchavadze in her documentary Regicide. A Century of Investigation; and the author’s own attempt to provide some answers to this ongoing and long drawn-out investigation for example: “Will Alexei and Maria be buried with the rest of their family?” and “Will the Imperial Family remains be reinterred in a new cathedral in Ekaterinburg?”.

This new revised and expanded edition also includes two NEW chapters!

Interviews with Vladimir Soloviev, Chief Major Crimes Investigator for the Central Investigate Department of the Public Prosecution Office of the Russian Federation and Archpriest Oleg Mitrov, a member of the Synodal Commission for the Canonization of Saints – BOTH key players in the Ekaterinburg remains case, reveal the political undertones of this to this ongoing and long drawn-out investigation.


Independent researcher Paul Gilbert has spent more than 25+ years researching and writing about the Russian Imperial Family. His primary research is focused on the life, reign and era of Nicholas II. On 17th July 1998, he attended the tsar’s interment ceremony at the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Twenty years later, he attended the Patriarchal Liturgy on the night of 16/17 July 2018, held at the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg. Since his first visit to the Urals in 2012, he has brought prayers and flowers to both Ganina Yama and Porosenkov Log on numerous occasions.

© Paul Gilbert. 5 February 2023