ROC preparing to build memorial church at Porosenkov Log

PHOTO: entrance to the Romanov Memorial at Porosenkov Log

According to Ilya Korovin, the director of the Ekaterinburg based Romanov Memorial Charitable Foundation the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is preparing the construction of an Orthodox church at Porosenkov Log, the site where the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and his family were discovered in two separate graves in 1991 and 2007 respectively.

If there is any truth to this disclosure, then it proves that the ROC have already unofficially[1] recognized the Ekaterinburg Remains as those of the Russian Imperial Family and their four retainers, however, the final decision on the official recognition of the Ekaterinburg Remains by the ROC will be made by the Bishops Council Bishops Council meet this summer.

Korovin claims that plans for the construction of the church is evidenced by a document in which Vasily Boyko-Veliky, the president of the St. Basil the Great Russian Educational Foundation, concluded an agreement in 2021 with the director of Geoincart Alexander Sokovnin to drill 40 wells on the territory of the Romanov Memorial. The illegal drilling was carried out, despite the fact that Porosenkov Log was recognized as an object of cultural heritage in 2014. “The terms of reference for the production of engineering and geological surveys indicate “new construction of a memorial church” on the territory of the Romanov Memorial,” said Korovin, who was successful in halting any further drilling and development.

According to Korovin, the Department of State Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites (UGOOKN) of the Sverdlovsk Region is preparing changes which will provide additional protection to the cultural heritage site on the Old Koptyakov Road near Ekaterinburg.

PHOTO: in the 1920s, the murderer Pyotr Zakharovich Yermakov returned to Porosenkov Log. On the reverse of this photo, he wrote: “I am standing on the grave of the Tsar”.

Alexey Shamratov, head of the department of legal and organizational work of the Regional State Educational Institution, however, claims that he was not aware of any preparation of changes to the subject of protection of the cultural heritage site. It is interesting to note that the press service of the Ekaterinburg Diocese declined comment on the matter.

A criminal case was initiated against Vasyl Boyko-Velikiy on suspicion of embezzlement of funds of the Credit Express Bank. In 2021, the Moscow City Court transferred him from jail to house arrest. In January 2023, Vasily Boyko-Velikiy declared bankruptcy.

Emperor Nicholas II and his family, together with four servants, were all shot by the Bolsheviks in the Ipatiev House Ekaterinburg on 17th July 1918. The regicides first tried to destroy the bodies at the Four Brothers Mine [Ganina Yama], then reburied them 3.8 km away at Porosenkov Log, where they were officially discovered in 1989. The remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria were found in 2007. The Romanov Memorial Foundation was established in 2021 with the aim of preserving the historic site.

The Moscow Patriarchate canonized Nicholas II and his family members in 2000. However, since the discovery of the remains, the ROC has not recognized their authenticity due to what they consider “a lack of evidence”. Despite this, in 2009, the Russian Orthodox Church received a land plot of 15 hectares in the area of Porosenkov Log from the Sverdlovsk regional government. There were plans to build a church complex – similar to the one at Ganina Yama – which included an Orthodox cemetery. However, in 2010, the charter court of the Sverdlovsk region ruled the decision on the allocation of the land illegal.

PHOTO: Paul Gilbert standing at the entrance to the Romanov Memorial in July 2018


[1] Ever since the discovery of the Ekaterinburg Remains, the Russian Orthodox Church refuses to accept DNA tests confirming their authenticity. The ROC maintains that the Bolsheviks put the burnt bodies of their 11 victims in a pit in a forest in the Urals region, where the ROC has built a large monastery complex: the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.


104 years on, Orthodox Church still split over murdered tsar’s remains by Paul Gilbert 6th April 2021

The fate of Porosenkov Log and Ganina Yama by Paul Gilbert, 14th February 2022

Will the Bishops Council’s decision on the Ekaterinburg Remains cause a schism within the ROC? by Paul Gilbert, 20th September 2021

30th anniversary of the exhumation of the remains of Nicholas II and his family by Paul Gilbert, 7th July 2021

Bones of Contention: The Russian Orthodox Church and the Ekaterinburg Remains by Paul Gilbert, 23rd November 2021

© Paul Gilbert. 4 March 2023