Maria Vladimirovna takes the “which ever way the wind blows” approach to the Ekaterinburg Remains

PHOTO: Princess Maria Vladimirovna

On 24th January, the Interfax news agency announced that “The Russian Imperial House will support a Russian Orthodox Church decision to recognize the authenticity of the remains of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, and members of his family.”

When referring to the “The Russian Imperial House”, the prominent Russian news agency is of course referring to the House of Romanov, the reigning Imperial House of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The Russian Imperial House ended with the murder of Russia’s last emperor Nicholas II on 17th July 1918.

Today’s so-called “Russian Imperial House” is “headed” by Princess Maria Vladimirovna, the Spanish-born granddaughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, a coward who lacked a moral compass and a traitor to Nicholas II and the Russian Empire.

According the Robert K. Massie, following the discovery of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and most of his immediate family in 1991, Maria Vladimirovna wrote to President Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007) regarding the burial of the remains, saying of her Romanov cousins, whom she does not recognise as members of the “Imperial House” (including the grandchildren of Nicholas II’s sister Grand Duchess Xenia), that they “do not have the slightest right to speak their mind and wishes on this question. They can only go and pray at the grave, as can any other Russian, who so wishes”.[1]

She has also said, regarding her Romanov relations, that “My feeling about them is that now that something important is happening in Russia, they suddenly have awakened and said, ‘Ah ha! There might be something to gain out of this.”

At the behest of the Russian Orthodox Church, Maria did not recognise the authenticity of the remains and declined to attend the reburial ceremony in 1998, however according to Victor Aksyuchits, ex-advisor of Boris Nemtsov[2], the exact reason behind Maria’s absentance at the state burial for Nicholas II and his family in 1998 was motivated by the Russian government’s refusal to recognize her status as official Head of the Romanov House[3], after requesting such via a letter prior the funeral ceremony.

Despite Maria’s protests, President Boris Yeltsin and his wife attended the funeral along with more than 50 Romanov descendants[4] from all over the world, including Prince Michael of Kent. Members of the self-proclaimed “The Russian Imperial House”- which included Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna – were no where to be seen.

Instead, Patriarch Alexei II (1929-2008), Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna (1914-2010) attended a liturgy at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church, situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km north-east of Moscow.

The Holy Synod opposed the government’s decision in February 1998 to bury the remains in the Peter and Paul Fortress, preferring a “symbolic” grave until their authenticity had been resolved. As a result, when they were interred on 17th July 1998, they were referred to by the priest conducting the service as “Christian victims of the Revolution” rather than the Emperor and members of his family. Patriarch Alexei II, who felt that the Church was sidelined in the investigation, refused to officiate at the burial and banned bishops from taking part in the funeral ceremony.

So, why has it taken so long for Maria Vladimirovna to acknowledge the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains?[5] Accoring to Alexander Zakatov, who serves as Maria’s senior mouth piece and head of her “chancellery” in Moscow: “The Russian Imperial House – the house, not some private individuals variously related[6] – has always said: we neither affirm not deny the authenticity of the remains but are waiting for the Church’s Council to determine. Once it has done so, the Imperial House will perceive it with joy,” he said.

Maria Vladimirovna has continually claimed that “Neither I nor my son are involved in politics” – she wouldn’t dare! She would never dare speak out against either the Church or Putin. If she challenged or criticized the former, she would no doubt face the wrath of the Church. Likewise, if she challenged or criticized the latter, she would most likely be made persona non grata in Russia.

Maria Vladimirovna’s comments this week are of course political. As she has accused her relatives in the past, perhaps, she also believes ” ‘Ah ha! There might be something to gain out of this!”

NOTES:

[1] Massie, Robert. The Romanovs. The Final Chapter. New York: Random House, 1995

[2] Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov (1959-2015) was one of the most important figures in the introduction of reforms into the Russian post-Soviet economy. Nemtsov, who served as Deputy Prime Minister under President Boris Yeltsin, was charged with organizing the funeral of Nicholas II and his family in 1998. From 2000 until his death, he was an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov was assassinated on 27th February 2015, beside his Ukrainian partner Anna Durytska, on a bridge near the Kremlin in Moscow, with four shots fired from the back.

[3] In addition, many people continue to ask “why”, this woman who claims such an important title continues to live in Madrid, rather than move to Russia. The answer is again motivated by the Russian government’s refusal to recognize her status as official “Head” of the House of Romanov.

[4] At the time of the funeral, Prince Nicholas Romanovich (1922-2014) was recognized by all the living Romanov descandents as the Head of the Romanov Family, with the exception of Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna.

[5] It is interesting to note that while Maria has visited the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, and attended the Patriarchal Liturgy held on 17th July 2018, in Ekaterinburg, she has never visited the Romanov Memorial at Porosenkov Log, where the remains of Nicholas II, his wife and three of their five children were discovered in 1991, and the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister Grand Duchess Maria were discovered in 2007.

[6] Zakatov is referring to Maria Vladimirovna’s Romanov relations, who are scattered across the globe, and for whom she continually holds in contempt, due to morganatic marriages since 1917, thus she believes that they are beneath her “status” as the self-proclaimed “head” of the now non-existent “Russian Imperial House”. Maria Vladimirovna has many detractors, all of whom refuse to recognize her claim, given that her parents [Vladimir Kirillovich and the divorced Leonida Kirby] married morganatically, and that she is the direct descandant of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich.

© Paul Gilbert. 26 January 2022

“Nothing prevents the ROC from recognizing the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains” – Metropolitan Hilarion

The Russian Orthodox Church has no doubts about the authenticity of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, found near Ekaterinburg. Nothing prevents the recognition of their authenticity, Metropolitan Hilarion emphasized during an interview held today, on the program Church and World on the Russia 24 TV channel.

The head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church added: “In my opinion, nothing today prevents the recognition of the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains, but in order for them to be recognized as authentic, a conciliar decision of the Church is needed.”

This decision must be made by the highest leadership of the Church, and the highest leadership is the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, he explained. Metropolitan Hilarion emphasized that following the report of the Investigative Committee in June 2021 at a meeting of the Holy Synod, none of the bishops should have had any further doubts about the authenticity of the remains after the examinations.

The Bishops’ Council was scheduled to meet in Moscow 15th to 18th November 2021, however, this was postponed due to the COVID-19 situation in Russia. The Bishops’ Council will now convene from 26th to 29th May 2022.

“If the arguments in favour of the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains prevail, then a final decision will be made,” Metropolitan Hilarion noted. He explained why a decision by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church is important in this case. “If the Synod recognize the Ekaterinburg Remains as the remains of the Imperial Family, it means they are holy relics, it means they need to be venerated appropriately”.

Metropolitan Hilarion also said that the Council of Bishops will determine the final resting place of the Imperial family’s remains. It should be noted, that as Holy Relics, they cannot be returned to their tomb in St. Catherine’s Chapel [SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg], as relics cannot be returned to the earth. They must be placed in reliquaries above ground which allows the faithful to venerate them.

In July 2020, the historical and archival examination, which was carried out as part of the investigation into the murder of the Imperial Family, confirmed the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg remains. Associate professor of the Historical Archive Institute of the Russian State Humanitarian University Evgeny Vladimirovich Pchelov, explained, genetics were involved in the identification of the remains. In addition, researchers analyzed over 2,000 historical documents: written sources, photographs, and audio recordings. The documents were collected from more than 15 Russian and foreign archives.

Vladimir Nikolaevich Soloviev, retired senior investigator and forensic expert at the Main Department of Criminalistics (Forensic Center) of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, who from 1991 to 2015 led the investigation into the deaths of the Imperial Family, fully supports the decision of the Russian Church to recognize the Ekaterinburg Remains as authentic, considers it indisputable.

“I fully support this statement. I categorically say that these are the remains of the Imperial Family, geneticists told us with 100% accuracy,” Solovyov told Interfax on Saturday, commenting on the Russian Orthodox Church’s statement that there are no obstacles to recognizing the authenticity of the remains.

© Paul Gilbert. 22 January 2022

Bones of Contention: The Russian Orthodox Church and the Ekaterinburg Remains

CLICK HERE TO ORDER FROM AMAZON

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.

In May 2022, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, will meet in Moscow 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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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. 23 November 2021

Prominent Orthodox Bishop discusses the Bishops Council and the Ekaterinburg Remains

PHOTO: His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Tikhon

The founder of the Russian online media outlet Daily Storm, Anastasia Kashevarova, recently interviewed Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhon (Shevkunov), who was asked about upcoming Bishops Council in May 2022 and the Ekaterinburg Remains.

Metropolitan Tikhon is a Bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate, and has been closely involved with the investigation into the deaths of Nicholas II and his family, which was initiated by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2015.

Tikhon is now the second prominent Bishop [known to this author] to hint that the Ekaterinburg Remains, are indeed those of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. See my article Metropolitan Hilarion hopeful ROC will recognize authenticity of Ekaterinburg remains, published on 20th June 2021.

AK: At the Bishops’ Council, which has now been postponed to the spring of 2022, will the issue of recognizing the remains of the Imperial Family be resolved?

MT: During the past five years, together with the Investigative Committee, we have collected all the documents and materials. In 2015, there was a new investigation, it was very interesting. We do not prejudge the outcome, of course, of the Council of Bishops, but we have provided them with all the documents that have been worked out by the investigation, the historical commission and our church commission. At the request of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, we carried out genetic research. The remains of Nicholas II’s father, Alexander III were exhumed, genetic samples were taken and compared with the Ekaterinburg Remains. Everything coincided there. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill spoke about this, however, it will be the Council of Bishops who will make the final judgement.

AK: But do you have all the expertise?

MT: We have all the expertise. They quite satisfy me, because I observed them all very closely. However, the controversy continues.

AK: If the Council of Bishops makes a positive decision and recognizes that these are the remains of the Imperial Family, do they then become Holy Relics?

MT: Yes, we will then recognize them as the relics of saints. Some people will agree, some will not – I do not know how it will be, although for me it is quite obvious, I am not even going to be a hypocrite here. We have just published all three volumes of the case, and they are posted on the website of the Investigative Committee; anyone can read these documents in their entirety. Not only were there genetic examinations, there were about fifty different examinations carried out. Anyone can read them with an open mind. I did not trust the investigation that was conducted in the 1990s. There were many reasons for this, including procedural reasons – that is, they took samples from the remains of Nicholas II’s brother Grand Duke George Alexandrovich, compared them with the remains found near Ekaterinburg, but procedurally this was not properly formalized; and aroused mistrust. [Alexander Ivanovich] Bastrykin spoke about this in his report, even before being appointed head of the Investigative Committee.

AK: What has changed since the 1990s investigation?

MT: Yes, there were difficulties. All these bugs have now been fixed; procedurally everything is perfect; research carried out at the highest level. Professor Popov, one of Russia’s leading forensic experts, who, as a specialist, did not recognize these remains, based on these errors. As the heir, Nicholas Alexandrovich was in Japan, where an assassination attempt was carried out on his life: a Japanese policeman struck him on the head with a saber and seriously wounded him. In the1990s, tomography failed to show this injury. Thanks to modern-day tomography, however, Professor Popov, after analyzing this skull [skull No. 4, which, presumably, belonged to Nicholas II], found traces of an injury that coincide with the hat worn by Nicholas II during the incident and is now kept in the Hermitage. The blood-stained shirt of the last Russian tsar was also compared to the blood of his grandfather Alexander II, who was killed in 1881 by terrorists. The latter’s blood-stained shirt has also been preserved. The blood-stained shirts of Alexander II and Nicholas II are also kept in the Hermitage. We have provided every opportunity for every literate person to study the expertise. When we became experts, we signed a document stating that in the event of a knowingly false examination, we are subject to criminal liability with a sentence of up to five years.

AK: And if in the future the answer of the Council is positive, where will the relics be kept?

MT: This will be a joint decision made by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and the Council of Bishops. Possibly in the Peter and Paul Fortress – in the same place where almost all members of the Romanov family are buried.

© Paul Gilbert. 3 November 2021

Third volume of the ‘Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials’, published in Russia

Click HERE to read the third volume [in Russian only]

On 18th October, the third volume of the book Преступление века. Материалы следствия [Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials], about the investigation into the murder of Emperor Nicholas II and his family was published [in Russian] on the website of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

The first volume was published in September of this year, the second volume was published earlier this month.

The third and final volume of the three-volume edition is a complete collection of materials from the investigation and historical documents related to the death of Emperor Nicholas II, his family and their four faithful retainers.

The book is based on documentary evidence, photographs, diaries, memoirs, audio recordings and reliable archival sources, including new, previously unpublished documents. The second and third volumes are devoted to investigative work almost a century ago (1918-1924), the beginning of the 1990s, when this fact was re-examined, as well as investigation at the present stage.

The book is the joint work of investigators, forensic scientists, archivists, historians, representatives of civil society, among others. It is the most accurate and complete source of information that has been published to date, based on the ROC investigation, which began in the autumn of 2015.

This book will be of great help to all those interested in establishing the truth on what many people consider the “crime of the century” and one of the darkest pages in 20th century Russian history. As with the previous two volumes, copies of the third volume will be sent to various government agencies and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.

It is important to note, that it is the contents of the this three-volume edition, which the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, will review when they meet in Moscow from 26th to 29th May 2022 [postponed from 15th to 18th November 2021], during which they will review the findings of the Investigative Commission and deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

© Paul Gilbert. 18 October 2021

ROC postpones Bishops Council to May 2022

PHOTO: Meeting of Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2017

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) have announced that the Bishops’ Council, which was scheduled to meet in Moscow next month, has been postponed until the Spring of 2022.

According to the Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the Bishops; Council will now meet 26th to 29th May, “due to the difficult COVID-19 situation.” The Bishops’ Council was scheduled to meet in Moscow 15th to 18th November.

The Press Service further added, that “the festive events on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the birth of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will also be postponed”.

In September, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, announced that when the Bishops’ Council meet, they will review the findings of the Investigative Commission and deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

The Bishops’ Council is the supreme governing body of the ROC. Only bishops can take part in it. According to the charter of the Russian Orthodox Church, the council is convened at least once every four years, as well as in “exceptional cases.” The previous Council of Bishops took place on 29th November – 2nd December 2017.

Holy Royal Martyrs, pray to God for us!
Святы Царственные мученики, молите Бога о нас!

© Paul Gilbert. 15 October 2021

Second volume of the ‘Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials’, published in Russia

Click HERE to read the second volume [in Russian only]

On 12th October, the second volume of the book Преступление века. Материалы следствия [Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials], about the investigation into the murder of Emperor Nicholas II and his family was published [in Russian] on the website of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

The second volume describes the various stages of the investigation into the murder of the Imperial Family, which is based on scientific facts, historical and archival documents, reflecting on modern research, including recreated 3D models of the Ipatiev House.

The book consists of three volumes and is based on photographs, diaries, memoirs, audio recordings and archival sources, including previously unpublished material.

The first volume was published in September this year. The book discusses the decision to liquidate Emperor Nicholas II and his family, as well as the preparation of the murder.

Thanks to the painstaking work carried out using modern technologies, the Investigative Committee added that results of the investigation leave no doubts about the version of the death and the identity of the Ekaterinburg Remains. “The results of the investigation of this crime are recognized at the international level,” a spokesperson added.

This publishing project is the result of a joint effort of investigators of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, which includes scientists, researchers, and other experts. It remains the most complete and up-to-date study into the investigation of a century-old crime, which remains one of the darkest pages in the history of 20th century Russia.

This book will be of great help to all those interested in establishing the truth in this matter. Copies of the second volume will be sent to various government agencies and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.

It is important to note, that it is the contents of the this book, which the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), will review when they meet in Moscow from 15th to 18th November 2021, during which they will review the findings of the Investigative Commission and deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

© Paul Gilbert. 13 October 2021

What awaits Ganina Yama, after the ROC recognizes the Ekaterinburg Remains?

PHOTO: The Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama. A wooden causeway surrounds the abandoned mine shaft – visible as a depression in the ground – where the remains of Nicholas II and his family were first discarded after their brutal murder at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg

Thirty years after the discovery of the burial site of the Imperial Family in Porosenkov Log, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is apparently now ready to accept the findings of numerous genetic examinations and admit that the remains of the bodies found there really belong to Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

It is not yet clear whether a new monastery will be built on the site, in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, but the church has already requested that Porosenkov Log be transferred to the Ekaterinburg Diocese “for the purpose of carrying out religious activities.” And, will most likely, receive it.

It is speculated, that next month, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) will formally recognize the results of examinations which prove the authenticity of the remains of the Imperial Family, exhumed in the summer of 1991 in the area of ​​Porosenkov Log on the Old Koptyakovskaya Road.

“The examinations that have been carried out convincingly show that the remains found near Ekaterinburg are indeed the remains of the Imperial Family. But for the church to recognize this, it is necessary that all bishops study the results of these examinations. I think as soon as this happens – probably at the bishops’ council in November – the authenticity of the “Ekaterinburg remains” will be recognized by the church,” said Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (Alfeyev), chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate in September 2021.

PHOTO: Porosenkov Log, situated 3.8 km from Ganina Yama. The main grave is seen in the center of the photo, a small path (seen in the upper left) leads to the second grave, where the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister Grand Duchess Maria were discovered in 2007

The discovery of the remains of the Imperial Family in Porosenkov Log

The family of Nicholas II were shot in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg on the night of 16/17 July 1918. The bodies were then taken out of the city to an area of ​​old mines in the Ganina Yama tract, where their killers attempted to destroy the remains using fire and acid.

For many years the Russian Orthodox Church insisted that the bodies of members of the Imperial Family had been destroyed. According to the inhabitants of the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, the monastery stands on the ground, where the ashes from the burnt remains were scattered.

However, historians believe that Ganina Yama is the site of the first attempt of burying the remains, however, the killers returned the following day, exhumed the remains and transported them 3.8 km, and reburied them near the Old Koptyakovskaya Road, which led from Ekaterinburg to Lake Isetskoye.

The remains of the Imperial Family were originally found in 1978 by a group of enthusiasts led by the Ural geologist Alexander Avdonin, who worked under the patronage of film director Geliy Ryabov. Due to the political situation in the Soviet Union at the time, no exhumation of the remains was carried out. It was not until 1991, after the victory of Boris Yeltsin in the presidential elections of the RSFSR, that Avdonin decided that it was time to make the discovery public.

Meanwhile, the search for the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria continued, and discovered in 2007 at Porosenkov Log, in a second grave [only 44 pieces of their bones had been discovered at the site] just meters from the main burial site.

Since that time, the authenticity of the bones of Nicholas II and his family has been confirmed three times. In January 1998, the Commission of the Republican Center for Forensic Medicine of the Ministry of Health of Russia concluded: “The remains found in Ekaterinburg are the remains of Nicholas II, members of his family and his retainers.” In 2008, the authenticity of the remains was also confirmed by a genetic analysis carried out by experts from Russia and the United States. In the summer of 2018, the official representative of the Investigative Committee of Russia (TFR) Svetlana Petrenko said that repeated commissions of molecular genetic examinations confirmed the authenticity of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

PHOTO: The tomb of the Imperial Family in the St. Catherine Chapel of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Petersburg

Why has the Russian Orthodox Church not recognized the authenticity of the remains for 30 years?

Despite these numerous extensive scientific studies and examinations, the Russian Orthodox Church has still not officially recognized the remains discovered at Porosenkov Log. There are several reasons for this:

First, the recognition somewhat discredits the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama. If the remains of the Imperial Family are nevertheless recognized as genuine, it will turn out that the monastery has to be rebuilt in another place. At the same time, Ganina Yama is the main place of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians, where traditionally all religious processions in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs end.

Secondly, as the historian and local historian Nikolai Neuymin explains, there will be confusion in the minds of believers, since “there will be several graves: at Ganina Yama, Porosenkov Log and the Peter and Paul Fortress [St. Petersburg].”

Thirdly, the recognition of the remains threatens a split among Orthodox Believers, some of whom will not believe the results of the genetic examination.

Fourth, the Russian Orthodox Church will be forced to publicly admit that for more than 100 years, they were wrong.

Click HERE to read my article The Fate of the Ekaterinburg Remains, published on 18th June 2021

PHOTO: Independent researcher Paul Gilbert, standing at the entrance to the Romanov Memorial at Porosenkov Log. 2nd June 2016

What will happen to Porosenkov Log and Ganina Yama?

If the Russian Orthodox Church does recognize the remains, then, most likely, it will most likely construct a new monastery, church or just a chapel for pilgrims. It is difficult, however, to say at this time.

In March 2016, the Ministry of Culture of the Sverdlovsk Region reported that if the ROC requests the transfer of the territory in and around Porosyonkov Log (added to the cultural heritage list in 2014), would be designated as sacred land and transferred to the ROC, where a memorial and monastery, similar to that at Ganina Yama would be constructed. This in itself suggests that perhaps the ROC has already come to a decision on the authenticity of the remains, and were making preparations?

Porosenkov Log is currently under the administration of the Sverdlovsk Museum of Local Lore, who have plans to build a museum complex on this territory. As a result, Governor Evgeny Kuyvashev suspended the process of land allocation for an indefinite period.

It should also be added, that if the ROC recognize the remains of the Imperial Family as Holy Relics, they cannot be returned to their tomb in St. Catherine’s Chapel [SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg], as relics cannot be returned to the earth. They must be placed in reliquaries above ground which allows the faithful to venerate them. This would be one very important reason why their remains would be interred in a new cathedral named in their honour.

Even if a new monastery is constructed at Porosenkov Log, it will not take away the significance and historic importance of the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, because the burial of the Imperial Family took place at each in the summer of 1918.

In conclusion, perhaps, after the recognition of the remains by the church, the annual Cross Procession in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, will end not end at Ganina Yama, but at that of Porosenkov Log.

© Paul Gilbert. 3 October 2021

First volume of the ‘Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials’, published in Russia

Click HERE to read the first volume [in Russian only]

On 30th September, the first volume of the book Преступление века. Материалы следствия [Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials], about the investigation into the murder of Emperor Nicholas II and his family was published [in Russian] on the website of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

The murder of the Imperial Family on 17th July 1918, remains one of the most mysterious and controversial crimes of the 20th century. The events of more than a century ago are now presented for the first time in a three-volume Russian language edition based strictly on documentary evidence and reliable archival sources. In chronological order, episode by episode, the book describes the tragic events associated with the murder of the Imperial Family and the Bolshevik and Soviet attempts to conceal their remains.

The three volumes will explore the investigative work done in the years 1918 to 1924, the early 1990s, to the present day. The final volume explores the current results of the investigation in the criminal case, resumed by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in 2015, which managed to recreate an objective picture of those distant days and fill in the previously existing gaps.

According to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation A.I. Bastrykin: “modern 21st century science and expert research have allowed us to delve much deeper into the essence of the tragic events of 1917 in more detail, permitting us to draw impartial and well-grounded conclusions.”

“Scientific and technological progress has made it possible to conduct unique forensic examinations, including medico-forensic (anthropological). An important role was played by the work of cartographers, thanks to which 3D models of the murder room in the Ipatiev House. In addition, the schemes of the Koptyakovskaya road were recreated. Photos, archives, diaries, memoirs, audio recordings – all helped to form the basis of this unique publishing project”, he added.

This 3-volume book is the result of a joint effort of investigators of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, which includes scientists, researchers, and other experts. It remains the most complete and up-to-date study into the investigation of a century-old crime, which remains one of the darkest pages in the history of 20th century Russia.

The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is scheduled to meet in Moscow from 15th to 18th November 2021, where they will review the findings of the Investigative Commission and deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

© Paul Gilbert. 30 September 2021

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