Russian Orthodox Church postpones recognition of Ekaterinburg remains . . . AGAIN!

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

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

A key item on the agenda of the Bishops’ Council meeting is a definitive decision of the Church on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg remains.

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.

The ROC are now citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the reason for the latest delay: “due to the fact that the international situation makes it difficult for many members of the Bishops’ Council to arrive in Moscow, the meeting has been postponed until the autumn or winter period of 2022”.

According to the ROC, the exact dates for the next Bishops’ Council will be discussed by the Holy Synod when they meet this summer.

© Paul Gilbert. 18 April 2022

Nicholas II in the news – Winter 2022

PHOTO: Emperor Nicholas II, by the contemporary Russian artist Vladimir Kireyev

Russia’s last emperor and tsar continues to be the subject of news in Western media. For the benefit of those who do not follow me on my Facebook page, I am pleased to present the full length articles and news stories published by American and British media services.

Below, are the articles published in January, February and March 2022. Click on the title [highlighted in red] and follow the link to read each respective article:

5 curses that haunted the Romanovs

In a 300-year history of the Romanov dynasty, there were dozens of predictions and prophecies about its future and fate. The Editors at ‘Russia Beyond’ picked the five most haunting.

Source: Russia Beyond. 28 March 2022

Rare PHOTOS of Russia’s last tsar Nicholas II + 31 PHOTOS

The art of photography was developing fast during his times, so we are lucky to see lots of images of the Emperor, both official and from everyday life.

Source: Russia Beyond. 28 March 2022

“It is our duty not to anger God and not offend His saints by refusing to recognize their relics” – Archpriest Valentin Asmus on the Royal Martyrs’ remains and the controversy surrounding them

Twenty-two years ago, Emperor Nicholas II and his family were canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate. In May 2022, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet to deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

Why were the remains not recognized as relics immediately? How do the clergy feel about recognizing them? Archpriest Valentin Asmus, rector of the Church of the Protecting Veil of the Most Holy Theotokos in Krasnoye Selo (Moscow), a Ph.D. in Theology, has kindly agreed to answer these and other questions.

Source: Orthodox Christianity. 23 March 2022

Here’s how the luxurious train of Nicholas II looked inside + 35 PHOTOS

In the late 1890s, a brand new train was built for the imperial family. It was a 10-car train that included a bedroom for the Emperor and Empress, a reception room, office, kitchen, dining room, the children’s room, rooms for family members, servants, railroad workers, luggage room, and a specially equipped prayer room.

Emperor Nicholas II was the first and the last tsar to use the train. The following article features 35 extraordinary photos of this ‘palace on wheels’.

Source: Russia Beyond. 22 March 2022

Emperor Nicholas II’s favourite sport + 12 PHOTOS

Tennis came to the Russian Empire from Great Britain in the 1860s and soon became very popular among the local aristocracy. Members of the Russian Imperial Family also played the game. None of them, however, was as obsessed with it as Nicholas II.

In another life, the tsar could have been a professional tennis player. He competed almost as equals on the court against renowned champions.

Source: Russia Beyond. 18 March 2022

How tsarist treasures were saved from being sold to the West + 16 PHOTOS

Having established Soviet power and finishing the Civil War, the Bolsheviks had to take care of the economy of the new country, which was gripped by hunger, poverty and devastation. In the second half of the 1920s, the large-scale “Stalin sales” of the Russian Empire’s art treasures to the West began. Tsarist crowns, diamonds, Faberge eggs, icons and paintings by Old Masters and Impressionists from Russian museums, including the Hermitage, were sold literally wholesale to millionaires in the United States and Europe.

Museum workers risked their lives trying to keep precious relics from being taken out of the country.

Source: Russia Beyond. 7 March 2022

Paul Gilbert’s Romanov Bookshop on AMAZON – UPDATED with NEW titles!!

I have published nearly 30 titles to date through AMAZON – featuring one of the largest selections of books on Nicholas II, the Romanov dynasty and the history of Imperial Russia.

Please CLICK on the LINK above to review my current selection of titles in hardcover, paperback and ebook editions. Listings provide a full description for each title, pricing and a Look inside feature.

© Paul Gilbert. 31 March 2022

Haemophilia gene confirms authenticity of Tsesarevich Alexei’s remains

PHOTO: Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, at the bedside of her son Alexei in 1912

In a new documentary aired on Russian television in January 2022, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, stated that the haemophilia gene was found in the remains of Emperor Nicholas II’s only son, discovered at Porosenkov Log in 2007.

“The haemophilia gene made it possible to confirm the authenticity of the remains of the son of Nicholas II, Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich,” said the director of the Scientific Center for Genetics and Life Sciences of Sirius University, and Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Biological Sciences Evgeny Rogaev in the documentary The Romanov Case. The Investigation Established.

DNA examinations were carried out along three lines – female, male and asexual. “We have now determined who was the carrier of the mutation, and who was not. The tests showed that Alexandra Feodorovna carried both a healthy variant and the diseased variant, as expected, because she has two X chromosomes. Sadly, Alexei carried the diseased variant of the X-chromosome.

Tests were also concluded the status of the Empress’s four daughters. “The older sisters Olga and Tatiana were not carriers of haemophilia, however, in one of the younger sisters we found that she was a carrier of the diseased variant. Based on anthropological studies, we have concluded that it was Anastasia who also carried the diseased variant”, said the expert.

In the burial site, in addition to bone fragments, a piece of burnt striped fabric was discovered, which we believe belonged to Tsesarevich Alexei, who was wearing a vest on the day of the murders in the Ipatiev House.

PHOTO: Only 44 pieces of Alexei and Maria’s bones [1] have been found at Porosenkov Log, near Ekaterinburg

On 30 April 2008, Russian forensic scientists announced that DNA testing had proven that the remains belong to the Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister Grand Duchess Maria. DNA information, made public in July 2008, that was obtained from the Ekaterinburg site and repeated independent testing by laboratories such as the University of Massachusetts Medical School revealed that the final two missing Romanov remains were indeed authentic. In March 2009, results of the DNA testing were published, confirming that the two bodies discovered in 2007 were those of Alexei and Maria.

For many years, it has generally been accepted that Alexei began bleeding from his navel at the age of six weeks . . . this has since been proven incorrect. This was based on an entry in Nicholas II’s diary, six weeks after the birth of Alexis . . . Alix and I were very concerned about the bleeding of little Alexei from his umbilical cord . . .”.

Two noted Romanov historians Margarita Nelipa and Helen Rappaport both tell us otherwise, that Alexei’s bleeding was noted the day following his birth. Their claim is based on two separate, yet reliable sources:

[1] “One day after Alexei’s birth, Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich (1854-1931) came to congratulate the sovereign and stayed for lunch. Upon his departure, the sovereign mentioned the presence of “blood on the diapers”. Returning to his Znamenka estate (in Alexandria), he repeated this detail to his wife who telephoned Nikolai II (before visiting Alix later that evening). During their conversation, he said that the doctors had confirmed that the atypical bleeding was indeed due to haemophilia.”

Source: ‘Alexei. Russia’s Last Imperial Heir: A Chronicle of Tragedy’ by Margarita Nelipa. Published by Gilbert’s Books in 2015

[2] Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich and his wife Grand Duchess Militza Nikolaevna (1866-1951) had driven over to the Lower Dacha the day Alexei was born . . . as their son Prince Roman Petrovich (1896-1978) later recalled in his memoirs [published in Danish].

‘When they returned in the evening to Znamenka, my father remembered that . . . the Tsar had told him . . . That the doctors were concerned about the frequent splatters of blood in his swaddling clothes. . . .”

Grand Duke Peter telephoned the palace, “When the Tsar answered that they had hoped that the bleeding would soon stop, my mother took the receiver and asked if the doctors could explain the cause of the bleeding. When the Tsar could not give her a clear answer, she asked him with the calmest of voices she could manage: ‘I beg you, ask them if there is any sign of haemophilia’ . . . The Tsar fell silent on the phone for a long time and then started to question my mother and ended by quietly repeating the word that had staggered him: haemophilia.”

Source: ‘Four Sisters. The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses’ by Helen Rappaport. Published in 2014

In addition, is a letter dated 1st August 1904 – 2 days after Alexei’s birth, in which the Emperor mentions the “unusual bleeding” to Grand Duchess Militza Nikolaevna:

Dear Militza,

I am writing Alix’s words to you: Thank God, the day passed calmly. After having a dressing at 12 o’clock and up to 9:30 in the evening, there was not a drop of blood. The doctors hope this will continue. Korovin stays overnight. Fedorov leaves for the city and will return tomorrow. We both like him immensely! The little “treasure” is surprisingly calm when a bandage is applied, or he sleeps or lies and laughs. The parents now have a little relief in their hearts. Fedorov says that the loss of blood over two days is roughly ⅛ – 1/9 of the total amount of blood.

Nicholas

Source: Alexei: Russia’s Last TsesarevichLetters, diaries and writings by George Hawkins. Independently published in 2022

NOTES:

[1] For years, the boxes containing 44 bone fragments remained on dusty shelves in the Russian State Archives. In December 2015, their remains were transferred to the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow, where they remain to this day.

© Paul Gilbert. 25 February 2022

The fate of Porosenkov Log and Ganina Yama

CLICK on the image above to watch a 2-minute video tour of the Romanov Memorial at Porosenkov Log

In May, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) will convene in Moscow, to discuss the results of examinations carried out between 2015-2018, by the Investigate Committee of the Russian Federation. It is widely believed that the Council will recognize the authenticity of the remains of the Imperial Family. So, what effect will this have on both Porosenkov Log and Ganina Yama?

Representatives of the Romanov Memorial Charitable Foundation in Ekaterinburg, now fear that the diocese could destroy the original appearance of Porosenkov Log, the spot were the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, his wife, three children and four retainers were discovered in 1991. The remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister Maria were discovered in a nearby separate grave in 2007.

According to Ilya Korovin, Director of the Romanov Memorial Charitable Foundation , Porosenkov Log is the only place in Ekaterinburg connected with the Imperial Family’s final days, which has survived to this day unchanged. “In Ganina Yama, unlike the Porosenkov Log, visitors cannot see the territory as it looked in 1918. Of course, with the recognition of the remains, the question of the future fate of the memorial will arise,” he said during a recent press conference.

As an argument, representatives of the fund cite the fact that in March 2016 the Ekaterinburg Diocese asked for a plot of land at Porosenkov Log, made a request to the Ministry of Culture of the Sverdlovsk Region for the transfer of the territory in and around Porosyonkov Log (added to the cultural heritage list in 2014), transferred to the ROC, to be designated as sacred land and where a memorial and monastery, similar to that at Ganina Yama would be constructed.

The Governor of Sveredlovsk Yevgeny Kuyvashev suspended the process of allocating land for an indefinite period. “Knowing the methods of preserving and developing memorial sites by the Russian Orthodox Church, one can come to the disappointing conclusion that Porosenkov Log will undergo catastrophic changes,” Korovin said. Korovin also noted that the territory of the Railway Forest Park, where the Romanov Memorial is located, is also subject to future development.

Representatives of the Romanov Memorial also added that, previously in 2007-2010 the Russian Orthodox Church planned to seize the territory in the area of ​​the Old Koptyakovskaya Road, partially cut down the forest, in order to build a cemetery and an Orthodox church. Again, the Sverdlovsk authorities were forced to intervene in order to end the conflict.

Sergei Chapnin, a member and expert of the Romanov Memorial Charitable Foundation, believes that Porosenkov Log is a civil memorial and this section of the old Koptyakovskaya Road must be kept intact.

Local Ekaterinburg historian Nikolai Neuimin notes, “if the Bishops Council recognizes that the remains of the Nicholas II and his family are authentic, then it turns out that the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs should not have been built at Ganina Yama, the place where the regicides tried to bury the bodies for the first time. The bones lay there for only a day and a half, while the remains were reburied 3.5 km away in two separate graves in what is today known as Porosenkov Log. As Ganina Yama is the main place of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians, no one will demolish or move the seven churches, even if it turns out that the remains in the Porosenkov Log are indeed genuine,” he added.

Chapnin, among others, believe that the recognition by the ROC of the Ekaterinburg will most certainly create a schism within the church. The ROC will be forced to acknowledge that for more than 100 years, they were wrong. This in itself may be perceived by many as a great embarrassment and humiliation to the church.

“Not every one in the church is ready to recognize the authenticity of the remains. Accepting the new reality will be quite difficult,” he added.

© Paul Gilbert. 14 February 2022

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