Loyal to the Tsar: General Tatishchev and Prince Dolgorukov

PHOTO: From left to right: Catherine Schneider, Ilya Tatishchev, Pierre Gilliard, Anastasia Hendrikova and Vasily Dolgorukov

Thursday 10th June 2021, marks the 103rd anniversary of the death and martyrdom of two faithful servants to Emperor Nicholas II – General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev and Prince Vasili Alexandrovich Dolgorukov.

General Tatishchev and Prince Dolgorukov, faithfully and selflessly served Emperor Nicholas II, for many years. With Christian courage and nobility, they remained faithful to the sovereign, voluntarily followed the Emperor and his family to Tobolsk, and then to Ekaterinburg.

It was on 10th June 1918, that they together took a martyr’s death at the hands of the Bolsheviks and were buried in the cemetery of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent.

Memory Eternal! Вечная Память!

PHOTO: General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev and Prince Vasili Alexandrovich Dolgorukov

Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev (1859 – 1918) – Adjutant-General of Emperor Nicholas II. The son of General Leonid Aleksandrovich Tatishchev (1827-1881) and Catherine Ilinishna (1835-1915), Ilya Tatishchev is one of the descendants of the founder of Ekaterinburg. He graduated from the Corps des Pages in St Petersburg, and later entered the service of the His Majesty’s Life Guard Hussar Regiment. He later served as adjutant to the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909). On 6th December 1895, he was promoted to colonel. From 1905 he served as Major-General of the Retinue of His Imperial Majesty. In 1910 he was promoted to Adjutant General. He was a member of the Holy Prince Vladimir Brotherhood. He faithfully followed Emperor Nicholas II and his family into exile. He was murdered by the Bolsheviks on 10th June 1918. Ilya Tatishchev is buried in the cemetery (*lost during the Soviet years) of the Novo Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.

Prince Vasily Alexandrovich Dolgorukov ( 1868 – 1918) – Major-General, marshal of the Ministry of the Imperial Court and lands. The son of Prince Alexander Vasilyevich Dolgorukov (1839-1876) and Princess Mary Sergeyevna (1846-1936). He graduated from the Corps des Pages in St Petersburg, and then entered the service of the Life-Guards Horse-Grenadier Regiment. In 1907, he was promoted adjutant to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Nicholas II. From 1912-1914, he served as Regimental Commander of the Life-Guards Horse-Grenadier Regiment. During the First World War, he served at General Headquaters in Mogilev. Dolgorukov faithfully and selflessly served Emperor Nicholas II for 22 years. In March 1917, he voluntarily stayed with the Emperor during his house arrest in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. In August 1917, he then followed the Emperor and his family into exile to Tobolsk.

After his arrival in Ekaterinburg on 30th April 1918, Prince Dolgorukov was arrested “in order to protect public safety.” He was placed in the political department of the Ekaterinburg prison. The Chekists tried to accuse him of planning the escape of the Imperial family. Historians call these accusations groundless. On 10th June 1918, he was shot in a wooded area near the city’s Ivanovskoe Cemetery,. His body was later discovered by a unit of the White Army, and buried in the autumn of 1918 in the cemetery (*lost during the Soviet years) of the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.

Tatishchev and Dolgorukov were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in October 1981.

© Paul Gilbert. 10 June 2021

Pilgrimage Center at Ganina Yama

PHOTO: Pilgrimage Center at Ganina Yama

If you are planning a visit to Ekaterinburg, you may want to consider avoiding the hustle and bustle of the city, and spend a few days at the Diocesan Pilgrimage Center at Ganina Yama, which is located in a lush pine forest 25 km from Ekaterinburg.

Opened in November 2013, near the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs, the Pilgrimage Center provides accommodation for 180 people and meals in the refectory [dining hall] for 80 people with a varied menu. It is an ideal place to stay for pilgrims who wish to visit the places associated with the last days of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. In addition, the center provides a conference hall for 200 people – perhaps, an ideal venue for a future Nicholas II Conference? – among other amenities.

PHOTO: accommodation for 180 people in comfortable and affordable rooms

PHOTO: the refectory seats 80 people with a varied menu and three meals a day

Ekaterinburg resident Lydia Rostova, reflects on her stay at the pilgrimage center: “the rooms were both comfortable and affordable – starting at 500 rubles [$7 USD] per night. Three meals a day are organized in the center – breakfast 80 rubles [$1 USD], lunch 150 rubles [$2 USD], dinner 100 rubles [$1.40 USD]. At first I thought that I would not have to have supper, because the refectory is open until 20:00, and the evening service at the monastery ends later. But the question was easily resolved: if necessary, supper is left and warmed up. The food is tasty and varied.”

PHOTO: the center provides a conference hall seating 200 people

It is convenient place to stay for its proximity to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs or Porosenkov Log, to attend divine services, and to honour the memory of the Imperial Family. In addition, pilgrims can arrange visits to Ekaterinburg and Alapaevsk, or a pilgrimage to the Sredneuralsky Women’s Monastery in honour of the icon of the Mother of God, which is situated 7 km away from the center. You can also book a transfer to/from Koltsovo Airport for 700 rubles [$10 USD].

The Diocesan Pilgrimage Center at Ganina Yama prides itself in the tradition of Abrahamic hospitality to all pilgrims and visitors. Click HERE to visit their web site [Russian only].

© Paul Gilbert. 3 June 2021

The Ural Mining Institute of Emperor Nicholas II in Ekaterinburg

PHOTO: This magnificent icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, greets both students and visitors as they enter the main building of the Ural State Mining University in Ekaterinburg

Founded on 16 [O.S. 3] July 1914, the Mining Institute in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg was the last educational institution in Russia, to be created by the decree of Emperor Nicholas II.

The solemn act which took place on board the Imperial Yacht Standart, where Nicholas II signed the law on the establishment of the Mining Institute. It was considered an event of great historical significance in the cultural life of not only the Urals, but also the Russian Empire.

Following the consecration held on 30 [O.S. 17] July 1916, the foundation stone was laid. A special copper plate was made on which the date was engraved. On the same day, a telegram was sent to Nicholas II, who was at that time at the Stavka in Mogilev, the headquarters of the Russian Imperial Army, where he was serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces:

“To His Imperial Majesty. Gathered for the solemn laying of the building of the Ekaterinburg Mining Institute, after the liturgy performed by His Grace Seraphim, ardent prayers to the Lord God for the precious health of Your Imperial Majesty and the granting of complete victory over the enemy were given. We lay at your feet, All-Merciful Sovereign, loyal for the monarch’s mercy granted to the Urals by the fulfillment of the long-standing aspirations of the Ekaterinburg city public administration and the Perm zemstvo. The Mining School, approved by Your Imperial Majesty at the time of the nationwide struggle against German oppression, gives new strength to the flourishing of the young Russian industry for the glory of Yours, Beloved Sovereign, and our dear Motherland.”

PHOTO: A close-up view of the Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II reveals its rich detail, made of Ural precious stones: rubies, garnets, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts and other precious gems

The following day the Tsar sent his reply: “I instruct you to convey to His Grace Seraphim and all those who gathered for the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the building of the Ekaterinburg Mining Institute my heartfelt gratitude for the prayers and the feelings that brought them to life. I hope that this new institute for the study of mining will provide the Motherland with useful workers in this important branch of industry.” Nicholas II.

It was difficult for the institute to take its first steps; it needed reliable help and support. The first director of the institute Pyotr Petrovich von Weymarn (1879-1935), believed that it was best to enlist support from the first person in the state, the Tsar himself. Weymarn believed that it was quite enough if the institute should bear the name of the Sovereign. And so they did. On 6th November 1916, the Construction Commission wrote to Nicholas II with a request to accept the institute under “His Imperial Majesty’s Patronage and to grant it the name “Ural Mining Institute of Emperor Nicholas II”.

The document read: “Your Imperial Majesty! For many years, the vast Urals lacked an institute of higher learning for the study of mining. Only during the reign of Your Imperial Majesty … The Urals are now enriched by two higher leaning schools: the University in Perm and, which is especially important for the mining progress of the Urals, and the Mining Institute in the city of Ekaterinburg. Thus, the higher learning education in the Ural region is now forever historically associated with your Sovereign name. With deep conviction, the Construction Commission … took the courage to loyally ask you, Sovereign, to accept the Mining Institute, which is being built in the city of Ekaterinburg, under its highest patronage and most mercifully command to deign to name it henceforth the Ural Mining Institute of Emperor Nicholas II.”

The Tsar replied on 5th January 1917, granting the institute the right to be named after him.

PHOTO: Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovsky-Romanov (1926-2020) admires the icon of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, situated in the lobby of the main building of the Ural State Mining University. Her proximity to the icon provides us with an idea of just how large this magnificent icon actually is.

Sadly, events in the country forced the Urals from taking advantage of the monarch’s favour. As a result of the February 1917 Revolution, Nicholas II, abdicated on 15 [O.S. 2] March. But the story did not end there. Fate wanted Nicholas II to visit the city, the institute of which he bestowed his name on. On that “warm, wonderful day” of 17th April 1918, the Emperor was brought from Tobolsk to Ekaterinburg where he was held under house arrest. It was here that he and his family spent the last three months of their life until the tragic end.

Following the death of Nicholas II, the institute underwent a number of name changes: Ural Mining Institute (1918); Sverdlovsk Mining Institute (1934); Sverdlovsk Mining Institute named after V.V. Vakhrushev (1947); Ural State Mining and Geological Academy (1993); and the Ural State Mining University (2004) today, a leading university in the Urals, with about 9000 students.

The original building of the Ural State Mining University has survived to the present day, and its administration has not forgotten the historic connection between it and Russia’s last emperor and tsar.

PHOTO: The main building of the Ural State Mining University

Celebrations were held at the Ural State Mining University on 19th May 2008, the day marking the 140th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas II. A magnificent memorial icon dedicated to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II was opened in the lobby of the main building of the Ural Mining University.

The Holy Royal Icon was painted by the sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Monastery in Ekaterinburg. According to the new project, all the plastic elements of the decoration of the original icon were replaced with a mosaic of Ural precious stones: rubies, garnets, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts and other precious gems. Local miners timed its reconstruction to coincide with the date marking Nicholas II’s birth.

The royal crown is made of chased patterned silver with gilding, figured silver lace adorns the icon frame. For the icon case, white and red Pashtun marble was used, the design of which looks as if blood is oozing from the stone, recalling the martyrdom of the Imperial Family.

© Paul Gilbert. 9 May 2021

Commission created to preserve memory of Imperial Family in Sverdlovsk region

Earlier this week, a new commission to preserve the historical memory of members of the Russian Imperial Family, who were murdered in the Urals was initiated in Ekaterinburg.

The decree was signed by the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region Yevgeny Kuyvashev. The 22-member commission headed by the vice-governor of the Sverdlovsk region Sergey Bidonko, includes the heads of regional ministries and municipalities, representatives of universities, museums and the Russian Orthodox Church.

The commission will be engaged in preserving the memory of those members of the Russian Imperial Family, who were murdered in the Urals, through excursions, lectures, exhibitions and other events, as well as the promotion of the “Imperial Route” project, which is being implemented by the Elisabeth-Sergius Educational Society Foundation. The route includes Tyumen, Tobolsk, Ekaterinburg and Alapaevsk, among numerous other cities in Russia – see below.

Let us hope and pray that the commission will make changing the name of regional name “Sverdlovsk” their first order of business!


In 2019, plans were announced for the “Imperial Route” project in 20 regions of Russia. The aim of the route is to unite the historic places related to the life of Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

The route includes St. Petersburg, Moscow, Omsk, Tyumen, Tobolsk, Sverdlovsk / Ekaterinburg, Tomsk, Kostroma, Kaluga, Novgorod, Pskov, Kirov, Bryansk, Orel, Voronezh regions, Perm, Novosibirsk, Stavropol territories, Tatarstan and Crimea.

The project includes palaces, museums, churches, and other places, is a wonderful opportunity for both Russians and foreigners to learn the truth about the private world of Russia’s Imperial family.

© Paul Gilbert. 13 February 2021

Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama marks 20th anniversary

PHOTO: A wooden causeway has been built around the edge of the mine shaft, a tall cross marks the edge of the mine shaft where the remains of Nicholas II, his family and four faithful retainers were their killers first discarded after their brutal murder.

On Wednesday, 23rd September, a solemn Divine Liturgy was held at Ganina Yama on the occasion marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs.

With the financial assistance from the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company, the Russian Orthodox Church constructed the Monastery at the site in 2001. Seven chapels were later constructed at the site, one for each member of the Imperial family. Each chapel is dedicated to a particular saint or relic.

PHOTO: The Four Brothers mine (collapsed) is now visible as a depression in the ground. In July of each year, the former mine pit is covered with fragrant lily plants for the ceremony marking the regicide.

A tall cross marks the edge of the mine shaft – visible as a depression in the ground – where the remains of Nicholas II, his family and four faithful retainers were first discarded after their brutal murder in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg.

The horrific crime that took place here at the Four Brothers mine near the village of Koptyaki – 15 km north from Ekaterinburg – was carried out in the early morning hours of 17th July 1918, when the men who took part in the regicide, threw the bodies of the Imperial family and their four retainers into the mine.

The murderers returned the following night, retrieved the remains, and reburied them in two separate graves at Porosenkov Log, situated about 3.8 km away.

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


In honour of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs, a video history of the monastery has been prepared. It consists of three parts and describes a chronology of events from the life of the monastery at Ganina Yama, between 1990 to 2020.

Part I: the period from 1990 to 2000 (Duration: 2 minutes, 25 seconds)

Part II: the period from 2000 to 2003 (Duration: 3 minutes)

Part III: the period from 2004 to 2020 (Duration: 4 minutes, 20 seconds)

© Paul Gilbert. 13 November 2020

The fate of the regicides who murdered Nicholas II and his family

PHOTO: Pyotr Ermakov, Mikhail Medvedev-Kudrin,
Pavel Medvedev, Yakov Yurovsky and Grigory Nikulin

The murders of Emperor Nicholas II, his family and four faithful retainers in Ekaterinburg on 17th July 1918, remains one of the darkest pages in 20th century Russian history. To this day, historians and investigators are not entirely sure of all those who participated in the regicide, only the names of some of them are known – those who admitted that they were a participant in the regicide, or those of whom were identified by witnesses. The fate of many of these regicides also ended tragically, their lives being overtaken by disease or an equally violent death.

It is known that the direct leader of the liquidation of the Imperial family was Yankel Khaimovich, better known as Yakov Yurovsky. He lived until 1938 and died of a duodenal ulcer. In Soviet times, they said that his son was not responsible for his father’s crime, but the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in the Yurovsky family. The eldest son Alexander, ended up in the Butyrka prison in 1952, but was released a year later. The daughter Rimma was also arrested in March 1938. She served a sentence in the Karaganda forced labour camp until 1946. Yurovsky’s grandchildren were not spared either, dying under mysterious circumstances. Two died after falling from a roof, while the other two were burned to death in a fire. It is worth recalling that the blood of Tsar Nicholas II was spilled by Yurovsky. He himself recalled: “I fired the first shot and killed Nikolai on the spot.”

The leading Russian playwright and historian Edvard Radzinsky was most intrigued by the idea that there was photographic evidence of the murdered remains of the Imperial family.

“Yurovsky was a professional photographer,” he says. “He confiscated a camera from the Tsarina. It was impossible for him to take pictures immediately after the execution — he was a little bit crazy, they continued to be alive, they continued to kill them. But afterwards, he had three days. He had an opportunity to take a camera to the grave. It is impossible for a man who likes pictures not to take such pictures.”

Could there be any truth to his idea, or did Radzinsky give birth to yet another Romanov conspiracy theory? Radzinsky is a playwright, and perhaps his creative imagination got the better of him, but who knows? Yurovsky had already proven what he was capable of, so anything was possible! There is also the possibility that Yurovsky took such photos to take with him when he left for Moscow after the murders, as evidence to Lenin and Sverdlov that the regicide had been carried out?

“IF” such photographs ever existed, we can surely assume that they would have been destroyed. Lenin was both crafty and careful not to leave a paper trail that would implicate him in dubious affairs – murder being one of them.

Click HERE to read my article Yakov Yurovskys’ ashes remain hidden from vandals in Moscow, published on 23rd November 2019

The personality of Pyotr Ermakov was no less significant in the murders of the Imperial family. According to his own recollections, it was he who killed the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the cook Ivan Kharitonov and the doctor Evgeny Botkin. He often boasted of his crime, without feeling any sense of remorse: “I shot the Tsarina who was seated only six feet away, I could not miss. My bullet hit her right in the mouth, two seconds later she was dead. Then I shot Dr. Botkin. He threw up his hands and half turned away. The bullet hit him in the neck. He fell backwards. Yurovsky’s shot knocked the Tsesarevich to the floor, where he lay and groaned. The cook Kharitonov was huddled over in the corner. I shot him first in the torso and then in the head. The footman Troupe also fell, I don’t know who shot him … ” Ermakov died of cancer on 22nd May 1952.

Since the 1990s, Ermakov’s grave in the Ivanovo Cemetery in Ekaterinburg. has been repeatedly vandalized by local monarchists, who regularly douse his gravestone with red paint.

The red paint symbolizes the blood which this evil man spilled, and his involvement in the brutal murder of Nicholas II and his family on 17th July 1918.

In 1951, at a reception, which gathered all the local Party elite in Sverdlovsk, Peter Ermakov approached Soviet Red Army General Georgy Zhukov and held out his hand. Frowning in disgust Zhukov looked Ermakov in the eye, and muttered, “I do not shake the hands of murderers.”

He left a testimony regarding another regicide: “Stepan Vaganov dealt with the grand duchesses: they lay dying in a heap on the floor and groaned … Vaganov continued to shoot at Olga and Tatiana … I don’t think any of us shot the maid Demidova. She sank to the floor, shielding herself with pillows. Vaganov, later pierced her throat with his bayonet … ” Death found Vaganov in the same ill-fated year of 1918. When Kolchak’s army took Ekaterinburg, Vaganov did not escape, instead he hid in a basement, where he was found by relatives of those killed during the raids. They did not stand on ceremony for long – they killed him on the spot. Perhaps in vain, because he could have given interesting testimony, having fallen into the hands of the investigators who were engaged in clarifying the fate of the Imperial family. But the fact remains: Vaganov did not die of natural causes.

Pavel Medvedev turned out to be not just a murderer, but also a thief. He recalled: “Walking around the rooms, I found six 10-ruble credit tickets under the book Закон Божий (God’s Law), in one of them, and appropriated this money for myself. I also took some silver rings and some other knickknacks.” Medvedev, unlike Ermakov, fell into the hands of Kolchak’s troops. He fled from Ekaterinburg, but, was captured, and he was charged with “murder by prior conspiracy with other persons and the seizure of the property of the former Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, the heir to Alexei Nikolaevich and Grand Duchesses Olga, Maria , Tatyana, Anastasia, as well as the physician Dr. Botkin, the maid Anna Demidova, the cook Kharitonov and the footman Troupe. “In 1919, Medvedev died in prison from typhus, however, his widow claimed that he was killed by White Guards.

PHOTO: Philip Goloshchekin

It was no coincidence that Sergei Broido ended up in the Ipatiev House, but he also took part in the murder of the Imperial family by order. Mikhail Medvedev-Kudrin, who also took part in the murders, recalled: “It is known that Broido, along with Ermakov and Goloschekin, arrived in a car at the Ipatiev House on the eve of the murder. It is believed that due to a lack of men to carry out the execution, he was recruited at the last minute by order of Yurovsky.” On 8th March 1937, Broido was first convicted under Article 58 of the RSFSR Criminal Code, for being a Trotskyist, and subsequently shot.

The youngest regicide was Viktor Netrebin. At the time of the crime, he was only 17 years old. Netrebin disappeared in 1935. The Latvian Jan Cemles also disappeared.

But there were also those who organized the murders of the Imperial family and their retainers. Among them was Shaya Itsikovich, known as Philip Goloshchekin, who is known to be one of the organizers. It was he who came up with the idea of ​​execution, even travelling to Moscow to discuss his plans with Lenin and Sverdlov. Goloshchekin was not present himself during the murders, but he took part in the removal and destruction of the remains. On 15th October 1939, Goloshchekin was arrested for sympathizing with the Trotskyists. Another fact from his biography is particularly noteworthy. After his arrest, and during interrogation the People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs Nikolai Yezhov, claimed that he had a homosexual relationship with Goloshchekin. On 28th October 1941, Goloshchekin was shot near Samara. A colleague and another organizer of the execution of the Imperial family, Yakov Sverdlov, described Goloshchekin as follows: “I stayed with Goloshchekin for several days, things are bad with him. He has become neurasthenic and becomes a misanthrope.” An interesting fact is that Sverdlov did not die of natural causes. According to the official version, he died of the Spanish flu, which raged after the First World War, but there is a second version, according to which the workers beat Sverdlov in Oryol and he died from the injuries he sustained.

Pyotr Voikov was also an organizer and participant in the murder of Nicholas II and his family. Diplomat-defector Grigory Besedovsky, who knew Voikov personally, recalled: “As commandant of the Ipatiev House, the execution of the decree was entrusted to Yurovsky. During the execution, Voikov was supposed to be present, as a delegate to the regional party committee. He, as a scientist and chemist, was instructed to develop a plan for the complete destruction of the bodies. Voikov was also instructed to read the decree on the execution to the Imperial family, with a motivation that consisted of several lines, and learned this decree by heart in order to read it out as solemnly as possible, believing that thereby he would go down in history as one of the main participants in this tragedy”. Voikov was killed in Warsaw in June 1927 by the Russian émigré Boris Koverda. During interrogation, Koverda stated about the motives of his act: “I avenged Russia, for millions of people.” Boris Koverda spent 10 years in Polish prisons and was granted amnesty. After his release in 1937, he lived another 50 years and died in Washington at the age of 79.

Not only did these men committed regicide, they also helped to drown Russia in blood. Today, streets, squares and even metro stations of Russia’s cities are named after some of them. Is this right? No! These men will forever, have their names inscribed in the history of Russia, not as scientists or engineers, but as murderers.

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

© Paul Gilbert. 28 October 2020

Excavations at the site of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg in the early 2000s

PHOTO: A simple wooden cross was installed on the site of the Ipatiev House in the 1990s

Prior to the construction of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg, local archaeologists took a particular interest in the site where the 18th century mansion once stood.

An excavation of the site was organized by archaeologist Sergey Nikolaevich Pogorelov in 2000. At that time, he headed the Department for the Study of Historical Monuments in the Regional Research and Production Center.

The area where the Ipatiev House was located stood on land once owned by the Ural-Siberian Factory. In 1766-1808 the wooden Old Ascension Church stood on the site of the house, which included a small cemetery. Later, residential quarters were constructed, including the Ipatiev House in the 1880s. 

According to Pogorelov, in 2000, when the question arose about the construction of the Church on the Blood, city and regional authorities were notified that a decree issued in 1990 stipulated that no construction could take place on historic sites without historical and archaeological research being carried out first.

Excavations began in early June through September of 2000, and then continued in the summer of 2001. During that time, nearly 600 people took part in them. They made some interesting discoveries. For instance, during the excavations it turned out that the Soviet authorities had removed the remains of the basement walls of the Ipatiev House many years prior.

When archaeologists found the place where the basement execution room was located, they discovered that in its place, a concrete bunker had been built. They then referred to the city plans which were given them by the administration. As it turned out a government communication line had been laid along Klara Zetkin Street (former Voznesensky Prospekt and Voznesensky Lane, respectively), . When the cables were laid near where the Ipatiev House stood, they turned sharply 90 degrees, passing through where the execution room was located, and into the bunker, and then back to Klara Zetkin towards Voznesenskaya Gorka. Archaeologists learned that in the early 1970s, the local Soviet had set up the bunker with the intent of destroying the place where the Imperial family had been murdered.

However, an even greater discovery for archaeologists was what they found under the bunker when they began to dig deeper. Under the concrete structure was a grave, partially carved into the rock. Inside, in a coffin with forged nails, lay the remains of a woman and a baby.

Archaeologists had discovered the 18th century Orthodox cemetery, proving that the Ipatiev House was partly built on the site of the Church of the Ascension, and partly on the churchyard. The police were called in and the remains of the woman and her child were taken away.

Pogorelov noted that many graves must have been lost in the 1980s when part of the slope of the Voznesenskaya Gorka, was cut back during the reconstruction of Karl Liebknecht Street.

During their excavations, archaeologists uncovered an area of ​​more than 500 square meters at a depth of about 2 meters.

PHOTO: Archaeologist Sergey Nikolaevich Pogorelov shows fragments
of ceramic vessels found at Porosenkov Log in 2010

They found an underground stone structure with an area of ​​5 by 5 meters with granite walls in the foundation and stone granite slabs of the floor. Inside were the remains of the shelves of the party archives. It was here that the trunks belonging to the Imperial family were stored after their transfer from Tobolsk in April 1918.

On the western side of the estate grounds stood several poplars. There was some speculation that the trees had been planted during the Soviet years. Experts from the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology conducted a dendrochronological analysis and found that they are more than 100 years old. Thus, it was determined that the trees were there when the Imperial family were living there under house arrest.

Among the trees a hole was discovered. They thought it was a cellar, but it turned out to be a well. It had been pierced into the monolithic rock of the Voznesenskaya hill using mining tools.

Archaeologists found a mention of this well in the notes of Yakov Yurovsky, who led the execution of the Imperial family. He wrote that he was repairing it at the moment when Nicholas II approached him. The well itself was filled with many artefacts, among them items belonging to the Imperial family.

The following year, when construction on the Church on the Blood was already underway, and two underground floors were planned on the site, the well suddenly filled with water. The builders wanted to fill it with concrete, however, a decision was made to preserve it. Today, the former well named “Tsarskoe” of the Ipatiev House is now located in the lower underground floors of the Church on the Blood.

As a result of the excavation of the estate, archaeologists managed to collect about 64 thousand artefacts. There were no precious items among them – only those that are of interest from a historical point of view. Fragments of dishes, buttons, metal objects … Everything that fell to the ground or tossed into the well since the 18th century. 

Pogorelov found pieces of china with the emblems of the Imperial Porcelain Factory bearing the initials of Nicholas II, from the coronation porcelain service of 1896. He later discovered that part of the service had been stolen by the Bolsheviks after the murder of the Imperial family. Their whereabouts remain unknown to this day.

It took 300 crates to pack the 64,000 artefacts, and stored in different places until 2013. According to Pogorelov “nobody provided help, nor were the legislation requirements fulfilled”. The crates were subsequently transferred to the Museum of the History of Ekaterinburg. Today, the famous Russian archaeologies does not know what happened to the collection.

The Museum of the History of Ekaterinburg would not comment on what happened to the collection further nor whether the artefacts from the excavations at the site of the Ipatiev House are still in their funds.

© Paul Gilbert. 23 October 2020


Dear Reader: It is always a pleasure for me to present new articles based on my own research from Russian archival sources, offering first English translations of new works from Russian media sources on my Nicholas II blog and Facebook pages. Many of these articles and topics seldom (if ever) attract the attention of the Western media. Please note that I personally translate the articles, and complement them further with additional materials, photographs, videos and links.

If you found this article interesting, then please help support my research by making a donation in US or Canadian dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by GoFundMe, PayPal, credit card, personal check or money order. Thank you for your consideration – PG

Ekaterinburg residents asked to help in glorifying General Tatishchev


General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev (1859-1918) was glorified by the Russian Church Abroad in 1981 as the holy warrior martyr Elijah. The sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent in Ekaterinburg now hope that he will canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate.

Residents of Ekaterinburg are invited to pray for General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev. Requiems will be performed every Tuesday after Vespers in the Novo-Tikhvin Convent.

Remembered as “a man of touching kindness,” Tatishchev was a noble and deeply pious man – he knew the entire Gospel by heart! For many years he selflessly served Emperor Nicholas II, and in 1917 voluntarily followed him into exile to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg.

It was in Ekaterinburg that he was separated from the Tsar and his family and placed under house arrest. On 10th June 1918, he accepted a martyr’s death at the hands of the Bolsheviks together with Prince Vasily Dolgorukov. He was buried in the cemetery of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent. His grave has not survived, since during the Soviet years the convent’s cemetery was razed to the ground. And now, when we pray for the repose of the soldier Elijah, he prays for us before the throne of the Lord.

In an appeal to the citizens of Ekaterinburg, the sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent said:

“Dear ones, now a lot depends on you and me! If we turn with prayer to the soldier Elijah, receive help and testify about this, then we can find in the saints another intercessor for our loved ones, our city, for the entire Ural region! Therefore, we ask you very much: report cases of miraculous help through the prayers of the soldier Elijah! Any information can serve to glorify him!”

Memory Eternal! Вечная Память!

Click HERE to read Divine Liturgy for Tatishchev and Dolgorukov Performed in Ekaterinburg, published on 10th June 2020

© Paul Gilbert. 10 August 2020

10,000 march in Royal Martyrs procession in Ekaterinburg

The Ekaterinburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church hosted its annual Divine Liturgy and Cross Procession in honour of the Holy Royal Martyrs last night from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers in Ganina Yama.

Some 10,000 Orthodox faithful joined in the Cross Procession this year, from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs, built on the site where the remains of Nicholas II, his family and four retainers were first callously discarded, before they were later reburied at Porosenkov Log some 1.3 km away.

The size of the procession was significantly reduced this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The local authorities had urged the faithful not to participate. In 2018, 100,000 participated in the Divine Liturgy and Cross Procession on the 100th anniversary of the Holy Royal Martyrs, and 60,000 in 2019.









The evening began with the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the square in front of the Church on the Blood by Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhotursky , His Grace Bishop Methody of Kamensk, His Grace Bishop Evgeny of Nizhny Tagil, His Grace Bishop Alexei of Serov, and His Grace Bishop Leonid of Argentina and South America.

After the Divine Liturgy, the faithful began a 21-km Cross Procession, along the same route used to transport the murderers used to transport the bodies of the murdered Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918.







The procession was accompanied throughout by mobile groups from the Orthodox Mercy service, Tsar’s Days volunteers, representatives from the Nika charitable foundation, and Cossacks of the Orenburg Military Cossack Society, all of whom provided various means of assistance to the pilgrims.

Around 6:00 AM, the procession headed by Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhotursky and the hierarchs and clergy reached the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs, where the monks greeted the pilgrims with the ringing of the monastery bells.


Upon arrival, a moleben was served to the Holy Royal Martyrs and Metropolitan Kirill addressed the faithful:

“We pray and believe that the Lord, through the prayers of the Holy Royal Martyrs and Confessors of our Church, still preserves our land and covers it with His Heavenly covering. We hope that with God’s help we will lead an Orthodox Christian way of life and will take an example from righteous people, such as the Holy Royal Family and their faithful retainers, and all those who laid down their lives for our homeland and our Holy Church. Through their prayers, the Lord will forgive and have mercy on all of us by the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Holy Royal Martyrs, and all the saints who have pleased God from time immemorial.”


The Tsar’s Days celebrations continue tonight in Alapaevsk where the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodoron, the Nun Barbara, and Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, the Princes of the Imperial Blood Ioann (John) Konstantinovich, Konstantin Konstantinovich, Igor Konstantinovich, and Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley, and Grand Duke Sergei’s secretary Fyodor Remez were martyred on July 18, 1918.


Святой Царь Мученик Николай, Моли Бога о Нас!
Holy Royal Martyr Nicholas II, Pray to God for Us!

© Paul Gilbert. 17 July 2020

Program for Royal Days 2020 in Ekaterinburg


The Church on the Blood, built on the site of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg

The Moscow Patriarchate and the Ekaterinburg Diocese have confirmed that the Royal Days [aka Tsar’s or Imperial Days] will be held from July 12 to 20, 2020.

A series of memorable ceremonial events symbolizing the unity of the Russian people in their understanding of the history of the Fatherland, the ongoing rehabilitation of the good names of the emperor and his family, and the unification of the Church of Christ and traditional values. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all events will be held in compliance with all necessary safety and sanitary measures.

The main event will be held on the night of 16/17 July, when a Divine Liturgy will be performed at the Church on the Blood, where the lives of Emperor Nicholas II along with his family and four faithful servants tragically ended. The Divine Liturgy will be followed by a 21-km Cross procession to the Monastery of the Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.

On July 12th, the day marking the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the XIX Royal Days Festival of Orthodox Culture will begin.


Pilgrims gather outside the Church on the Blood on 16th July 2018

XIX Royal Days Festival of Orthodox Culture

The XIX Royal Days Festival of Orthodox Culture in the Ural capital, will feature several dozen religious and secular events of various formats honouring the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs.

A cultural program has been planned, which includes cultural, historical, musical and educational events, museum and library exhibitions, concerts, lectures and meetings with Russian historians and writers.

The festival will be held in the conference hall and the Tsarsky Spiritual and Educational Center, located in of the Patriarchal Compound on the grounds of the Church on the Blood.


Pilgrim holds a portrait of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

The bell ringing festival “Evangelize, the Land of the Urals!” also opens on July 12th. A bell ringing concert will he held in the square in front of the Great Zlatoust Church, which features a magnificent bell tower. The concert will be attended by the ringer of the Ekaterinburg Metropolis, the choir of the Great Zlatoust Church; and poetry readings by priest Victor Yavich.

On the same day, July 12, an Open Gymnastics Championship will be held on the embankment of the city pond facing the Church on the Blood. The event is dedicated to Emperor Nicholas II – the founder of the Olympic movement in Russia.


Thousands gather outside the Church on the Blood on the night of 16/17 July


Thousands gather outside the Church on the Blood on the night of 16/17 July


Thousands gather outside the Church on the Blood on the night of 16/17 July

The main events of the Royal Days

The main events of the Royal Days will begin on July 15 when a Divine Liturgy will be performed in the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.

Then culminating events will be held on July 16 and 17.

On July 16, at 13:00, a small daytime procession will be held along the Ekaterinburg Way of Sorrow to mark the arrival of the Royal Martyrs in Ekaterinburg from Shartash Station (149 Kuybyshev St.) to the Church on the Blood (built on the site of the Ipatiev House) on 30th April 1918 [Nicholas II, Alexandra and their daughter Maria arrived, Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia and Alexei arrived several weeks later].

Then, at 15:00, Vespers will be held with the Akathist to the Holy Royal Martyrs in the Lower Church of the Church on the Blood,

At 16:30, an all-night vigil will begin on Ulitsa Tsarskaya, in front of the Church on the Blood.

At 17:00 there will be an all-night vigil in the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.

At 23:30 the main service of the Tsarist days – the night Divine Liturgy will commence in front of the Church on the Blood on  Ulitsa Tsarskaya. The service will end in the early hours of July 17, after which at 02:30 Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye will lead the Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs – a journey of 21 km. This year’s procession is expected to attract tens of thousands of pilgrims from across Russia [As Russia’s borders are currently closed to foreigners, this year’s Tsar’s Days events will only be attended by Russian citizens]. Upon the arrival of the procession at Ganina Yama, a prayer service will be held for the Holy Royal Martyrs. 

The first Tsar’s Days was held in Ekaterinburg in 2001. In 2018, the year marking the 100th anniversary of the regicide in the Ural capital, attracted more than 100,000 Orthodox pilgrims, monarchists, among others from across Russia and around the world. In 2019, some 60,000 pilgrims took part.


Святы Царственные мученики, молите Бога о нас!

Royal days in Alapaevsk

The Royal Days will continue with the Remembrance Days of the Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova and the *Alapaevsk Martyrs, which will be held in Alapaevsk – 148 km northeast of Ekaterinburg.

On July 17 at 17:00 an all-night vigil will begin in the Monastery of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church in the city of Alapaevsk.

On July 18, at 00:00, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in the Holy Trinity Bishop’s Metochion of Alapaevsk, and at 02:30 a prayer service will be held with the singing of an Akathist to the Holy Martyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Varvara.

At 03:30 at the end of the Liturgy, a procession will begin from the Holy Trinity Bishop’s Compound in Alapaevsk to the School and further to the Monastery of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, built on the site where the bodies of the *Alapaevsk Martyrs were dumped into the mine alive on the night of July 18, 1918.  At 05:30 and 09:00, two Divine Liturgies will be performed there.

*The Alapaevsk victims included: Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, Princes of the Imperial Blood Ioann, Konstantine and Igor Konstantinovich, Prince Vladimir Paley (son of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich), and two faithful servants:sister of the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent Varvara (Yakovleva), and Fyodor Semyonovich (Mikhailovich) Remez, secretary of the Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich.

SOURCE: Ekaterinburg Diocese Press Release

© Paul Gilbert. 3 July 2020