Unique icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs consecrated in the Urals

PHOTO: the new icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs in the Holy Trinity Cathedral on 6th January 2023

On 6th January 2023, Metropolitan Daniel of Kurgan and Belozersky visited the Holy Trinity Cathedral[1] in the Ural city of Kurgan[2], where he performed a Divine Liturgy followed by the rite of consecration of a new icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs.

What is unique about this particular icon is that it features a small antique icon of Our Saviour mounted into the larger icon. This icon belonged to Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, and accompanied Emperor Nicholas II and his family when they were sent into exile in August 1917. The icon was discovered among the items not pilfered or destroyed by the Bolsheviks in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg after the family’s murders in July 1918.

PHOTO: Tsesarevich Alexei’s small icon of Our Saviour (above) has now been mounted into Alexei’s hands in the larger icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs (below)

Metropolitan Daniel thanked the family of Russian Senator, member of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Sergei Nikolaevich Muratov, through whose efforts and generosity that the Holy Trinity Cathedral was rebuilt in Kurgan[1], and this new icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs was presented to the cathedral.

“I am sure that the faithful will come from near and far to venerate this small icon of Our Savior, mounted in the larger icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs. They will come to pray to receive help, because each member of the Imperial Family held the icon in their hands and prayed in front of it,” Vladyka Daniel said at the end of the ceremony.

Russian Senator Sergey Muratov told the story of how he managed to acquire this miraculously preserved icon, how he showed the image to the former Head of the Kurgan Metropolis, Metropolitan Joseph: “It was five years ago that Vladyka Joseph wisely proposed that the icon not be sold to a private collector or museum, but to be made public so that Orthodox Christians could come to the church and pray before it. He noted that this icon with such a significant provenance should be venerated according to the traditions of Russian icon painting. He suggested that the icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs should depict Tsesarevich Alexei holding the icon of Our Savior in his hands. “

PHOTO: full view of the icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs shows an empty box giving the impression that Tsesarevich Alexei is holding the icon of Our Saviour in his hands

Metropolitan Joseph’s wishes were honoured. As time passed, and already with the blessing of Metropolitan Daniel, the large icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs was created, in which Tsesarevich Alexei’s icon of Our Saviour was mounted into it. As planned, the work was completed by the feast of the Nativity of Christ, which is observed on 19th (O.S. 6th) January.

NOTES:

[1] The original Holy Trinity Cathedral was built on Trinity Square in Kurgan. Construction began on 16th (O.S. 5th) June 1763, the central altar was consecrated in 1805. On the night of 17/18 (O.S. 5/6) 1837, the heir to the throne Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich – the future Emperor Alexander II – attended a Divine Liturgy in the new cathedral. 

During the Soviet years, the cathedral was closed on 25th May 1937. Some twenty years later on 25th May 1957, the cathedral was blown up.

On 26th August 2017, construction began on a new Holy Trinity Cathedral just south of the original cathedral, on the bank of the Tobol River. The patron of the construction of the new cathedral was Russian Senator Sergey Nikolaevich Muratov. On 27th November 2021, Metropolitan Daniel performed the rite of consecration of the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

[2] Kurgan is situated 370 km [229 miles] southeast of Ekaterinburg

© Paul Gilbert. 21 January 2023

Monument to Nicholas II consecrated in Bijeljina

On 4th January 2023, a new monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs was installed and consecrated on the grounds of the Monastery of St. Petka in Bijeljina in Republika Srpska [one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina].

The monument was made in bronze in the Russian style, by the Serbian sculptor from Belgrade, Milos Komad, and financed by the retired Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla Vasilije.

The marble pedestal, and placement is the work of academician Drago Mirković, an artist, a great humanist and church benefactor. Mirkovic chose the inscriptions which appear on all four sides of the pedestal quotes by Sergei Bektayev, the Russian national poet, the texts of St. Peter of Cetinsky, Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Emperor Nicholas II’s words of support to the Serbs.

The combined height of the bronze monument and marble pedestal is almost 5 meters [16 ft.] high.

PHOTO: view of the bronze monument before it being mounted on the marble pedestal

PHOTO: full front and rear view of the Holy Royal Martyrs monument

© Paul Gilbert. 19 January 2023

Why Nicholas II Is Glorified As a Saint

by Ruslan Ward @ Russian Faith

People often ask why Tsar Nicholas II and his family were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. The controversy reached a new high following the release of the controversial film ‘Matilda’ in Russia in 2017. Many people still question the sainthood of Tsar Nicholas II because of their criticism of his political and personal actions. The Russian television channel Tsargrad.TV released a video explaining the canonization. This article written by Ruslan Ward is based on a translation of the arguments in the video. It also complements the video material with other sources. 


Following the social upheaval caused by the Russian film “Matilda” in 2017, the timeworn question surfaced yet again: Why did the Russian Church canonize Tsar Nicholas II as a saint?

Some people are doubtful, saying: What kind of saint was he? He rejected the throne, destroyed the country, was a weak ruler, etc.

Though many of these accusations are actually inaccurate stereotypes, whether they’re true or not is irrelevant in this instance.

Let’s review, once again, how Christians understand “sainthood” and why the Church made the decision to name Nicholas II a saint. 

A saint is NOT a person who never sinnedA saint is definitely not someone who never made mistakes.

The Bible directly states that no man has ever lived, who has not sinned – Ecclesiastes 7:20: Surely there is no righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.

A saint is someone who always strains towards God, becomes near to God, and, by the strength of God’s Grace, defeats evil in himself and in the surrounding world.

The Russian Orthodox Church has different categories for saints, that offer explanation what particular aspect of that person’s life made them pleasing and similar to Christ.

Here are a few examples: 

  • The Holy Martyrs are people who were faced with the choice between keeping their own lives and being faithful to Christ. They chose faith to Christ and lost their lives.
  • The Confessors are people who openly preached the faith during persecutions.
  • The Holy Unmercenaries are saints who exhibited extraordinary charity and generosity in the name of the Christian faith

In the Russian Orthodox Church, Nicholas II and his family were canonized (made saints) as Passion-bearers[1]. A Passion bearer is someone who faced his death in a Christ-like manner.

Passion-bearers die and suffer not for the explicit reason that they are Christians. They are people who were killed innocently, with no fault, but yet maintained an attitude of Christian meekness and love towards their persecutors and murderers, thus fulfilling God’s commandment.

An example of this love, of this meek approach to ones’ torturers, was given to us by Christ Himself.

Having been completely innocent on the Cross of Golgotha, Christ pronounced the words that totally changed the course history of humanity, offering a radically different approach to one’s enemies. The soldiers that had just crucified Christ were standing around the cross. They didn’t understand at all what had just happened, they didn’t understand WHO was dying on the Cross. They sat around the scene of violence and suffering, and threw lots for would take which article of Christ’s clothing home.

Yet Christ said “Lord, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

Emperor Nicholas and his entire family meekly, patiently accepted their unfair persecution, the surrounding unjust criticism and hate, the harsh treatment they received, and their violent, brutal death.

It’s well known that the Emperor was offered the chance to leave the country, to escape a horrifying end and save his own life and the life of other members of the family. But he consciously decided not to. He consciously remained in the country; he believed it was his duty. 

Nicholas II and his family have been named saints, because they accepted their sufferings and trials in a Christian manner; because they met death at the hands of those, who were moved by hatred and anger, with Christlike love and patience.

On the eve of the terrifying murder in Ipatyev house, Nicholas II’s eldest daughter, the Grand Duchess Olga wrote.

“Father asks the following message to be given to all those who have remained faithful to him, and to those on whom they may still have influence, that they should not attempt to take revenge for him, since he has forgiven everyone and prays for everyone. He wants them to remember that the evil which is now in the world will be become still stronger, but that evil will never conquer evil , but only Love…”

It was precisely for the reason of their unconquerable meekness, patience, and love, that the Tsar’s family are saints. Not for their political actions, not how saintly or “right” their lives were, but for how they met their horrible end: with Christian love and faith.

More about how they treated their trials and the people who hated and purposely tortured them from an article on Pravmir:

In Ekaterinburg they spent three hellish months of psychological torture – and yet they all retained their inward calm and state of prayer, so that not a small number of their tormentors were softened by these valiant Christian strugglers.

As Pierre Gilliard, the French tutor to the Tsarevich Alexis recalled:

“The courage of the prisoners was sustained in a remarkable way by religion. They had kept that wonderful faith which in Tobolsk had been the admiration of their entourage and which had given them such strength, such serenity in suffering.

They were already almost entirely detached from this world. The Tsaritsa and Grand Duchesses could often be heard singing religious airs, which affected their guards in spite of themselves.

Gradually these guards were humanised by contact with their prisoners.

They were astonished at their simplicity, attracted by their gentleness, subdued by their serene dignity, and soon found themselves dominated by those whom they thought they held in their power.

The drunken Avdiev found himself disarmed by such greatness of soul; he grew conscious of his own infamy. The early ferocity of these men was succeeded by profound piety.”

When this would happen, the inhuman Bolsheviks would replace the guards who had been so touched with crueller and more animalistic ones.

Seldom being allowed to go to church, they nevertheless nourished their souls with home prayers and greatly rejoiced at every opportunity to receive the Divine sacraments.

Three days before their martyrdom, in the very house in which they were imprisoned, there took place the last church service of their suffering lives.

As the officiating priest, Fr. John Storozhev, related:

“‘It appeared to me that the Emperor, and all his daughters, too, were very tired. During such a service it is customary to read a prayer for the deceased. For some reason, the Deacon began to sing it (which is usually done in memorial services for the reposed), and I joined him…As soon as we started to sing, we heard the Imperial Family behind us drop to their knees’ (as is done during funeral services)…

Thus they prepared themselves, without suspecting it, for their own death – in accepting the funeral viaticum.

Contrary to their custom none of the family sang during the service, and upon leaving the house the clergymen expressed the opinion that they ‘appeared different’ – as if something had happened to them.”

Not only the Tsar, but the whole of his blessed family, met their fate with truly Christian patience. Thus on March 13,1917, the Tsarevich Alexis wrote to his sister Anastasia:

“I will pray fervently for you and Maria. With God everything will pass. Be patient and pray.”

Shortly after the abdication the Empress said: “Our sufferings are nothing. Look at the sufferings of the Saviour, how He suffered for us. If this is necessary for Russia, we are ready to sacrifice our lives and everything.”

And again: “I love my country, with all its faults. It grows dearer and dearer to me… I feel old, oh, so old, but I am still the mother of this country, and I suffer its pains as my own child’s pains, and I love it in spite of all its sins and horrors… Since [God] sent us such trials, evidently He thinks we are sufficiently prepared for it. It is a sort of examination… One can find in everything something good and useful – whatever sufferings we go through – let it be. He will give us strength and patience and will not leave us. He is merciful. It is only necessary to bow to His will without murmur and wait – there on the other side He is preparing for all who love Him indescribable joy.

NOTES:

[1] The Moscow Patriarchate canonized the family as passion bearers: people who face death with resignation, in a Christ-like manner, as distinguished from martyrs, the latter historically killed for their faith. Proponents cited the piety of the family and reports that the Tsarina and her eldest daughter Olga prayed and attempted to make the sign of the cross immediately before they died.

The term “passion-bearer” is used in relation to those Russian saints who, “imitating Christ, endured with patience physical, moral suffering and death at the hands of political opponents. In the history of the Russian Church, such passion-bearers were the holy noble princes Boris and Gleb (1015), Igor of Chernigov (+ 1147), Andrei Bogolyubsky (+ 1174), Mikhail of Tverskoy (+ 1318), Tsarevich Dimitri (+ 1591). All of them, by their feat of passion-bearers, showed a high example of Christian morality and patience.

Despite their official designation as “passion-bearers” by the August 2000 Council, Nicholas II and his family are referred to as “martyrs” in Church publications, icons, and in popular veneration by the people.

*On 1st November 1981, Emperor Nicholas II, his wife, their five children and four faithful retainers were canonized as new martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR),

© Ruslan Ward @ Russian Faith. 11 December 2022

Serbian monastery installs memorial plaque to Nicholas II

PHOTO: plaque to Emperor Nicholas II and an icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs was unveiled and consecrated on the grounds of the Rukumija Monastery

On 12th November, a simple wooden plaque to Emperor Nicholas II and an icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs was unveiled and consecrated on the grounds of the Rukumija Monastery, near the town of Pozharevac in Serbia. The installation of the plaque is in gratitude for the Russian Emperor’s efforts to come to the aid of Serbia during the First World War.

The ceremony began with the singing of the Russian and Serbian national anthems, then the choir performed the “Song to the Holy Tsar Nicholas“. This was followed by the consecration ceremony performed by the rector of the monastery Heiromonk Simeon, in the presence of parishioners and distinguished guests from the Russian Embassy in Belgrade (Vladlen Zelenin), the Russian House in Belgrade (Georgy Engelgart) and the Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples (Natalya Kotseva).

Zelenin thanked the Serbian people for honouring the memory of Tsar Nicholas II. In turn, Engelhardt noted that the gratitude and love of the Serbian people for the last Russian Tsar could serve as an example for the Russian people themselves.

PHOTO: the Rukumija Monastery, near the town of Pozharevac in Serbia

For Serbians, Emperor Nicholas II is revered both as a saint and as a statesman. For many Serbs, the image of the Russian Tsar is a symbol of loyalty, honesty and devotion to one’s word. The Serbian people remember that it was for the sake of saving Serbia that Nicholas II entered the First World War.

For more information on Serbia’s reverance for Emperor Nicholas II, please refer to the following articles, researched from Russian and Serbian sources by Paul Gilbert:

Nicholas II through Serbian eyes, published on 13th October 2020

“For us Serbs, Nicholas II will be the greatest and most revered of all saints”, published on 11th August 2022

“I consider Nicholas II a great reformer” – Serbian Ambassador to Russia, published on 13th May 2019

New outdoor portrait of Nicholas II appear’s in Serbia’s capital, published on 2nd January 2020

Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II from Serbia arrives in St. Petersburg, published on 14th May 2021

The Russian House of Emperor Nicholas II in Belgrade, Serbia, published on 12th October 2022

© 14 November 2022

Orthodox cross consecrated in memory of Nicholas II and his family near Tyumen

PHOTO: Chairman of the Elisabeth-Sergei Educational Society Foundation (ESPO) Anna Gromova and Metropolitan Dimitry of Tobolsk and Tyumen pose with parishioners, in front of the memorial cross in the village of Ievlevo

At 4 am on 26th (O.S. 13th) April 1918, Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, along with their daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, and several retainers departed Tobolsk for their journey to Ekaterinburg. Their first stop enroute was at the village of Ievlevo, where they spent the night under the watchful gaze of a convoy of Bolshevik convicts and thugs.

On 31st October 2022, a memorial cross was installed and consecrated in the village of Ievlevo, situated in the Yarkovsky district near Tyumen. The consecration of the cross was performed by Metropolitan Dimitry of Tobolsk and Tyumen.

The cross and metal plaque were installed on the grounds of the future Church of the Archangel Michael, which is currently under. construction. Once completed, the Elisabeth-Sergei Educational Society Foundation (ESPO), has pledged to create a museum and a spiritual and educational pilgrimage center. The memorial cross and future museum will become part of the Imperial Route.

According to Deputy Governor of the Tyumen Region Andrey Panteleev, when Anna Gromova began work on the Imperial Route, Tyumen and Tobolsk were designated as the main locations, and the Museum of the Family of Nicholas II (opened in April 2018) became the pearl of the Imperial Route in the Tyumen Region.

“It is very important that the Imperial Route should include the places associated with the Holy Royal Martyrs were. Many regions across Russia are taking part in this unique project, which will allow both Russians and foreigners to learn about the life and times of the last Tsar and his family”, – added Panteleev.

The Tyumen Region currently features a number of museums and monuments to Emperor Nicholas II and his family: including the Monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs, established in Tyumen in 2017; and the Tsar’s Pier Museum, which includes one room dedicated to the Imperial Family, which includes photos, letters and more.

PHOTO: church utensils used for the consecration of the cross memorial

PHOTO: Metropolitan Dimitry of Tobolsk and Tyumen performs the consecration of the cross memorial

***

It was on 17th (O.S. 4th) August 1917, that the Imperial Family arrived in Tyumen, after being sent into exile from the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, on 14th (O.S. 1st( August.

It was on this day that the two trains carrying Nicholas II, his family, and servants arrived in the evening at Tyumen. The following day, they sailed up the rivers Tur, Tobol and Irtysh on the steamer ‘Rus’, to Tobolsk.

Nicholas wrote in his diary: “We advanced unbelievably slowly, in order to reach Tyumen late at night. There the train went right up to the jetty, so that we were able to get straight onto the steamer.

“Ours is called ‘Rus’! They started loading our things, which took all night. God only knows when poor Alexei got to bed again? The bustle and noise went on all through the night and prevented me from getting to sleep. We left Tyumen at about 6 o’clock.”

Upon arrival in Tobolsk, the Imperial family were placed under house arrest in the former governors house until April 1918. On 30th (O.S. 17th) April 1918, Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Grand Duchess Maria were handed over to the Ural Soviets in Ekaterinburg.

PHOTO: a metal plaque informs pilgrims and visitors that the Tsar and his family stopped here for one night in April 1918, on their journey to Ekaterinburg, where they would meet a martyr’s death on 17th July

© Paul Gilbert. 31 October 2022

The Path of the Tsar’s Family: “Evil will not conquer evil, but only love”

I am publishing this post, with the hope that one of the numerous Orthodox publishing houses in the United States, will consider translating and publishing an English-lanaguage edition of this book, compiled by Sergey Milov in 2018, to mark the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of the Holy Royal Martyrs.

This gift book tells about the life and accomplishments of the Holy Royal Family – the martyrs – the last Russian Emperor-Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and their children – Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Tsesarevich Alexei. More than a century has passed since the tragic death and martyrdom of the Imperial Family, however, their veneration by Orthodox Christians continues to increase every year.

The contents include a foreword; individual chapters on the Emperor, the Empress, the Grand Duchesses and the Heir Tsesarevich; feats of the Imperial Family; their house arrest at Tsarskoye Selo, Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg; questions about the Ekaterinburg remains; and their glorification by the Russian Orthodox Church.

This book was published in Russian in 2018 by Letopis Orthodox Publishing House (Moscow). It is available in a small 9 x 13 cm [3-1/2″ x 5″] hard cover format, perfect for carrying in your pocket. The book features 256 pages, with illustrations. A total of 10,000 copies were published.

Copies of the Russian-language of this title can be purchased from Knigomania (Canada); Vasha-Kniga (United States) or Ruslania (EU).

© Paul Gilbert. 7 October 2022

IOPS donates icon depicting Holy Royal Martyrs to parish in the village of Belousovo

PHOTO © Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS)

On 28th September, the Irkutsk branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS), donated an icon depicting the Holy Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, to the parish in the village of Belousovo, situated in the Zhukovsky District of Kaluga Oblast, Russia.

Since the middle of the 19th century, there has been a parish of the Church of St. Innocent, Bishop of Irkutsk in the village of Belousovo. During the Soviet years, the church was closed, and the building became a club for local communists.

The original wooden [beech] church building was destroyed by fire in the late 1990s. A new church was constructed in 2012, however, in 2021, it was also destroyed by fire, the interior of which included an icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs.

The new icon was donated to the parish, Vadim Fisenko, a member of the Irkutsk branch of the IOPS, and comrade of the Ataman of the Irkutsk Cossack Army of the Union of Cossacks.

In honour of the transfer of the icon to the parish, a religious procession was held in the village, led by the Cossacks of the Irkutsk Branch of the Cossack Convoy of the Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II. The Divine Liturgy took place on the site of the burnt church and in the parish’s Sunday school – and temporary building of the Church of St. Innocent, Bishop of Irkutsk.

© Paul Gilbert. 29 September 2022

22nd anniversary of the Canonization of Nicholas II and his family

0301

Bas-relief on the wall of the Chapel of the Royal Passion-Bearers in Kostroma

On this day – 20th August 2000 – after much debate, Emperor Nicholas II and his family were canonized as passion bearers by the Moscow Patriarchate

The Moscow Patriarchate canonized the family as passion bearers: people who face death with resignation, in a Christ-like manner, as distinguished from martyrs, the latter historically killed for their faith. Proponents cited the piety of the family and reports that the Tsarina and her eldest daughter Olga prayed and attempted to make the sign of the cross immediately before they died.

The term “passion-bearer” is used in relation to those Russian saints who, “imitating Christ, endured with patience physical, moral suffering and death at the hands of political opponents. In the history of the Russian Church, such passion-bearers were the holy noble princes Boris and Gleb (1015), Igor of Chernigov (+ 1147), Andrei Bogolyubsky (+ 1174), Mikhail of Tverskoy (+ 1318), Tsarevich Dimitri (+ 1591). All of them, by their feat of passion-bearers, showed a high example of Christian morality and patience.

Despite their official designation as “passion-bearers” by the August 2000 Council, Nicholas II and his family are referred to as “martyrs” in Church publications, icons, and in popular veneration by the people.

NOTE: The family was canonized on 1st November 1981 as new martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).

This bas-relief (above) also depicts their servants, who had been killed along with the Imperial family. They were also canonized as new martyrs by the ROCOR in 1981 The canonized servants were Yevgeny Botkin, court physician; Alexei Trupp, footman; Ivan Kharitonov, cook; and Anna Demidova, Alexandra’s maid. Also canonized were two servants killed in September 1918, lady in waiting Anastasia Hendrikova and tutor Catherine Adolphovna Schneider. All were canonized as victims of oppression by the Bolsheviks.

On 3 February 2016, the Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) canonized Dr. Botkin as a righteous passion bearer. They did not canonize the servants, two of whom were not Russian Orthodox: Trupp was Roman Catholic, and Schneider was Lutheran.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 August 2022

Night Liturgy at Tsarskoye Selo, 16/17 July 2022

PHOTO: the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral at Tsarskoye Selo

On the night of 16/17 July, a solemn Divine Liturgy was held in the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral at Tsarskoye Selo, in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs who were murdered that same date in 1918, in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg.

A large number of worshipers gathered for the Divine Litury, led by the rector of the cathedral, Father Herman Ranne, co-served by the clergy of the cathedral.

Every year on this day, people from Pushkin [Tsarskoye Selo], St. Petersburg and other towns, come to the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral to prayerfully honour the memory of the last Russian emperor and his family.

Following the Divine Liturgy, a Cross Procession was held around the cathedral.

A brief history of the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral

On 2nd September (O.S. 20th August) 1909, Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II laid the first foundation stone for the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral in Tsarskoye Selo, which became the house church of the Imperial Family, while they were in residence in the nearby Alexander Palace.

A solemn Divine Liturgy was performed by His Grace Theophan, Bishop of Yamburg (1872-1940), attended by the Emperor and members of his family. The cathedral was built in the old Russian style. Three years later, on the same day in 1912, the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral was consecrated.

The Cave Church, situated in the Lower Church, where the Imperial Family came to pray, was consecrated in memory of St. Seraphim of Sarov (there was a special “royal room” in the church), and the upper church was consecrated in memory of the Feodorovskaya Icon of the Mother of God, the patron icon of the Romanov family. During the days of Great Lent, the Emperor remained to pray in the church until late at night.

After the revolution, the cathedral was closed, it was badly damaged during the Great Patriotic War. In 1991 the cathedral was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, restoration of the Cathedral lasted nearly 20 years.. Russia’s first monument to Nicholas II was established on the grounds of the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral in 1993.

Click HERE to view more colour photos of the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral, during a visit by a modern-day group of Cossacks in January 2020

PHOTO: worshipers gather at the monument to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, located in the garden behind the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral

First monument to Nicholas II in Post-Soviet Russia

Situated in the garden behind the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral at Tsarskoye Selo, is the monument to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, created by the St. Petersburg sculptor Victor Vladimirovich Zaiko (born 1944).

Erected and consecrated on 17th July 1993, it was the first monument to Nicholas II to be erected in Post-Soviet Russia.

The monument stands in front of a small group of oak trees, seen in the background, which were planted by Nicholas II and his family on 4 May (O.S. 21 April) 1913. Of the seven trees planted, only four have survived to the present day.

© Paul Gilbert. 21 July 2022

Prayer to the Holy Martyred Tsar Nicholas II

The night of 16/17 July 1918, marks the eve of the 104th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia Nikolaevna and Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich.

Please remember to light a candle this evening in honour of their memory . . .

Prayer to the Holy Martyred Tsar Nicholas II

O holy martyred Tsar and passion-bearer Nicholas, the Lord chose thee as His anointed to be the preserver of the Orthodox realm and to judge thy people with mercy and justice.

And with the fear of God thou didst accomplish royal ministry and show care for souls.

And testing thee, like gold in a crucible, the Lord permitted bitter tribulations to assail thee, like Job the much-suffering, and afterwards He sent upon thee the deprivation of thy royal throne and a martyr’s death.

And all these didst thou meekly endure, as a true servant of Christ, and thou dost now delight in the glory which is on high at the throne of the King of all, together with the holy martyrs: the holy Tsaritsa Alexandra, the holy youth the Tsarevich Alexis, the holy Tsarevnas Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and thy faithful servants, as well as the holy martyred Princess Elizabeth and all the royal martyrs and the holy martyr Barbara.

But as thou hast great boldness before Christ the King, for Whose sake ye all suffered, pray with them, that the Lord forgive the sins of the people which did not hinder the murder of thee, the Tsar and anointed of God, that the Lord deliver the suffering land of Russia from the cruel godless ones who have been permitted to torment us for our sins and falling away from God, and that He restore the throne of Orthodox kings and grant us remission of sins, and instruct us in all the virtues, that we may acquire meekness, humility and love, which these holy martyrs showed forth, that we may be accounted worthy of the heavenly Kingdom, where with thee and all the holy new martyrs and confessors of Russia, we may glorify the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Amen.

Holy Royal Martyrs
Tsar Nicholas II and Family
Pray Unto God For Us!
Glory Be To God For All Things!

© Paul Gilbert. 16 July 2022