From 12th to 20th July, the 22nd annual Tsar’s Days will be held in the Urals [Ekaterinburg and Alapaevsk], which includes a series of solemn events [16th to 18th July] dedicated to Emperor Nicholas II and his family, who met their death and martyrdom in Ekaterinburg 104 years ago, on 17th July 1918.
The main events are the night Divine Liturgy, which is performed on the square in front of the Church on the Blood, built on the site of the Ipatiev House, where members of the Imperial Family and their faithful subjects ended their earthly days, and the 21-km [13 miles] Cross Procession to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, on the site of which the regicides first disposed of the Imperial family’s remains, before returning the following day to exum thre remains and bury them in two separate graves at *Porosenkov Log.
On 18th July, similar events will be held in Alapaevsk, where 8 additonal members of the Romanov dynasty and their faithful servants [see below] met their death and martydom.
The Ekaterinburg Martyrs – 11 victims
Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, and their four faithful retainers Dr. Eugene Botkin (court physician), Alexei Trupp (footman), Ivan Kharitonov (cook), and Anna Demidova (Alexandra’s maid).
The Alapaevsk Martyrs – 8 victims
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, Princes of the Imperial Blood Ioann, Konstantin and Igor Konstantinovich, Prince Vladimir Paley (son of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich), and two faithful servants: sister of the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent Varvara Alekseevna (Yakovleva), and Fyodor Semyonovich (Mikhailovich) Remez, secretary of the Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich.
In addition, the XXI International Festival of Orthodox Culture will be held in Ekaterinburg from 12th-20th July. The festival features many events in honour of the Holy Royal Martyrs, including divine services, religious processions, exhibitions, concerts, conferences and other events.
PHOTO: icon depicting the Ekaterinburg and Alapaevsk Martyrs
July 16, Saturday
09:00 – Divine Liturgy at the altar of the Holy Royal Martyrs, situated in the Lower Church of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg.
13:00 — Cross procession along the route in which the Holy Royal Martyrs travelled upon arriving in Ekaterinburg [from Tobolsk] on 30th April 1918, from the Shartash Train Station [Kuibysheva street, 149-a] to the Church on the Blood. Route: [Tsarskaya street, 10] along the route: railway station Shartash – Kuibyshev street – Vostochnaya street – Chelyuskintsev street – Sverdlov street – K. Liebknecht street).
15:00 – Small Vespers with Akathist to the Holy Royal Martyrs. Confession. In the Lower Church of the Church on the Blood.
16:30-20:00 – All-night vigil, on the square in front of the Church on the Blood.
17:00-20:00 – All-night vigil, at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.
23:30-02:00 – Divine Liturgy, on the square in front of the Church on the Blood.
July 17, Sunday
~ 02:30 – Traditional 21-km [13 miles] Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama Route: Tsarskaya street, 10 – st. Tolmacheva – Lenin Ave. – V. Isetsky Boulevard – st. Kirov – st. Bebel – st. Technical – st. Reshetskaya – Railway forest park – pos. Shuvakish – Ganina Yama.
Upon the arrival of the procession, a Liturgy to the Holy Royal Martyrs will be performed at the Field kitchen.
06:00 – Divine Liturgy (early). Church on the Blood. In the Lower Church, altar at the site of the martyrdom of the Holy Royal Martyrs aka the Imperial Room [built on the site of the murder room, located in the basement of the Ipatiev House].
09:00 – Divine Liturgy (late). Church on the Blood, Upper Church
09:00 – Divine Liturgy. Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.
17.00 – All-night vigil. Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh, at Ganina Yama.
17.00 – All-night vigil. Monastery in the Name of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, Alapaevsk.
July 18, Monday
00:00 – Divine Liturgy. Holy Trinity Archbishop’s Compound, Alapaevsk.
02:30 – Small Vespers with Akathist to the Holy Royal Martyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and nun Varvara. Holy Trinity Archbishop’s Compound, Alapaevsk.
03:30 – Procession from the Holy Trinity Bishops’ Metochion to the Napolnaya School [where Grand Duchess Elizabeth along with other members of the Imperial family and their servants were held under arrest] and further to the Monastery in the Name of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, Alapaevsk.
05:30 – Divine Liturgy (early). Monastery in the Name of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, Alapaevsk.
09:00 – Divine Liturgy (late). Monastery in the Name of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, Alapaevsk.
Tsar’s Days in the 21st century
The first procession in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, headed by Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Kirill, took place in 2002, in which more than 2 thousand pilgrims and about 100 clerics participated. In 2012, for the first time since the construction of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg, an all-night vigil and Divine Liturgy were performed in the open air.
In 2017 an estimated 60,000 people took part; in 2019, 60 thousand participated; in 2020, 10 thousand people [due to COVID], and in 2021, 3 thousand people [once again, due to COVID]. In addition, up to 2 thousand people gathered an alternative religious procession of the schismatic and tsarist monk Sergius (Romanov) in the Sredneuralsk Convent in Honour of the Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In 2018, more than 100,000 Orthodox Christians, monarchists, among others from across Russia and around the world took part in the Patriarchal Liturgy and procession of the cross from the Church on the Blood to the Ganina Yama.
Click HERE to read my article What is Tsar’s Days? – published on 15th May 2021
*NOTE: due to the fact the Moscow Patriachate does not yet recognize the Ekaterinburg Remains as authentic, the Cross Procession does not stop at Porosenkov Log, where the remains of the Imperial family were unearthed in two separate graves in the late 1970s and 2007.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) have confirmed that the Bishops’ Council, will meet in Moscow at the end of 2022, during which they will review the findings of the Investigative Commission and deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.
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© Paul Gilbert. 5 July 2022