Imperial Family seen through the eyes of children

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Metropolitan Demetrius of Tobolsk and Tyumen with the winners of the competition

In December 2019, The Holy Royal Martyrs in the History of Siberia was held in Tyumen, as part of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Tobolsk Metropolis. The events included a competition of paintings by children depicting Emperor Nicholas II and his family. 

More than 40 children participated in the competition. The ceremonial awarding of the finalists took place on 10th December as part of the Christmas holiday for students of the Tyumen Orthodox Gymnasium. Organizers noted that the children submitted “colourful, creative work”, distinguished by each child’s skill and dedication.

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“The Imperial family out for a walk”

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“The Imperial family out for a walk in Tobolsk”

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“From Tobolsk to Yekaterinburg”

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“In One Prayer”

Diplomas and gifts were presented to the best 10 colorful works, in addition to several other participants. The names of the paintings speak of the children’s involvement in the contest theme: “The Imperial family out for a walk”, “The Imperial family out for a walk in Tobolsk”, “From Tobolsk to Yekaterinburg”, “In One Prayer”. 

Metropolitan Demetrius of Tobolsk and Tyumen took part in the award ceremony and thanked the young people of Tyumen for their participation in the competition.

“It is gratifying that many participants reflected the most important essence, which is inherent in the title of the contest: the family of the last Emperor Nicholas II, the Royal Martyrs in the history of Siberia. Children approached the task responsibly, invested their souls, reflected the high moral and spiritual values ​​inherent in Nicholas II and his family,” noted Vladyka Dimitri.

© Paul Gilbert. 16 January 2020

Ekaterinburg diocese launches Telegram channel about Russian Imperial family

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NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 15 February 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

This article has been edited and amended from its original by Paul Gilbert

The Ekaterinburg diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church has launched a Telegram channel devoted to Tsar Nicholas II’s family. The project precedes the centenary anniversary since the Tsarist Family’s brutal murder in the basement floor of a local mansion in July 1918.

Every day, the diocese will publish excerpts from the diaries of the Tsar and Tsarina Alexandra, which they kept during their exile in the West-Siberian city of Tobolsk and in Ekaterinburg.

“Upon the blessing by Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, the царская-семья.рф Telegram channel has come on stream,” a spokesman for the diocese said. “The project is timed for the centenary anniversary of the new regal holy martyrs’ act of martyrdom. The publication of diaries will be synchronized with the events of a hundred years ago.”

“This means, for instance, that today, on 14 February 2018, we’re publishing the entries [the Tsar and the Tsarina] made on 14 February 1918,” he said.

“The contents of the project don’t envision any evaluative judgments on the part of historians or writers living nowadays,” the spokesman said. “This is people’s direct discourse, diaries and letters.”

“By way of counterbalancing distorted information that spreads in society sometimes, we bring to spotlight the real individuals, their thoughts, hopes, aspirations, and love,” he said.

Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the throne on 15 March 1917. Soon after that, he himself, Tsarina Alexandra and their five children were interned. The provisional government that came to power in the wake of the revolutionary events of February and March 1917 sent them off to Tobolsk in August of the same year.

The Bolsheviks came to power as a result of a new revolution in November 1917. The new authorities ordered the transfer of the Imperial Family to Ekaterinburg in the Urals at the end of April 1918.

The climax of the tragedy came on the night 16/17 July 1918, in the basement floor of a mansion that formerly belonged to mining engineer Nikolai Ipatyev. On orders from Moscow – supposedly from Jacob Sverdlov, one of the top officials on the Bolshevik government – a team of members of the Ekaterinburg committee of workers deputies executed the entire family by shooting.

Executed together with them were their closest assistants – family doctor Eugene Botkin, the Tsar’s footman Alexei [Aloiz] Trupp, the Tsarina’s lady-in-waiting Anna Demidov, and chef Ivan Kharitonov.

The further plight of their bodies still gives rise to some questions. Historians and criminology experts proceeding from the findings done by the investigator Nikolai Sokolov, who worked for the anti-Bolshevik forces under the command of Admiral Kolchak from 1919 through 1921, say the bodies were destroyed by burning with the aid of the rectified oil of vitriol and no remains were left.

However, a crew of amateur detectives found the remains of several people near an old local road in 1979. Suggestions that these were the remains of members of the Czarist Family surfaced in the professional milieu. In 1989, the information was made public.

Excavations at the site were done in the early 1990’s and the investigators found more human bones. Sophisticated testing done in several countries proved these were the remains of bodies of Nicholas II’s family with the highest degree of probability.

Entombment of the remains took place in 1998 at the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul in St Petersburg but the Russian Orthodox Church did not take part in the ceremonies because it still questions the identity of the bones.

Supplementary excavation at the site near Ekaterinburg followed in 2007. It resulted in more material finds, the forensic scrutiny of which continues to this day.

On 20th August 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) canonized Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, Tsesarevich Alexis, and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia as new holy martyrs for faith.

Note: On 1st November 1981, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) canonized the Russian Imperial family as new martyrs

© TASS News Agency / Paul Gilbert. 14 December 2019

© Paul Gilbert. 13 December 2019

Procession Marks 100th Anniversary of Nicholas II’s Arrival in Ekaterinburg

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 30 April 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The above VIDEO is an announcement for the procession, which highlights the route known as the Path of Sorrow of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers immortalized by the Russian Orthodox Church with churches in Ekaterinburg.

In the early morning of 30th April 2018, a religious procession took place in Ekaterinburg marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Nicholas II and members of his family from Tobolsk. More than 1,500 people took park in the prayer procession, which passed from the Memorial Cross in the area of the Shartash Railway Station to the Church on the Blood – built on the site of the former Ipatiev House, where Nicholas II, his consort Alexandra, their five children, and four faithful retainers were all murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918 by members of the Ural Soviet.

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Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna were transferred from Tobolsk, and handed over to the Ural Soviet on 30th April 1918. They were accompanied by the Tsar’s aide Prince Vasily Dolgorukov, the family’s physician Dr. Eugene Botkin, and three servants. The rest of the family: Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia, and Tsesarevich Alexei were brought to Ekaterinburg in May 1918.

The procession was headed by the bishops of the Ekaterinburg Diocese: Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, Bishop of Kamensk and Alapaevsky Methodius, Bishop of Sredneuralsky Eugene, vicar of Ekaterinburg diocese, Bishop of Serov and Krasnoturinsky Alexy.

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The procession was attended by numerous clergy and monastics, Cossacks, monarchists, as well as students of the Ekaterinburg theological seminary, nurses and volunteers of the Orthodox Relief Service, representatives of Orthodox brotherhoods, employees and volunteers of the Nika Charity Fund, representatives of youth parish clubs, members of the Youth Cossack organization of the Sverdlovsk region, activists of the youth department of the diocese, as well as numerous parishioners of the churches of the Ekaterinburg diocese.

Crusaders dressed in red jackets carried banners, icons, as well as images of Emperor Nicholas II and the Holy Royal Family, thereby emphasizing the importance of the year of marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers.

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The column of believers began its memorable procession, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Nicholas II and members of his family in Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk, from the Memorial Cross and the foundation stone, which are located near Shartash Railway Station (in 1918 – Yekaterinburg-II Station), on the future site of the Church in Honour of the Icon of the Mother of God “Valaam” – one of the three miraculous icons, revealed during the reign of Nicholas II.

The arrival and the route known as the “Path of Sorrow of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers” are immortalized by the Russian Orthodox Church with churches in Ekaterinburg.

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The procession passed through Ulitsas (streets) Kuibyshev, East, Chelyuskintsev, Sverdlov, Karl Liebknecht, Tsarskoy, stopping at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Port Arthur and the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Derzhavnaya”.

The memorial procession ended at the Church on the Blood, where Metropolitan Kirill, delivered a Divine Liturgy.

The above VIDEO shows the cross procession and the episcopal Divine Liturgy held in memory of the arrival in Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk of Nicholas II and members of his family on 30th April 1918. The Divine Liturgy was performed in the Church on the Blood, by Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye and the bishops of the Ekaterinburg Diocese.

© Paul Gilbert. 11 December 2019

Monument to the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers in Godenovo

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PHOTO © Екатеринбургская Епархия

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 11 June 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

On 11th June 2018, a new monument of the Royal Passion-Bearer – Tsar Nicholas II and his August family, was established and consecrated in the courtyard of the Pereslavlskiy Nikolskiy Convent in the village of Godenovo – situated 140 km NE of Moscow.

The initiative to install monuments to Tsar Nicholas II in Russian cities and towns was made by the participants of the Forum for the Preservation of the Heritage of Emperor Nicholas II, which was held on 18th May in Ekaterinburg. Experts and forum participants supported the initiative, put forward by member of the Regional Public Chamber, chairman of the Ural branch of the Union of Russian Paratroopers Yevgeny Teterin. The initiative received the blessing of Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye.

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PHOTO © Екатеринбургская Епархия

The Monument to the Royal Passion-Bearers in the village of Godenovo, was established on the initiative of Abbess of Eustolia (Afonina) of the Pereslavlskiy Nikolskiy Convent, with the blessing of Bishop of Pereslavl and Uglich Theodore.

The monument represents a picture of Russian history in which the August family led by Nicholas II – the last Emperor and Tsar of the Russian Empire – ascended on a pedestal under a precious crown that embraced Russia, and his children, whose faces are designed to embody the best ideals of the Motherland during their times.

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PHOTO © Екатеринбургская Епархия

The Tsar’s Alley – situated behind the monument – of the Pereslavlskiy Nikolskiy Convent, was decorated with 26 banners depicting photographs and biographies of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers.

© Paul Gilbert. 9 December 2019

Divine Liturgy for Tatishchev and Dolgorukov Performed in Ekaterinburg

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Back row: General Ilya Tatishchev, Pierre Gilliard, and Prince V.A. Dolgorukov
Front row: Ekaterina Schneider and Countess A.V. Hendrikova

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 12 June 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

Sunday 10th June 2018, marked the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of two faithful servants to Emperor Nicholas II – General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev and Prince Vasili Alexandrovich Dolgorukov.

A Divine Liturgy was performed on 10th June 2018, in the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, situated in the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.

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.

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General Ilya Tatishchev (left) and Prince V.A. Dolgorukov (right)

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. 9 December 2019

Divine Liturgy for Nagorny and Sednev Performed in Ekaterinburg

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Klimenty Grigorievich Nagorny (left). and Ivan Dmitriyevich Sednev (right)

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 30 June 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

Thursday 28th June 2018, marked the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of two faithful servants to Emperor Nicholas II and his family – Klimenty Grigorievich Nagorny and Ivan Dmitriyevich Sednev. 

A Divine Liturgy was performed on 28th June 2018, in the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, situated in the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.

Klimenty Nagorny and Ivan Sednev selflessly served the Tsar’s children. Nagorny in particular, lay the great responsibility of protecting the Tsesarevich, even the slightest injury could put the heir to the Russian throne in danger, due to his hemophilia. Alexei was very fond of Nagorny, who in turn showed complete devotion to the Tsesarevich, faithfully sharing with him all the joys and sorrows.

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Nagorny and Tsesarevich Alexei in Tsarskoe Selo, 1907

Klimenty Nagorny and Ivan Sednev voluntarily stayed with the Tsar’s family during their house arrest in Tsarskoe Selo, and then followed them to Tobolsk, where Nagorny shared a room with the Tsesarevich, serving him day and night. Together with the Imperial family, Nagorny also attended all the divine services, and the only member of the family’s retinue who was a member of the choir organized by the Empress: he sang and read for the Imperial family during services held in the house church.

In the spring of 1918 Nagorny and Sednev once again, voluntarily followed the Imperial family to Ekaterinburg. They spent only a few days in the Ipatiev House, and then were separated from the Imperial prisoners. They were arrested and imprisoned, their sole crime had been their inability to hide their indignation on seeing the Bolshevik commissaries seize the little gold chain from which the holy images hung over the sick bed of the Tsesarevich.

On 28th June 1918, they were shot in the back by the Bolsheviks, in a small wooded area behind the Yekaterinburg-2 railway station (modern name – Shartash). Nagorny and Sednev were “killed for betraying the cause of the revolution” – as indicated in the resolution on their execution. The murderers left their bodies unburied.

When Ekaterinburg was occupied by the Whites, the the half-decayed bodies of Nagorny and Sednev, were found and solemnly buried near the Church of All the Afflicted (demolished). Witnesses at the funeral recall that the graves of the former sailors of the Imperial yacht Standart were strewn with white flowers. Their graves were not preserved – they were destroyed when the Soviet authorities built a city park on the site of the cemetery.

Both Nagorny and Sednev were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) on 14 November 1981, and both rehabilitated by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation on 16 October 2009.

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Sednev and Alexeei Nikolaevich, in the Finnish skerries, 1914 

Nagorny, Klementy Grigorovich (1887—1918) – from 1909, he served on the Imperial yacht Shtandart and appointed as a footman to the imperial children. He received the Court title Garderobshik (wardrobe keeper) in 1909 and accompanied the Imperial family on every tour. In November 1913, he was appointed assistant dyadka to guard the Imperial children. He travelled with the Tsesarevich Alexei to Mogilev during 1914-16. After the Tsar’s abdication, he lived under detention with the Imperial family in Tsarskoe Selo, Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg.

Sednev, Ivan Dmitrievich (1881—1918) – was recruited into the Russian Imperial Navy in 1911, where he began as a machinist on the Polyarnaya Zvezda then transferred onto the Imperial yacht Shtandart. By invitation became a Lakei (liveried footman) to the Grand Duchesses, and subsequently to the Tsesarevich. Ivan lived under detention with the Imperial family in Tsarskoe Selo, Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg.

© Paul Gilbert. 8 December 2019

More than 100,000 participate in Liturgy, all-night procession for 100th anniversary of Holy Royal Martyrs

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View of the Church on the Blood on the night of 16/17 2018

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 25 July 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

In 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated the centenary of the martyrdom of the last Imperial family of Russia with numerous events held throughout Russia, with the celebrations culminating in a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in Ekaterinburg and all-night cross procession in their honor.

On the night of 16/17 July 2018, more than 100,000 Orthodox Christians, monarchists, among others gathered in Ekaterinburg for the liturgical celebrations. The faithful came from all corners of Russia and around the world, including Azerbaijan, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Serbia, USA, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, France, Estonia, South Korea, and Japan.

The first Tsar’s Days procession took place in 1992, with the participation of but a few dozen faithful.

The event began with the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the square in front of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg, built on the site where the Ipatiev House once stood, where the family was murdered. The service was headed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill with more than 35 hierarchs and multiple clergy concelebrating.

The entire service was broadcast live on the Orthodox TV station “Union:”

A special platform was erected for the Liturgy in front of the gates of the lower church, where the “Imperial Room” is located—a chapel in honor of the Royal Martyrs, built on specific site of their martyrdom.

Following the Liturgy, the patriarch led the traditional Royal Cross Procession from the place of martyrdom of the holy Royal Martyrs and their servants to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama ravine, covering a distance of 21 km (13 miles).

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His Holiness leads the Cross Procession to Ganina Yama

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The Cross Procession nears the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama

According to law enforcement agencies, more than 100,000 took part in the procession.

According to tradition, the faithful carried banners and icons in the procession, including a 6.5-ft. icon of the Tsar-Martyr, painted in 2017 for the Church of the “Reigning” Icon of the Mother of God at Ganina Yama. Together with the kiot, the icon weighs 330 lbs. A special bier on wheels was made to move the heavy icon.

The procession was also accompanied by 25 mobile groups from an Orthodox charity service, consisting of clergy, representatives of the Dormition Orthodox Brotherhood of Ekaterinburg, sisters of mercy, and volunteers, who provided assistance to those who could not walk the entire route of the procession. Field kitchens and tests were also set up at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs for the pilgrims to rest.

His Holiness and the procession arrived at the monastery in the morning, where the patriarch served a moleben to the Royal Martyrs in front of the memorial cross erected at Mine #7, where the bodies of the Royal Martyrs were abused and disposed of. His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II (1929-2008) thus referred to Ganina Yama as “a living antimens, permeated with particles of the burnt holy relics.”

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His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

His Holiness then addressed the sea of faithful with a primatial word:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

Your Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine! Fellow archpastors! Dear brothers and sisters, gathered in a multitude this night before the place where one hundred years ago was committed a terrible crime—wholly innocent people, who had committed their lives to the service of their Motherland, were killed by the evil will of man!

This atrocity still chafes our conscience, still causes us to mentally return to that time and try to understand what happened to our country and to our people. Where did this insanity, this attack come from? Looking from a distance of one hundred years, even if we want to we cannot see all the nuances of the national life of our people, which fade from memory and are missed by even the most penetrating gaze. But such crimes, as were committed here, cannot be accidental. Something stood behind this crime; behind it is the collective guilt of our people, a turn in the historical life of Holy Rus’, which led the people into a heavy, terrible impasse.

What happened to our people? After all, the country was covered with churches and monasteries, an absolute majority of the people were baptized, and the churches were filled with people. Why did it happen? Why did the murderers squeeze the trigger, without trembling at what they were doing? It means not everything was favorable. It means the sunlight reflected in the gilded domes was not always refracted into human hearts to strengthen faith in the Lord in them. And we know how over the course of at least 200 years preceding the tragedy of the Ipatiev House some changes occurred in the people’s consciousness that gradually but steadily led many to a departure from God, neglect of the commandments, and a loss of spiritual connection with the Church and the centuries-old spiritual tradition.

Why did this happen to our people? Why did they at some point become like a train whose engineer didn’t calculate its speed and heads into a steep turn, rushing towards an imminent catastrophe? When did we as people start this turn? We entered when alien thoughts, alien ideals, and an alien worldview, formed under the influence of philosophical and political theories, having nothing in common either with Christianity or our national tradition and culture, began to be perceived by the intelligentsia and aristocracy and even part of the clergy as advanced thoughts by which it was possible to change the people’s lives for the better.

Indeed, the idea of changing the life of the people for the better arises whenever there is a plan to abruptly change the course of history. We know that the worst and bloodiest revolutions have always occurred in view of people’s aspirations for a better life. The leaders of these revolutions instilled in the people that there is no other way to make life better—only by blood, only through death, only through the destruction of the existing way of life. And at some point, having abandoned their spiritual birthright, having lost their true connection with the Church and God, the intelligentsia, aristocracy, and even, as I have already said, part of the clergy were darkened in mind and infected with the thought of the need to drastically change the course of our national history and to try to build as quickly as possible a world where justice reigns, where there is no bygone separation according to material indicators, where people live peacefully and happily. As a result, many of those captured by this idea reach the point of committing crimes.

A question arises: “Is it possible through crime, through blood, through violence, and through the destruction of holy sites to build a happy life?” History clearly testifies: It is impossible! And, perhaps, the first and most important lesson that we should learn today from the tragedy of a century ago is that no promises of a happy life, no hope for help from outside, from some supposedly more educated and advanced people should seduce our people. We must remember the tragedy of the past. We must develop an immunity to any call to attain to human happiness through the destruction of that which is.

Hardly did anyone who called for the destruction of the people’s lives destroy their own lives, renouncing their own wellbeing. But with what fury they proposed to do it to everyone! And the people absorbed this lie; and the crowning act of departure from the most sacred and valuable that they had was the hideous execution of the Royal Family—innocent people who had not violated the law. And what kind of law could we even be talking about if it was necessary to kill the Tsar and his family to build a happy life? We know that nothing turned out well, and taught by bitter experience, we must build a robust rejection of any ideas and any leaders who propose to strive for some obscure “happy future” through the destruction of the life of the people, our traditions, and our faith.

Today, gathered here in such a great number, we remember the tragedy of the Ipatiev House. We have lifted up prayers to the Lord, we have prayed to the Emperor and Passion-Bearer Nicholas and those who suffered with him, that they would pray in Heaven for our earthly Fatherland and for our people and strengthen the Orthodox faith in every subsequent generation of Russians; that faithfulness to God and love for the Fatherland would accompany the lives of the youth and subsequent generations, and that no tragedy of this kind would ever happen again in our land.

May the Lord preserve our Russian land and the Russian people who today live in various countries; and although they are called by various names, are the same people who came out of the Kievan baptismal font, and passing though the most severe historical circumstances, have retained the Orthodox faith until today. May God’s blessing be upon our people, upon our Fatherland, and upon our martyric Russian Orthodox Church. May the life of our people be transfigured by the prayers of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church—without any upheavals or blood, but upon the firm foundation of faith and hope that God is with us! May the Lord save us all by the prayers of the holy Royal Passion-Bearers and all the New Martyrs!

Amen.

© Paul Gilbert. 8 December 2019

Documentary: ‘Regicide. A Century of Investigation’

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“We have shown all the stage of the investigation of the Royal Family’s murder” – Elena Chavchavadze on the new Russian language documentary, Цареубийство. Следствие длиною в век / Regicide. A Century of Investigation.

In 2015, a new investigation was launched into the murder of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and their children and servants. This was instigated by the “Ekaterinburg remains”, which some are convinced are those of the Royal Martyrs. The Russian Orthodox Church has not yet come to a final conclusion, and the detective work goes on.

The new documentary, Regicide. A Century of Investigation, premiered in the evening of November 24, 2019, on the “Russia” TV channel. Its creator, Elena Nikolaevna Chavchavadze, talked to Yegor Andreev on what this film is about, how it was created and what revelations it has led to.

At the end of the interview, Chavchavadze is asked, “In conclusion, what would you wish to the viewers who will watch the film? How should they watch it? What should they get ready for?”

“Watch it without bias” – she replies – “If you feel your responsibility before God, then you shouldn’t pass any judgment before you are convinced of the truth yourself and hear the voice of the Church in this case. This is something we are waiting for, too.”

On a personal note, I would like to add that this is a very interesting interview, and a MUST for those of you who are following the ongoing investigation of the Ekaterinburg remains, and awaiting its conclusion by the Russian Orthodox Church – PG

Click HERE to read Yegor Andreev’s interview (in English) with documentary creator Elena Chavchavadze, translated from Russian by Dmitry Lapa, and published on the Pravoslavie.ru web site 5th December 2019.

You can watch the documentary Цареубийство. Следствие длиною в век / Regicide. A Century of Investigation by clicking on the image above. The video’s duration is 1 hour, 42 minutes and is in Russian only:

© Paul Gilbert. 6 December 2019

Russian Orthodox Church in Dispute Over Porosenkov Log

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At Porosenkov Log, during my visit to Ekaterinburg, July 2018

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 13 August 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

Back in March 2016, I reported that Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye had made a request to the Sverdlovsk regional government to transfer the land in and around Porosenkov Log (3.7 hectares) to the Ekaterinburg Diocese. The territory is simultaneously claimed by the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local History in Ekaterinburg. My report was followed up by a second article on the dispute in July 2017 (see links below for both articles – PG).

Since the events marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family last month, the subject is again making headlines in the Urals media.

According to a document signed by the head of the regional forestry department Oleg Sandakov, as early as 2016, Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye made a request to the regional government to transfer Porosenkov Log to the diocese “for gratuitous urgent use for religious activities.” Scans of the relevant documents (see below) were published last week on the Memorial of the Romanovs Facebook page.

In June 2014, a request was made to recognize Porosenkov Log as a cultural heritage site. Then, the regional ministry of culture planned to transfer the Romanov Memorial site to the Sverdlovsk Museum of Local History. The official opening of the memorial was planned to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the deaths and martyrdom of the Holy Royal Martyrs in July 2018.

In 2016, however, the Ekaterinburg Diocese began to interfere with the plans. In February of the same year, Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye sent an appeal to the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region Evgeny Kuyvashev, in which he asked to declare invalid the document on the transfer of the site to the museum. The governor granted the Metropolitan’s appeal, with the regional ministry of culture subsequently putting the project on hold.

“Due to the historical and spiritual significance of the territory, and in order to avoid any disagreements between secular and religious parties, an official note was sent to the governor of the Sverdlovsk region on the expediency of organizing a discussion on the development of the territory as a cultural heritage site with all interested parties,” said the head of the regional department of forestry Oleg Sandakov.

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At the second grave where the remains of Alexei and Maria where discovered in 2007

On the eve of the Tsar’s Days held in Ekaterinburg last month, the Russian Investigative Committee confirmed that genetic examinations on the remains found at Porosenkov Log belong to the murdered Imperial family. It was hoped that Patriarch Kirill would officially recognize the remains during his visit to Ekaterinburg, however, this did not happen. An estimated 100,000 people took part in the pilgrimage from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, where once again the final prayer service was held, which is still considered by the ROC to be the final burial place of the bodies of the royal martyrs. Porosenkov Log was not included in the pilgrimage.

Despite the fact that the authenticity of the “royal remains” has not been recognized by the ROC, the Ekaterinburg Diocese is unlikely to back away from its plans. It can not be ruled out that the dispute over the site will be put on hold until the time when the church changes its position.

It is believed that not “if” but “when” the Moscow Patriarchate officially recognize the “Ekaterinburg remains”, that a new monastery in honour of the Holy Royal Martyrs, similar to the one situated 3.8 km down the road at Ganina Yama, will be constructed at Porosenkov Log.

© Paul Gilbert. 5 November 2019

Memorial Cross to the Holy Royal Martyrs in London

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NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 22 August 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

On 13th July 2018, the day after the Feast of the Holy Apostles Sts Peter and Paul, a new memorial Cross to the Holy Royal Martyrs was erected on the grounds of the Diocesan Cathedral of the Mother of God and the Royal Martyrs in London.

The memorial Cross, which has been commissioned to mark the centenary of the martyrdom of the Imperial Family, was carved of red granite by special commission of the parish. The lower Altar of the Cathedral is dedicated to the honour of the Holy Royal Martyrs, and it seemed fitting to the faithful of the community to pay homage to the holy intercessors by erecting a Cross in their honour, to serve as a perpetual monument to the God-pleasing lives of these saints.

The initial erecting of the Cross will be followed by landscaping of the nearby territory to accommodate the new monument, which will be formally blessed on the day of the Cathedral’s full consecration on the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, 21st September 2018.

The Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Royal Martyrs took place at the London Cathedral at 9.00 a.m. on Tuesday, 17th July 2018 (n.s.), served in the Lower Church. It was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Irenei together with clergy of the Cathedral, Diocese, and guests from the surrounding areas. The new memorial Cross was visited as part of the Cross Procession of the Altar Feast.

© Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland (ROCOR). 5 November 2019