PHOTO: Father Nikolai (Guryanov), holding a portrait of Tsar Martyr Nicholas II, painted in 2017 by the contemporary Russian artist Vladimir Latyntsev
“Whoever loves the Tsar and Russia loves God” – Father Guryanov
Nikolai Alekseevich Guryanov (1909-2002), is regarded as one of the most revered elders of the Russian Orthodox Church of the late 20th – early 21st centuries. He is greatly respected by Orthodox Christians and Russian Monarchists for keeping the memory of Emperor Nicholas II alive, during the Soviet years.
He was born on 24th May 1909, into a peasant family in Chudskiye Zakhody (now the village of Zakhody), a village situated in the Gdovsky District of the Pskov Oblast. Nikolai’s father, Alexei Ivanovich Guryanov, was the regent of the church choir, died in 1914. The elder brother, Mikhail Alekseevich Guryanov, taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory; younger brothers, Peter and Anatoly, also had musical abilities. All three brothers died in the First World War (1914-18). Nikolai’s mother, Ekaterina Stepanovna Guryanova, helped her son in his labours for many years.
Nikolai’s father died in 1914. His mother lived a long life, she died on 23rd May 1969, and was buried in the cemetery on Zalit Island, situated on the Zalitsky Islands, located in the south-eastern part of Lake Pskov, 25 km northwest of Pskov.
From childhood, Nicholas served at the altar in the church of Michael the Archangel. As a child, Metropolitan Veniamin (Kazan) visited the parish . Father Nikolai recalled this event in the following way: “I was still a boy. Vladyka served, and I held his staff. Then he hugged me, kissed me and said: “How happy you are that you are with the Lord …“.
Teacher, prisoner, priest
From 1958, Father Nikolai served as rector of St. Nicholas Church for 44 years, until his death in 2002. Orthodox Christians came from all over the country for spiritual support.
Next to the church stands a cross erected in memory of the service Nikolai Guryanov provided to the Russian Orthodox community.
PHOTO: the home of Father Nikolai (Guryanov) in Ostrov-Zalit, on the island of Talabsk
PHOTO: Father Nikolai (Guryanov) at his tiny home in Ostrov-Zalit
PHOTO: the cemetery in Ostrov-Zalit, on the island of Talabsk, where Father Nikolai (Guryanov) is buried
PHOTO: the grave of Father Nikolai (Guryanov), at the cemetery in Ostrov-Zalit, on the island of Talabsk
PHOTO: the 18th century Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, in Ostrov-Zalit, on the island of Talabsk, where Father Nikolai (Guryanov) served as rector for 44 years
Veneration of the Holy Royal Martyrs
During his life, Father Guryanov’s room was filled with photos and images of Nicholas II and family. He kept albums, films, and documentaries about the last Russian Tsar. Guryanov also honoured Grigori Rasputin.
Father Nikolay had the gift of foresight: not only did he predicted the collapse of communism, he also predicted the canonization of Emperor Nicholas II and his family by the Russian Orthodox Church.
According to Father Guryanov, Nicholas II said The Jesus Prayer to himself daily: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“The sword of a terrible war constantly hangs over Russia, and only our prayers to the Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas will take away the wrath of God from us. We must ask the Tsar that there should be no war. He loves and pities Russia. If only you knew how He cries for us!” – Father Nikolai (Guryanov) – 1909-2002
PHOTO: Alexander Chernavsky carries the miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, during the 21-km Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama
The annual Cross Procession held during Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg on 17th July is known for many miraculous events. It was during this year’s procession, that the miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, once again began to stream myrrh. The icon was brought from Moscow, by the head of the Military Orthodox Mission, Alexander Chernavsky, and this miracle was witnessed by the film crew of the Orthodox Soyuz TV channel, headed by correspondent Svetlana Ladina.
“This is the 30th annual Cross Procession in which we are taking part. The icon of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II has been streaming myrrh since 1998, and today, look, droplets of myrrh on the icon itself and along the frame have appeared like “diamonds”. I think the Sovereign is happy that we are here, and these “diamonds” bless all the participants in the procession. Kiss and pray for the sovereign to open our eyes and heart,” – said Alexander Chernavsky.
The icon of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II was painted in the United States of America even before the sovereign was glorified in Russia by the Moscow Patriarchate. And this event has an amazing story . . .
VIDEO: interview with Alexander Chernavsky, and coverage of the Cross Procession from the Church on the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama
The miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II
The Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas was commissioned by Ija Schmit (1936-2018), a Russian émigré in the United States, who used money inherited from her mother to have the icon painted in 1996.
Paul Gilbert first met Ija in 1998, when she joined his annual Romanov Tour to Russia, which that year included Moscow and Crimea. Ija was accompanied by her husband Harvey and their daughter Nina. It was during this visit that she told me about this icon, a copy of which she later gifted me.
The icon would be dedicated to the future canonization of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas in Russia, and in memory of her mother. After Ija’s initial inspiration to have the icon painted, she contacted iconographer Paul Tikhomirov, himself a Russian immigrant, to see if he was interested in her project. Tikhomirov’s response was, “I will make the icon shine!” They decided to depict Nicholas II in coronation robes [1996 was the 100th anniversary of his coronation in Moscow], with St. Nicholas, his patron saint, and St. Job, on whose feast day Nicholas was born, in the upper right and left hand corners. Below the figures would be printed in Russian, “This Holy Icon is for the Canonization of the Tsar-Martyr in Russia.”
Ija received the finished icon on 12th May 1996 and then traveled to Texas, where it was blessed by Bishop Constantine (Yesensky), an old family friend, who had served as Bishop of Great Britain. The icon, however, was not intended solely for family veneration. Ija and her husband, Harvey Schmit, had already arranged to have paper copies of the icon printed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II on 27th May (O.S. 14th) 1996.
Forty-four thousand copies of the icon were printed. The distribution of the icons [printed in three sizes], was handled by Ija’s own non-profit organization, the Society Honoring Russian Nobility, and income from the icons sold in the West purchased food and medicine for needy pensioners and orphans in Russia. A fourth, smaller version of the icon was printed by the thousands and given away in Russia without charge.
As word of the icon spread, Christians from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and even Serbia, began writing and requesting copies. The Society has met all these requests and distributed more than twenty thousand icons in Russia alone.
PHOTO: Alexander Chernavsky holding the miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama
On a visit to Russia in late 1996, Father Herman [Ija Schmit’s brother] presented a number of prints to Fr. Juvenaly, the priest at the St. Nicholas Almshouse in Ryazan. On 16th (O.S. 2nd) March 1998 (the anniversary of Tsar Nicholas II’ abdication and the miraculous appearance of the Reigning Icon of the Mother of God. Fr. Juvenaly blessed Dr. Oleg Belchenko with one of the prints, which the doctor took with him back to Moscow. The paper icon had been given to him in a glassfronted, three-dimensional wooden icon-case (a kiot) and Dr. Belchenko set it in a prominent place in his Moscow apartment. On 5th September, Dr. Belchenko noticed that a red spot had appeared over the right eyelid of the Tsar. The following day a second red spot appeared over the left eye. Dr. Belchenko first compared the icon with a smaller print to be sure that he had simply overlooked the distinctive marks. The smaller icon did not match. Dr. Belchenko then called Sretensky Monastery of the Meeting of the Lord to ask what he should do. The monks asked him to bring the icon of Tsar Nicholas to the monastery the following morning. Dr.Belchenko arrived early and stood through the liturgy holding the icon in a plastic bag at his side. At the end of the liturgy a moleben and blessing of the waters was held. The officiating priest recognized Dr. Belchenko, and knowing that he had come with the icon, had the choir sing a troparion for Tsar-Martyr Nicholas. Following the troparion, Dr. Belchenko noticed one of the parishioners staring at him. Finally, the man approached and asked, “What is that fragrance?” Dr. Belchenko replied: “You are probably smelling incense – I am sorry, I can’t smell anything myself because I have a cold.” The man persisted: “No. I tell you, the fragrance is coming from somewhere around you… the smell is much more refined than incense.” Dr. Belchenko replied impatiently, “You should be ashamed of talking such nonsense while the service is going on!” The man moved away embarrassed, but within a few moments other worshippers filtered over, curious about the fragrance and asking what was in the package. “Nothing, only an icon,” he replied. “Show it to us.” As Dr. Belchenko opened the package and took out the icon, the remarkable scent filled the church.
The icon of Tsar Nicholas II was displayed for veneration in the monastery church for three weeks. After Dr. Belchenko took it home, the fragrance continued to a lesser degree, and as word began to spread, Muscovites increasingly asked to come to his apartment to venerate the icon. Dr. Belchenko felt that his home was too small to accommodate many visitors, so he asked an Orthodox friend, Alla Dyakova, to keep the icon in her flat, where those who wished could venerate it. When asked how he was able relinquish such a treasure, Dr. Belchenko answered, “The icon is not mine. It belongs to all Russians.”
On 19th October, Alla Dyakova and Fr. Peter Vlashchenko, a married priest from the Ivanovo region, took the icon to Elder Kyril of St. Sergius Lavra, who was in Peredelkino, outside Moscow. Elder Kyril venerated the icon and blessed Fr. Peter and Alla with the words, “Go. Take the icon to whomever asks for it.”
On 1st November, the icon was brought to the Martha-Mary Convent in Moscow, founded by Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the sister- in-law of Tsar Nicholas II and herself a new-martyr. The day not only marked the birthday of Elizabeth, but the anniversary of Tsar Nicholas’ assuming the throne at his father’s death in 1894. The icon of Tsar Nicholas was placed on the analogion next to an icon of Grand Duchess Elizabeth. Throughout the Divine Liturgy the icon of the Tsar poured forth waves of fragrance, filling the chapel.
It is worth mentioning that the popular veneration of the Tsar-Martyr played an important role in the canonization of the Imperial Family at the Jubilee Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000 among the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.
In August 2000, the Russian Church met at a synod in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Moscow. Amongst the things discussed was the issue of canonization. The eagerly-awaited news finally escaped the cathedral’s walls to the faithful gathered outside: Tsar Nicholas II and his family were now recognized as Saints! The date of their martyrdom was now recorded in Orthodox calendars around the world as their feast day. It is certain that influential in this decision were two paper icons of the martyrs, both of which exuded sweet-smelling myrrh and so revealed those Saints to be themselves “a sweet aroma of Christ unto God” (2 Cor 2:15).
The keeper of the miraculous image, the Moscow surgeon Oleg Ivanovich Belchenko, has travelled around Russia for many years, bringing the icon to to churches and monasteries arousing veneration of the Holy Royal Martyrs wherever it went through its aromatic myrrh. Many Orthodox Christians believe that their prayers have been answered by God through the intercession of the Tsar and his family.
Lately, due to his age, Oleg has handed over this honourary mission to Alexander Fedorovich Chernavsky, a publicist, head of the Orthodox Mission for the Revival of the Spiritual Values of the Russian People. The Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Tsar Nicholas II, appears with the same unpretentious simplicity with which the late Tsar laid down his throne and bore his final months of house arrest before his death and martyrdom.
Holy Tsar Martyr Nicholas II, Pray to God for Us!
 The desire of many Russian Orthodox Christians for the canonization of Tsar Nicholas and his family does not stem from a belief that their personal lives were blameless, although from historical accounts and the family’s own letters it is obvious that they were Christians of great integrity. The widespread desire for the family’s canonization is based on the fact that Tsar Nicholas and his family were murdered as a result of his position as the sacramentally anointed Orthodox monarch of Russia.
Paperback edition. 134 pages + 23 black & white photos
This book is not only for Orthodox and non-Orthodox persons, but for any one who shares an interest in the life, death, and martyrdom of the Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II.
An illustrated Introduction by independent researcher Paul Gilbert explores the piety of Nicholas II, and his devotion to the Russian Orthodox Church, which reached its fullest development and power, during his 22-year reign.
This book further examines the trials and tribulations the Tsar endured, which later led to his canonization by the Russian Orthodox Church.
This unique collection of writings helps dispel many of the negative myths which persist to this very day, a must read for any one who seeks to learn the truth about Nicholas II.
Gilbert has compiled this collection of writings as part of his mission to clear the name of Russia’s much slandered Tsar, and my own personal journey to Orthodoxy.
PHOTO: Natalya Poklonskaya carrying an icon of Tsar Martyr Nicholas II during the Immortal Regiment March, held in Moscow on 9th May 2016
On 9th May 2016, Natalya Poklonskaya took part in the Immortal Regiment March, during which she carried an icon of Tsar Martyr Nicholas II. Earlier this week, she opened up for the first time about the retributions that followed.
“For the fact that I carried the image of Nicholas II, which is revered as a Saint in the Russian Orthodox Church, I was punished. I even received a letter from the General Prosecutor’s Office. On 22nd June 2016, the First Deputy Prosecutor General wrote: “You have committed an inappropriate act, contrary to the charter of the Immortal Regiment movement, prompting criticisms from the Russian media. As an employee of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation, you have committed a violation of the code of ethics”. So, I was punished, but I am very happy with this punishment – because that means I did something right.
Shortly thereafter, Poklonskaya was dismissed from her position as Prosecutor of the Republic of Crimea. The first rumours about her resignation were published in July – right after her “punishment”.
During a conversation with her Instagram subscribers earlier this week, Natalya also explained the meaning behind her act on the Immortal Regiment.
“Nicholas II, of course, did not take part in the Great Patriotic War. He couldn’t because he had been murdered. After that, the story began to develop in a different way. The people who died for their faith, defending our freedom, for me they are all heroes! My two grandfathers died. One of them at the hands of the Bolsheviks. Their portraits were also with me during the Immortal Regiment,” – said Poklonskaya.
PHOTO: Poklonskaya standing next to a bust of Nicholas II in Simferopol
Who is Natalya Poklonskaya?
Poklonskaya is a popular Russian politician who, from 2014 to 2016 served as Prosecutor of the Republic of Crimea and in 2015 as State Counselor of Justice 3rd Class. From 2016 to 2021, she served as Deputy of the State Duma of Russia, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs.
While in office, Poklonskaya became notable for her defence of Russia’s much slandered tsar Nicholas II. In February 2017, she led a campaign to block the release of the film Matilda for its allegedly blasphemous portrayal of the affair between Tsar Nicholas II (who has been canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church) and the ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya. Poklonskaya defended the Tsar and called on local prosecutors to determine whether the film was religiously insensitive.
She released a 39-page report attempting to denounce the film and alleging, among other claims, which according to Poklonskaya, grossly violates the historical truth and offends the feelings of Orthodox believers.
In addition, Poklonskaya has also argued that Nicholas II’s abdication in 1917 was legally null and void. She further claimed that a bronze bust of Nicholas II in Simferopol was seeping fragrant myrrh. Her claims, however, were denied by the Russian Orthodox Church.
On 13th October 2021, Poklonskaya was appointed by Russian president Vladimir Putin as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Cape Verde.
PHOTO: Natalya Poklonskaya wearing the Imperial Order of St. Anastasia, illegally awarded to her by Princess Maria Vladimirovna (right)
Poklonskaya and Princess Maria Vladimirovna
In 2014, the Russian politician and State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya was illegally awarded the Imperial Order of St. Anastasia by the self proclaimed Head of the non-existent Russian Imperial House Princess Maria Vladimirovna, for her efforts in the reunification of Crimea with Russia.
On 30th November 2017, Poklonskaya returned the Order and nobility title, because Maria Vladimirovna refused to support Poklonskaya’s efforts on outlawing the controversial film Matilda for its allegedly blasphemous portrayal of the affair between Nicholas II and the ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya.
 The Immortal Regiment is a massive civil event staged annually on 9th May in major cities in Russia during the Victory Day celebrations. It is also a public non-profit organization, created in Russia on a voluntary basis with the aim of “immortalizing” the memory of home front workers, armed forces service personnel, partisans, personnel of resistance organizations, and personnel of law enforcement and emergency services. The March involves people carrying on the memory of war veterans, with participants carrying pictures of relatives and/or family friends who served in the country’s labour sector, paramilitary units, the Soviet Armed Forces and law enforcement organizations during the Second World War.
 Emperor Nicholas II’s strategic projects did in fact play a decisive role in the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. I am currently researching for an article on this subject, to be published in early 2022 – PG
 Maria Vladimirovna promotes herself as a “Grand Duchess,” however, this is incorrect. The last grand duchess of Russia was Nicholas II’s younger sister Olga Alexandrovna, who died on 24th November 1960, in Toronto, Canada.
It is very important to note, that Maria Vladimirovna never had or has any authority to hand out titles or awards as she is not and never has been a ruling monarch. Despite this, Maria actively, and completely illegally distributes orders, medals and even titles of the Russian Empire. While many orders and awards of the Russian Empire have been officially restored in the modern Russian Federation, an ordinary civilian, and not a representative of the state, distributes the same order in appearance and name to her supporters on behalf of the “Imperial House”!
Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye
On 19th May 2020, the day marking the 152nd anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas II, Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, gave a sermon at the Church on the Blood, urging Russian society to make a fresh assessment of Russia’s much slandered Tsar.
Emperor Nicholas II was born on the day of the Righteous Job the Long-suffering, and his memory is celebrated by the Church on 6th May in the old calendar or on 19th May according to a new style.
* * *
The birthday of Saint Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich on 19th May almost always falls during the days of Pascha, the feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Church on Blood in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg, on the Russian Golgotha, the memory of the Holy Tsar Martyr, born 152 years ago, on the day of memory of the Righteous Job the Long-suffering, and who was martyred 102 years ago in Ekaterinburg, who suffered for Christ, is especially celebrated. for the Orthodox faith and for Holy Russia.
In Ekaterinburg, the earthly life of a great, very kind and decent man, the anointed of God, whom we revere with love today, has ended. Today, the veneration of the Tsar-Martyr is strong among believers, however, Bolshevik myths and lies about the “weak-willed ruler Nicholas the Bloody” remain embedded in our modern-day secular society.
If we use the language of images that is inherent in modern society, whom are less and less inclined to read and think for themselves, one can weigh the enormity of the atrocity without words, it is enough to compare the photographs of the victims and the executioners. On the one hand is a photograph of the Holy Family: Tsar Nicholas, Tsarina Alexandra and their five children, and on the other is a photograph of their killers. Two very different worlds are clearly reflected In this “mirror”: light, mercy and kindness, almost heavenly beauty, on the one side, anger and black-hearted hatred, on the other.
We must understand that the people who committed the massacre of the Imperial Family and their followers for decades ruled the Russia in which we live today. The ideologists of Bolshevism needed to justify the murder of the Tsar’s family and their loyal subjects, to justify their brutal reprisals and repressions, which were committed during their reign of terror. Having launched their campaign of murder and oppression, the Bolsheviks and later the Soviets completely erased from the textbooks of history and public consciousness the large-scale achievements and great achievements of Nicholas II’s reign.
This glaring contradiction in many respects affects our contemporaries today who cannot understand and accept a Christian life and the Orthodox worldview of the Holy Tsar Nicholas. And he was truly a Christian – sincere, kind, decent, warm-hearted, pious and honourable. Therefore, for us, this date is the day of our constant and pure repentance for the atrocity committed by our ancestors …
Repentance is a change of consciousness. In relation to the Tsar’s family, this is a rethinking of the role of the Tsar Martyr in Russia’s history, a change in our attitude towards him. Yes, this activity is ongoing, but its scope is extremely modest in the absence of state ideology.
But in a world where the image of the Holy Tsar still remains slandered and distorted, and the streets, squares, and even entire regions bear the names of murderers, to this day there is no repentance. Is spiritual healing of our society possible without such a change? Is it any wonder today when among us there are those who draw the swastika, raise their hands in a Nazi salute, try to include Nazi photographs in the Immortal Regiment, putting the murderers and those killed in the memorial march? These are people brought up on the very contradictions of our public and state life.
Therefore, until sincere repentance occurs, we are doomed to suffer from the lack of spirituality of modern society, having Victory Day as the only national holiday, forgetting the Kulikovo Field, the Battle of Borodino and many other glorious victories of the Russian soldier, Russian people, sanctified by Orthodox prayer and faith. Until then, people will continue to desecrate the churches of the Fatherland, for whom there is nothing sacred in this life, because it was destroyed a century ago, when Russian history was swept into an abyss, the Russian state, including here in Ekaterinburg, where a memorial church stands today on the sight of the Ipatiev House, where on the night of 16/17 July 1918, the blood of the Holy Royal Martyrs was spilled. This seal of regicide lies today in the city where the atrocious crime took place. It’s regrettable, but much less attention is paid to preserving the memory of the Holy Tsar than the memory of their monster killers,
Therefore, today, living here, on the site of Russian Calvary, we have a great and special responsibility before God, before the Holy Church, before our Russian Motherland and before the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs. If others around us do not repent, we must do this all the time. The memory of the Holy Tsar and the fact that the last days of his holy life passed here in Ekaterinburg, that it was here that he accepted his martyrdom – this is our personal responsibility to the Holy Church and to all those future generations of people who, hopefully, have something they can change within their own environment and our region will not bear the name of any of the men who participated in regicide.
And while we are serving the Divine Liturgy at the Tsar’s Altar, while we honour the memory of the Holy Martyr Tsar Nicholas and all the new martyrs who were killed for the Orthodox faith and for our Holy Fatherland, until then we can still hope for God’s mercy. We will pray to God and meekly, humbly – like the Holy Tsar himself – to wish salvation to everyone who lives among us, who is our compatriot, and who today does not know or does not want to know the feat of the Holy Tsar and all the new martyrs and confessors of the Russian Church – who to this day they stand for Holy Russia, they protect us and do not let everything that has been gathered in our Fatherland for centuries and that today is held by some special Divine power, preserving our people, our country on this earth in peace and prosperity .
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, great efforts by historians and the Russian Orthodox Church to research and establish a fresh and honest reassessment of the last Russian Tsar, but in the absence of a state ideology and a clear position on this issue, all this is but a small fraction.
It was in Ekaterinburg in May 2018, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the last Russian Emperor, on the initiative of the World Russian People’s Cathedral and the Double-Headed Eagle Society, that a public forum was held to preserve the heritage of Tsar Nicholas II. Scientists and members of the public raised the issue of preserving the historical memory of the Sovereign, gathered to recognize the merits of Nicholas II on the development of the Russian state and public assessment of the murder of the Tsar’s family, committed a century ago. Today, the results of this forum require further development.