Ekaterinburg celebrates 300th anniversary in 2023

In 2023, Ekaterinburg will celebrate the 300th anniversary of its founding in 1723. This historic anniversary will be marked by a series of events and celebrations, plus the implementation of a number of significant construction projects dedicated to the founding of the Ural city, the center of the Sverdlovsk region and the Urals Federal District, the unofficial “capital of the Urals” and the fourth-largest city in Russia.

Preparations for the celebration began in 2017. It is estimated that the total amount of public and private funding for the celebrations and projects is 244 billion rubles [$4.4 billion USD].

Among the hundreds of events planned are the following:

  • reconstruction of St. Catherine’s Cathedral (destroyed in 1930), according to a new design and a new location
  • expansion of the Hermitage-Ural Cultural and Educational Center, branch of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg
  • Tsar’s Days, marking the 105th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, with the participation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who will perform a Patriarch Liturgy at the Church on the Blood, and then lead the 21-km (13 miles) Cross Procession to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama

PHOTO: St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent, Ekaterinburg

“Ekaterinburg: my favourite Russian city”

People often ask me “Why Ekaterinburg?” as opposed to the former Imperial capital of St. Petersburg, especially given that “Ekaterinburg has such a dark history.”

Once a bastion of Bolshevism, Ekaterinburg has slowly shed its status as the “capital of atheism”. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Urals has experienced a revival of faith, with Ekaterinburg as the center of Orthodox Russia in the region. It is important to add, that Ekaterinburg has done more to honour Nicholas II and his family than any other city in Russia. Thanks to my visits to Ekaterinburg in 2012, 2016 and 2018, it is a city which I have grown to admire and love.

Articles about Paul Gilbert and his admiration for Ekaterinburg, published in Russian media:

“Пол Гилберт: «Екатеринбург – мой любимый российский город»”
Ольга Кошкина. ‘Областная газета’ 22 октября 2019

“«Интерес мира к жизни и царствованию Николая II сохраняется по сей день»:
британский историк о Царской семье”

Ольга Кошкина. Екатеринбургская Епархия. 26 октября 2019

PHOTO: On the eve of the 300th anniversary of Ekaterinburg, the city plans to erect a statue – by the Russian sculptor Fedor Petrov – dedicated to the patron saint of the city – St. Catherine.

“The last capital of the Russian Empire”

“On a spiritual level, Ekaterinburg is the last capital of the Russian Empire, because the residence of the Sovereign was always considered the capital in Russia. Peter the Great never officially transferred the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg, but since he lived there, it was the capital,” says Russian historian Peter Multatuli.

He noted that in 1918, for 78 days, Emperor Nicholas II and his family lived in Ekaterinburg, and that is why the Ural capital can be considered the last capital of the Russian Empire. [It is important to note that many historians – myself included – firmly believe that the Tsar’s signing of the instrument of abdication, his status as Tsar remained inviolate and unassailable – PG]

“Petrograd and Moscow to one degree or another welcomed his overthrow, and they bear a greater responsibility in this than any other Russian city. No matter what anyone says, it was Ekaterinburg that served as the last Imperial residence, which, according to God’s special plan, became the Royal Golgotha,” added Multatuli.

According to him, in the near future, Ekaterinburg will play a great role in the history of Russia, because “the city named after St. Catherine and becoming the Royal Golgotha ​​will be the city of Russian resurrection.”

TSAR’S DAYS
Journey to Ekaterinburg
by Paul Gilbert

Read all about my journey to Ekaterinburg – my 3rd visit to the Urals – in July 2018, to take part in the events marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths and martyrdom of Nicholas II and his family.

On 17th July 1998, independent researcher and writer Paul Gilbert travelled to St. Petersburg, for the interment of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Twenty years later to the day, he journeyed to Ekaterinburg, to take part in the events marking the 100th anniversary of the Tsar’s death and martyrdom.

In his own words and photographs, the author shares his experiences and impressions of this historic event, which include visits to the Church on the Blood, Ganina Yama, Porosenkov Log, the Patriarchal Liturgy, exhibitions, and much more.

In addition are 24 illustrated news articles about events leading up to Tsar’s Days in the Urals, from 1st to 31st July 2018.

Gilbert’s solemn journey to the Urals allowed him to experience history in the making, and to honour the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, a century after their death and martyrdom.”

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Hardcover and Paperback editions. 152 pages + Richly illustrated with nearly
200 COLOUR PHOTOS, 65 of which were taken by the author

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO ORDER FROM AMAZON

HARD COVER EDITION @ $40 USD

PAPERBACK EDITION @ $25 USD

© Paul Gilbert. 5 July 2022

Myrrh-streaming icon of Tsar Nicholas II brought to Ekaterinburg for Tsar’s Days

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[1], 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! 

NOTES:

[1] 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.

© Paul Gilbert. 21 July 2022

Divine Liturgy 16th July 2022, Church on the Blood, Ekaterinburg

On 16/17 July – the eve marking the 104th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II, his family and four faithful retainers, commemorative services were held in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg and in the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.

PHOTO: icon of the Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, Lower Church

PHOTO: pilgrims attend vespers in the Lower Church

PHOTO: view of the Imperial Room (above and below), Lower Church

On the afternoon of 16th July, small vespers with an akathist to the holy Royal Passion-Bearers were performed by the archpastors of the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by Metropolitan Vincent of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, in the lower church of the Church on the Blood.

On the night of 16th July, an all night vigil was held on the square in front of the Church on the Blood. An estimated 46,000 Orthodox pilgrims took part in the Divine Liturgy, followed by a Cross Procession to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.

The Divine Liturgy began at 23:30, and was broadcast live across Russia by the Orthodox TV channel Soyuz, and available to watch on the YouTube channel and on the website of the Soyuz TV channel.

PHOTO: pilgrims gather on the night of 16th July on the square in front of the Church on the Blood

The Divine Liturgy was led by nine bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Eugene of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan; Metropolitan Alexy of Chelyabinsk and Mias; Archbishop Nikolay of Salekhard and Novo-Urengoysk; Bishop Feodosy of Isikul and Russko-Polyansk, Bishop Theodosius of Nizhny Tagil, Bishop Methodius of Kamensk and Kamyshlov, Bishop Vladimir of Shadrinsk and Dalmatov, Bishop Vikenty of Zlatoust and Satka. The archpastors were co-served by the clergy of the Yekaterinburg Diocese.

Special guests at this years’ Divine Liturgy included: governor of the Sverdlovsk region Yevgeny Vladimirovich Kuyvashev, and historian and writer Pyotr Valentinovich Multatuli, the great-grandson of Ivan Kharitonov (1872-1918), who served as the Head Cook of the Imperial family. 

“I consider the story of the murder of Emperor Nicholas II and his family in Ekaterinburg, an important part of Ural history, Ural self-consciousness – this tragic page in history will forever remain with us, many future generations will have to remember this and repent of this sin,” – said Kuyvashev.

PHOTO: the miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

PHOTO: the Divine Liturgy was led by nine bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church

The expedition commander of the International Space Station, Oleg Artemiev, delivered a message of congratulation to those participanting in Tsar’s Days: “I want to convey to the parishioners and pilgrims of the Church on the Blood my warmest congratulations on the Tsar’s Days, and to all Ekaterinburg residents on the upcoming 300th anniversary of the city of St. Catherine, which, God willing, we will celebrate together in 2023″.

PHOTO: an estimated 46,000 pilgrims took part in this year’s 21-km Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martytrs at Ganina Yama

PHOTO: the procession nears the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama

Following the Divine Liturgy, at about three o’clock in the morning, the combined choirs of the Ekaterinburg Diocese began to sing God Save the Tsar!, they were enthusiastically joined by the tens of thousands of pilgrims on the square.

It was at this point, that the pilgrims assembled for the 21-km [13 miles] Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama. The route of the this years procession remained unchanged from previous years, passing along the same route that the regicides transported the bodies of members of the Imperial family in 1918.

Foreign vistors from the USA, Germany, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltic countries, Uzbekistan and other countries also took part in this year’s Cross Procession. The column of pilgrims stretched along the road for kilometers. The procession was surrounded by police officers, 12 streets in the city center were closed. The pilgrims were accompanied by 10 mobile help groups of the Orthodox Mercy Service and volunteers of the Tsar’s Days.

PHOTO: pilgrims arriving at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs

PHOTO: pilgrims line the the wooden causeway which surrounds the abandoned mine shaft at Ganina Yama, reflecting on the crime which took place here on 17th July 1918

PHOTO: pilgrims pray at a tall Orthodox cross, which marks the edge of the mine shaft, where the regicides threw the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family

The first pilgrims of the Cross Procession began to arrive at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at about 7:00 a.m. The brethren of the monastery greeted the pilgrims with the ringing of bells. Upon arrival at the monastery, a Divine Liturgy was performed at the tall Orthodox cross located on the edge of Mine No. 7, where the bodies of members of the Imperial family and their faithful servants were thrown by the regicides. The Divine Liturgy was led by Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent, Metropolitan Eugene of Yekaterinburg, Archbishop Nicholas of Salekhard, Bishop Theodosius of Isilkul, and Bishop Theodosius of Nizhny Tagil. At the end of the service, Bishop Vincent and Bishop Eugene heartily thanked all the participants in the procession for their spiritual achievement.

After the prayer service, all the pilgrims were offered a hearty meal of buckwheat porridge, bread and tea, prepared by volunteers in the field kitchen. Drinking water was freely available for everyone, and a first-aid post was available. Many pilgrims sought rest under the shade of trees. A fleet of 17 buses provided by the UMMC and the regional Ministry of Transport, offered FREE transport for pilgrims to Ekaterinburg and Sredneuralsk.

© 19 July 2022. Paul Gilbert

What is Tsar’s Days?

Tsar’s Days before the 1917 Revolution

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg. Tsar’s Days in Russia actually began during the Tsarist era, however, it was banned during the Soviet years. It was restored in Ekaterinburg in 2002, to mark the deaths and martyrdom of Nicholas II and his family on 17th July 1918.

The Tsar’s Days were divided into two groups – solemn and high solemn days.

The first group included the coronation, accession to the throne, birthdays, as well as the namesake [see below] of the emperor, empress-mother, empress-wife, and the heir to the throne. The second group included birthdays and namesakes of other members of the Imperial Family.

  • A namesake consists of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one’s given name. The celebration is similar to a birthday. Russians celebrate name days [именины in Russian] separately from birthdays. Such a celebration begins with attendance at the divine services marking that day [in the Russian tradition, the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy], and usually with a festive party thereafter. Before the October Revolution of 1917, Russians regarded name days as important as, or more important than, the celebration of birthdays, based on the rationale that one’s baptism is the event by which people become “born anew” in Christ. The Russian Imperial family followed a tradition of giving name-day gifts, such as a diamond or a pearl.

On high solemn days, special prayers were held in churches: on birthdays, a general thanksgiving service was performed, and on the day of the namesake, a prayer service to the saint of the same name [i.e. Nicholas II + Saint Nicholas of Myra]. On the day of the accession to the throne of the sovereign-emperor and his coronation, prayers were served for a special rite.

The solemn days, were postponed until the following Sunday. If the solemn day fell on the first week of Great Lent , it was postponed to the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. If it fell during Holy Week (the last week of Great Lent) or the first day of the celebration of Easter, the solemn day was postponed to Monday of Bright Week.

On 7th March 1917, the Holy Synod, in response to the February Revolution, began to call the “reigning” House of Romanov in the past tense and abolished “Tsar’s Days”. The corresponding decree of the Provisional Government appeared on 16th March of the same year.

Below, is a list of the four high solemn days celebrated for Nicholas II in 1913 [dates are noted in the Old Style Julian Calendar]:

May 6 – Birth of Sovereign Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich ;
May 14 – Sacred Crowning of Their Imperial Majesties;
October 20 – Accession to the throne of Sovereign Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich;
December 6 – Namesake of Sovereign Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich.

Tsar’s Days in Post-Soviet Russia

In the 21st century, Tsar Days have taken on a whole new meaning. The annual holidays are held in mid-July in the Ekaterinburg diocese, during which divine services are held, a cross procession in memory of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, as well as a festival of Orthodox culture, including exhibitions and other social events.

The name is taken from the pre-revolutionary Tsar’s Days, timed to coincide with the anniversaries of solemn events in the lives of members of the Romanov Dynasty. The dates of the modern Tsar’s Days are timed to the dates of 21st July 1613 – the day of the anointing of the first tsar of the Romanov dynasty, Mikhail Fedorovich, and 17th July 1918 – the day of the brutal murders of the last Emperor of Russia Nicholas II and his family, in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg and 18th July – the day of the murders of 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) in Alapaevsk.

Events

As part of the Tsar’s Days, an all-night vigil is held in the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg, which includes a Divine Liturgy followed by a Cross Procession. The Tsar’s Days Festival celebrates Orthodox culture in the Ekaterinburg Diocese. Dozens of religious and secular public events dedicated to the tsarist theme are held, including exhibitions, concerts, conferences and other events.

Some of the city’s museums and churches become venues for exhibitions dedicated to Emperor Nicholas II, his family and other members of the Romanov dynasty, who were murdered in Ekaterinburg and Alapaevsk.

The main event, for which Orthodox pilgrims come to Ekaterinburg, is the solemn divine liturgy, which takes place on the night of the murder of the Holy Royal Murders – 16/17 July, in the Church on the Blood. At the end of the Liturgy, tens of thousands of pilgrims take part in the 21 km Cross procession from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama.

Pilgrims from other cities in Russia organize pilgrimages from their cities to Ekaterinburg to participate in the Tsar’s Days. A growing number of Russian cities [i.e. St. Petersburg, Kazan, etc.] are today organizing their own Tsar’s Days events, but on a much smaller scale than that of Ekaterinburg.

PHOTO: His Holiness Patriarch Kirill delivers a Divine Liturgy outside the Church on the Blood on the night of 16/17 July 2018 (above); His Holiness Patriarch Kirill leads the 21 km Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama (below)

100th anniversary of the death of members of the Romanov family

In 2018, the Tsar’s days in the Ekaterinburg Diocese were timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the deaths and martyrdom of members of the Romanov family in Ekaterinburg and Alapaevsk. The centenary celebrations also included the XVII Tsar’s Days Festival of Orthodox Culture, a five-day visit by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a meeting of the Holy Synod.

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 they estimated crowds of up to 60,000 people. In 2019, 60 thousand participated, and in 2020, 10 thousand people [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 Sredneuralsky Nunnery.

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.

The events marking Tsar’s Days in 2018, fell on the tail end of the 2018 Football World Cup which was held in Ekaterinburg that year. It was estimated that as many as 200,000 people flocked to the city to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the regicide, undoubtedly the largest public demonstration yet of the growing significance of the Russia’s last emperor and tsar in the cultural, historical and spiritual life of modern-day Russia.

*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 – PG

*  *  *

On 17th July 2018, independent researcher and writer Paul Gilbert travelled to Ekaterinburg, to take part in the events marking the 100th anniversary of the Tsar’s death and martyrdom.

In his own words and photographs, the author shares his experiences and impressions of this historic event, which include visits to the Church on the Blood, Ganina Yama, Porosenkov Log, the Patriarchal Liturgy, exhibitions, and much more.

Available in both hardcover and paperback editions. 152 pages. Nearly 200 COLOUR photos – many of them taken by me, during my visit to Ekaterinburg in July 2018. Click HERE to order your copy

© Paul Gilbert. 17 July 2022

Metropolitan Eugene calls for conciliar prayer during Tsar’s Days

PHOTO: Metropolitan Evgeny of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye

During an interview on 10th July, Metropolitan Evgeny of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye spoke about the spiritual significance of the 30th anniversary of Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg.

“People of all faiths and nationalities come to the Urals to honour the memory of the Imperial Family. Why? Because they understand that the events which took place in Ekaterinburg in 1918, changed the history of the entire world. They also understand that the personality of Emperor Nicholas II was so significant that people want to know more about his life and reign, get closer to him, to draw from this historical and cultural well, draw living water, touch this beautiful family,” said Metropolitan Evgeny.

“And, of course, for believers, this is a particularly significant event, because the Imperial family is a holy family. And to turn to them, especially in these dark days, when we see that again, like a hundred years ago, the destinies of the world are being redrawn – this is very important. We pay serious attention to the preparation of this festival and hope that every person who has visited our region, who comes to our city during Tsar’s Days, will find what they are looking for.”

Vladyka also spoke about a free mobile application that allows pilgrims to keep track of daily event in the festival program.

“This is an application in which we publish the entire schedule of events, as well as important information for pilgrims during Tsar’s Days. It details dates and times of cultural events, church service, as well as detailed information for those who wish to participate in the Cross Procession, which, according to tradition, will take place on the night of July 16-17, from the Church on the Blood, along the streets of Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama.

“In addition is the historical forum, which which will take place on 16th July, in the Patriarchal Compound adjacent to the Church on the Blood. This can also be found in the application.”

Can you tell us about both the first White Flower Festival and the planting of Lilac Alley at Ganina Yama. Are we seeing the birth of some new tradition? Or is it a special preparation?

“One beautiful tradition succeeds another. The exhibition of ice sculptures has already become traditional, which takes place around Orthodox Christmas in January, near the Church on the Blood and decorates our city for almost the entire winter. The White Flower Festival is a tradition which was founded by the Imperial Family in the early 20th century. This year it has taken on a special scale, with the addition of the White Flower Festival, which showcases beautiful floral arrangements. They have already attracted the interest of many residents of the city, and became a highlight of the month of June.

“I believe that as these beautiful flowers continue to bloom and grow, so will this new tradition also grow, and that it will be a welcome addition to the framework of the Tsar’s Days Festival. I believe that the flowers and the number of compositions will increase from year to year. And, of course, the flowers and ice compositions, will be beautiful reminders to both residents and visitors, of the Holy Royal Martyrs, for whom we honour.”

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. There have already been many exhibitions marking this historic anniversary.

“Yes, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna was a remarkable woman. A devoted wife and mother. Today, we can learn how our modern day families can learn from the examples set by Alexandra Fedorovna. And we are trying in the year of the 150th anniversary of her birth (she did not live to experience her 50th anniversary), to somehow compensate for this, learn from her and bring some light from the holy family to our contemporaries.”

Every year we try to remember the servants of the Tsar, who also endured the same fate and martyrdom. How will they be honoured this year?

“Last month, we opened a monument dedicated to four faithful servants to Nicholas II, on the grounds of the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent. When the Imperial family were arrested, everyone was free to pack their things and return home, to their relatives, or to leave the country. Instead, they followed their personal oath that was given them, a sense of duty and remained with the Family. While many retainers followed the Imperial family into exile to Tobolsk, very few of them followed them further when the family was transfered to Ekaterinburg. We remember and honour the faithful generals, sailors, among others who died together with the Tsar’s family in the basement of the Ipatiev House, as well as those who were excommunicated from their families, and those shot in other places of our city and region.

“When we understand that such people lived in our country, in our history, they set examples on how we can follow their examples of faith and duty. We can encourage our children to strive to be like them. When we learn about them, we can then appreciate and understand the amazing lives and fates of those people who remained faithful to the end.”

There is an interesting story connected with this monument. Is it true, that the sisters of the convent created the sketch for it?

“Yes. The sisters of the convent created a sketch for this monument. The beauty which we see today, within the walls of the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent, include beautiful architecure, landscaping which includes newly planted flowers and trees – this is the inner beauty in which the sisters of the convent live and which they embody around themselves. Orthodox Christians and other visitors can experience this wonderful world, this ray of light which comes from the kingdom of heaven to us here on earth. It is very beautiful.”

“Praying is always important. And why is it especially important at this time of year?

“When some kind of danger, illness, or trouble comes into our lives and a person feels helpless, the impossibility of humanly changing the situation for the better, they then turn to God.

“I myself am a witness to this, and I know that a lot of the people who make the Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood to Ganina Yama on the night of July 16-17, it is clear that they are not just walking, they are also praying. And these prayers, according to the testimonies of these pilgrims, they very clearly, distinctly reach the one to whom they are addressed and return with special events, positive events in their lives. And in this regard, of course, I would urge and invite residents of the city and region, to come and pray for our Motherland, to pray for our country. God is able to fulfill our prayers, so I invite you to get together and make such a prayer feat.”

© Paul Gilbert. 14 July 2022

Program for the XXII Tsar’s Days in the Urals – 2022

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

SERVICE CALENDAR

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.

Summer 2022 Appeal

If you enjoy my articles, news stories and translations, then please help support my research by making a donation in US dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by PayPal or credit card. Thank you for your consideration – PG

© Paul Gilbert. 5 July 2022

Tsar’s Days: Journey to Ekaterinburg

*This title is available from AMAZON in the USA, UK, Canada,
Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Japan

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO ORDER FROM AMAZON

HARD COVER EDITION @ $40 USD

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BOOK DESCRIPTION

Hardcover and Paperback editions. 152 pages + Richly illustrated with nearly
200 COLOUR PHOTOS, 65 of which were taken by the author

***

On 17th July 1998, independent researcher and writer Paul Gilbert travelled to St. Petersburg, for the interment of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Twenty years later to the day, he journeyed to Ekaterinburg, to take part in the events marking the 100th anniversary of the Tsar’s death and martyrdom.

In his own words and photographs, the author shares his experiences and impressions of this historic event, which include visits to the Church on the Blood, Ganina Yama, Porosenkov Log, the Patriarchal Liturgy, exhibitions, and much more.

In addition are 24 illustrated news articles about events leading up to Tsar’s Days in the Urals, from 1st to 31st July 2018.

Gilbert’s solemn journey to the Urals allowed him to experience history in the making, and to honour the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, a century after their death and martyrdom.

© Paul Gilbert. 4 February 2021

Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg 2021

PHOTO: members of the Double-Headed Eagle Society carry an icon of the Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II on the square in front of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg

On the night of 16/17 July, a Divine Liturgy in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, took place on the square in front of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg. The Divine Liturgy and Cross Procession are the highlights of the annual Tsar’s Days held in the Ural capital.

Traditionally, several tens of thousands of people participate in the Tsar’s Cross Procession – 10 thousand in 2020 [due to COVID], 60 thousand in 2019 and 100 thousand in 2018 [100th anniversary]. Despite the pandemic, an estimated 3 thousand Orthodox Christians and monarchists took part in this year’s Divine Liturgy.

PHOTO: on the night of 16th July 2021, an estimated 3 thousand pilgrims attended the Divine Liturgy at the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg

In addition, the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs was honoured with Divine Liturgies held in Orthodox churches across Russia and around the world. In addition, many people lit candles in front of icons, while offering prayers in the privacy of their homes around the globe. The author of this article was one of them.

The Divine Liturgy was led by eight bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Eugene of Yekaterinburg and Verkhotursky, Metropolitan of Tashkent and Uzbekistan Vikentiy, Metropolitan of Chelyabinsk and Miassky Alexy, Bishop of Orsk and Gaysky Irenaeus, Bishop of Isilkul and Russian-Polyansky, Bishop Theodosius of Nizhny Novgorod and Nizhny-Polyan Kamyshlovsky Methodius, Bishop of Zlatoust and Satka Vincent.

PHOTO: Orthodox Christians gather on the square in front of the Church on the Blood to honour the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs

Metropolitan Eugene addressed the faithful, who had assembled on the square in front of the church:

“The sacred, solemn, tragic, joyful night has come, which we call the Tsar’s night within the Tsar’s Days. A night that combines in itself the tragedy of Good Friday, the Gethsemane struggle that the Holy Royal Martyrs experienced at this place. And on the same night, the great joy of the Resurrection of Christ and the glory into which the Holy Royal Martyrs entered from this place is revealed. All this is experienced very closely by every person, and we have the opportunity to draw here both the hope of the resurrection and our strength to endure these Gethsemane temptations.

“At this time 103 years ago, the August Family, having prayed to God, saying: “In Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,” just like we do when to go to sleep. And after a few minutes, footsteps sounded along the corridors, they began to be raised, woken up and taken to the basement. We know today what glory it ended with. And I would like to wish everyone to be inspired by their faith, humility and patience,” – said Metropolitan Eugene.

The night service was broadcast live by the Soyuz Orthodox TV channel to 87 countries around the world. You can watch the Divine Liturgy in its entirety, by clicking on the VIDEO below, duration 2 hours and 41 minutes:

Vladyka conveyed to the participants in the Divine Liturgy the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to be attentive to each other and to observe all the necessary health and safety measures during the pandemic. He called on everyone to pray for the sick and also for their doctors. Metropolitan Eugene also emphasized, that when the Cross Procession to Ganina Yama begins, “I will put on a mask and, which I hope, will set a good example so that we all show humility – this is our discipline, this is our strength.”

Following the Divine Liturgy, a Cross Procession took place from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama. Pilgrims follow the route in which the bodies of the Imperial Family were transported to Ganina Yama – a distance of 26 km (16 miles), taking about four to five hours to walk on foot.

PHOTO: in the early morning hours of 17th July 2021, an estimated 2 thousand pilgrims participated in a Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama

Due to the fact that the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region cancelled this years Cross Procession (due to the COVID situation), the head of the Ekaterinburg Diocese, Metropolitan Eugene of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursky defied the order, and led 2 thousand believers on today’s Cross Procession to Ganina Yama. This year, however, the roads were not closed to traffic, forcing the pilgrims to walk on narrow sidewalks and the shoulder of the highway to safely make the journey.

PHOTO: pilgrims arrive on foot at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, after walking a distance of 26 km (16 miles) from the Church on the Blood, a journey taking about four to five hours

At approximately 6:30 am, another Divine Liturgy was performed at Mine No. 7, where the bodies of members of the Imperial Family and their loyal servants were thrown into the mineshaft by their killers. More than 80 clergymen prayed together with the arch-pastors of the Russian Orthodox Church.

PHOTO: Divine Liturgy was led by Metropolitan Eugene of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye at the Cross, erected over Mine No. 4, where the bodies of the Holy Royal Martyrs were thrown by their killers into an abandoned mine

The Divine Liturgy was led by Metropolitan Eugene of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, Metropolitan of Tashkent and Uzbekistan Vikenty, Bishop of Isilkul and Russian-Polyansky Theodosius, Bishop of Nizhny Tagil and Nevyansk Theodosius.

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

© Paul Gilbert. 17 July 2021

Ekaterinburg’s annual Tsar’s Cross Procession cancelled

PHOTO: tens of thousands participate in the annual Cross Procession in Ekaterburg

The Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region Yevgeny Kuyvashev announced today, that the traditional Tsar’s Cross Procession, which is held annually in Ekaterinburg on the anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, has been cancelled due to a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the region.

In the past four days, more than 300 new cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in the region every day. Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, more than 96 thousand people contracted the virus in Ekaterinburg and the Sverdlovsk region, 3.9 thousand of whom died. Russia is now experiencing a third wave and ranks fifth in the highest number of cases. More than 5.6 million cases have been recorded in Russia with more than 138 thousand deaths.

“This year the Cross Procession during Tsar’s days will not be held … The new strain t hat is spreading throughout the region is even more dangerous. Many more people are now in need of oxygen, the hospitals are filled to capacity. Therefore, we are cancelling the procession this year,” the governor stated.

Kuyvashev also published a photo from last year’s procession, in which, according to the Ekaterinburg Diocese, only 10 thousand people participated. The governor noted that despite the pandemic, many of the pilgrims did not use masks and did not practice social distancing. As a result, many of those who participated in last years’ Cross Procession, fell ill with the coronavirus shortly thereafter. He stressed that next year, providing the pandemic has been eliminated, it will be possible to hold a procession “on an even larger scale than before.”

Traditionally, several tens of thousands of people participate in the Tsar’s Cross Procession in the Ural city – 60 thousand in 2019 and 100 thousand in 2018. The procession follows the same route that the regicides carried the murdered remains of the Imperial Family and their faithful servants to an abandoned mine at Ganina Yama. The procession does not go to Porosnkov Log, where the regicides buried them in a second unmarked grave. The route of the procession begins at the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama – a distance of 26 km (16 miles), taking about four to five hours to walk on foot.

PHOTO: Metropolitan Evgeny of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursky

The head of the Ekaterinburg Diocese, Metropolitan Evgeny of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursky was quick to respond to the governor’s announcement, by writing in his Telegram page about the importance of upholding the tradition of the Tsar’s Cross Procession, sacred to many Orthodox Christians and monarchists, and about the choice of each of us in a situation where there can be no ideal solutions.

“The tradition of the Tsar’s Cross Procession from the Church on the Blood to Ganina Yama has outgrown the framework of the so-called Tsar’s Days events and has become sacred for tens of thousands of people. And now people will continue to follow the holy path. But, will they walk along safely blocked streets? Or on narrow sidewalks next to dangerously speeding cars? Time will tell.

“In the current pandemic situation, there are no perfect solutions. Everyone must independently find a balance between courage and fear, responsibility and caution.

I will definitely go!”, declared Vladyka Yevgeny.

“The decision of the authorities, who have cancelled this years Tsar’s Cross Procession, is well founded, however, one should not stigmatize believers as the culprits of the spread of the coronavirus.

“Our goal is not death from fear of the coronavirus or from the coronavirus itself, but life with God and love for our neighbours.

“I urge everyone to take maximum precautions to protect themselves and of those around them. I pray that the Lord will preserve all of us in health and long life, and I bless you to add caution and love for your dearest to your prayer” Vladyka Yevgeny concluded.

© Paul Gilbert. 8 July 2021

Ekaterinburg preparing a mobile application for Tsar’s Days 2021

The Ekaterinburg Diocese is currently preparing a mobile application for the Tsar’s Days events, held annually in July in the Ural capital. July 17th marks the 103rd anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

The free Russian language mobile application for participants and guests taking part in this years’ Tsar’s Days, presents a program of traditional cultural, educational and liturgical events, in memory of Holy Royal Martyrs.

The mobile app will allow Tsar’s Days participants access to basic information about ongoing events and a program with the ability to select events by date and location; a detailed schedule of the liturgies and Cross Processions; contact information required to attend Tsar’s Days events; cross procession card; hotline telephones, and a guide to the Church on the Blood.

The application will also provide a live online broadcast of the Divine Liturgy at the Church on the Spilled Blood, held on the night of 16/17 July.

In addition, pilgrims will have access to articles and news about the Imperial Family, and special routes dedicated to the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs: “The Holy (Blue) Line”, “Ekaterinburg Tsar’s Route” and the “Ekaterinburg’s Path of Sorrow”.

For more information about Tsar’s Days, please refer to my article What is Tsar’s Days?, published on 15th May 2021

© Paul Gilbert. 22 June 2021