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Tuesday, 22 August 2017
Russian Imperial National State Flag 1914-1917
Topic: Imperial Russia

An old Russian postcard depicts the Russian Imperial National State Flag 1914-1917
August 22nd is National Flag Day in Russia. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to celebrate the last National flag of Imperial Russia.

The Russian Imperial National State Flag was the Russian National flag most used between 1914 and 1917. The white-blue-red tricolor with a canton of the imperial arms was introduced by Imperial decree on 19 November 1914. It replaced the black-orange-white tricolor, which had been the civil flag since 1858, and also the plain white-blue-red tricolor. In an attempt to link national patriotism and the imperial family, Emperor Nicholas II decreed that a gold square canton be added to the national flag. On it was the black imperial eagle (in rather simplified form, e.g. no shield on the wings), but still with the central St George shield on its chest. 

The following excerpt from the journal "Chronicles of War" for the years 1914 -15 describes this event: 

"During these troubled times the sanctity of our nation's soul is upheld by a total and absolute union of its thoughts and feelings with those of the Tsar-Emperor. 

That is why His Imperial Majesty has deemed it necessary to make this fact clearly evident before the whole world; from this day hence, as a sign of the strong union of an Orthodox Tsar and His faithful nation, in the Russian national flag, at the base (flagpole side), between the white and blue stripes (one quarter of the total length of both stripes) the Imperial Standard shall forever be placed (a black two-headed eagle on a gold background). This should be seen as a sign of love from the Tsar to all His people." 

Chronicles of War, No. 4, for September 13, 1914, page 66 . 

The 1914 civil flag disappeared in 1917 when the monarchy was abolished. Curiously, it continued to fly in Washington D.C. for another 15 years. The United States refused to recognize the Soviet Government, until the beginning of the Roosevelt administration in 1933. Until then, this flag continued to fly over the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 August, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:00 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2017 4:01 AM EDT
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Monday, 21 August 2017
Romanov Descendants Confident About Authenticity of Tsarist Family Remains
Topic: Romanov Descendants

Head of the Romanov Family Association Mikhail Romanovsky-Ilyinsky
This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

The canonization of Emperor Nicholas II's family made it impossible for a "conventional" funeral of the remains of Tsarevich Alexey and Grand Duchess Maria, said the head of the Romanov Family Association Mikhail Romanovsky-Ilyinsky.

"The members of the Romanov Family Association had recognized the remains, which were found in Porosenkov Log, as the authentic remains of the Imperial family, back in the late 1990s. Many Association members attended a funeral ceremony at the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg in 1998," he said in an interview with Interfax.

"Further examinations, including those carried out involving the Russian Orthodox Church, have not changed our position. On the contrary, we are convinced that our position is now more and more substantiated," Romanovsky-Ilyinsky said.

"The discovery of the remains of Tsesarevich Alexey and Grand Duchess Maria in 2007 raised a number of new questions, because before this in 2000 the Russian Orthodox Church had canonized the family as martyrs. This means that now we will not be able to hold a “conventional” funeral, as was done in 1998 for the other family members," the interlocutor of the news agency said.

"It is very important for us, that the church has recognized the remains as those belonging to saints. We hope that in the future the remains of Alexey and Maria will be buried together with members of their family at the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in compliance with traditions and with the church's participation," he also said.

Mikhail Romanovsky-Ilyinsky - who is a grandson of Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich (1891-1942) - became the head of the Romanov Family Association after the death of Dimitri Romanovich, who died on 31 December 2016. The association elected Romanovsky-Ilyinsky, who lives in the United States, as its head on August 1, 2017.

According to earlier reports, Patriarch Kirill chaired a meeting dealing with the establishment of the authenticity of the "Ekaterinburg remains" in Moscow in mid-June. Russian Investigative Committee (SKR) employees led by SKR chairman Alexander Bastrykin and members of the special church committee dealing with the "Ekaterinburg remains" attended the meeting. Intermediate reports dealing with the performance of scheduled examinations as part of the criminal case compiled by SKR employees and members of the expert community were heard at the meeting.

Furthermore, the SKR permitted to make public the findings of those examinations, which have already been completed in the murder case of the tsar's family members.

Genetic examinations are under way at the best laboratories in the world, quite a sweeping anthropological examination "with principally new data" is nearing completion, historical and criminological examinations are under way, secretary of the church committee dealing with the "Ekaterinburg remains" Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) told the Interfax-Religion in January.

As to recognition or non-recognition of the remains as holy relics, "only the Bishops' Council will draw final conclusions," the bishop said.

©  Interfax / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 August, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:17 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 21 August 2017 1:26 PM EDT
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Saturday, 19 August 2017
This Week in the News - The Romanovs and Imperial Russia
Topic: News

Portrait of 10-year-old Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich (1891-1942)

Painted at Peterhof in 1902, by the famous Russian artist Nikolay Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky (1868-1945), also known for his portraits of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, and Emperor Nicholas II (1908).

This Week in the News is a new feature on my Royal Russia News blog. It includes a link and brief summary to a full-length article published in the past week from a variety of English language media sources.
This new initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page - now, with nearly 112,000 followers from around the world!
Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 19 August 2017

The Unlucky Emperor

Excerpt: "Fate turned out to be phenomenally cruel to the last Russian ruler anointed to the throne. Practically everything he did to uphold his father’s legacy turned against him, reducing all his efforts to dust. All of the “time bombs” that had been laid under the foundation of the empire’s economy and social relations since the time of Peter the Great started to explode—and there was no longer any way to remove them. The internal contradictions grew greater and greater, but the most diverse political forces came together on one point: everything should be blamed on the autocracy, and specifically on the person sitting in the throne." Marina Bogdanova writes in Russkiy Mir. 
On This Day - 14 August

100 years ago today, the Nicholas II and his family left the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo for the last time, and sent into exile to Siberia. 

How Russian nobleman Baron von Ungern conquered Mongolia

Roman von Ungern-Sternberg (1886 – 1921) lived an extraordinary life. A Russian nobleman of German origin, he spent his final days fighting in Mongolia and Siberia as he attempted to reestablish the Russian Empire. He was absolutely convinced that there was no way forward for Russia but to stay under the tsarist rule of the Romanovs forever. Oleg Yegorov reports in RBTH. 

5 stunning historical places for a day trip in the Moscow Region

The Moscow Region is full of extraordinary places that you’ll never forget. Here’s our guide to seeing more than 1,000 years of history of Russian small town and rural life and culture, just a short ride from the capital. Alexandra Guzeva reports in RBTH. 

The Tobolsk Kremlin: Holy Wisdom in Siberia + 8 PHOTOS

Architectural historian and photographer William Brumfield, writes about the citadel’s churches, which connected the distant territory to the capital. 

The 1612 Battle for Moscow: How the Russian state prevailed

In the early 17th century, the united Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was one of the most powerful players in Eastern Europe. Taking advantage of the turmoil in Russia, the Commonwealth sought to install its own candidate on the Moscow throne and was very close to winning the centuries-long bitter rivalry with its eastern neighbor. Alexey Timofeychev reports in RBTH.

Sunset over Pavlovsk Palace and park - simply beautiful!
Photo: Andrey Korochkin

Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only, and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia.


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:02 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 19 August 2017 9:30 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Saint-Tsar Nicholas II Chapel to be Built in Canada
Topic: Russian Church

Artist drawing of the Saint Nicholas II Chapel currently under constuction in Jackson's Point, Ontario, Canada

This article was researched from Russian and English media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

A chapel in honour of the last Russian Emperor is to be built on the grounds of the Church of Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, in Jackson's Point, located in the township of Georgina, on Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. The popular summer resort harbour is situated about 85 km north of Toronto. The project initiators are optimistic that the chapel will be ready for consecration in time for the 100th anniversary of Emperor Nicholas II, his wife and children is marked on 17th July 2018. 

Hilarion, Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, laid the first stone at the foundation of a chapel-to-be. The solemn ceremony took place on 6th August, during the patronal feast dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Church of Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. 

Metropolitan Hilarion headed the church service attended by several dozens of people. He presented the holy relics of Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and Saint Herman of Alaska for veneration by the faithful. 

The festive agenda included a gala dinner on the church terrace for 300 parishioners and guests, with a huge cake baked in the form of the church. Member of Canada’s Parliament Peter Van Loan and a representative of the Consulate General of Russia were among the guests. There was also a concert with participation of well-known performers, followed by a fireworks display. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 August, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:51 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2017 5:29 PM EDT
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Sunday, 13 August 2017
Royal Russia No. 12 Summer 2017 Issue - COMING SOON!
Topic: Books

136 pages with 8 Full-length articles. Over 100 Black and White Photos & Illustrations.

ISBN 978-1-927604-26-7
Note: advance orders for this issue will not be accepted, sorry

The Summer 2017 issue of Royal Russia No. 12 is nearly complete and ready to go to the printers. 

The following is a list of the articles and their respective authors in our forthcoming issue (available late August / early September):
My Russia. Byzantine Jewel on the Neva
by Paul Gilbert

Traitor to His Father.  Tsarevich Alexey and Peter the Great
by Irene W. Galaktionova

The Unknown Ivan the Terrible
by Deacon Vladimir Vasilik
Translated by Irene W. Galaktionova and Neil P. Mayhew 

Faithful to the End. The Devoted Servants of the Imperial Family
by Natalya Stukova
Translated by William Lee

‘A World that Existed Only Briefly’ - The Bialowieza Imperial Hunting Lodge
by Coryne Hall

Empress Elizabeth Petrovna’s Coronation Album
by Nina Markova

Photographs from the Private Album of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexndrovich
by Paul Gilbert

Last Days of Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich
by Général Constantin Brummer
Translated by Katherine Alexandra Hines

Royal Russia News
Compiled, Translated and Edited by Paul Gilbert
- this multi-page news supplement offers Romanov enthusiasts and lovers of Imperial Russian history with the top news stories and photographs from Russian media sources on the Romanovs, their legacy and Imperial Russian history, translated from Russian and presented in English for the first time.

Nicholas II. Emperor, Tsar and Saint Conference
27th October 2017 in London, England 

This issue also includes our popular collections of vintage photos:
Frozen in Time
- featuring photographic memories of the Russian Imperial family

The Lost World of Imperial Russia 
- featuring vintage photographs of Imperial Russia before the Revolution
Our official magazine was intended to be published only once a year as an annual, but due to its popularity, Royal Russia  is now published twice a year, while still retaining its original name. An annual Winter edition and an annual Summer edition are now be issued.

Watch for our advertisements in upcoming issues of Majesty and Russian Life magazines. Current and back issue of Royal Russia can be purchased at the Royal Russia Bookshop (Canada), (United States), Booksellers van Hoogstraten (Den Haag, Netherlands), and Librairie Galignani (Paris, France). 
© Royal Russia. 13 August, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:00 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 12 August 2017 6:55 PM EDT
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Saturday, 12 August 2017
This Week in the News - The Romanovs and Imperial Russia
Topic: News

Miniature portrait of Empress Maria Feodorovna (1903) by Vasily Ivanovich Zuev (1870 - 1941)

This charming watercolour is set in an oval frame of red enamel, created by Faberge, St. Petersburg. Master: A. Nevalainen (1858 - 1933). The miniature was made from an 1889 photograph, and presented to the Empress as a gift by her maid-of-honour Princess AA Obolenskaya (1851 - 1943).

This Week in the News is a new feature on my Royal Russia News blog. It includes a link and brief summary to a full-length article published in the past week from a variety of English language media sources.
This new initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page - now, with nearly 111,000 followers from around the world!
Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 12 August 2017


Fake Romanovs: 5 pretenders who claimed to be royal family members

They lied, desperately took their cases to court, and pleaded manically that they were royals - yet it was all in vain. Irina Sidorova reports in RBTH

“The mysterious disappearance of the Russian Imperial family in July 1918 created fertile soil for the sprouting of delusion, fabrication, sham, romance, burlesque, travesty, and humbug. Since then, a long, occasionally colorful, frequently pathetic line of claimants and impostors has glided and stumbled across the century” - wrote Robert K. Massie in his book ‘The Romanovs. The Final Chapter’ (1995)

On a more personal note - since I founded Royal Russia more than 25 years ago, I have received dozens of phone calls, emails, and letters from men and women from all corners of the world, who claim to be a child or grandchild of Nicholas II or any of his five children.

For the record, I do NOT support any of these claimants. Their stories are nothing short of disrespectful to the memory of Russia’s last Imperial family - all of whom were brutally murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918. There were NO survivors! I sincerely wish that they would let this family rest in peace - PG 

Stalinists target Siberian monument to last Russian tsar!

On August 1st, I reported that a new monument to Nicholas II and his son, erected in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, had been attacked by a man weilding an axe, resulting in damage to the monument.

According to the following article in Russia Today: "A group of activists who earlier sought to install a monument to Stalin in the Russian city of Novosibirsk have complained to the authorities that a monument to Tsar Nicolas II in the city violates rules on protecting historical sites." 

Controversial film about Russian czar cleared for release

A historical film about the last Russian czar’s affair with a ballerina has been cleared for release, the Culture Ministry said Thursday, despite passionate calls for its ban. 

Russian director seeks to submit his controversial movie Matilda for Academy Award

Russian film director Alexei Uchitel said on Wednesday that he would like to submit into the Oscars race his controversial film Matilda about Russian Tsar Nicholas II. The film is due to open in Russian cinemas this autumn. 

Two Months Before Its Release, Campaign Against Nicholas II Film Swings Into High Gear + VIDEO

Russia's Culture Ministry is considering a request from the strongman head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, asking that a soon-to-be-released film highlighting episodes from the youth of Tsar Nicholas II be banned in the North Caucasus region. 

Film on Tsar Nicholas' Mistress Facing Backlash in Russia's Regions

Protests against the release of the controversial film 'Mathilde' spread to two additional regions in southern Russia this week. The film has been targeted by faith groups and officials who believe its portrayal of Tsar Nicholas II, an Orthodox saint, is insulting. 

Nyrob: Shrine to the martyred early Romanovs

Architectural historian and photographer William Brumfield, writes about a village in the northern Urals which preserves the memory of Russia’s royal family. 

'Dog-headed people': What was Ivan the Terrible's ‘oprichnina’ force

The oprichnina, the personal force of Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible, was responsible for mass executions, the persecution of the monarch's enemies, and confiscation of property: They enjoyed and abused a phenomenal scope of power. But why did this ancient dark-robed special service emerge? Yekaterina Sinelschikova reports in RBTH.

A breathtaking aerial view of Peterhof

The Grand or Great Palace (center) is flanked by the Church of Saints Peter and Paul or Grand Palace Church (left). 

The single golden dome on the right or Western wing of the palace is known as the Double-Headed Eagle Pavilion. Today, it houses the Special Treasury, a museum which consists of more than 800 priceless objects from the reigns of Peter the Great to Nicholas II. 

The beautiful landscaped gardens (top) behind the palace, are surrounded by formal flowerbeds and low, clipped hedges. The Grand Cascade (bottom) comprises 64 different fountains, and over 200 bronze statues, bas-reliefs, and other decorations.

Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only, and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia.


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:38 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 12 August 2017 10:11 AM EDT
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Saturday, 5 August 2017
This Week in the News - The Romanovs and Imperial Russia
Topic: News

Monument to the Heroes of the First World War on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow

This Week in the News is a new feature on my Royal Russia News blog. It includes a link and brief summary to a full-length article published in the past week from a variety of English language media sources.
This new initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page - now, with more than 110,000 followers from around the world!
Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the 2 week period ending 5 August 2017

Everyday life before the Bolsheviks: Fascinating images show the Kremlin, St Petersburg and Kiev in the final years of Tsarist Russia + 22 COLOUR PHOTOS!

Colour pictures were taken in the years between 1890 and 1900 at sites across Russia, including modern-day Ukraine. The decade was a tumultous one, with the country's last Tsar, Nicholas II, ascending to the throne. The Kremlin, the Alexandrinsky Theatre and sweeping views across Moscow, St Petersburg and Kiev are among the now-colourised sights on view. Dave Burke reports in 'The Mail Online'. 

Russia’s Orthodox activists protest movie about Tsar Nicholas II having a mistress

British media coverage of protests held in Moscow on Tuesday, against the controversial film 'Mathilda'. Daria Litvinova reports in 'The Telegraph'. 

''I suggest inviting Mel Gibson to make a film about Tsar Nicholas II'', says Russian politician and Member of the State Duma Vitaly Milonov

Milonov took part in filming of a new documentary 'Mathilda's Lie' by Sergey Aliyev, which is to show before the premiere of the controversial film 'Mathilde' by Alexey Uchitel. In this article, the parliamentarian talks about what prompted him to join the campaign of Natalia Poklonskaya against the controversial film 'Matilde'. He notes that a good director is needed, who would be able to direct an "honest'' film about Tsar Nicholas II and laments the lack of good Russian historical films. 

Did Russia’s last Tsar fall prey to a conspiracy hatched by the Masons?

Alexander Kerensky, the head of the provisional government that was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in October 1917, divides opinion to this day. He was hated by both the left and right, and monarchists blamed him for the tragic death of the royal family - claiming he spearheaded a clandestine Masonic plot to overthrow Tsar Nicholas II. This idea is even supported today by some contemporary historians, but what do you think? Alexey Timofeychev reports in RBTH. 

Emperor Nicholas II at Wolfsgarten, October 1899 + 15 PHOTOS!

This wonderful collection of candid photographs depict Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, and relatives at Schloß Wolfsgarten in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany (1899).

Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only, and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia.


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:42 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 5 August 2017 6:38 AM EDT
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Thursday, 3 August 2017
Tsarskoye Selo Acquires Unique Romanov Documents and Photographs
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve

This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve has purchased a unique Romanov family archive of the mid-1860s to 1928. It is the largest assemblage of documents and photographs directly pertaining to the monarchial dynasty, obtained by the Museum for the first time in its almost hundred-year history.

The purchase from a private collector in London was made for over RUB 5,300,000 (USD $88,000) donated by Sberbank of Russia. As priceless historical memorabilia returning to the country, this archive is especially important before the centenary of the tragic death of Nicholas II and his family to be marked on 17 July 2018.

The collection includes more than 200 letters, photographs, telegrams and drawings related to Emperor Alexander III of Russia, his wife Maria Feodorovna and children Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna.

Of particularly great interest are three letters and a postcard (written 1917-18) from Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, a first cousin of Alexander III and an eminent historian, to the Abkhaz prince Georgy Shervashidze (Chachba), as well as some very cordial letters from the British dowager queen Alexandra (consort of Edward VII) and 1928 Christmas greeting photographs from King George V of Great Britain to Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (who relates to nearly half of the archive).

The letters’ historical value is rivaled only by the artistic beauty of their writers’ exquisitely crafted monograms.

The archive also includes twenty photographs of members of the Romanov dynasty, such as the portraits of Alexander III, Maria Feodorovna, Nicholas II, and his sister Xenia.

Undoubtedly research-worthy, the documents added to the Museum’s reserve collection will be featured in future exhibitions and publications.
ALL Photos © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 3 August, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:16 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2017 12:23 PM EDT
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Tsar Martyr Nicholas II - A Talk with Fr. Job (Gumerov)
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

This is an abridged version of the article published by on 3 August 2017

Father Job, an experienced confessor of the Moscow Sretensky Monastery, speaks about the factors preventing some faithful from recognizing Nicholas II as a saint, the relationship between the Tsar’s abdication and the Russian people’s renunciation of the Church, how mass unbelief impedes the comprehension of the podvig [spiritual exploit] of the new martyrs, and the proper understanding of the people’s repentance for the sins of their ancestors.

On the attitude towards the last Russian emperor

—Fr. Job, let us begin with a question about the Passion-Bearer Nicholas II. To my surprise, I have recently discovered that, even in the Orthodox circles, many have a negative opinion of the last Russian emperor. What can account for this negative attitude?

—A person’s worldview—his values and views—are formed as a result of upbringing, education, and the influence of the cultural and historical environment. For seventy-three years, all the spheres of our society’s life were totally subordinate to Communist ideology, which was based on militant atheism and a forcible change of the Russian way of life that had developed throughout our history. This caused the radical destruction of the traditions and customs of our society. The entire history was rewritten in order to implant this ideology into people’s consciousness. The most recent history was especially falsified and misrepresented, not least the imperial rule, which was destroyed by the coup d’état. An extremely heavy cross befell Nicholas II—to bear a subtle, vicious slander and defamation for many years. Rumours began to spread, instigated by all who hated the Church, Orthodoxy, and Christian statehood.

In the early 1990s, an external freedom finally came but it did not free people from the “load” of distorted appraisals and views of history. I remember that time very well. In September 1989, I started teaching at the Moscow Theological Seminary and Academy. On September 23, 1990, my priestly ministry began. I communicated with parishioners, teachers, and students. During our arguments about the possibility of the canonization of the royal family, I became more and more convinced that people used wrong stereotypes. Their ideas of the tsar’s personality disregarded documents, objective facts, and the surviving evidence.

It should be affirmed that the conciliar mind of the Church determines the holiness of one or another newly-canonized saint not only on the basis of the judgment of his or her life and deeds, but, above all, on the basis of the objective evidence provided by the Almighty. There are countless testimonies of the faithful receiving miraculous help from and answered prayers to the Royal Martyrs. By the time of the canonization of the imperial family that took place in August 2000, those testimonies already were numerous.

The abdication of the Emperor

—I have noticed that the Orthodox often cannot “forgive” Nicholas II his abdication, because he “left his country to its fate.” Meanwhile, some feel certain that there was no abdication at all. There are heated discussions about this in religious media and social networks. Do you agree that we are making the same mistake as 100 years ago and are again betraying the tsar by our condemnation?

—If we refer to the surviving documents and reminiscences of the events of March 2/15, 1917, then we can’t help but feel pain, though 100 years have passed. Yes, it is a tragedy. The army group commanders under the tsar’s control, who had sworn an oath of allegiance to him, gave him an ultimatum and demanded his abdication. Here are the facts: On March 2, 1917, wires from the army group commanders arrived. Generals A.E. Evert (the Western Front), A.A. Brusilov (the South-Western Front), V.V. Sakharov (the Romanian Front), and Commander of the Baltic Fleet Admiral A.I. Nepenin spoke up for abdication. In the middle of the day, General N.V. Russky entered the tsar’s headquarters, accompanied by Generals Yu.N. Danilov and S.S. Savich, taking the texts of the telegrams with him. Nicholas II asked the generals to speak; all of them spoke in support of abdication. On the same day His Majesty wrote in his diary: “My abdication is required…The gist of it is that in order to save Russia and keep the army at the front quiet, such a step must be taken. I have agreed…At one o’clock in the morning [16th] I left Pskov, with a heavy heart because of the things I had gone through. All around me here is treachery, cowardice, and deceit.”[1]

Only saints are the best judges of saints. St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai, a great holy hierarch, said:

What did Russia render to her pure-hearted Sovereign, who loved her more than life? She returned love with slander. He was of great morality, but people began to talk about his viciousness. He loved Russia, but people began to talk about his treason. Even the people close to the Sovereign repeated the slander, passing on to each other rumors and gossip. Because of the ill intention of some and the lack of discipline of others, rumors spread and love for the Tsar began to grow cool. They started to talk of the danger to Russia and discuss means of avoiding that non-existent danger; they started to say that to save Russia it would be necessary to dismiss the Sovereign. Calculated evil did its work: It separated Russia from her Tsar, and in the dread moment at Pskov he was alone; no one near to him. Those faithful to him were not admitted to his presence. The dreadful loneliness of the Tsar…But he did not abandon Russia—Russia abandoned him, the one who loved Russia more than life. Thus, in the hope that his self-efacement would still the raging passions of the people, the Sovereign abdicated.[2]

Can the abdication of Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich in favour of the heir be viewed as an obstacle to his canonization as a passion-bearer? Certainly not! We know from the Bible that when King David was old and frail he made his son Solomon a new king and, nevertheless, he went down in history as the Holy King David:

The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah

(1 Kings 1:33-35).

On the relation between renouncing the tsar and renouncing Orthodoxy

—Fr. Job, in your view, is there a direct link between the people’s betrayal of the tsar and their falling away from the Church following the arrest of Nicholas II and his martyrdom at the Ipatiev House?

—The link between renouncing the sovereign and renouncing Orthodoxy, faith, and the Church is indubitable. Christian statehood was first instituted by the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine. This is what Venerable Theodore the Studite wrote to Emperor Nicephoros in 806: “These two gifts God gave to the Christians: the priesthood and the kingdom. Both of them heal and adorn things on earth as well as in heaven. So, if one of these becomes unworthy, then everything is exposed to peril.” (Epistle no. 16)

During the ceremony of coronation of an Orthodox tsar, his regalia is solemnly bestowed upon him. He is also anointed with holy myrrh and thus receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is why regicide is not only a felony but also a grave spiritual crime, which, as a rule, brings great troubles upon a country. The severity and duration of these troubles depends upon the whole nation’s attitude towards this crime—for not only those who committed it are responsible for it, but also those who supported it morally. The after effects also correlate directly to the foundation upon which the subsequent life of the society is built: whether these are the very spiritual and moral principles the righteous monarch lived by or those introduced in the country by the regicides. This is what St. John of Shanghai said about the relationship between the regicide of Nicholas II and mass apostasy and abandonment of the Church:

He was a living incarnation of faith in the Divine Providence that works in the destinies of nations and peoples and directs Rulers faithful to God into good and useful actions. Therefore, he was intolerable for the enemies of the faith and for those who strive to place human reason and human faculties above everything…Tsar Nicholas II was a servant of God by his inner world-outlook, by conviction, by his actions; and he was thus in the eyes of the whole Orthodox Russian people. The battle against him was closely bound up with the battle against God and faith. In a word, he became a Martyr, having remained faithful to the Ruler of those who rule, and accepted death in the same way as the martyrs accepted it.[3]


[1] “Diaries and Letters – 1917 Diary of Nicholas II,” Alexander Palace Time Machine, accessed August 1, 2017,

[2] “In Memory of the Royal Martyrs by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco,” Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, accessed August 1, 2017,

[3] “St. Maximovitch on Emperor Saint Nicholas II,” Classical Christianity: Eastern Orthodoxy for Today, accessed August 1, 2017,

© 3 August, 2017 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:48 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2017 12:14 PM EDT
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Exhibition: Imperial Yacht "Standart" and the Family of the Last Russian Emperor
Topic: Yachts

All Photos © State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

On 2 August 2017, an exhibition opened in ROSPHOTO Center in St Petersburg, dedicated to the Imperial yacht Standart and the family of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II. The exhibit is a joint project of the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO, the State Archive of the Russian Navy, the Russian State Archive of Film and Photo Documents, and the Central Naval Museum.

The Imperial Yacht Standart and the Family of the Last Russian Emperor exhibit is based the on memories and original photographs from the personal archive of Captain 2nd Rank Nikolai Pavlovich Sablin (1880-1937). From 1906 to 1914 he served on the Imperial Yacht Standart, eventually becoming her commander. In 1914. Sablin became the naval Aide de camp to Tsar Nicholas II and later in World War I commanded a battalion of the Russian Guard.

A significant part of these historic images were photographed by the co-owner of the photographic studio "K. E. von Gan and Co., the famous Russian photographer AK Yagelsky, who had the title of Court photographer of His Imperial Majesty. Yagelsky also owned the right to conduct filming of the imperial family. The exposition includes photographs of the photographic studio K. E. Von Gan and Co., as  well as unique newsreel footage taken on board the imperial yacht. In addition to the photographs, original letters of Emperor Nicholas II written on board the ship, watercolours and a collection of postcards dedicated to the Imperial yacht, a yacht logbook and a number of other unique documents will be on display.

The photos taken on board the Imperial yacht Standart are presented to the general public for the first time. Visitors will be able to acquaint themselves with little-known photographs related to the private inner life of the Imperial family, not intended for an outsider's eye and little-known pages of Russian history.
The exhibition Imperial Yacht Standart and the Family of the Last Russian Emperor, runs until 24th September 2017, at the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO, St Petersburg.

Click here to watch a video (in Russian) of the exhbition.
ALL Photos © State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO 

©  Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 3 August, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2017 6:20 AM EDT
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