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Tuesday, 18 July 2017
99th Anniversary of the Alapaevsk Murders
Topic: Alapaevsk

Members of the Russian Imperial family who were murdered by the Bolsheviks on 18th July, 1918
This article written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

On 18th July, 1918, the day after the murders of the last emperor, Nicholas II and his family in Ekaterinburg, six additional members of the extended Russian Imperial family were also murdered by their Bolshevik captors near Alapaevsk.

Among them were: Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna with her sister in Christ Varvara, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich and his secretary Feodor Ramez, three sons of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (Princes of the Imperial Blood Ioann, Konstantin and Igor), and the son of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, Prince Vladimir Paley.

On the night of 17-18th of July they were taken outside the town towards the Verkhne-Siniachikhinsky Factory, and their bodies were thrown in to the abandoned Staroselimskaia Shaft, which is situated about 12 miles from Alapaevsk.

The White Army launched an investigation of the murders immediately after they took Alapaevsk on 28th September, 1918. On 9-11 October, 1918 the bodies of the martyrs were taken out of the shaft, and on 19th October, 1918 they were buried in a crypt of the Holy Trinity Cathedral with great honour. 

In July 1919, as the Red troops were advancing to the city Hiegumen Seraphim (Kuznetsov) transferred the coffins with the relics first to Chita, and later to Beijing (China). 

In January 1921 the relics of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth and nun Varvara were transferred to Jerusalem and buried in the crypt of the Church of Mary Magdalene of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, where they remain now.

The remains of the male members of the Romanov family were buried in Peking in the 1920s, however, they have never been found. There are two possible burial sites for the Martyrs of Alapaevsk - the Russian Embassy in Beijing (former Russian spiritual mission) and the former Russian cemetery which is now a city park.

The Church of Saint Seraphim of Sarov in Peking once stood on the site where people now play a game of golf. The church was demolished during the communist era and became part of the park, where the tombs of the Martyrs of Alapaevsk and servants of the Fatherland - participants of the First World War - are buried underground.
Last year, during an official visit to Beijing, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill received assurances from Chinese authorities to recover the remains and return them to Russia.

The Monastery of New Martyrs of Russia at Alapaevsk
Today at Alapaevsk there is a Veneration Cross (see above photo) and a small chapel dedicated to Grand Duchess Elizabeth built near the old shaft. In 1996 a monastery dedicated to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia was built nearby.

The classroom of the Grammar School, where Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Sister Varvara were held captive is now a memorial museum.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:00 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 17 July 2017 5:00 PM EDT
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Monday, 17 July 2017
Myriad of Pilgrims Hold Procession in Honour of Last Russian Tsar's Murdered Family
Topic: Ekaterinburg

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

Tens of thousands of pilgrims walked more than 20 kilometres in an overnight procession in the Urals to honour the memory of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family who were murdered on the night of 16/17 July, 1918.

The church-led procession (which takes 4-5 hours), began at the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land in Ekaterinburg and ended at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama in the Sverdlovsk Region, the location where the bodies of the seven Romanovs and their four servants were originally deposited. The procession was part of an international festival of the Orthodox culture "Tsar Days," Bishop Yevgeny of the Yekaterinburg eparchy told reporters.

Some of the participants wore old-style clothing that resembled the uniforms Nicholas II wore during his time in exile. Delegations from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, New Zealand took part in the procession, as well as MP of the lower house, the State Duma, and former prosecutor of Crimea Natalya Poklonskaya, great-grandson of the Imperial cook Ivan Kharitonov Pyotr Multatuli, and Mrs Olga Kulikovskaya (widow of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna's son Tikhon Kulikovsky).

A large and growing group of Orthodox believers whose ranks reportedly include Poklonskaya, Nicholas II sacrificed himself to redeem Russians' sins, in an analogy of the self-sacrifice made by Jesus Christ. "This is a duty and great honour for me to be here tonight. Each year the number of people (participants of the procession) grows by some tens of thousands. This is a river of people, this is love that cannot be portrayed by actors, and impossible to falsify…this is love that lives in the souls and hearts for our saint monarch, for our motherland," Poklonskaya explained.

Officials estimate that more than 100,000 people from across Russia, and other countries are expected to attend the events marking the 100th anniversary of the tragic deaths of Nicholas II and his family in July 2018.
Click here to view more photographs, and watch a video of the ceremonies and procession held on 16/17 July 2017, in Ekaterinburg.

Click here to read more articles about the Holy Royal Martyrs.

©  Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:54 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 17 July 2017 12:33 PM EDT
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Monument to Russia's Last Emperor Nicholas II and Tsesarevich Alexei Unveiled in Siberia
Topic: Nicholas II

Monument of Emperor Nicholas II and Tsesarevich Alexei, St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Novosibirsk
This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017
A bronze statue of Russia’s last Emperor, Nicholas II, and his son and heir Tsesarevich Alexei was unveiled in Russia’s Siberian city of Novosibirsk on Sunday, the Novosibirsk Metropolitanate of the Russian Orthodox Church reported on its website.

The monument was unveiled in the territory of the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, at the south gate. 

The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was constructed in the Neo-Byzantine architectural style in 1896–1899, at the expense of the Ministry of the Imperial Court in memory of Emperor Alexander III of - the father of the Emperor Nicholas II. Emperor Nicholas II personally donated 7500 rubles for the cathedral’s iconostasis. 

The wife of Alexander III the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna was also a benefactor of the cathedral. Priestly vestments presented to the Cathedral, were sewn from the brocade which covered the hearse of the deceased younger brother of Nicholas II, Grand Duke George Alexandrovich (1871-1899). 

The monument was consecrated by Metropolitan Tikhon of Novosibirsk and Berd. After the monument was unveiled, hundreds of Orthodox Christians sang God Save the Tsar. The ceremony was timed to the 99th anniversary of the murder of the Imperial Family.

Novosibirsk, founded in 1893 was named Novonikolayevsk, in honour both of Saint Nicholas and of the reigning Tsar Nicholas II.

The city was given its present name on September 12, 1926. A monument to Emperor Alexander III was unveiled at Novosibirsk in June 2012.

In recent years, along with Novosibirsk, monuments to Nicholas II have been erected in Russia’s cities of St. Petersburg, Kursk, Kaluga, Ekaterinburg, Sochi, Sevastopol, Yalta, and in Serbia’s capital city of Belgrade.

Tsar Nicholas II, who abdicated on 2 March, 1917, and his family were murdered in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg on the night of 16/17 July, 1918, following a resolution of the Urals Soviet of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies that was controlled by the Bolsheviks.

The Moscow Patriarchate canonized Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsesarevich Alexei, and Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia in 2000 as New Martyrs for Christ.

©  Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:26 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 17 July 2017 9:34 AM EDT
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Saturday, 15 July 2017
This Week in the News - The Romanovs and Imperial Russia
Topic: News

A beautiful watercolour of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg, by Spanish artist Alicia Aradiyya

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 106,000 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 15 July 2017


On this day: Catherine the Great came to power following 1762 coup d'état

Irina Sidorova reports in RBTH.

The Remains of the Romanovs

Nearly a century after Nicholas II and his family were murdered, their fate still haunts Russia. Long subject to conspiracy theories, despite the painstakingly researched facts of the matter, this bloodstained episode of Russian history has still not been laid to rest - a fairly accurate, and interesting article by Anastasia Edel published in 'The New York Times'.

Forever lost: How Russians hunt for Ivan the Terrible’s library

The lost library of the Russian tsar - said to contain a legendary collection of ancient books - has been exciting archaeologists for centuries. There is no solid proof that the library ever existed in the first place, but the search goes on and possibly won’t ever stop. Oleg Yegorov writes in RBTH.

Romanov Family Association Spokesperson Ivan Artsyshevsky Insults Church, Imperial House

Ivan Artsishevsky, who styles himself "Director of the Romanov Family Association in Russia," granted an interview on 10 July to "Interfax," which was then distributed by various Russian press organizations. In it, Artsishevsky made statements insulting the patriarch and the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, prompting a quick response from the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House.

The House of Romanoff fully supports the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the question of the identification of the “Ekaterinburg Remains”

Statement by the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, on her support of the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the question of the identification of the “Ekaterinburg remains.”

Was British spy Somerset Maugham sent to kill Lenin?

Everyone knows Maugham’s plays and novels, but his work for British intelligence in Russia in 1917 is less known. He had a daunting mission and was certain that if he’d had more time he could have averted the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Revolution. Alexey Timofeychev writes in RBTH.

Rasputin and Nicholas II: Pre-revolutionary Russia through a German lens

How an 11-year-old boy left Prussia to become St.Petersburg's main chronicler.

Russian imperial hostel reopens for Jerusalem pilgrims

The imposing two-storey Renaissance Revival hospice was completed in 1890, and named after Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, who served as head of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, which ran the Russian Compound district of Jerusalem after the Ottoman Sultans sold it to Russia.

From carriages to palaces: What gifts did Catherine the Great present?

A left-hand glove, a bed made of steel, a village and its serfs, and a homemade chess set are just some of the objects that the Empress Catherine gave as presents to people close to her, as well as to complete strangers who struck her fancy. The Arzamas Academy looks back at 10 amazing presents given by Catherine the Great, some of which can still be seen today in museums.

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 7:46 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2017 8:17 AM EDT
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Preserving the Romanov Legacy and the History of Imperial Russia
Topic: Royal Russia

If you enjoy all the FREE articles, photographs, and videos on Royal Russia, as well as the

weekly news and blog updates, please help support my work by making an online donation in *USD.

*Donations can also be made in Canadian dollars, £GBP and €Euros, please contact me for details


Dear Friends of Royal Russia:

This letter is part of my annual summer appeal to Romanov enthusiasts and lovers of the history of Imperial Russia.

Established in 1994, Royal Russia has been a personal labour of love for more than two decades, one which I am honoured to share with many others around the world on a daily basis. I am able to achieve this via my web site, blog and Facebook pages, and through the publication of books and periodicals.

The many hours which I devote to Royal Russia are strictly voluntary. I do not earn a salary from Royal Russia. I am now retired and receive a monthly government pension. My income is supplemented from my online bookshop. Royal Russia's existence and continued growth is solely dependent on the sale of my annual calendar, as well as donations from friends and supporters.

In the past few months, the Royal Russia web site has been undergoing a major overhaul. New full-length articles have been revised and updated, while a new video and film archive was launched. The news blog, which now features more than 2,200 news stories, and photographs, continues to grow on a near daily basis, offering many first-English translations from Russian media sources.

I am sure that you can appreciate that the maintenance and upkeep of a web site and blog of this size is both time consuming and costly?

Web Site and Blog: 

The growing number of visitors from around the world, who utilize my web site on a daily basis (2.8 million visitors during the first half of 2017), have an effect on monthly operational and maintenance costs.

Each month, I pay a fee to my web-host Lycos-Angelfire. Videos, photographs (JPEGs), music (MPEGs) and online auction catalogues and other documents (PDFs), which use up a lot of space, and I am forced to pay a monthly fee in order to provide additional space on my web site so that people can read and enjoy them.

I also pay a monthly fee to keep my web site and blog free from advertising pop-ups which otherwise are so numerous that they become a nuisance. I also have to pay for domain registration and a host of other services. All of these fees are paid for out of my own pocket, and paid in US dollars.


 "The translation of articles and news stories from Russian into English

will be the single largest expense in the coming year" 


Translations: it is the cost of translating books, articles and news stories from Russian into English, which puts the greatest strain on the limited finances which I have to work with.

Books in particular cost thousands of dollars to translate. Full-length articles by Russian historians are being published in English for the first time in issues of my bi-annual periodicals Royal Russia and Sovereign. Each issue offers 2 to 3 articles, and it is my goal to double this number within the next year or so. 

If you enjoy all the FREE articles, photographs, and videos on Royal Russia, as well as the weekly news and blog updates, please help support my work by making a donation.

If you would like to show your support for Royal Russia by making a personal donation, you may do this with a credit card by clicking on the Donate button below. Your donation, no matter how small (even $5 would be appreciated) will help to offset growing annual operational costs. 

Please note that there certainly is no obligation, this is merely a request for you to help by sponsoring my work and keeping the memories of old Russia alive.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support of Royal Russia. 

Sincerely Yours, 
Royal Russia Founder / Website Administrator
1 July 2017
NOTE: If you have recently made a donation, please accept my most sincere thanks for support of my work.
You will receive confirmation and thanks by e-mail or regular post.





Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:00 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2017 8:25 AM EDT
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Friday, 14 July 2017
Russian Historian Helen Rappaport Receives Honourary Doctorate
Topic: Books

Dr. Helen Rappaport (right) with friend Professor Ingrid Sharp (right). Photo © Helen Rappaport

On Thursday, 13 July 2017, Russian historian and author Helen Rappaport received an honourary doctorate from the University of Leeds. On behalf of all Royal Russia followers and supporters around the world, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Helen Rappaport.

Founder of Royal Russia

Presentation address by Professor Matthew Treherne


A graduate of Russian Studies at the University of Leeds, Helen Rappaport chose not to follow the suggestion of a career in the Foreign Office, opting instead to enter the acting profession, and going on to work in film, television and commercials until the late 1980s, when she turned to writing history. 

Her study of Russian at Leeds shaped this new, dazzling career.  She has translated and interpreted Chekhov’s plays, working with figures such as Tom Stoppard.  But she stands out as an extremely successful author of historical works based on high quality historical research, much of which was conducted here, at the Leeds Russian Archive.  Her works include the portrait of the last Tsar’s daughters, Four Sisters, a bestseller both in the UK and in the USA. 

Her twelfth book is Caught in the Revolution:  Petrograd 1917, a major work published on the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.  One reviewer described it as ‘superbly narrated’, a ‘gripping, vivid, deeply researched chronicle’.  And it is this quality – Helen’s ability to combine rigorous, deep research with a storyteller’s flair – which we celebrate today and which enables her to inspire so many.  

We feel that inspiration at Leeds: her book lends its title to our exhibition on the Russian Revolution currently in the Brotherton Library’s Treasures Gallery.  Indeed, the Russian Archive in the Brotherton has been enriched over the years by Helen: she has used her contacts to secure a number of important deposits.

Helen has made regular appearances on national radio including Woman’s Hour and Start the Week and as an expert on historical documentaries on BBC and commercial channels. Her appearances at literary festivals attract large, appreciative audiences. 

Helen’s advice to aspiring writers should resonate with us all on a graduation day:  ‘you have to read and read and read and soak up life experiences and an understanding of the world […]. And you must never ever cease to be curious about everything.’  Helen both exemplifies that ceaseless curiosity, and inspires it in us.

Vice-Chancellor, it is a very great pleasure to present to you for the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, Helen Francesca Rappaport. 

©  University of Leeds. 14 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:07 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 14 July 2017 8:01 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 11 July 2017
The House of Romanoff fully supports the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the question of the identification of the Ekaterinburg Remains
Topic: Ekaterinburg Remains

This article was originally published by the Russian Imperial House on 10 July 2017

The Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and her son and heir, H.I.H. the Grand Duke George of Russia, fully support the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the question of the identification of the “Ekaterinburg remains.”

The results of the new examination of the remains are being thoroughly studied at the present time, and the Church will at the appropriate moment issue a comprehensive statement of its own on the matter.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the Church’s other hierarchs deeply appreciate how important the question of the authenticity of the relics of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers is for millions of Orthodox believers, and for all our countrymen who honour the memory of the martyred Imperial Family, whether they belong to the Orthodox Church or not. His Holiness has commented in a wise and measured way on the new findings, avoiding all political pressures to hurry the investigation along—an investigation which has been fraught with misunderstandings and disagreements among the public.

The Russian Imperial House, together with other citizens of Russia, awaits the official statement from the Church, which has the last word in authenticating the “Ekaterinburg remains.” If the findings of the investigation are in due course accepted by the Church as sufficient to identify positively the remains as belonging to the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, then the Imperial Family will accept this finding with great joy. If, however, the findings are negative or inconclusive, then Grand Duchess Maria of Russia and Grand Duke George of Russia will accept this outcome with understanding and humility, as befits a faithful daughter and son of the Church.

The Chancellery of the Imperial House of Russia was, however, puzzled and perplexed to learn from reports in the media that a representative of “The Romanov Family Association,” Mr. I. Artsishevsky, had issued a statement on behalf of the “Romanov family” that called into question the position of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Earlier, the Chancellery of the Imperial House of Russia had expressed the hope that the anti-Church pronouncements from Mr. Atsishevsky on behalf of this organization would cease, especially after the meeting between the Acting President of the “Romanov Family Association,” Mr. Dmitry R. Romanov, and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, which took place before Mr. Romanov’s death on December 31, 2016. Unfortunately, the pronouncements have not ceased.

As for the recent highly political and anti-Church statements issued by Mr. Artsishevsky, it remains to be seen if the “Romanov Family Association” (of which Mr. Artsishevsky claims to be a representative) will issue a rebuttal. But if no rebuttal is issued, and if Mr. Artsishevsky remains in his position as an official representative of the organization, then we must conclude that the “Romanov Family Association” is endorsing this anti-Church position and so must bear full responsibility for the words and actions of those who have joined themselves to campaigns against the Russian Orthodox Church.

In any event, neither statements like those from Mr. Artsishevsky nor the private opinions of some descendants of members of the Romanoff dynasty in any way reflect the views of the Russian Imperial House of Romanoff.

©  Russian Imperial House. 11 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:51 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2017 1:04 PM EDT
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Monday, 10 July 2017
Experts Confirm Authenticity of 'Yekaterinburg remains' in Meeting with Patriarch in June - Romanov Family Association
Topic: Ekaterinburg Remains

Ivan Artsishevsky, official representative of the Romanov Family Association
This article was originally published by Interfax on 10 July 2017

Experts have confirmed the authenticity of the 'Yekaterinburg remains' of members of the Romanov family, Ivan Artsishevsky, an official representative of the Romanov Family Association, told Interfax on Monday.

"Progress has been made on this issue. There was a meeting with the Patriarch [Kirill of Moscow and All Russia] in June, where all experts confirmed that the remains are genuine. The church is now silent. It is difficult to explain this silence," Artsishevsky said.

He said he regrets the contacts between representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of the Romanov family.

"The Madrid Romanov family does not exist, it's an absolutely illegitimate organization. If the Russian Orthodox Church works with an illegitimate organization, it's a problem of the Russian Orthodox Church. The whole world recognizes one Romanov family, and the church decides its own way. But as an Orthodox Christian, I distinguish between the church of Christ and a meeting of bishops," Artsishevsky said.

Interfax does not have the Russian Orthodox Church's comments.

The press service for the St. Petersburg History Museum of the (Peter and Paul Fortress) told Interfax the establishment is not presently preparing for any new burials.

"Nothing is happening now. The grave of Alexander III has been restored, no other actions are planned. But it's not really our issue, everything depends on the Russian Orthodox Church and the city administration here," the source said.

A study on the issue of determining the identity of the 'Yekaterinburg remains" was held in Moscow in mid June. The meeting was chaired by Patriarch Kirill and was attended by Investigative Committee officials, including Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee, and also members of the special church commission for the 'Yekaterinburg remains.' Investigative Committee officials and experts gave interim reports on the forensic evaluations conducted as part of the criminal case in that meeting.

©  Interfax. 10 July, 2017"

Note: "It appears that Artsishevsky delights in any controversy or conflict that enhances his individual importance and therefore seeks vulgar publicity of any kind -- even if that publicity brings embarrassment and criticism to those he claims to serve with honor. As Artsishevsky is both an employee of the Romanov Family Association as well as the head of a for-profit "Etiquette School" in Saint Petersburg, one might think he would behave in a more dignified manner" - quote from Romanov Family Association Spokesperson Ivan Artsyshevsky Insults Church, Imperial House

© Interfax. 10 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:16 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2017 1:03 PM EDT
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1917-2017: On the Holy Relics of the Imperial Family and Their Faithful Servants
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

This article written by Father Andrew Phillips was originally published by Orthodox England on 9 July 2017


I write as a priest who has served the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in Paris, Lisbon and England, who loves the Russian Orthodox Tradition, and as a monarchist who hopes for justice through the restoration of Tsardom in Russia. Since the 1970s I have venerated the saint-loving St John of Shanghai, founding the first church in Western Europe dedicated to him after his canonization. I have also always venerated the other saints of the Church Outside Russia, like St Seraphim of Sofia, and our founding bishops, all of whom revered the Tsar-Martyr. Part of my veneration also comes from the fact that the internationally-minded Tsar was a forward-looking missionary, building seventeen magnificent churches precisely in Western Europe for the Orthodox faithful, and looking after Orthodox on three continents.

Like all his followers, the Tsar-loving St John of Shanghai was opposed not only by liberals, ecumenists and modernists, who despised, compromised or had entirely lost the Faith, but also by narrow, Old Believer-type nationalists, some of whom put him on trial in San Francisco. In general, it can be said that attitudes to St John, as to the Tsar, are litmus papers that tell us of love for the Church or, on the other hand, contempt for the Church. I have now been asked what I think of the remains disinterred near Ekaterinburg in 1991 and claimed to be those of five members of the Tsar’s Family and their four servants. With my great-grandfather born in the same year as the Tsar-Martyr and myself born on 19 July, the day of the final disposal of the remains of the Imperial Martyrs, my eagerness to see truth and justice before I die is also personal.

Father Andrew Phillips

How My Views Were Formed

I was brought up surrounded by the blasphemous Western propaganda which asserts that the last Christian Emperor, the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, was a weak-willed, decadent, incompetent reactionary, who was controlled by others, did not care about his people, and in general ‘got what he deserved’. Significantly, in those Cold War times, this propaganda was more or less identical to Soviet propaganda. This indicated that Western materialism and Soviet materialism were essentially the same. I disbelieved all such propaganda, sensing that it was lies with ulterior, power-grabbing motives, but I lacked arguments to counter it. In the 1960s I neither mastered Russian, nor had access to the often obscure émigré publications about the world-changing overthrow of the Tsar which told the truth. So I waited to discover more.

From the mid-1970s onwards I came to discover émigrés, truly White ones, all of whose words and writings have been confirmed by historians and researchers in the new, post-Soviet Russia, where truth is valued by many, even though a legitimate Tsar has not yet been restored. I understood that the Tsar had fallen victim, not to old-fashioned Marxists, but to an elitist conspiracy of aristocrats, generals and Duma masons, strongly backed by the Western Powers, supposed ‘Allies’. After very careful examination of the evidence over decades, I also came personally to venerate those around the Royal Martyrs. These included the much-slandered St Maria of Helsinki (Anna Vyrubova) and the Martyr Gregory (Rasputin), to whom I composed an akathist in English, published last year on the centenary of his martyrdom.

As a priest I met the last émigrés both in the Church Outside Russia and those in breakaway groups, like that in Paris. I was acquainted with many of the last exiled representatives of the Tsar’s Russia to have been adults before the Revolution. I knew both sides of the emigration. Some were truly White, patriots who honoured the Tsar, both when he was alive and afterwards. With others, it was the opposite, they simply wanted their money, estates and lost power back. They had little love for the Church, Russia or its people, contemptuously calling them ‘Soviets’, and many of them were compromised by sympathy for Hitler or by working for spy agencies, whether in Britain, France, Canada or the USA. They would never accept the miraculous 2007 act of repentance between the Patriarchate and the Church Outside Russia.

There was something rotten in parts of the emigration. It may be called ‘Paris-ism’. The aristocratic émigrés who confessed this ideology and who often lived in Paris had inverted the Imperial Christian motto of ‘Orthodoxy, Sovereignty and the People’, ‘the Faith, the Tsar and Rus’. They had abandoned the Russian Orthodox Church, were anti-Tsar and anti-people (by being anti-Rasputin – his great grand-daughter is still alive, despised by them, in Paris). It was precisely the Rus-hating oligarchic aristocracy, greedy for power, which had overthrown the Tsar. Those so-called ‘White’ émigrés, in fact not White at all, had carried out the February Revolution that had led directly to the Red Revolution of October. The noble Tsar, forced into abdication, had stood above them all, rejecting the bloodshed of civil war among his beloved peoples.

In the 1990s, amid the political manipulations of the shameful, anti-Russian, US-backed Yeltsin and his corrupt regime, like most other Orthodox I had not been convinced of the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg remains. I distrusted the political appointee investigator of the 1990s, V.N. Solovyov, a disrespectful non-Churchman. There were far too many contradictions and inconsistencies in the results, not least in the DNA results. Nothing was satisfying. In any case two of the eleven skeletons of the Imperial Family and their servants were still missing. Then, in 2007, the remains of two skeletons were found. One of our hierarchs, Bishop, now Archbishop, Agapit of Stuttgart, became convinced of the authenticity of the remains, which for him had become holy relics. For my part I awaited the results of a Church investigation with an open mind.

I wanted the list of questions about the remains submitted by the Church to be answered. At last, the much trusted Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) was put in charge of a new, Church-led investigation, to be published in this centenary year of the so-called ‘Russian Revolutions’ of 1917. On 3 July 2017 a first interview was published with Professor V.L. Popov, once a sceptic, confirming that the remains were authentic ( It seemed that Nikolai Sokolov, the White Army’s investigator into the Imperial Martyrs, had been mistaken in his report, which had been rushed, through no fault of his own. Not a chemist, he had thought the Martyrs’ bodies had been destroyed by fire and acid and so had not followed his investigation by digging at Porosenkov Log. My view of what had happened has become clear. [1]

Porosenkov Log (Pig's Ravine)


With the results now appearing and publication of the vital DNA results eagerly awaited, it seems that the story has become clear. The remains entombed in the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral and those of Sts Alexei and Maria kept in store are authentic and so must be enshrined. The great Church-on-the-Blood that stands on the site of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg will continue to be a place of veneration. The shrine and the seven churches at Ganina Yama will remain as the first place where the martyrs’ relics were taken. However, at Porosenkov Log, a great new Cathedral has to be built, a Cathedral of Reparation for the greatest crime of the age, a twelve-domed Cathedral dedicated to the seven Royal Martyrs and their four martyred servants, who joined Christ. Building can begin on the centenary of their martyrdom, in 2018.

This is called on to become a great centre of pilgrimage, the third and final destination for the faithful after Ekaterinburg and Ganina Yama. The holy relics can there be enshrined for the veneration of pilgrims from all over the world. We have no doubt that then, once the relics are properly enshrined and honoured, long-awaited miracles will begin. Tiny fragments of the relics may be distributed elsewhere, especially in Saint Petersburg, but the place where their relics were finally buried is to become a centre of worldwide repentance for all, Russians and Non-Russians alike, who committed ‘treason, cowardice and deceit’ against the Faith, the Tsar and Rus. Only then can the injustice committed 100 years ago be paid for and humanity, descended since the Piglets’ Ravine to the level of the Gergesene swine, turn back from the brink.

[1] What Happened

The seven Royal Martyrs and their four servants were horribly and brutally martyred in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, in the Urals between Europe and Asia, in the darkness just after midnight on 17 July 1918. Their bodies were taken some nine miles north by lorry to marshy ground called Ganina Yama (Gabriel’s Hole). Here, the lorry bogged down, the bodies were laid on the grass, stripped, burned, dumped into a supposed mineshaft and sprinkled with sulphuric acid.

We now know that only then was it discovered that the supposed mineshaft was quite shallow, only some three metres deep. The exhausted murderers learned of deeper mines west of Ekaterinburg, some four miles away. They obtained barrels of petrol, kerosene, sulphuric acid and firewood and returned at about 4.00 am on 18 July. They hauled the corpses out of the shaft and loaded them back onto the lorry, awaiting final disposal in the new location under cover of night.

In the early morning of 19 July, the lorry transporting the bodies again got stuck in mud on the Koptyaki Road near a place called Porosenkov Log (Piglets’ Ravine). The exhausted murderers decided to bury them here. They dug a shallow grave, doused the bodies in sulphuric acid again, smashed their faces with rifle butts and buried nine of them, covering them with quicklime, hoping to prevent identification, and placed railway sleepers over the grave so as to disguise their crime.

In an attempt to confuse anyone who might discover the first grave with only nine, and not eleven, bodies (the confusion caused was for long successful), the murderers had separated the bodies of the Tsarevich Alexei and one of his sisters from the nine others. These were to be buried about fifteen metres (fifty feet) away. These two bodies were also burned, their remaining bones smashed and then they were thrown into a smaller pit. The burial was completed at 6.00 am on 19 July.

After Ekaterinburg was liberated by the White Army on 25 July, a Commission was established under a legal investigator called Nikolai Sokolov. He discovered a number of the Romanovs’ belongings in and around Ganina Yama where the bodies had first been buried. However, not a chemist, he wrongly concluded that the bodies had been utterly destroyed (an impossibility) in a bonfire there with petrol and sulphuric acid. He had failed to find the real burial place on the Koptyaki Road.

The return of Bolshevik forces in July 1919 forced the conscientious Sokolov to leave in haste, his enquiry incomplete, taking only the box containing the items that he had recovered. His preliminary report was published that same year. On 30-31 May 1979, after years of research, a local amateur and a film-maker located the grave. They removed three skulls but, worried about the consequences of finding the grave, they reburied them. Only on 10 April 1989 was the find publicly revealed.

As a result, all the remains were disinterred in 1991 by Soviet officials in a hasty ‘official exhumation’ that destroyed precious evidence. In February 1998 the Yeltsin regime (twenty-one years before, Yeltsin had been responsible for destroying the Ipatiev House) decided to reinter the remains in the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. Although they were interred here in July 1998, their identity had still not been authenticated beyond doubt, leaving many questions unanswered.

On 29 July 2007 amateur investigators found the small pit containing the remains of Alexei and his sister, located not far from the main grave on the Koptyaki Road. Although criminal investigators and geneticists initially identified them as Alexei and Maria, they were stored pending a decision from the Russian Orthodox Church, which had requested a thorough and detailed authentication to eliminate all doubts. This has only recently been allowed and the results, positive, are now being published.

©  Father Andrew Phillips / Orthodox England. 10 July, 2017

The Imperial servants (clockwise), Dr Evgeny Botkin, the cook Ivan Kharitonov,
the footman Alexei Trupp, the maid Anna Demidova
Suggestions for a Future Cathedral on the Site of the Martyrdom of the Imperial Family and their Faithful Servants

In my article of 9 July on the authenticity of the remains disinterred near Ekaterinburg in 1991 and 2007 and said to belong to the Russian Royal Family and their servants, I suggested that a great Cathedral be built on the site of the martyrdom of the seven members of the Imperial Family and their four faithful servants. I have been asked how I see this. Not in any way responsible for this and with no influence with the powers that be, I can only make humble suggestions, like anyone of the 164 million strong flock of the Russian Orthodox Church. Here they are:

Firstly, all four of the Imperial servants, the cook Ivan Kharitonov, the footman Alexei Trupp, the shy parlour-maid Anna Demidova, as well as the distinguished and learned Dr Evgeny Botkin, must be canonized by the whole Russian Orthodox Church, and not just the New Martyr Evgeny. Although canonized long ago by the Church Outside Russia in 1981, three of them still await canonization by the whole Church. Of them Alexei Trupp, a Roman Catholic, was considered by the Synod of Bishops of the Church Outside Russia, as explained to me by the late Archbishop Antony of Los Angeles, to have been baptised in his own blood (as so many of the early martyrs of the Church and those of the Old Testament). All four were faithful to the end to the Imperial Family, preferring to be martyred together with them than to run away. It seems strange to canonize one and not the three others.

Secondly, special geological and engineering surveys would have to be carried out before any building could begin. The area is marshy and mining has been carried out. Piles would have to be driven and other preparations made in order to avoid possible subsidence.

Thirdly, the Ekaterinburg area would have to be renamed and all other traces of Soviet-period commemoration of the monsters who carried out the martyrdom removed, through renaming and removal of statues.

Fourthly, in collaboration between Church and State, the State and local authorities would have to provide appropriate infrastructure, in particular roads to the site.

Given this, we can imagine a Cathedral with a central cupola for the Saviour, seven others around it for each of the five women and two males of the Imperial Family, and then a further ring of four cupolas symbolizing the faithful servants. That for Alexei Trupp would represent that part of the Western world which in penitence also bows before the feat of martyrdom of the Imperial Family. That for Anna Demidova would represent faithful womankind. That for Ivan Kharitonov would represent the faithfulness of those who labour with their hands. That for Evgeny Botkin would represent the faithfulness of those who labour with their minds. This Cathedral would be built on the contributions of the Orthodox faithful from all over the world and of all nationalities. It would be a ‘Universal’ Cathedral, welcoming the penitent and pilgrims from all over the world. And alongside the Cathedral would grow up a pilgrimage centre, a monastery and a convent.
©  Father Andrew Phillips / Orthodox England. 11 July, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:15 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2017 12:41 PM EDT
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Saturday, 8 July 2017
This Week in the News - The Romanovs and Imperial Russia
Topic: News

Rachel Bailes, Member of the National Council of the Australian Monarchist League with Alexander Zakatov,
Head of the Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House, Hotel Metropol, Moscow. Photo © The Spectator

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 105,000 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 8 July 2017: 


Restoring the Romanovs

Rachel Bailes interview with Alexander Zakatov, Head of the Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House, published in 'The Spectator' on 6 May, 2017. 

What do UNESCO’s famous Ferapontov frescoes look like? + VIDEO

Unique murals from the Ferapontov monastery in the Vologda region (about 600 km north of Moscow) will soon be on display to the public - in digital form. 

Tsarist Russians in Istanbul

The supporters of the tsar fleeing the Bolsheviks took refuge in Istanbul under great difficulties. Among them were people of all stripes, including generals, famous artists, professors and businessmen Ekrem Bugra Ekinci writes in 'The Daily Sabah’. 

Now is not the time to speak of restoring monarchy, says abbot of Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery

Head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) recently spoke of the many advantages of monarchy over elected forms of government, and his belief that the Russian Orthodox Church would take part in any discussions on the matter. 

'Mad Men' Director's New Series 'Romanoffs' will dramatize the lives of descendants of the Russian royal family

Matthew Weiner's latest project will dramatize the lives of descendants of the Russian royal family. 

How photography became a hobby of the Romanovs + 14 PHOTOS

The early 1900s witnessed a global photo revolution, and the Russian royal family was not immune to this trend. This series of pictures from 1915-1916 shows the daily lives and characters of the Romanov family and their closest circle. Ksenia Zubacheva and Anastasia Karagodina report in RBTH. 

Massandra Palace: From Tsar Alexander III to Stalin + 12 COLOUR PHOTOS

The elegant palace in the French style belonged to the last two Russian emperors and after the revolution was Joseph Stalin's dacha - we explore its history and unearth some interesting facts. Irina Osipova reports in RBTH. 

5 things you probably didn’t know about the Bolshoi Theater + 10 COLOUR PHOTOS

It’s easy to become so engrossed in a performance at the Bolshoi that fascinating details about the theater’s history and appearance can go unnoticed. Make sure to think of these five facts next time you visit. Anna Galayda reports in RBTH. 

6 best films about the mysterious Russian ‘monk’ Rasputin

Historical accounts of the enigmatic Grigory Rasputin differ - just how much influence did he hold over the Romanovs and what were his true intentions? Take a look at these films and decide for yourself. Maria Grigoryan reports in RBTH. 

'Don’t eat like a pig' and other rules of etiquette from Peter the Great

Having cut a "window to Europe," the first Russian czar, Peter the Great, also introduced European ways of life to Russia, including rules of conduct. On his order, authorities wrote a book called “The Honest Mirror of Youth,” which became the first etiquette manual published in Russia. This volume was in use for two centuries, and many of its suggestions can still come in handy today. Oleg Yegorov reports in RBTH. 

On this day: The birth of Russian state reformer Sergei Witte

He is known as the architect of Russia's new parliamentary order in 1905. Irina Sidorova reports in RBTH. 

The artistic heart of Russia: An estate to visit before you die

In the Tula region (193 km south of Moscow), the property that once belonged to Vasily Polenov is far from having been dismissed as a beacon of remembrance, with its significance relegated to the past. Ninety years after the death of the artist, this country estate continues to attract talent from all over the world. Erwann Pensic reports in RBTH. 

Tombstone of Confidant of Peter the Great Found Along Wall of Sretensky Monastery

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient 17th-century tombstone, along the wall of Sretensky Monastery, belonging to Anna Rtischeva, a confidant of Tsar Peter I “the Great,” reports the site of the mayor of Moscow. 

What is happening to mansions that were abandoned in 1917?

An important part of Russia’s cultural heritage, country estates of erstwhile noblemen went through a period of devastation and decay during the Soviet era. Now the government is providing an opportunity for common people to help restore their original beauty. Ksenia Zubacheva and Anastasia Karagondina report in RBTH. 

Where to find the Amber Room, a cultural treasure stolen by the Nazis

A symbol of both Russian and German greatness, the Amber Room was the pride and joy of the House of Romanov. Its contents mysteriously disappeared during World War II and have never been found. In recent decades, Russian craftsmen and scientists have recreated this marvelous chamber. However, rumors regarding the whereabouts of the original Amber Room still spark debate among enthusiasts today. Oleg Yegorov writes in RBTH. 

On this day: Empress Elizabeth approved a new design for the Winter Palace in St Petersburg

The Palace was built with 1,500 rooms, 1,786 doors and 1,945 windows. Irina Sidorova reports in RBTH. 

5 major landmarks on Nevsky Prospect that visitors often miss

Reminders of the former capital include the.Singer Building, Eliseyev Emporium, Aurora Cinema (opened in 1913), and the Anichkov Bridge. Victoria Drey reports in RBTH. 

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 7:59 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2017 8:38 AM EDT
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