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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
The Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 28 minutes, 16 seconds.
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was built in 2000-2003 on the site of the former Ipatiev House at Ekaterinburg. It was here in the early morning hours of July 17th, 1918 that the former Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, their five children, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastastia, and their son and Heir-Apparent Tsesearevich Alexei, along with four faithful retainers were brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks. This beautiful Russian Orthodox Church commemorates their sainthood.

The Ipatiev House, built in the 1880s, was a spacious and modern residence owned by Nicholas Ipatiev, a local military engineer. In April 1918, the Ural Soviet gave him two days notice to vacate the house in order to house the former Imperial family. Once the building was vacated, the Soviets built high wooden walls around the house. The Romanovs would be held prisoner in their final residence for 78 days. In 1974, the mansion was designated a "national monument" but, to the embarrassment of the government, it was steadily becoming a place of pilgrimage for those who wished to honour the memory of the Imperial family. As a result, on September 22, 1977, under orders from the Soviet government a team, under the direction of Boris Yeltsin, demolished the house.

On September 20th, 1990, the local Sverdlovsk Soviet handed the vacant plot of land over to the Russian Orthodox Church for the construction of a memorial chapel. After the former Tsar and his family’s canonisation as Passion Bearers (the family was canonized in 1981 as new martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), the Church planned to build an impressive memorial complex dedicated to the Imperial family. A state commission was gathered and architectural as well as funding plans were developed. Construction began in 2000.

The completed complex comprises two churches, a belfry, a patriarchal annex and chapel, and a museum dedicated to the former imperial family. The altar of the main church was built directly over the site of the basement room where the Imperial family was murdered. On June 16th, 85 years after their murders, the main church was consecrated by Metropolitan Yuvenaly, delegated by Patriarch Alexei II who was ill at the time, assisted by Russian Orthodox clergy from all over the Russian Federation.

Today, the church is a major place of pilgrimage for those faithful to the Russian Orthodox Church and monarchists, who travel from every corner of Russia to pray and remember the tragic events of July 17th, 1918. Every year on the night of the anniversary of the murders, the church holds a memorial service which attracts thousands of people. From here, they form a river of human souls as they walk the route from the church to Ganina Yama, situated about 15 km north of Ekaterinburg.

As I review this documentary which was created for Russian television, I find it hard to believe that it was only a few weeks ago that I was able to visit this Holy site. For me personally it was such a privilege and an honour to finally be given an opportunity to pray at the spot where this remarkable family was brutally murdered.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 26 June, 2012


 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:13 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2012 6:24 AM EDT
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