ROYAL RUSSIA NEWS. THE ROMANOV DYNASTY & THEIR LEGACY, MONARCHY, HISTORY OF IMPERIAL & HOLY RUSSIA
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Thursday, 25 August 2016
Archival Documents on the Murders of the Imperial Family Now Available Online
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

In 2018, Russia will mark the 100th anniversary of the murders of Emperor Nicholas II and his family in Ekaterinburg on the night of 16/17 July, 1918.

In anticipation of the centenary of the Ekaterinburg tragedy, the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow has made available online the documents on the history of this tragic event. In addition to documents from the collection of the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), are documents from collections of the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI), the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History (RGANI), Russian Federation President Archives (AP RF), Perm State Archive of Contemporary History, the State Archives of Sverdlovsk (JI-AP), and the Center for Documentation of Public Organizations of Sverdlovsk Region (TSDOOSO).

A total of 281 files containing nearly 1,000 documents are now available to read on GARF’s website. The documents are divided into 11 sections: renunciation, arrest, trial preparation, transfer to Ekaterinburg and others. They clarify the circumstances of the arrest of Nicholas II, his transfer to Tobolsk, and the circumstances of the death of the last Russian emperor's family.

The project is headed by GARF Director Sergei Mironenko, who was assisted by archival staff. The project, which took six months to complete now offers complete disclosure to everyone who is interested in the documents relating to the final period of the life of Emperor Nicholas II, from the time of his abdication, to his murder in the Ipatiev house. These documents were sealed during the Soviet years, completely off limits even to historians, and only become accessible after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. 

Many of the documents were identified as a result of painstaking research in Russia’s state and departmental archives, as well as private archival collections abroad. The bulk of the material, however, was collected during the first investigation into the murder of the royal family in 1919, conducted on behalf of Kolchak investigator Omsk district court Nikolai Sokolov. 

In addition, are documents from the investigations carried out after the discovery of the Ekaterinburg remains in 1993-1997. But there are more recent documents as well. For example, you can read the autobiography of Yakov Yurovsky, which he signed "chief executioner of the Romanov family”, discovered only a few months ago.

Among the documents are the encrypted telegram sent to Moscow, which informed Lenin and Sverdlov of the murder of all members of the royal family, the act of abdication signed in pencil by Nicholas II, and an important document relating to the assassination attempt on the Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (the future Emperor Nicholas II) during his visit to Japan in 1891.

Mironenko notes that the discovery of any additional documents relating to this subject, will be added to the digital collection, as they become available. In addition, GARF will supplement the project with documents pertaining to the murder of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich in Perm, and the murder Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and other members of the Romanov family in Alapaevsk. 

To review the documents (in Russian only), please refer to the following link:

Documents on the Murder of the Imperial Family

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 August, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:02 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2016 7:10 AM EDT
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Thursday, 4 August 2016
Patriarch to Participate in Centenary of Imperial Family's Deaths in Ekaterinburg
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

 

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill intends to visit Yekaterinburg in 2018 to participate in the commemorative events marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family. 

The Governor of Sverdlovsk region Yevgeny Kuyvashev and Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, have announced that a special committee has been established to organize the centenary Royal Days event. 

The traditional Royal Days attract tens of thousands of pilgrims and pious visitors to Ekaterinburg each year. Organizers are expecting more than 100,000 from across Russia and around the world to participate in the Royal Days marking the 100th anniversary in 2018. Patriarch Kirill will celebrate the Divine Liturgy held on the night of 16/17 July at the Church on the Blood.

Many believe that Patriarch Kirill’s attendance is significant. The fact that His Holiness’ visit is announced two years prior is an indication that the centenary will not only be marked on a grand scale, but one which will be a landmark event for the whole Orthodox world. 

For one, it fuels speculation that the Church may be preparing to officially recognize the Ekaterinburg remains. This would pave the way for the long awaited burial of the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria with the rest of their family. The remains of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia, and four retainers were interred in the Saint Catherine Chapel of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on 17th July, 1998.

It is highly unlikely, however, that the Imperial family’s remains would remain in the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral. The Church’s official recognition of the Ekaterinburg remains would more than likely mean that the remains of the entire family and their four retainers would be moved to another church, where they would be venerated as Holy Relics by Orthodox Christians. There is some speculation that the remains would be reinterred in the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg, or a new church to be constructed at Porosyonkov Log.
 
The following full-length articles by Paul Gilbert may also be of interest: 

The Fate of the Ekaterinburg Remains

Nicholas II. Russia's Last Orthodox Christian Monarch

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 4 August, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:21 AM EDT
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Thursday, 28 July 2016
ROC Moves Closer to Canonizing Three Servants of Emperor Nicholas II
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

This article has been edited and updated with additional information from its original
by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

The Russian Orthodox Church could possibly canonize the servants of Russia's last Tsar Nicholas II who were killed at the Ipatiev house at Yekaterinburg. If the initiative by the Yekaterinburg eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church is adopted, Latvian footman Alexei Yegorovich Trupp would rank among the newly canonized orthodox saints.

Alexei Yegorovich Trupp - was born in Vitebsk Governorate, Russian Empire (now Madona Municipality, Latvia). He was reportedly picked as a servant by Empress Maria Feodorovna who spotted Trupp while he was doing military service.

The decision on the canonization will be made by the Holy Synod Commission on the Canonization of Saints. The commission was handed materials collected by the nuns at the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg, concerning the canonization of three servants of Tsar Nicholas II - Ivan Kharitonov, Alexei Trupp, and Anna Demidova. The family-physician of the last Russian tsar and his family Dr. Eugene Botkin was canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate in February 2016.

"A lot of material has been collected about [the servants'] lives and their deaths. The materials testify not only about the high quality of these people's lives, but also that they lived good, righteous Christian lives," said Archimandrite Yegveni, the bishop of the Yekaterinburg eparchy.

According to Archimandrite Yevgeni, as Nicholas II was forced to abdicate as Tsar and go to exile in Tobolsk after the Bolshevik uprising, these three servants were the ones that followed him.

While testimony by Bolshevik guards says that family members of Nicholas II had on several occasions opened the door and told them that they're free to go. However there had been no treachery, and they paid for it with their lives, said the archimandrite.

While Trupp had been able to leave the Ipatiev house as one of the Latvian Red Riflemen that were guarding the Ipatiev house was his nephew.

However he stayed with the Tsar and died together with his family.

The remains of Trupp and the other three servants were buried at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in July 1998, alongside the remains of Nicholas II, his wife, and three of their five children. The remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria were transferred to the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow in December 2015.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 July, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:04 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2016 8:06 AM EDT
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Monday, 25 July 2016
Study of the Remains of Nicholas II's Children Will Soon be Completed - ROC
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


Chairman of the Patriarchal Council for Culture, Bishop Tikhon Egoryevsky
 
This article was translated and written from Russian media sources by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

Chairman of the Patriarchal Council for Culture, Bishop Tikhon Egoryevsky announced in Moscow this week that the results of the study of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II’s children Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria will soon be completed.  

"When the investigation is complete, we will explain (and I think that the arguments are very convincing), why more time is necessary to review both the results of previous studies and to further carry out historical and anthropological examination of the remains. When that is, I can not say"- he said in an interview with the TASS News Agency.

Bishop Tikhon noted that the results of the investigation will be presented to the Council of Bishops. "The conclusions of the Investigative Committee and the Churches' Commission, and (very important for us), notes and recommendations by experts and historians will be presented to the Council of Bishops, we will then await their decision," - he said.

On 29 July, 2007 during archaeological excavations for the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, human remains were discovered near the original grave at Porosyonkov Log, near Ganina Yama. Fragments of bones and teeth of two persons were found with signs of exposure to high temperature. A preliminary investigation was reopened to clarify additional circumstances of the death and burial of the Imperial family.

In its course, expert studies have been conducted. According to their results, as well as other materials of the investigation, it was found that the remains found in the grave were the children Emperor Nicholas II - Alexei and Maria. On 23 September, 2015 the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation resumed the criminal investigation into the deaths of members of the Russian Imperial House, as well as those of their entourage.

In October 2015 His Holiness Patriarch Kirill appealed to the government to carry out comparative genetic studies of the remains of Nicholas II and his father Emperor Alexander III. The ROC Investigative Committee believe that positive results of such an examination will be the indisputable proof of the authenticity of the remains of Nicholas II and his family that the Church has been seeking all these years.

In 2000, the Moscow Patriarchate canonized Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, Tsesarevich Alexei, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia accepted a martyr's death. The Church, however, still questioned the authenticity of the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria, discovered in 2007.
 
For more articles and news about the Ekaterinburg remains and the Holy Royal Martyrs, please refer to the following link:

Ekaterinburg Remains and Holy Royal Martyrs

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 July, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:33 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 July 2016 7:48 AM EDT
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Monday, 18 July 2016
Thousands Gather in Ekaterinburg for Royal Procession to Ganina Yama
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye leads a public prayer at Ganina Yama on the morning of 17 July, 2016
 
This article was translated and written from Russian media sources by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

On the night of 16/17 July, 2016, marking the 98th anniversary of the murder of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family, the traditional Royal procession from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Holy Royal Monastery at Ganina Yama took place. 

An all night vigil was held in the Church on the Blood, which included a Divine Liturgy by Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye.

The procession follows the route taken on that fateful day in July 1918, from the Ipatiev House to the abandoned Four Brothers mine, where the remains of Russia’s last Imperial family and four faithful retainers were initially disposed of by their murderers.
 
According to a press release issued by the Ekaterinburg Diocese, Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye headed the procession of more than 60,000 people who took part in this year’s procession.

The procession began about 2:30 am, and was accompanied by 25 mobile teams of the Orthodox Mercy Service along the entire route. The group included priests, nuns and volunteers, as well as representatives of the Holy Dormition brotherhood of the Ekaterinburg Diocese. They assisted pilgrims with places to rest, provided bottles of drinking water, while nurses provided first aid.

The 20 kilometre procession took the faithful about 5 hours to complete. Upon arrival at Ganina Yama, they were met by the clergy and the sound of the monastery church bells. A public prayer for the Holy Royal Martyrs took place around the large Orthodox cross which marks the spot where the remains of the Imperial family and their retainers were burned and then thrown into the abandoned mine shaft on 17th July, 1918. A Divine Liturgy was also held in main church of the monastery. 

Large tents were erected which provided tired pilgrims with a place to rest and enjoy a free breakfast. Twelve shuttle buses also provided free transport back to Ekaterinburg.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 July, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:53 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 18 July 2016 6:58 AM EDT
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Thursday, 7 July 2016
Russian Authorities Waiting for Results of ROC Investigation of Ekaterinburg Remains
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko
 
This article was written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

The Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko stated this week that his government is waiting for the results of the investigation by the Russian Orthodox Church on the authenticity of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

In February 2016, Patriarch Kirill announced during a meeting of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, that a new three-level investigation and examination of the remains. The new ROC commission would review the historical, anthropological and genetic aspects of the murders and the remains currently buried in the side chapel of St. Catherine in the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister Grand Duchess Maria were transferred to the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow in December 2015.

"Timing depends on the church. We are in regular dialogue and contact with the ROC commission and waiting for their conclusions", - Prikhodko said. Church officials had previously stated that they will not be rushed in this matter, noting that no specific deadlines for the examination of the remains had been established.

"I have received the highest-level reassurances that there will be no hurry and no tying down of the end of the inquiry to any particular date. The inquiry will last as long as is necessary in order establish the truth," the patriarch told delegates at the Bishops' Council in Moscow.

Unlike the situation in the 1990s, the state has given representatives of the Church - archbishops, clerics and invited scientists - "the possibility to participate directly in the inquiry," the patriarch said.

For more information on the ROC’s position on the Ekaterinburg remains, please refer to the following article:

THE FATE OF THE EKATERINBURG REMAINS

Since 2012, Royal Russia has published more than 50 articles on the Holy Royal Martyrs and the Ekaterinburg remains. Click on the link below to review full-length articles, news stories, views and photos from Russian media sources:

THE HOLY ROYAL MARTYRS & THE EKATERINBURG REMAINS - 50 ARTICLES 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 July, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:25 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 7 July 2016 8:43 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 5 July 2016
"ROYAL DAYS:" CROSS PROCESSION ON THE NIGHT OF JULY 16-17
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


This article has been translated by Jesse Dominick @ Pravoslavie.ru

The traditional cross procession from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ekaterinburg will take place on the night of July 16-17, along the path on which the remains of the murdered members of the royal family were carried.

Traditionally, for already a quarter of a century pilgrims travel to Ekaterinburg from all over the world to participate in the cross procession on the night of the murder of the Romanov family. In 2014 on the day of the 400th anniversary of the accession of the House of Romanov, 100,000 faithful from Russia, the USA, Great Britain, China, Moldova, Ukraine, and other countries walked in the prayerful procession from the Ekaterinburg Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama (Ganin “Pit”). In 2015 representatives of the Japanese delegation of the Satsuma region, whose ancestors were received as guests at the end of the nineteenth century by the future emperor Nikolai II, also took part in the cross procession. The Japanese fulfilled the promise given to the Satsuma tsarevich-prince, personally arriving to honor the memory of the emperor.

Various Russian cities annually hold events commemorating the tragedy that took place in Ekaterinburg in July 1918. These days, styled “Royal,” offer visitors to the Ural capital a broad cultural-educational program.

The key event of the Royal Days in the Ekaterinburg diocese has become the cross procession on the night of July 16-17 from the Church on the Blood (where the royal family was shot) to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama (where the bodies of the royal family and friends were burned).

The All-Night Vigil and nighttime Divine Liturgy will be served under the open sky on a specially built platform on the square in front of the Church and on the closed-off sections of Tsarskaya Street.

An altar will be erected on the porch of the Church on the Blood, with large video screens, a powerful sound system and spotlights installed. Thousands will be able to take part in the Divine services on this night, confessing and communing of the holy Mysteries of Christ.

“Royal Days service schedule”

Saturday July 16

1:00 PM Cross procession along the route of the arrival of the Royal Martyrs to Ekaterinburg, to the memorial Church on the Blood

3:00 PM Small Vespers with the Akathist to the Holy Royal Martyrs. Confession. Church on the Blood.

11:30 PM-2:00 AM Divine Liturgy. Church on the Blood.

Sunday July 17

2:30 AM Traditional cross procession from the memorial Church on the Blood to the Monastery in the name of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama. Upon arrival of the procession—Moleben to the Holy Royal Martyrs. Open-air meal.

6:00 AM Divine Liturgy. Church on the Blood (lower church, altar on the spot of the martyric death of the Holy Royal Martyrs).

9:00 AM Divine Liturgy. Church on the Blood (upper church).

9:00 AM Divine Liturgy. Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama.

5:00 PM All-Night Vigil. Church of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama.

The first-known cross procession on this path took place in the beginning of the 1990’s, with several dozens of people participating. In 2000 the penitential procession gathered about 300 people.

The first diocesan cross procession, headed by the ruling bishop, took place in 2002, with 2-3,000 pilgrims and about 100 clergy taking part. As the space inside the church was filled with scaffolding, the services took place on the square in front of the church. The main cultural-educational events of the festival “Royal Days” occurred July 19-21, although in previous years they had begun in the first half of the month, continuing until the end of the month.

In 2003, 2005, and 2010 the procession specifically went along the historical path on which the bodies of the Royal Martyrs were carried to the place of their disposal.

The number of worshipers gathering at the nighttime Divine Liturgy at the Church on the Blood and for the cross procession has grown every year, reaching 50,000 people at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century.

In 2012, for the first time since the construction of the Church on the Blood, the All-Night Vigil and Liturgy were celebrated outdoors, as they had been before the construction of the church. A portable tent altar was erected on the porch of the church with large video monitors, a large mounted sound system, spotlights, and large icons erected.

The center for the services on July 16-17 is the memorial Church on the Blood in honor of All Saints of the Russian Church, erected on the site of the murder of the Royal Martyrs, and the male monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama, built on the spot of the disposal of their holy bodies.

© Pravoslavie.ru / Diocese of Ekaterinburg. 5 July, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:54 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 5 July 2016 8:59 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 June 2016
Experts Speak on the Romanov Searches and DNA
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


SEARCH President Captain Peter Sarandinaki 
 
On 14 February, 2016.  Captain Peter Sarandinaki and Dr. Michael D. Coble (USA DNA Laboratory) presented their findings on the search for the Romanov remains and the identification of the remains of the children of the last Emperor, Nicholas II the Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Alexis Nikolaevich, and his sister the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna.

The presentation in English, took place at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (ROCOR) in Washington, DC.
 
Click here to watch the video Search and Identification of the Missing Romanov Children (duration: 2 hours), and listen to what these specialists have to say in the matter of the remains of the murdered Imperial family.

S.E.A.R.C.H. Scientific Expedition to Account for the Romanov Children is a US non-profit organisation dedicated to the restoration of truth in Russia’s history.

Since 1991 SEARCH has worked with universities and organizations in the United States and Russia to initiate archeological expeditions in 1998, 1999, and 2004 to Ekaterinburg, Russia. The purpose of these expeditions was to search for the missing remains of Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Alexis Nikolaevich, and his sister the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, children of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

In 2007/2008 SEARCH Foundation’s president Captain Peter Sarandinaki, initiated and coordinated the DNA validation process for newly-discovered remains.

A team made up of the US Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL), the University of Innsbruck Institute of Legal Medicine (ILM) Laboratory, the Ekaterinburg Bureau of Forensic Medicine and Moscow’s Bavilovsky Institute came onboard to conduct DNA studies on the remains of the Romanov family.

Dr. Michael D. Coble, Chief of the AFDIL Research Section, was the lead scientist of the American team.

From 2009-2015, Captain Peter Sarandinaki has led four forensic expeditions to Perm, Russia to search for the remains of Russian Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and his secretary, Brian Johnson. His team is made up of American, British and Russian forensic experts. 

In February 2016, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), named Capt. Peter Sarandinaki as their Official Representative with the following statement:

"We hereby certify that Peter A. Sarandinaki (Citizen of the U.S.A.) is named the Official Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on the search and study of the remains of the royal family.”

© SEARCH Foundation. 14 June, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:58 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 June 2016 7:59 AM EDT
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Saturday, 12 March 2016
The Fate of the Ekaterinburg Remains
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


This article was written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016
 
On July 17th 1998, the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia, and their four faithful retainers Dr. Eugene Botkin, Ivan Kharitonov, Alexei Trupp and Anna Demidova were interred in the Saint Catherine Chapel of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Not only was I both privileged and honoured to attend this historic event, I was also hopeful that the burial would bring some closure to what is considered one of the greatest tragedies of 20th century Russian history. Sadly, this was not to be.

The questions raised by the murders of the Russian Imperial family, including the discovery of their remains in the vicinity of Ekaterinburg, as well as the recognition or non-recognition of their authenticity, have been unsettling both Russian and Western society for the last 25 years. Recently, many people have been looking to the Russian Orthodox Church for its verdict on the matter. But expressing an objective view requires the Church to conduct a thorough examination of the historical records as well as the investigation materials and the results of scientific enquiries.

In September of 2015, I published an article on my Royal Russia blog announcing that the investigation into the Ekaterinburg remains had been reopened. The investigation would include a new series of genetic studies, and a comprehensive review of the evidence accumulated since 1918 into the murders of the last Russian Imperial family. With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and at his request to the Investigative Committee a new team of experts was formed. A complex examination would be carried out for the first time – a historical, anthropological and genetic one - one in which the ROC would be involved in all aspects of the investigation.

More than 20 years of scientific testing, extensive theological debates, and the enormous public outcry for resolution on the issue has failed to deter the Moscow Patriarchate’s decision to resolve the issue any time soon. In early January 2016, Bishop Tikhon of Yegoryevsk noted that the “examination of the Ekaterinburg remains may take several years.” This statement was confirmed the following month during the bishops’ council of the Russian Orthodox Church, when Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia announced at the opening ceremony that “the inquiry will last as long as is necessary in order establish the truth”.

In the last six months, I have published more than 30 news stories and articles on the subject, mainly translated from Russian media sources. During that time, I have received numerous emails and telephone calls from readers frustrated by the ROC's position on the Ekaterinburg remains. 

With a lack of reliable information published in the Western media and social forums on the subject, much of what has been written has caused a wave of indignation towards the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Imperial House. Many Westerners felt that the ROC should have taken the findings of the original DNA and forensic tests carried out years prior at face value, simply because a team of "experts" found the remains to be authentic. As Archpriest Oleg Mitrov points out in his recent essay The Investigation Into the Deaths of the Russian Royal Family and Persons of Their Entourage (published in Royal Russia No. 9 Winter 2016, pg. 31-44), in the early 1990s, the Moscow Patriarchate suggested "a temporary burial, then completing the investigation which, once it produced indisputable results, could stop all discord that this question created in society.” Their request fell on deaf ears, "the voice of our church wasn't heard at the time,” added Mitrov.

Non Orthodox Christians must understand the position of the ROC on the matter of both relics and canonization. The Legitimist web site notes: “Any remains of the murdered Imperial Family are ipso facto religious relics, and therefore the internal procedures of the Russian Orthodox Church in completely satisfying itself of their genuineness must be followed. The Russian Orthodox Church wants to address any remaining doubts about the remains, given the fact that, once accepted by the Church as the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, they will become relics venerated by the faithful.”
 
Given the weight of evidence accumulated by experts in their respective fields since the early 1990s, it is highly unlikely that the Moscow Patriarchate will dispute the remains recovered from the two burial sites in Ekaterinburg between 1979 and 2007 any further. Recent statements made in the Russian media offer some hope that they are moving in that direction:
 
"The re-examination of the criminal case is not an attempt to reconsider the evidence received earlier and established facts, but rather represents the necessity of additionally investigating the new facts, which was requested by the Russian Orthodox Church," Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told the TASS News Agency (24 September, 2015). 

Markin went on to say, "an interdepartmental working group for the study and burial of the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria gave its consent to conducting additional identification studies of the objects previously inaccessible for investigators." To this end, the investigators exhumed the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Blood samples of Emperor Alexander II, Nicholas II’s grandfather who died in a terrorist act in 1881 and whose blood stains are found on his full-dress uniform, kept in the State Hermitage Museum, have also been taken. Additional DNA samples were extracted from Emperor Alexander III in November 2015, in a bid to conclusively answer questions about the fates of Nicholas II and his family.

Markin’s statements would suggest that the Moscow Patriarchate have accepted the Ekaterinburg remains as authentic, although no official statement has yet been issued by the Church.

The Russian Orthodox Church also believe that it is necessary to continue the search for the remains of Nicholas II's children. Presumably, only a small part of the remains of Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria have been found, therefore, the search must be continued, said a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church. The investigation into the criminal case of the murder of the royal family should also include an examination of the remains found by Nikolai Sokolov in the 1920s and later transferred to St. Job’s Church in Brussels.
 
In the meantime, as the world awaits the final results of the new DNA and forensic studies on the Ekaterinburg remains, and the conclusion of the investigation headed by the Russian Orthodox Church into the deaths of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, further new questions are sure to arise about the fate of the remains. 

Here are some further points to ponder on the fate of the Ekaterinburg remains: 
 
  • in the summer of 2000, the Moscow Patriarchate canonized the Holy Royal Martyrs as Royal Passion-Bearers. The ROC’s official recognition of the Ekaterinburg remains would result in their glorification as saints to be venerated by Orthodox Christians. This will result in an elaborate glorification ceremony headed by Kirill Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia
  • many people are expecting that the remains of the Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister, Grand Duchess Maria will be interred with those of their family in the Saint Catherine Chapel of the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. The ROC’s recognition of these remains would make this highly unlikely. Both the Saint Catherine Chapel and the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral are museums under the administration of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, in which visitors must pay an admission to gain entry. This is something that the Church would vehemently oppose, and rightly so
  • it seems highly likely that the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, Tsesarevich Alexei, and their four faithful retainers would be reinterred in another church. It is very likely that a new church would be constructed in their honour, one which would allow Orthodox Christians to enter freely to venerate the Holy relics. During the past few months, there has been some speculation in the Russian media that such a church would be constructed in Ekaterinburg, which many now consider the center of Orthodox Russia in the Urals   
  • despite the ROC’s earlier statements that the examination and investigation may take years, it seems highly likely that the canonization and veneration of the remains of the Holy Royal Martyrs will take place around the date marking the 100th anniversary of the murder of Russia’s last Imperial family on 17 July 2018
I am very optimistic that both the examination and investigation will conclude before the 2018 centenary. At long last, the remains of all members of the last Russian Imperial family will be laid to rest together. Not only will their holy relics be venerated by the faithful, they will receive the honour which they truly deserve. Their glorification will continue to help Russia heal the wounds of the Bolshevik regicide which has haunted the nation for more than 70 years.
 
To review more than 30 articles on the Ekaterinburg remains and the Holy Royal Martyrs, please click on the link below:

More articles on the Ekaterinburg remains and the Holy Royal Martyrs 

© PAUL GILBERT @ ROYAL RUSSIA. 12 March, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:54 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 14 March 2016 6:04 AM EDT
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Thursday, 3 March 2016
ROC Seeks Claim to Site of Royal Remains Grave Near Ekaterinburg
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

The Russian Orthodox Church, who has not officially recognized the "Ekaterinburg remains" is already in discussions with local government in staking a claim over the place where their remains were discovered in the 1970s at the Pigs Meadow (Porosyonkov Log). Situated on the north-western outskirts of Ekaterinburg, the site was added to the national cultural heritage list in June 2014.

A high ranking delegation from the Ekaterinburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye met in February with First Deputy Prime Minister of the Sverdlovsk government Vladimir Vlasov. 

The February 19th meeting was attended by First Deputy Prime Minister Vlasov, and provincial ministers: Culture - Paul Krekov, Natural Resources - Alex Kuznetsov, and State Property Management - Aleksey Pyankov. In addition was the director of the Department of Forestry in the region Oleg Sandakov and Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye. 

The Ministry of Culture of the Sverdlovsk Region notes that if the ROC recognizes the remains as authentic, then the transfer of the cultural heritage site (3.7 hectares) would be designated as sacred land and transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, where a memorial museum complex, similar to that at Ganina Yama would be constructed.

According to Archpriest Alexei Cullberg, the Church Commission, established in September 2015 at the request of Patriarch Kirill to address the issue of recognition of the royal remains found in Ekaterinburg, come to an unequivocal conclusion: "More research is needed, and, apparently, [new archaeological] excavations in Porosyonkov Log (previous digs were carried out in three previous years: 1979, 1991 and 2007)". Patriarch Kirill noted that “with this in mind the definition of the ROC of its position on this matter may take several years.”

The Pigs Meadow (Porosyonkov Log) which is located about four and a half miles from Ganina Yama, was discovered in the late 1970s through clandestine research but kept secret until the political climate changed in 1989. In 1995, the remains found at the Pigs Meadow were identified as those of Emperor Nicholas II, his wife, three of their five children and four faithful retainers. A second, smaller pit was located about 70m away at the Porosenkov Ravine in 2007 containing the remains of the remaining two Romanov children missing from the larger grave. 

It is important to note that should the ROC recognize the Ekaterinburg remains as those of the last Russian Imperial family, that their remains currently interred in St. Catherine’s Chapel of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg would most likely be transferred and reburied with great pomp and ceremony in another church, where their holy relics may be venerated by believers - PG 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 03 March, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:47 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 3 March 2016 8:59 AM EST
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