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Tuesday, 3 March 2015
First Church Dedicated to Tsar Nicholas II and His Family Opens in Moscow
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

The Church of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Moscow
The construction of a church in honour of Tsar Nicholas II and his family has been completed in Moscow. 

The ground breaking and initial construction began three years ago, in March of 2012. On March 8, 2013 the Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna visited the site of the new church during an official visit to Moscow. The grand duchess lit a candle in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, and then took the time to speak and have tea with local parishioners.

The first liturgy was held on July 17, 2014 in a temporary chapel situated immediately adjacent to the site of the main church. Since that time, regular worship and liturgies continued to be held in the temporary chapel. 

A temporary iconostasis has now been installed in the church. The final phase of construction, which includes finishing touches on the church’s facades, and landscaping will be carried in the Spring. A church bell is currently being made in the Tutaev plant.

The church is part of an ambitious plan by the Russian Orthodox Church to construct 200 new churches in the nation’s capital.

The Church of the Holy Royal Martyrs is situated at 6th Novopodmoskovny lane. d.7., in the northwest suburbs of Moscow, it can accommodate up to 200 worshipers. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 03 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:39 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 4 March 2015 5:32 AM EST
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Tuesday, 9 September 2014
Russian Senator Urges Putin to Revisit the Issue of the Burial of the Tsar's Two Children
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Tsesarevich Alexis Nicholayevich and Grand Duchess Maria Nicholayevna with their aunt, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna
The necessity of burying the two remaining children of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II - Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria - was raised this week in the Federation Council (the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia). St. Petersburg Senator Vadim Tyulpanov, sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin asking him to consider burial of the remains of the Tsesarevich and Grand Duchess in the Catherine Chapel of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, together with other members of the family of the last Russian emperor.

He noted that the confirmed remains of the last Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister, the Grand Duchess Maria remain unburied. Their remains are currently stored in the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow. Tyulpanov is convinced that the burial of the remains of the royal children will "restore historical justice, moreover, it would be from the point of view of compliance with the Orthodox rituals and play an important role in the preservation of historical memory".

In 2000, the last Russian emperor and his family were canonized as passion bearers by the Russian Orthodox Church. The family had previously been canonized in 1981 by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad as holy martyrs. The bodies of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, and three of their daughters - Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia -  were finally interred at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on July 17, 1998, eighty years after they were murdered. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexei II (1929-2008) did not take part in the ceremony.

In his letter to the President, Tyulpanov recalled that seven years ago, a genetic examination finally confirmed the authenticity of the remains of all seven members of the family of Emperor Nicholas II, who were shot in the early hours of July 17, 1918, in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. There were no survivors, despite the claims of conspiracy theorists.

"In 2007, the experts found that the remains of two bodies discovered in a separate grave belong to the son and daughter of Emperor Nicholas II: Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria. Their bodies were buried separately from the rest of the royal family and were discovered 16 years after the discovery of the remains of most of the members of the royal family. As published in the media, the results of examination of the Main Directorate of the RFIC forensics, investigated the case of the deaths of the Romanovs in 1993 - that the investigation determined that there is no doubt that the remains found in two graves on Koptyakovskaya road near Ekaterinburg belong to all the murdered members of the family of Nicholas II” - Tyulpanov said in his letter to Putin.

The first excavations at the burial place of the royal family were held in 1979. In 1991, with the approval of the President of the Russian Federation and the regional authorities, the unmarked grave was officially opened, which contained the remains of nine people. Numerous experts have confirmed that the remains belonged to Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia Romanov, and four of their retainers. The bodies of the Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister, the Grand Duchess Maria were not among them remains discovered in the first grave. 

In the summer of 2011, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation once again raised the issue of the burial of the remains of the children of Nicholas II discovered in July 2007, proposing to organize a public debate on this issue. Then a senior forensic investigator, Vladimir Solovyov, from the Main Department of Criminology, who headed the investigation into the deaths of the royal family, told reporters that investigators had no doubt the remains of accessories.

Soviet and Russian historian, Chairman of the Duma Committee on Education Vyacheslav Nikonov believes that without the opinion of the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to resolve the issue of the Ekaterinburg remains, that the question of burial is impossible.

The Russian Orthodox Church has never officially rendered a final judgment on the issue of the royal remains. For believers, it is of fundamental importance, because the emperor and his wife and children, who became martyrs at the end of their lives, were canonized. In 2012, the Russian Orthodox Church officially stated that the question of whether members of the royal family remains discovered in 1991 and 2007 near Ekaterinburg remains unresolved and requested additional historical and genetic research.

“In general, it would be logical - to finally bury the remains of the Tsesarevich and the Grand Duchess, along with the other members of their family,” said Nikonov. “As I recall, there was a problem that the church leaders were not quite sure of the outcome of the investigation and scientific examinations. Since the remains of the bodies have been canonized, government leaders can not solve this issue without agreement from the Russian Orthodox Church” - he concluded. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 09 September, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:32 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 September 2014 5:53 AM EDT
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Friday, 18 July 2014
Holy Royal Martyrs Commemorated in Ekaterinburg on Their Feast-Day
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

The night of July 16/17 is a tragic date in the history of Russia. On this day in Ekaterinburg, the Russian Tsar Nicolas II, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, their children as well as their faithful servants were brutally murdered. The Church “on the Blood” in honour of All Saints who have Shone Forth in the Russian Land, has now been built on the site of the crime. And the tragic night annually gathers thousands of pilgrims to this site from all over Russia and other countries for prayer, reports the News Agency of the Ekaterinburg Diocese.

The tradition of commemorating the martyred Royal Family began long before their canonization as Royal Martyrs. In 1992, Archbishop Melchisedek (Lebedev) of Sverdlovsk and Kurgan first gave a blessing to celebrate a service here and hold a procession of the Cross to the site of the destruction of their holy relics at Ganina Yama (“Ganya’s Pit”). 

On these days of the Royal Martyrs, in spite of the torrential rain (the first such in 22 years) tens of thousands of Ekaterinburg residents, pilgrims from all the corners of Russia and from abroad gathered to honour the Holy Passion-Bearers. 

Celebration of Small Vespers, Vigil service and Divine Liturgy on the night of the martyrdom of the Royal Family on the porch of the Church on the Blood was headed by permanent member of the Holy Synod Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, Metropolitan Nikon of Ufa and Sterlitamak, Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, Bishop Markell of Beltsy and Falesti, Bishop Nikodim of Edinet and Briceni, Bishop Innocent of Nizhny Tagil and Serov, Bishop Nicolas of Salavat and Kumertau, Bishop Ambrose of Neftekamsk and Birsk, Bishop Methodius of Kamensk-Uralsky and Alapayevsk with several hundred priests and deacons concelebrating. 

Before the Divine Liturgy Metropolitan Kirill addressed the sea of people gathered in front of the Church on the Blood with his archpastor’s speech on the Holy Royal Martyrs, especially stressing the deep connection between the podvig (feat/ascetic struggle) of St. Sergius of Radonezh (the Church celebrates the 700th anniversary of his birth in 2014) and the feat of the Holy Royal Martyrs. 

During the singing of troparia at the Little Entrance “Eternal memory” was proclaimed to the Royal Passion-Bearers’ servants, martyred together with them on July 17, 1918. 

After the Litany of Fervent Supplication a prayer for peace in the Ukraine was offered up. 

At the Litany of the Departed special prayers were offered up for His Beatitude the newly-reposed Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) of Kiev and All the Ukraine; the servants of the Royal Family, who remained faithful to them even to the death; the victims of the Moscow underground railway (subway/Metro) accident; and those slain in the fratricidal war in the Ukraine. 

Because of the extremely large number of communicants the clergy of the Ekaterinburg Diocese gave Holy Communion from 100 chalices.

Soyuz (Union) TV channel carried live coverage of the service to 127 countries of the world. 

After the Liturgy the traditional 21-kilometre-long night procession of the Cross from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs was held, following the way by which the slain martyrs were brought in 1918. 

Today, on the feast-day of the Holy Royal Martyrs, services are being celebrated non-stop at both the church and the monastery. And tomorrow, on July 18, services will be celebrated in Alapayevsk, where the New Martyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova and Nun Barbara were martyred. 
© 18 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:19 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 18 July 2014 5:27 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Royal Remains Burial Site to be Entered on Russia's Cultural Heritage List
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Royal remains burial site on Staraya Koptyakovskaya Road outside Ekaterinburg
A resolution passed on Tuesday by the Sverdlovsk regional government, enters the place outside Ekaterinburg, where the remains of the family of Russia's last tsar Nicholas II were found, on the national cultural heritage list, the regional government's press service reported.

"The resolution enters the place on Staraya Koptyakovskaya Road, where the royal remains were found, on the national register of cultural heritage sites, where it will be defined and saved for future generations," the press service said in a statement. 

Spokesperson for the regional property ministry Galina Utkina told Interfax that a letter requesting that this site be entered on the national register of state protected cultural monuments, will be sent to the Culture Ministry. 

After the site is entered on the register, all actions at the place where the royal remains were found will be banned unless approved by the regional property ministry, she said. 

"But further research will be allowed, if a plan is negotiated with us, so we will know who is doing what at the site," Utkina said. 

The remains of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the grand duchesses Tatiana, Olga and Anastasia, and their servants were found on Staraya Koptyakovskaya Road near Ekaterinburg in the late 1970s. In July 1998, the remains were buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The remains of Grand Duchess Maria and Tsesarevich Alexei were found at the same site in 2007. 
© Interfax. 10 June, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:10 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2014 5:16 AM EDT
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Friday, 9 August 2013
ROC Still Doubts Authenticity of Russian Royal Family Remains
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin
The head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has said that the Russian Orthodox Church still has doubts regarding secular experts' conclusions that the human remains found near the city of Yekaterinburg belonged to the Russian Imperial Family members. 
"In my opinion, a very wide range of competent experts, not necessarily just Orthodox experts, should be allowed to study the discovered remains," Father Vsevolod said.
It is important both to compare the DNA of some individual fragment with the DNA of the remains of other Imperial Family members, assess the wholeness of the skeletons, establish whether or not all of the found human remains have the same DNA and confirm the presence of former injuries, for example the injury that was sustained by Tsar Nicholas II during his trip to Japan when he was the heir to the Russian throne, the archpriest said.
There is also a need to compare different theories describing how the bodies were disposed of and buried, he said.
Eleven people, including members of the Russian Imperial Family and people from their entourage, were shot at the Urals regional council presidium's order in the early hours of July 17, 1918.

A grave with nine bodies was found on Staraya Koptyakovskaya Road near Yekaterinburg in July 1991. The remains were identified as those of Emperor Nicholas II, his 46-year-old wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, their daughters Olga, 22, Tatyana, 21, and Anastasia, 17, and their servants Yevgeny Botkin, 53, Anna Demidova, 40, Alexei Trupp, 62, and Ivan Kharitonov, 48.
The remains of two more people were discovered during archaeological excavation works 70 kilometers south of the first grave on July 26, 2007. The remains have still not been buried, but numerous expert analyses indicate that the remains were most likely those of Crown Prince Alexey and his sister Maria.

The Investigative Committee said in January 2011 that it had completed an investigation into the death of Nicholas II, his family members and entourage and closed the criminal case.

The Russian Orthodox Church has still not recognized the remains interred in Peter and Paul Cathedral as those of Nicholas II and his family members and entourage, claiming that it was not convinced by the proof of their authenticity that was presented.

The House of Romanov head, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, will recognize the remains buried at the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg as those of the royal family, if the Russian Orthodox Church says they are authentic, the House of Romanov spokesman Alexander Zakatov told Interfax. 
© Interfax. 09 August, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:03 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 August 2013 9:38 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 30 July 2013
The Royal Family - A Sculpture by Vladimir Lepeshov
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

In 2008, Russian sculptor Vladimir Lepeshov created The Royal Family, a sculpture dedicated to the last tsar and his family at his studio in Rostokino, situated just northeast of Moscow.
The sculpture depicts Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, their four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and their only son and heir to the throne, Alexei.
Leposhov creates what he calls Christian art, and that he created the sculpture with the hope his sculptor of the Holy Royal Martyrs would inspire others. "I had been working on the sculpture for several years, sketching portraits and then took a break for three years," he said. "Then I returned to the sculptor using hundreds of still photographs which helped me immensely."
The sculpture is displayed at exhibitions across Russia, including the Autumn Salon in 2012, an annual exhibition project hosted by the Union of Artists at Sergiev Posad since 2000. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:04 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 4 August 2013 9:44 AM EDT
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Saturday, 20 July 2013
Russia Commemorates the Holy Royal Martyrs - 2013
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Earlier this week an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Orthodox Christians and monarchists took part in a 20-km procession from the Church on the Spilled Blood in Ekaterinburg to Ganina Yama.
This is the 20th year in a row that this pilgrimmage has taken place, it has become a part of the 12th annual Tsar's Days Festival that ran from July 12th to 24th this year.
The event has gained popularity over the years and has spread to many other cities and towns across Russia.
Please take a moment to review a short article, accompanied by colour photographs and 3 videos of the events surrounding this holy event. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:34 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 July 2013 4:57 PM EDT
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Thursday, 18 July 2013
Russian Investigative Committee Doesn't Doubt Authenticity of Romanov Remains
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

 The remains of the Russian Imperial family* were buried in Saint Catherine's Chapel, a side-chapel of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on July 17th, 1998. *The remains of the Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria have yet to be buried. 

The Russian Investigative Committee does not doubt the authenticity of the royal family remains found near Yekaterinburg and it is ready to answer every question of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"No new data, which might have called our research into question, has been uncovered," senior investigator of the Russian Investigative Committee's Main Forensic Department Vladimir Solovyov, who investigated the murder of the royal family, told Interfax on Wednesday.

The family of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, was executed in the Urals 95 years ago, in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918.

"Numerous conferences have been held since 2008 when our report was published but no one has ever questioned the scientific integrity of our inquiry," Solovyov said.

"It is our opinion, based on scientific methods, that the remains actually belong to members of the royal family," the Investigative Committee representative said.

He added that the royal family murder case would not be completely closed until the burial of the remains of Tsesarvich Alexei and his sister Maria.

"The Church claims it has certain qualms about our studies. It would be best to have a civilized discussion about any problems with the clerics. We are ready to listen to their objections and to answer their questions. There has been no joint work between church scholars and the scientists who examined the remains," Solovyov said.

"I would like to meet with representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate and have a civilized discussion on every issue. It is an outrage that human remains are still stored in the archives instead of being buried," Solovyov said about the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria.

Meanwhile, the House of Romanov, led by Grand Duchess of Russia Maria Vladimirovna, said it was not prepared to recognize the authenticity of the remains found in Yekaterinburg.

"The head of the Russian royal family, Grand Duchess Marina Vladimirovna, fully shares the position of the Russian Orthodox Church. Neither the investigators nor the Prosecutor General's Office have given complete, coherent answers to the ten questions of the Russian Orthodox Church," the House of Romanov lawyer, German Lukyanov, told Interfax on Wednesday.

"It would be premature to put the matter to rest, especially given that weighty evidence has been found abroad and may shed light on the actual state of affairs," Lukyanov said.

The notes of investigator Nikolai Sokolov, who was looking into the murder of the last Russian emperor and his family in 1919 on the orders of Admiral Kolchak, were found during the reconstruction of the Job the Long-Suffering Church in Brussels, he said.

The House of Romanov expects an analysis of the papers found in Brussels to put an end to the dispute over the authenticity of the royal family remains.

The Russian Investigative Committee finished the inquiry into the criminal case of the death of the family of Nicholas II in January 2011. The remains were proclaimed genuine.

The Russian Orthodox Church and the House of Romanov continue to deny the authenticity of the remains.

© Interfax. 18 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:21 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 July 2013 8:45 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 17 July 2013
In Memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs - 17 July, 1918
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Today marks the 95th anniversary of the murders of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
The Tsar, along with his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, their four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and their only son and heir to the Russian throne, Alexei were murdered in the basement of the Ipatiev House in the early morning hours of July 17th, 1918. There were no survivors.
Their murders were followed by the Red Terror unleashed by Vladimir Lenin and later by his successor, Joseph Stalin. For more than 70 years Russia would suffer under the hands of an evil regime, one that resulted in the murder of millions of innocent people.
In the last 20 years Communism has fallen, the Russian Orthodox Church reborn, the last tsar and his family canonized.
Indeed, the Bolsheviks had been brought down. 


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:40 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 8:49 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Memorial Chapel in Memory of the Crowned Martyrs at Harbin, China
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


The Memorial Chapel in Memory of the Crowned Martyrs was erected in 1936 at Harbin, China. It was designed by the architect M. Oskolkova on the initiative of Archbishop Nestor (1885-1962) in honour of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and King Alexander I of Yugoslavia.

Tsar Nicholas II was murdered at Ekaterinburg on July 17th, 1918, and King Alexander I was murdered on October 9th, 1934 at Marseilles, France.

Alexander is remembered for offering a safe refuge for tens of thousands of White Russians who fled their homeland after the Bolshevik Revolution. The town of Sremski Karlovci became the seat of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and served as the spiritual center for Russian emigrants for many years.

Each year up until 1945, Archbishop Nestor would hold a secret liturgy in the chapel in memory of the members of the Imperial family who were murdered at Ekaterinburg, Alapayevsk and Perm.

With the establishment of the Communist Regime in China, many Russians left the country. The chapel was desecrated by local Communists and fell into disrepair. During the 1950s "cultural revolution" it was destroyed and replaced with an apartment block.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:50 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 11:33 AM EST
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