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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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Thursday, 22 November 2012
Remains of Alexei and Maria to be Buried in 2013
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs




The remains of the Tsesarevich Alexei Nicholayevich and the Grand Duchess Maria Nicholayevna may be buried in the summer of 2013, ITAR-TASS reports.

The announcement was made on November 16th by Sergei Mironenko, Director of the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow, where the remains are currently in temporary storage.

According to Mironenko the remains were transferred to GARF at the suggestion of the committee responsible for conducting tests on the authenticity of the remains. He went on to confirm that he believes the remains are authentic based on genetic examination carried out by scientists.

Mironenko pointed out that the decision to bury the royal remains has been resisted by "certain circles.""It is very important that a decision on the authenticity of the remains by the Moscow Patriarchate be made," he said, then noting that the position of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was "more progressive." 

"When we opened the exhibition on the century long investigation into the murders of the Imperial family in the summer of 2012 at GARF in Moscow, comparing the investigations of Sokolov and Solovyov, Metropolitan Hillarion participated, and I must say that it was quite a challenge to prove to the Metropolitan that we were right after all."

In the meantime, the Moscow Patriarchate has never made an official final judgement on the issue regarding the authenticity of the remains. In early November, the Russian Orthodox Church stated that the identity of the remains found near Ekaterinburg in 1991 and 2007 remains an open question pending further historical and genetic research.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 November, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:02 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 30 April 2014 7:53 AM EDT
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Friday, 24 August 2012
Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR Issues Statement on Royal Remains
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs


During its regular session on June 14, 2012, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia deliberated on the matter of the discovery of the remains and other possessions relating to the martyrdom of the Royal Family which had been hidden in the walls of the stavropighial Memorial Church in Brussels.  

During renovations on St Job the Much-Suffering Church, which is also dedicated to the memory of Holy Royal Martyr Nicholas II, the Royal Family and all those martyred during that time of troubles, a sealed lead cylinder was discovered along with a glass tube with a handwritten document containing an inventory of the contents of the cylinder.  

The fact that the Memorial Church was in possession of these remains and other objects connected with the brutal murder of the Royal Family in Ekaterinburg had been known to the Synod of Bishops. It was also known that they were handed over by the investigator of the murder of the Royal Family, Nikolai A. Sokolov, before his death (November 23, 1924), to Prince Alexei Alexandrovich Shirinsky-Shikhmatov, and in 1940 were given to Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukianov), who at the time headed the Western European Diocese, and that further, on October 1, 1950, when the Memorial Church was consecrated by Metropolitan Anastassy, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, they were inserted into a sealed lead cylinder and built into the walls of the church. 

The Synod of Bishops did not deem it proper to organize a search for the sealed capsule following the death of all the living witnesses, though naturally, over the recent two decades, many people exhibited an active interest in its existence.  

Now, after its discovery, in light of the fact that the important question of the remains of the Royal Family is coming to a final conclusion based on new evidence and serious scientific research, and since controversy yet remains, the Synod of Bishops expresses its willingness to cooperate in the further study of this matter on the basis of the discovery together with the Church in Russia. An absolute condition of such research will be a pious attitude towards everything relating to the martyric end of the Royal Family and its faithful servants. 

The Synod of Bishops believes and hopes that this will help achieve the final answer to this matter, which is so important to the Russian Orthodox Church.

© ROCOR. 24 August, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:02 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 24 August 2012 8:09 AM EDT
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