The secretary of the Patriarchal Commission for the Ekaterinburg Remains, Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov), told journalists this week that the interim results of the examination of the authenticity of the remains in the case of the murder of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II, his wife and children will be discussed at an open conference.
"I hope that by the end of this year or, perhaps, early next year, we will have the first conference, where experts will be able to present their findings to the Church and the public. We hope that the discussion at the conference will be productive, " Bishop Tikhon said on Tuesday in Stavropol.
He added that the conference will be broadcast live on Orthodox channels, as well as on the Internet, so that everyone "could hear the opinions of both experts and opponents on the authenticity of the remains."
"We look forward to maximum openness and to the fact that all participants are ready to discuss the scientific aspects of the examination, all of them will be able to participate in this conference, "the commission's secretary added.
In mid-June in Moscow, under the chairmanship of Patriarch Kirill, a meeting was held on the issue of establishing the identity of Ekaterinburg remains. The meeting was attended by representatives of the TFR, headed by the chairman of the committee Alexander Bastrykin , as well as members of the special church commission for the Ekaterinburg remains. At the meeting, interim reports were presented on the new examinations in the framework of the criminal case into the murders of the Imperial family, prepared by the representatives of the TFR and other experts.
At the same time, the TF allowed publication of the results of the expert examinations from among those that have already been completed.
In January of this year, Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov), secretary of the Church Commission for Ekaterinburg Remains, held a press conference, noting that new genetic examinations were being conducted in the best laboratories in the world, a very extensive anthropological examination "with fundamentally new data" is coming to an end, historical and criminological expertise.
Secretary of the Patriarchal Commission for the Ekaterinburg Remains, Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov)
As for the recognition or non-recognition of the remains as holy relics, then, according to the bishop, "only the Bishops' Council will make final conclusions."
Tsar Martyr Nicholas II - A Talk with Fr. Job (Gumerov) Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs
This is an abridged version of the article published by Pravoslavie.ru on 3 August 2017
Father Job, an experienced confessor of the Moscow Sretensky Monastery, speaks about the factors preventing some faithful from recognizing Nicholas II as a saint, the relationship between the Tsar’s abdication and the Russian people’s renunciation of the Church, how mass unbelief impedes the comprehension of the podvig [spiritual exploit] of the new martyrs, and the proper understanding of the people’s repentance for the sins of their ancestors.
On the attitude towards the last Russian emperor
—Fr. Job, let us begin with a question about the Passion-Bearer Nicholas II. To my surprise, I have recently discovered that, even in the Orthodox circles, many have a negative opinion of the last Russian emperor. What can account for this negative attitude?
—A person’s worldview—his values and views—are formed as a result of upbringing, education, and the influence of the cultural and historical environment. For seventy-three years, all the spheres of our society’s life were totally subordinate to Communist ideology, which was based on militant atheism and a forcible change of the Russian way of life that had developed throughout our history. This caused the radical destruction of the traditions and customs of our society. The entire history was rewritten in order to implant this ideology into people’s consciousness. The most recent history was especially falsified and misrepresented, not least the imperial rule, which was destroyed by the coup d’état. An extremely heavy cross befell Nicholas II—to bear a subtle, vicious slander and defamation for many years. Rumours began to spread, instigated by all who hated the Church, Orthodoxy, and Christian statehood.
In the early 1990s, an external freedom finally came but it did not free people from the “load” of distorted appraisals and views of history. I remember that time very well. In September 1989, I started teaching at the Moscow Theological Seminary and Academy. On September 23, 1990, my priestly ministry began. I communicated with parishioners, teachers, and students. During our arguments about the possibility of the canonization of the royal family, I became more and more convinced that people used wrong stereotypes. Their ideas of the tsar’s personality disregarded documents, objective facts, and the surviving evidence.
It should be affirmed that the conciliar mind of the Church determines the holiness of one or another newly-canonized saint not only on the basis of the judgment of his or her life and deeds, but, above all, on the basis of the objective evidence provided by the Almighty. There are countless testimonies of the faithful receiving miraculous help from and answered prayers to the Royal Martyrs. By the time of the canonization of the imperial family that took place in August 2000, those testimonies already were numerous.
The abdication of the Emperor
—I have noticed that the Orthodox often cannot “forgive” Nicholas II his abdication, because he “left his country to its fate.” Meanwhile, some feel certain that there was no abdication at all. There are heated discussions about this in religious media and social networks. Do you agree that we are making the same mistake as 100 years ago and are again betraying the tsar by our condemnation?
—If we refer to the surviving documents and reminiscences of the events of March 2/15, 1917, then we can’t help but feel pain, though 100 years have passed. Yes, it is a tragedy. The army group commanders under the tsar’s control, who had sworn an oath of allegiance to him, gave him an ultimatum and demanded his abdication. Here are the facts: On March 2, 1917, wires from the army group commanders arrived. Generals A.E. Evert (the Western Front), A.A. Brusilov (the South-Western Front), V.V. Sakharov (the Romanian Front), and Commander of the Baltic Fleet Admiral A.I. Nepenin spoke up for abdication. In the middle of the day, General N.V. Russky entered the tsar’s headquarters, accompanied by Generals Yu.N. Danilov and S.S. Savich, taking the texts of the telegrams with him. Nicholas II asked the generals to speak; all of them spoke in support of abdication. On the same day His Majesty wrote in his diary: “My abdication is required…The gist of it is that in order to save Russia and keep the army at the front quiet, such a step must be taken. I have agreed…At one o’clock in the morning [16th] I left Pskov, with a heavy heart because of the things I had gone through. All around me here is treachery, cowardice, and deceit.”
Only saints are the best judges of saints. St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai, a great holy hierarch, said:
What did Russia render to her pure-hearted Sovereign, who loved her more than life? She returned love with slander. He was of great morality, but people began to talk about his viciousness. He loved Russia, but people began to talk about his treason. Even the people close to the Sovereign repeated the slander, passing on to each other rumors and gossip. Because of the ill intention of some and the lack of discipline of others, rumors spread and love for the Tsar began to grow cool. They started to talk of the danger to Russia and discuss means of avoiding that non-existent danger; they started to say that to save Russia it would be necessary to dismiss the Sovereign. Calculated evil did its work: It separated Russia from her Tsar, and in the dread moment at Pskov he was alone; no one near to him. Those faithful to him were not admitted to his presence. The dreadful loneliness of the Tsar…But he did not abandon Russia—Russia abandoned him, the one who loved Russia more than life. Thus, in the hope that his self-efacement would still the raging passions of the people, the Sovereign abdicated.
Can the abdication of Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich in favour of the heir be viewed as an obstacle to his canonization as a passion-bearer? Certainly not! We know from the Bible that when King David was old and frail he made his son Solomon a new king and, nevertheless, he went down in history as the Holy King David:
The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah
(1 Kings 1:33-35).
On the relation between renouncing the tsar and renouncing Orthodoxy
—Fr. Job, in your view, is there a direct link between the people’s betrayal of the tsar and their falling away from the Church following the arrest of Nicholas II and his martyrdom at the Ipatiev House?
—The link between renouncing the sovereign and renouncing Orthodoxy, faith, and the Church is indubitable. Christian statehood was first instituted by the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine. This is what Venerable Theodore the Studite wrote to Emperor Nicephoros in 806: “These two gifts God gave to the Christians: the priesthood and the kingdom. Both of them heal and adorn things on earth as well as in heaven. So, if one of these becomes unworthy, then everything is exposed to peril.” (Epistle no. 16)
During the ceremony of coronation of an Orthodox tsar, his regalia is solemnly bestowed upon him. He is also anointed with holy myrrh and thus receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is why regicide is not only a felony but also a grave spiritual crime, which, as a rule, brings great troubles upon a country. The severity and duration of these troubles depends upon the whole nation’s attitude towards this crime—for not only those who committed it are responsible for it, but also those who supported it morally. The after effects also correlate directly to the foundation upon which the subsequent life of the society is built: whether these are the very spiritual and moral principles the righteous monarch lived by or those introduced in the country by the regicides. This is what St. John of Shanghai said about the relationship between the regicide of Nicholas II and mass apostasy and abandonment of the Church:
He was a living incarnation of faith in the Divine Providence that works in the destinies of nations and peoples and directs Rulers faithful to God into good and useful actions. Therefore, he was intolerable for the enemies of the faith and for those who strive to place human reason and human faculties above everything…Tsar Nicholas II was a servant of God by his inner world-outlook, by conviction, by his actions; and he was thus in the eyes of the whole Orthodox Russian people. The battle against him was closely bound up with the battle against God and faith. In a word, he became a Martyr, having remained faithful to the Ruler of those who rule, and accepted death in the same way as the martyrs accepted it.
 “Diaries and Letters – 1917 Diary of Nicholas II,” Alexander Palace Time Machine, accessed August 1, 2017, http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/ndiaries1917.html.
 “In Memory of the Royal Martyrs by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco,” Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, accessed August 1, 2017, http://www.stjohndc.org/en/content/memory-royal-martyrs-st-john-shanghai-and-san-francisco.
 “St. Maximovitch on Emperor Saint Nicholas II,” Classical Christianity: Eastern Orthodoxy for Today, accessed August 1, 2017, http://classicalchristianity.com/2013/04/05/st-maximovitch-on-emperor-saint-nicholas-ii/
A new monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs - the family of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II - was unveiled today, on the Cathedral Square of the Holy Trinity-Saint Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery, which is situated near Sarov, in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast region.
The sculpture of the Holy Passion-Bearer Emperor Nicholas and his August family is a 3.5-meter bronze composition weighing more than a ton. The family is depicted on their way to church, dressed in festive royal attire, bearing crosses and candles in their hands.
The artist of the monument is sculptor and teacher of the Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture of Ilya Glazunov Irina Makarova. The monument is cast at a factory in the city of Zhukovsky, Moscow Region. The project cost is more than 16 million rubles. The funds were collected during the year on the initiative of the Foundation of St Basil the Great.
A moleben was held by Metropolitan Georgy of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas, prior to the opening of the monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, Tsesarevich Alexei, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.
A delegation from Japan, led by a member of the parliamentary league of Japan-Russia Friendship, Noma Takeshi attended the event. Delegates delivered cherry saplings from Japan, which were planted near the monument, as a tribute to the memory of the Tsar and his family.
It was during a trip to Japan in 1891, that an assassination attempt was made on the life of the heir to the Russian throne, Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich - the future Emperor Nicholas.
The location of the monument in the Holy Trinity-Saint Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery was chosen not accidentally. The Monk Seraphim and the family of the last Russian Tsar are inextricably linked. Nicholas II played a key role in the canonization of the elder Seraphim of Sarov, recalled Metropolitan Georgy.
"Celebrations of the church’s glorification of Seraphim of Sarov took place on 1st August, 1903, in which the entire Imperial family, including the heir Tsesarevich Alexei, "took part in them," said the Metropolitan.
Click here for more information about this monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs.
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 (http://www.pravoslavie.ru/104826.html). 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. 
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.
 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.
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.
The forensic tests performed in the case involving the killing of Russia's last Emperor Nicholas II, his wife and children have revealed indirect evidence that the 'Yekaterinburg remains' belong to the tsar's family.
"We have found traces of a sword blow to the head [presumably of Nicholas II]," forensic scientist and criminologist Vyacheslav Popov said in an interview posted on the website Pravoslavie.ru.
Popov was involved in the study of the remains found on the outskirts of Yekaterinburg, which were buried in the Peter and Paul Fortress as the presumed remains of the tsar's family. He participates as an expert in the forensic and anthropological studies conducted in connection with the re-opened criminal case involving the killing of the family of Nicholas II.
The expert said the traces of blows were sought in 1991 on the presumed skull of Russia's last emperor, but they were sought by mistake on the other side of the skull, on the left side, because it was believed that the Japanese police officer who attempted to kill Tsesarevich Nicholas in 1891, striking him with a sword, hit him on the left side of the head.
Two modern X-rays have now been done, the expert said. Multispiral computer tomography showed two lateral dents on the skull: it is an old healed fracture because the elevated parts developed bone tissue sclerosis, which healed after the injury.
"However, we did not stop at that procedure and we performed an X-ray with direct image enlargement, we studied the tone tissue structure, which is different on the edges. It can be said with confidence that the fracture was sustained when the person was alive, that it was an old fracture and it was most likely caused by a strike delivered with a long cutting object, for example, a sword," Popov said.
He also confirmed that the grave found near Yekaterinburg in 1991 contained five relatives and that was proven by dental tests.
The Investigative Committee earlier allowed the publication of forensic evaluations in the case involving the killing of members of the tsar's family. Thus, the publication of the interview with Popov marks the beginning of the publication of the first results.
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 embers of the special church commission for the 'Yekaterinburg remains.'
In July 1991, the remains of nine people were found in a mass grave discovered on the Staraya Koptyakovskaya Road near Yekaterinburg. The investigators believe they belonged to members of the tsar's family: Nicholas II, his wife, their daughters, as well as their doctor and servants. Members of the imperial family were buried at a sepulcher of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg in 1998 after forensic tests.
The remains of another two people were found during archeological excavations conducted south of the first grave on July 29, 2007. Numerous expert evaluations indicate that the remains belong to the children of Nicholas II, Alexey and Maria.
Pilgrimage Route to Open for Centenary of Imperial Family's Martyrdom Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs
The Holy Royal Martyr Family
This article was originally published by Pravoslavie.ru on 14 June 2017
An All-Russian route in memory of the imperial family will be opened for the 100th anniversary of their martyrdom, reports Interfax-Religion, with reference to the Department of Information Policy of the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region.
It is planned that the route will pass through Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kirov, Perm, Ekaterinburg, and Tobolsk, according to the statement on the Sverdlovsk site.
The possibility of opening the pilgrimage project was discussed by experts in the 5th International Academic-Public Forum “Elizabeth’s Legacy Today. Moscow-Perm,” involving representatives of the Ekaterinburg Diocese and the Sverdlovsk Region government.
Part of the route, passing through the Sverdlovsk and Tyumen Regions is the active inter-regional “From the Spiritual Capital of Siberia to the Spiritual Center of the Urals” trail. The project unites Tobolsk, Tyumen, Ekaterinburg, and Verkhoturye. Tour operators from the Urals and Tyumen have noted the growing interest in the route from travelers and pilgrims from all over the country, according to the site of the Ekaterinburg Diocese.
Pilgrims on the memorial route will be able to see the Ekaterinburg Church-on-the-Blood, built on the spot of the Romanovs’ martyrdom, visit the monastery in honor of the Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama, where their holy bodies were discarded, visit the house for receiving honored guests in Verkhoturye which was built for the tsar’s planned visit, visit Tobolsk, where the Royal Martyrs spent the last months of their lives, and visit the village of Pokrov.
It is also expected that new tourist and pilgrimage routes will appear in the Sverdlovsk Region by the 100th anniversary of the Royal Family’s martyrdom in 2018. Regional governor Evgeny Kuyvashev has also supported holding a public forum and a whole series of events dedicated to the centenary of the martyrdom of last imperial family of Russia.
A special commission has approved the model for a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II and his family. The announcement was made at the Lit Art sculptural production plant in Zhukovsky. The monument will be established in July 2017 at the Holy Trinity-Saint Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery, which is situated near Sarov, in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast region.
The Commission, headed by the His Eminence Metropolitan Georgy of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas, approved a full-size clay model of the monument, which will later be cast in bronze, according to the press service of the Foundation of St. Basil the Great - one of the initiators of the monument.
“Today our homeland is moving towards the revival of the spirit of Holy Russia. Let this work - the creation of the image of the Tsar and his family - will serve as a blessed thing” - said Metropolitan Georgy while offering a prayer.
“We will begin with a clay model and make some adjustments, but overall the monument has been approved and adopted by the Commission. We have received the blessing of Bishop Georgy for the continuation of our work” - said Konstantin Malofeev, the founder of the Foundation.
According to the creator of the monument - sculptor Irina Makarova, the next step will be the removal of plaster moulds and the casting of a bronze monument.
“The cast of the monument will be made in separate parts, which will then be assembled into an integral composition. The monument will be moved to the monastery at the end of July. Its total height is about 3.5 meters, its weight - more than a ton” - said Makarova.
The monument will be installed on the Cathedral Square of the monastery between the Transfiguration Cathedral and the Refectory Church of Alexander Nevsky.
The inauguration and consecration of the monument is scheduled for August of this year and will be timed to the anniversary of the canonization of the Imperial family by the Moscow Patriarchate, on 20th August, 2000.
For more information on this monument to the Holy Royal Martyr Family, please refer to the following article:
2018 Calendar to Honour Emperor Nicholas II and His Family Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs
OUR 2018 CALENDAR WILL BE AVAILABLE THIS SUMMER
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the tragic deaths of Russia’s last emperor Nicholas II and his family. Royal Russia will honour the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs with the publication of a very special calendar.
Our 2018 calendar will celebrate the private lives of the Imperial family during happier times. Vintage photographs and accompanying text will depict the Imperial family at rest and play: sailing on the Imperial yacht in the Finnish fjords, picnics and other outdoor activities, at home in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, the Lower Dacha at Peterhof, and Livadia in Crimea.
Unlike previous years, our 2018 calendar will be a limited printing of only a few hundred copies, thus making it a unique collectors item. A portion of the net proceeds from the sale of each calendar will be donated to a Russian charity in their name and honour.
Our Holy Royal Martyrs 2018 Calendar will be available from the Royal Russia Bookshop in July of this year. Please help keep their memory alive by purchasing one of our calendars for yourself, or multiple copies as gifts for friends and family.
Patriarch Kirill to Lead Ural Celebrations for Centenary of Romanov Family Martyrdom Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs
Sverdlosk governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev meets with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill in Moscow
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is planning to head the commemorative events that will take place next year in the Sverdlovsk region in honor of the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Royal Martyrs, Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
On 17 February, a working meeting between Sverdlosk governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, took place at the Patriarchal Compound in Moscow. Also in attendance were the head of the Archdiocese of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Metropolitan Kirill, and Bishop Savva, the first deputy governor of the Moscow Patriarchate.
It was during the meeting that Kuyvashev discussed the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths of Emperor Nicholas II, his family and their retainers, to be held next year in Ekaterinburg. He noted that the main event will be on the night of July 17, 2018, and invited the patriarch to attend and lead the services, saying, “We are preparing for this event with the Ekaterinburg Diocese and, of course, we want to invite you to participate in the celebrations which will be dedicated to this tragic date.”
In return, His Holiness stated, “As next year will be the centenary, we must do everything to go on this pilgrimage, if we will be alive and healthy.” He stressed that the date is a momentous one for the Urals, for the whole Russian Church, for the people, and for history.
“I have long wanted to visit Ekaterinburg during these days, to go on the cross procession and pray with the people,” Patriarch Kirill stated.
In the ensuing conversation, they discussed the development of church life in the Urals, and church-state cooperation. Every year in July, the Royal Days is held in Ekaterinburg - a series of commemorative events dedicated to the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family. More than 100,000 Orthodox faithful are expected to take part in the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Holy Royal Martyrs on the night 16/17 July 2018.
Kuvayshev assured the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, that the authorities in the Sverlovsk Oblast are actively preparing for this date together with the Ekaterinburg for large-scale events to be held during the Royal Days from 14 to 19 July, 2018. He noted that a joint working group is actively working to develop educational programs and museum exhibits, new pilgrimage routes, as well as conferences and other events.
The members of the Imperial Family, along with Dr. Eugene Botkin and three servants: Ivan Kharitonov, Alexei Trupp, and Anna Demidova accepted a martyr’s death on the night of 16/17 July 1918 in the basement of engineer Ipatiev’s house in Ekaterinburg. Since September 2012 a Liturgy has been held on the night of the seventeenth of each month in the Church-on-the-Blood built on the site where the Romanovs were martyred. Every year, following the Liturgy on the night of 16/17 July a cross procession takes place from the church to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama (13 miles from Ekaterinburg), where their holy bodies were disposed of, in which tens of thousands come from across Russia and around the world to participate.
The Royal Martyrs—Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei—and their servants were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on November 1, 1981, and the family on August 20, 2000 by the Moscow Patriarchate, with Dr. Eugene Botkin’s canonization following on February 3, 2016.
The proposed St. Catherine's Cathedral (left) and the Church on the Blood (right)
Governor Kuyvashev also spoke with His Holiness about cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the authorities of the Sverdlovsk Oblast. According to Kuyvashev Ekaterinburg currently has 88 functioning Orthodox churches, with a further 20 to be constructed by 2020. In addition, the construction of St. Catherine's Cathedral - also known as the Church on the Water - built on an artificial island in the waters of the city pond (formed by the Iset River) is expected to be completed by 2023, the year marking the 300th anniversary of Ekaterinburg.
In November 2016, the Foundation of St. Basil the Great issued an appeal to collect donations for the construction and installation of a monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs Nicholas II and his family. The Foundation announced this week, that a total of 1.8 million rubles had been raised so far.
The monument will be installed on the grounds of the Holy Trinity-Saint Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery, a women's monastery (convent) located near Sarov, in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia. The monastery is the final resting place of the relics of one of the most revered Orthodox saints - St. Seraphim of Sarov, venerated by more than one million pilgrims every year.
The convent is famous because Saint Seraphim of Sarov served as Staretz (Elder) for the nuns of this monastery, though he only travelled to the convent once during his lifetime. He was a monk at the nearby monastery of Sarov. After the fall of communism, his relics, which had been feared lost, were discovered in the storeroom of a "museum of atheism" in Saint Petersburg and solemnly transferred to the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery, which has come to be named after him.
The monastery is also famous for possessing the only portrait of Saint Seraphim that was painted of him by a contemporary, the "Diveyevo Portrait". During the years of Communist persecution, the portrait was smuggled out of Russia and is kept to this day in the Novo-Diveyevo Convent in Nanuet, New York.
Holy Trinity-Saint Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery
St Seraphim (1754-1833) is inextricably linked with the last Russian emperor who played a major role in the canonization of the elder Seraphim. The celebration of the glorification of St. Seraphim was held on 1 August (O.S. 19 July) 1903. The Divine Liturgy was attended by Emperor Nicholas II and his family - including the Dowager Empress, grand dukes and duchesses, princes and princesses of the Imperial blood - and thousands of people from all over Russia. The Emperor of the Russian Emperor, the autocratic ruler of 1/6 of the world, knelt in front of the relics of the holy man, and helped carry them on his shoulders.
St. Seraphim of Sarov had prophesied in clear words about the tragic fate foreordained by God for Russia's last Emperor and Tsar. According to his prophecy, if there would be repentance in the Russian people, God would yet have mercy on her, but first He would allow for a time the triumph of lawless men: the Tsar would to overthrown and killed, so that the people might know in experience what life was like under the Tsar anointed by God, and under the rule of men who have trampled underfoot the law of God. St. Seraphim, by revelation from God, wrote in his own hand a letter to the Tsar who would come to Sarov and Diveyevo, entrusting it to his friend Motovilov, who gave it to Abbess Maria, who in turn handed it personally to Emperor Nicholas II in Diveyevo on 2 August (O.S. 20 July) 1903.
What was written in the letter remains a secret, but one can suppose that the holy elder saw all that was to happen and warned against the frightful events to come... (Source: Abbot Seraphim, Peking, 1920, in Orthodox Russia, 1981, No. 1).
The monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs Nicholas and his family was designed by Russian sculptor Irina Makarova, from the Ilya Glazunov Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow. The total cost is estimated at 16 million rubles. The installation is scheduled for late 2017, although the exact dates and specific location within the grounds of the monastery are not yet known.
There are currently only three monuments which represent Nicholas II and his family in Russia: Church on the Blood (Ekaterinburg); Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs (Ganina Yama); and the Zurab Tsereteli Museum (Moscow)