Romanoff Descendants Attempt to Repeat the
Regrettable Situation that Occurred in 1998

H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Fully Supports the Position of the
Russian Orthodox Church on the Question of the “Ekaterinburg Remains”

Emperor Nicholas II and his family in 1913.

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The relatives of Nicholas II ask Vladimir Putin to allow the burial of members of the Imperial Family // “Kommersant-Online, 13-03-2012 / 17:33

On Tuesday, representatives of the Romanoff Family Association in Russia announced that they are prepared to make a formal request after the Presidential inauguration that Vladimir Putin allow the burial of the remains of Tsetsarevich Aleksei and Grand Duchess Maria—the children of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II. Representatives of the Imperial House, which questions the authenticity of the remains, do not support this initiative.

The announcement that the Romanoff Family Association would be making this request to Vladimir Putin to decide the question of the burial of the remains of Tsetsarevich Aleksei and Grand Duchess Maria, who were shot in July 1918, was made by the representative of the Romanoff Family Association in Russia, Ivan Artsishevskii. According to Artsishevskii, the main obstacle to burying Aleksei and Maria Romanoff is the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church has not recognized the authenticity of the remains. “Despite the assurances of geneticists and other researchers, the Church has, for reasons that remain unclear, not recognized these remains as authentic, though the government has no doubts at all about their identification,” Artsishevskii said. “The question of the burial of Tsetsarevich Aleksei and Grand Duchess Maria has ceased to be a private matter of the Romanoff family. It has become an issue for the entire Russian people.” Mr. Artsishevskii lamented that the Romanoff Family Association’s appeals to Patriarch Kirill on this matter have gone unanswered. The opinion of other leading figures in Russia has also not yet been stated publicly.

Head of the Russian Imperial House, Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

How the Grand Duchess Won in Court

The Head of the Imperial House familiarizes herself with the circumstances surrounding the death of her relatives….

We recall that in 1991, near Ekaterinburg, the remains of nine persons were found—Nicholas II, members of the Imperial family, and their servants. However, missing from this gravesite were the remains of Tsarevich Aleksei and his sister, Maria. After an analysis of these remains, they were buried in the Ss. Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. In the summer of 2007, local historians Vitalii Shitov and Nikolai Neijllin discovered a fire pit that had been used to cremate bodies. In this fire pit, they found the remains of two skeletons which, it was believed, belonged to a girl approximately 18 - 23 years old and to a teenager that had been between 10 and 13 years old. On the basis of these remains, the local District Attorney reopened the criminal investigation that had originally begun in 1991. In July 2008, the Senior Investigator for special cases of the Attorney General’s Office of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Solov’ev, announced officially that the remains found in July 1007 in the area known as Ganina Yama belonged to members of the Imperial Family—Tsarevich Aleksei Romanoff and Grand Duchess Maria Romanoff.

Representatives of the Russian Imperial House were skeptical about the identification of the remains found in 2007. According to a statement to “Ъ” [the symbol used by the Russian daily Kommersant] from Alexander Zakatov, the Director of the Chancellery of the Imperial House: “Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna has reacted cautiously to the news.” He reiterated that the Imperial House does not recognize the authenticity of the remains buried in the Ss. Peter and Paul Fortress: “We would like to believe that the truth will one day be established and there will not be a repeat of the political circus that took place back in 1998,” Zakatov stated.

Zakatov further stated, “We do not want that, for the sake of political expediency, there to be a kind of dancing on the graves, especially since the bones in these graves are holy.” On Tuesday, the lawyer of the Russian Imperial House, German Luk’ianov, stated to “Ъ” that “it is essential to wait for an official decision on this question from the Russian Orthodox Church. Until then, the Russian Imperial House does not support any effort to appeal to Vladimir Putin.”

The Russian Orthodox Church, which considers Nicholas II and members of his family as holy martyrs, has also reacted cautiously to the discovery of these remains. According to a statement to “Ъ” by Fr. Vladimir Vigilianskii, the press secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate, “The Church is inclined to believe the conclusions of Nikolai Sokolov (who, on instructions of Admiral Kolchak, investigated the deaths of the members of the Imperial Family in 1918—“Ъ”), who concluded that the remains of the Imperial Family were completely destroyed.” Fr. Vladimir said, “The Church has to be sure not to make a mistake, because then people would be venerating false relics.”

Pavel Korobov

For more information (in Russian), see: http://www.kommersant.ru/doc-y/1891600

Chairman of the Office of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.

2012-03-15 Excerpts from an interview with the Chairman of the Office of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, which appeared on the Program “Hard Day’s Night” that appears on the Television Station “Dozhd’ [Rain]” (Interview by Tikhon Dziadko). Concerning the “Ekaterinburg Remains”.

The Church and the government have divergent views on yet another issue—the fate of the remains of Tsarevich Aleksei and Grand Duchess Maria. Today a representative of the “Romanoff Family Association” announced that, after the Presidential inauguration, that group would be sending a formal request to President Vladimir Putin to permit the burial of these remains, the authenticity of which the Church still doubts. Does the Church still hold to its former position of not recognizing the authenticity of these remains?

In this instance, we do not have a divergence of opinion. What we have is a lack of clarity. The position of the Church was very clearly stated: we focus on the fact that our request at that time to have Church representatives present during the analysis of the remains was denied, and when we then asked to have our questions about the analysis answered, we never received a reply. Those few who represented the Church in the discussions felt excluded from the most important elements of the debate. We did not have a clear picture of what was going on in the scientific analyses. The Church always has said that it is prepared to review its position on this question as soon as our questions are answered.

Representatives of the “Romanoff Family Association” have said that they have several times written to Patriarch Kirill, but they have never received a reply. Have you received their communications?

You understand, of course, that there have been many communications. But we all are still waiting for the answers to our very specific questions about the various aspects of the scientific analyses that were conducted on these remains, as well as answers to our questions about the inconsistencies between the two versions of the burial of the remains of the Imperial Family—the version of Sokolov, who conducted his investigation shortly after these events took place, and the version of Solov’ev, who more recently conducted his investigations. These were very concrete questions. For some reason, we have not received any answers, and so the Church’s position on this question remains open.

The complete text of the interview (in Russian) is available at: http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/2075242.html

Source & Copyright: Российский Императорский Дом
27 March, 2012