Ekaterinburg Prepares for Record Number of Pilgrims During Tsar’s Days


An estimated 60,000 people took part in Tsar’s Days in 2017

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

The administration of Ekaterinburg anticipate that the number of people attending the Tsar’s Days in July, will be comparable to those attending the FIFA World Cup games in June. The administration announced this week the possible construction of a tent city for pilgrims in Kharitonovsky Park, which is situated opposite the Church on the Blood. The temporary town would be constructed in July 2018, to accommodate thousands of Orthodox pilgrims who will come from across Russia.

Religious celebrations dedicated to the Romanov family have been held in the city every year since 1992. But in 2018, the Tsar’s Days will be special – marking the 100th anniversary of the murder and martyrdom of the Imperial family. Thousands of Orthodox Christians, members of the clergy, descendants of the Romanov family, monarchists, and the patriarch of all Russia will attend the Divine Liturgy on the night of 16/17 July, at the Church on the Blood (built on the site of the Ipatiev House).


Aerial view of Kharitonovsky Park

How many believers will come?

According to preliminary estimates, about 100,000 people are expected to participate in this year’s Tsar’s Days. Angela Tambova, a spokesperson for the Ekaterinburg diocese, notes that 60 thousand people took part in the procession in 2017. This year, Tambova estimates that there could be a record breaking 100,000 to 120,000 taking part.

In comparison, four football matches of the World Cup will be attended by half a million fans (according to the Tourism Development Center). This is equivalent to about 120,000 people for each day during the World Cup. This volume is comparable with the number anticipated for Tsar’s Days – the peak of number of people will be on the night of 16/17 July.

Where will they be housed?

Individual pilgrims from across Russia and around the world in the city’s hotels. Organized groups will be accommodated in hostels and homes, which are more affordable for many pilgrims. The pilgrimage department of the diocese confirms that they have already received applications to accommodate Orthodox groups from other cities – Kursk, Sarov, Voronezh, Astrakhan, Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar, among others, who plan to stay in Ekaterinburg for a couple of days to a week.

Many students attending the diocese seminary will be volunteers during the Tsar’s Days, their rooms will be offered to Orthodox pilgrims. Visiting priests and high ranking guests will be guests at a hotel located on the grounds of the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama.


Procession route from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganima Yama

When will the processions take place?

The first will take place on 16th July, with a daytime procession from the Church of the Port Arthur Icon of the Mother of God to the Church on the Blood. The second, will take place in the evening at on Ulitsa Tolmachev (now – Tsarskaya Street), where tens of thousands will assemble for an outdoor liturgy at the Church on the Blood. The third, will take place in the early morning hours of 17th July, in which the streets will be blocked along the route of the procession to from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama.

In addition, municipal cultural institutions have prepared an extensive program of educational and cultural events for the memorial date, including lectures, concerts, exhibitions, excursions, and film screenings.

Will the Patriarch attend?

According to the Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Kirill (Nakonechny), the arrival of Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) has already been confirmed. Due to security concerns, the details of his visit are kept secret. Most likely, he will arrive in Ekaterinburg on 16th July. The streets along the route of the motorcade of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church will be closed to traffic. His Holiness is expected to deliver the Divine Liturgy on the night of 16/17 July. His visit to Ekaterinburg is expected to last for several days.

In addition to the patriarch, descendants of the Romanov family will come to Ekaterinburg. Russian president Vladimir Putin – who will most certainly be re-elected in March 2018 – is also expected to attend Tsar’s Days.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 8 February 2018