Serbs celebrate Royal Martyrs with Liturgy and procession in Belgrade

Tsar Nicholas II was “one of the greatest rulers and tsars of Russia in his moral and spiritual qualities,” the Serbian patriarch said.

While 100,000 Orthodox faithful gathered in Ekaterinburg on the night of 16/17 July to honor the 100th anniversary of the Royal Martyrs, they were honored with another Divine Liturgy and procession in Belgrade the following morning.

During the events, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia praised Tsar Nicholas as one of the greatest Russian rulers, of high moral and spiritual character.

The day began with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the courtyard of the Russian Church of the Holy Trinity in Belgrade, after which a festive procession passed through the capital city’s central streets.

The procession was announced in all Belgrade churches last Sunday, and according to police estimates, the procession gathered about 10,000 faithful, including clergy, representatives of Russian-Serbian friendship organizations, and citizens of Serbia and Russia participated in the march. As the procession moved past the Serbian Parliament building, the choir sang “God Save the Tsar.”

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The procession came to an end at Belgrade’s monument to the slain Russian Tsar, where Pat. Irinej celebrated a festive moleben and addressed the gathered faithful, in which he referred to the Tsar-Martyr’s Orthodox character.

“All his life, he was accompanied by distrust, slander, and underestimation of his personality. And this happened, if we look at the time when tsarist Russia had numerous enemies, as it does now,” the Serbian primate said. In his words, the entire Romanov family behaved in a “deeply Christian manner” to the very end.

“No one knows what would have happened with Serbia and the Serbian people if he had not entered into the First World War,” the patriarch also added.

Then wreaths were laid at the monument to Tsar Nicholas II, with the participation of representations from the Russian embassy, Serbian politicians, priests, and public figures.

The monument to Tsar Nicholas was unveiled in November 2014 by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and former President Tomislav Nikolic. On the pedestal is quoted in Russian and Serbian Tsar Nicholas’ telegram to King Alexander of Serbia, saying, “All my efforts will be directed towards maintaining the dignity of Serbia… In any case, Russia will not remain indifferent to Serbia’s fate.”

© Serbian Orthodox Church. 29 July 2018