On 5th January, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow) issued a statement regarding the Russian Orthodox Church’s (ROC) position on the authenticity of the remains of Nicholas II and his family discovered in Porosenkov Meadow near Ekaterinburg. He made the statement during an interview on the telecast “Church and the World” on the TV channel “Russia 24”.
“We will make a decision only when neither the hierarchy, nor the clergy, nor the church people have any doubts that these are really the remains of the Imperial family,” said Metropolitan Hilarion. “Only such recognition will enable them to be solemnly reburied and revered as holy relics,” he added.
It is important to note that the ROC had not been invited to take part in the examinations conducted by Western experts in the 1990s. Not only did the church not agree with the findings, the ROC still had many unanswered questions, which the original team of scientists failed to answer. See The Investigation into the Deaths of the Russian Royal Family and Persons of Their Entourage by Archpriest Oleg Mitrov, published in Sovereign No. 2, Spring 2016 (pg. 7-29).
Metropolitan Hilarion explained that for the Church, “the canonization of the Imperial family attaches particular importance to the investigation: if the remains are recognized as authentic, they become the relics of saints recognized by the Church, which is why the Church is so careful and cautious in this matter,” explained Metropolitan Hilarion,”
The Ekaterinburg remains were identified with maximum scientific certainty as those belonging to Nicholas II, members of his family, and four retainers at least twice. In the mid-2000s, a presentation of genetic studies was carried out in Ekaterinburg, which carried out DNA molecular analysis, which showed the absolute affiliation of samples to the genetic profile of the Romanov dynasty, including those living today.
In the summer of 2018, on the eve of the centenary marking the murders, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation issued a statement with similar results, that the remains of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II and members of his family, found in Porosenkov Meadow, near Ekaterinburg, were authentic.
Nevertheless, the thesis put forward by Metropolitan Hilarion during his interview, was also formulated by the Holy Synod at a meeting held in Ekaterinburg in the summer of 2018. Apparently, members of the committee expressed doubts regarding the examinations.
Sadly, the matter remains unresolved, and the world continues to wait for the day when the Imperial family will be reunited and left to rest in peace, and closing the book on one of the darkest pages in Russian history.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 6 January 2019