Church in Montenegro Marks Centenary of Romanovs’ Deaths

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Memorial to the Holy Royal Martyrs in the Monastery of Dajbabe in Montenegro

The Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro and devotees of Romanov dynasty have marked the anniversary of the murder of Nicholas II and Russia’s imperial family.

The Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro has commemorated the centenary of the killing of the Russian imperial family at Ekaterinburg with numerous events held under the slogan “The Romanov Family – 100 years of Holiness”.

Ending on Wednesday, the church held four days of masses for the Romanov family across the country, organized roundtables, exhibitions and book promotions while hosting the Russian Church and state officials.

In the monastery of Dajbabe, near the capital, Podgorica, the Serbian Church also erected a memorial (see photo above) to the Russian imperial family who were murdered by the Bolsheviks one year after the revolution that ended 300 years of Romanov rule.

Russia’s last tsar and his family were shot on the night of July 16, 1918. Besides Nicholas II, they killed the Empress Alexandra and all their children, Alexei, Olga, Tatyana, Maria and Anastasia.

The Russian Church canonized the imperial family in 2000 and their remnants are now held in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The Serbian Church also considers the martyred Romanovs as “saints“.

The Serbian Orthodox Church said on Wednesday that people in Montenegro should never forget their gratitude to the Tsars.

“Without the help of Russia, there would have been no liberation of our people from Ottoman slavery… We are aware of this, and with the great gratitude we remember the great love of the Russian people and the Russian tsar for Montenegro,” Joanikije, the Bishop of Budimlike-Niksic, said.

The masses and other events were attended by delegates of the Patriarch of Alexandria, Theodore, Moscow Patriarch Kiril, representatives of the Orthodox Palestinian Society, Russian scholars, academics and former state officials from Moscow.

The Serbian Orthodox Church’s senior bishop in Montenegro, Amfilohije, said that the murder of the imperial family had been a great crime.

“They killed the emperor and the empress, and even though the emperor had given up power to save his people, they killed their children … You can imagine what a crime that was,” Amfilohije said.

The Russian and Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro cherish close relations dating back to the 19th century, during the rule of the Montenegrin prince-bishop, Njegos.

© Balkan Insight. 25 May 2018

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The Romanovs Under House Arrest: From the 1917 Diary of a Palace Priest

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CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY

Archpriest Afanasy Belyaev served as priest and confessor to the former Russian Imperial family. On the occasion of the Tsarevich’s thirteenth birthday in July 1917, he wrote this description of their faith and piety:

. . . for the last time the former rulers of their own home had gathered to fervently pray, tearfully, and on bended knee, imploring that the Lord help and intercede for them in all of their sorrows and misfortunes.

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The interior of the Alexander Palace chapel (1930s)

These selected excerpts from the chaplain’s diary open a window into the souls of the now sainted Romanov family and vividly recall the struggles they endured during the first five months of their confinement following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. One sees the love and independence of a family whose life was centered on Christ; whose very existence was bound up with the defense of the Orthodox Faith. In the spirit of the Gospel the Tsar conveyed to the Russian people from his captivity “that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love . . .”

Of particular interest are Fr Afanasy’s personal impressions of Nicholas II, members of his family and retinue, all of whom were under house arrest in the Alexander Palace. Fr Afanasy not only served as priest and confessor to the Imperial family, but also had opportunities to chat with the Tsar. This first English translation of Fr Afanasy’s diary is of immense historic value. It presents his personal observations of the Imperial family’s daily life during their house arrest at Tsarskoye Selo.

Russian cultural historian Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey sets Fr Afanasy’s diary in its historical context and offers an epilogue to complete the story of the Romanov’s journey to martyrdom at the hands of a Bolshevik firing squad in a Siberian basement in July 1918. Also included is a short life of Fr Afanasy and biographical information regarding the various persons appearing in the work. This anniversary edition has been illustrated throughout with colour and black and white photos (some rarely or never published before) as well as charts and maps.

An excerpt from the diary is also available at Orthodox Life or click HERE to order your copy of The Romanovs Under House Arrest 136 pages, $29.95 USD, published by Holy Trinity Publications, Jordanville, NY.

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Archpriest Afanasy Ivanovich Belyaev 1845-1921

Archpriest Afanasy Ivanovich Belyaev was the scion of a St Petersburg priestly family who became the rector of the Tsar’s Feodorovsky Cathedral at Tsarskoye Selo, and subsequently the father confessor of the Russian Imperial family during their first five months of confinement following Nicholas II’s abdication in early 1917.

Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey is a specialist in Russian cultural history and decorative arts. Her previous works include The Romanov Family Album, Fabergé Flowers and museum exhibitions At Home With the Last Tsar and His Family and The Tsar and the President, Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln.

Director of Holy Trinity Publications Nicholas Chapman sat down with Russian cultural historian Marilyn Swezey, editor and contributor to the new release, The Romanovs Under House Arrest: From the 1917 Diary of a Palace Priest. Watch the 15-minute interview below! 

Note: Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey is one of five speakers at the Nicholas II Conference on Saturday, 27th October 2018, at St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester, England.

Click HERE for more information on this historic conference marking the 150th anniversary of the birth and the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Russia’s last emperor and tsar. 

© Holy Trinity Publications, Jordanville, NY / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 May 2018

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Procession Marks 100th Anniversary of Nicholas II’s Arrival in Ekaterinburg

The above VIDEO is an announcement for the procession, which highlights the route known as the Path of Sorrow of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers immortalized by the Russian Orthodox Church with churches in Ekaterinburg. 

In the early morning of 30th April 2018, a religious procession took place in Ekaterinburg marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Nicholas II and members of his family from Tobolsk. More than 1,500 people took park in the prayer procession, which passed from the Memorial Cross in the area of the Shartash Railway Station to the Church on the Blood – built on the site of the former Ipatiev House, where Nicholas II, his consort Alexandra, their five children, and four faithful retainers were all murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918 by members of the Ural Soviet.

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Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna were transferred from Tobolsk, and handed over to the Ural Soviet on 30th April 1918. They were accompanied by the Tsar’s aide Prince Vasily Dolgorukov, the family’s physician Dr. Eugene Botkin, and three servants. The rest of the family: Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia, and Tsesarevich Alexei were brought to Ekaterinburg in May 1918.

The procession was headed by the bishops of the Ekaterinburg Diocese: Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, Bishop of Kamensk and Alapaevsky Methodius, Bishop of Sredneuralsky Eugene, vicar of Ekaterinburg diocese, Bishop of Serov and Krasnoturinsky Alexy.

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The procession was attended by numerous clergy and monastics, Cossacks, monarchists, as well as students of the Ekaterinburg theological seminary, nurses and volunteers of the Orthodox Relief Service, representatives of Orthodox brotherhoods, employees and volunteers of the Nika Charity Fund, representatives of youth parish clubs, members of the Youth Cossack organization of the Sverdlovsk region, activists of the youth department of the diocese, as well as numerous parishioners of the churches of the Ekaterinburg diocese.

Crusaders dressed in red jackets carried banners, icons, as well as images of Emperor Nicholas II and the Holy Royal Family, thereby emphasizing the importance of the year of marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers.

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The column of believers began its memorable procession, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Nicholas II and members of his family in Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk, from the Memorial Cross and the foundation stone, which are located near Shartash Railway Station (in 1918 – Yekaterinburg-II Station), on the future site of the Church in Honour of the Icon of the Mother of God “Valaam” – one of the three miraculous icons, revealed during the reign of Nicholas II.

The arrival and the route known as the “Path of Sorrow of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers” are immortalized by the Russian Orthodox Church with churches in Ekaterinburg. 

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The procession passed through Ulitsas (streets) Kuibyshev, East, Chelyuskintsev, Sverdlov, Karl Liebknecht, Tsarskoy, stopping at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Port Arthur and the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Derzhavnaya”.

The memorial procession ended at the Church on the Blood, where Metropolitan Kirill, delivered a Divine Liturgy. 

The above VIDEO shows the cross procession and the episcopal Divine Liturgy held in memory of the arrival in Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk of Nicholas II and members of his family on 30th April 1918. The Divine Liturgy was performed in the Church on the Blood, by Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye and the bishops of the Ekaterinburg Diocese.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 April 2018

Monument to Russian Imperial Family Established in Biysk

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The Tsarist Family by the Russian sculptor Sergei Isakov

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

A monument to Russia’s last Imperial family has been established in the city of Biysk, situated more than 3,000 km east of Moscow in the Altai Krai region of Russia. The city is often referred to as “the gates to the Altai Mountains”.

The unique sculptural ensemble The Tsarist Family, was installed on 20th April in the city’s Alexander Park, which depicts 10 life-size bronze sculptures of members of the Russian Imperial family. It was designed the sculptor Sergei Isakov, who also created the famous monument to Dmitry Donskoy in Moscow. 

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The official opening and consecration of the monument will take place on 20th June 2018.

The composition depicts life-size sculptures of Emperor Nicholas II, his consort Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, their four daughters Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Tsesarevich Alexei. The entire family are seen in the center: the Emperor and Empress seated, the Tsesarevich kneeling on the floor between them, and the four grand duchesses standing behind.

Another sculptor of Emperor Alexander II can be seen on the left; while the remaining two sculptors on the right depict the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and his consort Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. Above the composition is a large coat of arms of the Romanov family, which is held by two angels made in the form of bas-reliefs.

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The composition depicts 10 life-size bronze sculptures of members of the Russian Imperial family

The official opening and consecration of the monument by the Metropolitan of Altai Sergius, will take place in July 2018. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 April 2018

Ekaterinburg diocese launches Telegram channel about Russian Imperial family

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This article has been edited and amended from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia, and Royal Russia News Administrator © 2018

The Ekaterinburg diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church has launched a Telegram channel devoted to Tsar Nicholas II’s family. The project precedes the centenary anniversary since the Tsarist Family’s brutal murder in the basement floor of a local mansion in July 1918.

Every day, the diocese will publish excerpts from the diaries of the Tsar and Tsarina Alexandra, which they kept during their exile in the West-Siberian city of Tobolsk and in Ekaterinburg.

“Upon the blessing by Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, the царская-семья.рф Telegram channel has come on stream,” a spokesman for the diocese said. “The project is timed for the centenary anniversary of the new regal holy martyrs’ act of martyrdom. The publication of diaries will be synchronized with the events of a hundred years ago.”

“This means, for instance, that today, on 14 February 2018, we’re publishing the entries [the Tsar and the Tsarina] made on 14 February 1918,” he said.

“The contents of the project don’t envision any evaluative judgments on the part of historians or writers living nowadays,” the spokesman said. “This is people’s direct discourse, diaries and letters.”

“By way of counterbalancing distorted information that spreads in society sometimes, we bring to spotlight the real individuals, their thoughts, hopes, aspirations, and love,” he said.

Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the throne on 15 March 1917. Soon after that, he himself, Tsarina Alexandra and their five children were interned. The provisional government that came to power in the wake of the revolutionary events of February and March 1917 sent them off to Tobolsk in August of the same year.

The Bolsheviks came to power as a result of a new revolution in November 1917. The new authorities ordered the transfer of the Imperial Family to Ekaterinburg in the Urals at the end of April 1918.

The climax of the tragedy came on the night 16/17 July 1918, in the basement floor of a mansion that formerly belonged to mining engineer Nikolai Ipatyev. On orders from Moscow – supposedly from Jacob Sverdlov, one of the top officials on the Bolshevik government – a team of members of the Ekaterinburg committee of workers deputies executed the entire family by shooting.

Executed together with them were their closest assistants – family doctor Eugene Botkin, the Tsar’s footman Alexei [Aloiz] Trupp, the Tsarina’s lady-in-waiting Anna Demidov, and chef Ivan Kharitonov.

The further plight of their bodies still gives rise to some questions. Historians and criminology experts proceeding from the findings done by the investigator Nikolai Sokolov, who worked for the anti-Bolshevik forces under the command of Admiral Kolchak from 1919 through 1921, say the bodies were destroyed by burning with the aid of the rectified oil of vitriol and no remains were left.

However, a crew of amateur detectives found the remains of several people near an old local road in 1979. Suggestions that these were the remains of members of the Czarist Family surfaced in the professional milieu. In 1989, the information was made public.

Excavations at the site were done in the early 1990’s and the investigators found more human bones. Sophisticated testing done in several countries proved these were the remains of bodies of Nicholas II’s family with the highest degree of probability.

Entombment of the remains took place in 1998 at the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul in St Petersburg but the Russian Orthodox Church did not take part in the ceremonies because it still questions the identity of the bones.

Supplementary excavation at the site near Ekaterinburg followed in 2007. It resulted in more material finds, the forensic scrutiny of which continues to this day.

On 20th August 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) canonized Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, Tsesarevich Alexis, and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia as new holy martyrs for faith.

Note: On 1st November 1981, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) canonized the Russian Imperial family as new martyrs

© TASS News Agency / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 February 2018