Memorial Plaque to Nikolai Sokolov Unveiled in Mokshan

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Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov (1882-1924)

On 24th December 2018, a memorial plaque bearing the name of Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov (1882-1924) was unveiled on the facade of the administration building in the Russian village of Mokshan, situated in the Penza Region. It was here more than 100 years ago that Moksha District Court was located, where  Sokolov, a native of Mokshan worked as an judicial investigator, investigating corruption cases, from 1908 to 1910.

“I am very glad that you all came here today, because this plaque was opened for you, so that you will know, remember not only the history of your area, but also the history of Russia,” commented Penza State Television and Radio Company Professor Victor Kondrashin.

In February 1919, Nikolai Sokolov, on the orders of Admiral Kolchak, conducted an investigation into the murders of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. He fled Bolshevik Russia with substantial material evidence, through Harbin to France, where he continued to collect evidence until his untimely death on 23rd November 1924 in Salbris, France. In 1925, his book The Murder of the Tsar’s Family was published. 

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Memorial plaque to Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov in Mokshan

Local historian, Olga Yuryevna Kamenskaya, has been researching archives for information on the life of her fellow countryman. Sokolov was born in a house on Sadovaya Street. His father was a merchant of the second guild, his mother was a peasant. Records of the records of their marriage and the baptism of their son have been preserved in the Church of the Epiphany.

During the Soviet years, little was known about Nikolai Sokolov. A participant in the white movement, a monarchist, was enough for his name to be banned during 20th century Soviet history. Only in the years of perestroika, did post-Soviet Russians learn of the important role he played in one of the nation’s most notorious crimes. Olga Kamenskaya decided to restore historical justice and appealed to Metropolitan Seraphim for help.

“I knew about the investigator Sokolov, who was investigating the royal case, but did not know that he was a native of Mokshan. Local historians came to me and said that we should perpetuate the name of our great countryman. At first, I had doubts, but started to do my own research,”said Metropolitan of Penza and Nizhnelomovsky Seraphim.

After the solemn ceremony, fresh flowers were laid at the base of the plaque. The plaque is the first  memorial dedicated to Nikolai Sokolov in the Penza region.

The following article ‘Investigator Sokolov: The Suffering of the Tsar is the Suffering of Russia‘ will be published in Sovereign No. 10 Spring 2019.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 December 2018

Nicholas II Conference Proceedings Now Available

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112 pages with 41 Black and White Photos & Illustrations. ISBN 978-1-927604-34-2

Given that the conference was held in England, it seemed only fitting that the cover photo of this special issue should feature Tsar Nicholas II, who served as Colonel in Chief of The Royal Scots Greys from 1894-1918. 

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I am pleased to offer a SPECIAL issue of SOVEREIGN, which contains the proceedings of the Nicholas II Conference, held  at St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Church in Colchester, England on 27th October 2018.

The No. 9 issue of our popular journal dedicated to the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II, features all 7 papers + 2 additional articles: 

(1) A Century of Treason, Cowardice and Lies by Paul Gilbert

(2) Why Was Nicholas II Canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church by Archpriest Andrew Phillips

(3) Nicholas II and the Sacredness of Monarchy: Truth and Myth Behind the Relations Between Power and Christianity by Igor Krasnov

(4) The Romanovs Under House Arrest, From the 1917 Diary of a Palace Priest by Marilyn Pfeiffer Swezey

(5) An Imperial Movement: A Society of Tsar Nicholas II by Archpriest Andrew Phillips

(6) Imperial Tea Party: Family, Politics and Betrayal. The Ill-Fated British and Russian Royal Alliance by Frances Welch

(7) Nicholas II in Post-Soviet Russia by Paul Gilbert

(8) Why Does a Brit Fight for the Truth About Nicholas II by Alexandra Guzeva

(9) Memorial Service for Tsar Nicholas II. Sermon Given in 1934 by His Eminence John, Bishop of Shanghai

Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II is published bi-annually, offering Spring and Autumn issues respectively.

Current and back issues of Sovereign can be purchased at the Royal Russia Bookshop (Canada), Amazon.com (United States), Booksellers van Hoogstraten (Den Haag, Netherlands), and Librairie Galignani (Paris, France).

© Royal Russia. 24 December 2018

Sovereign No. 8 Autumn 2018 Issue – NOW AVAILABLE!

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146 pages with 4 Full-length articles – ALL first-English translations. 89 Black and White Photos & Illustrations. The cover features a photograph of Emperor Nicholas II on the balcony of the Alexander Palace in 1907. ISBN 978-1-927604-33-5

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The No. 8 Autumn 2018 issue of Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II. is now available for sale from the Royal Russia Bookshop.

This issue features the depositions – a total of 68 pages – of two men who played an integral part in the final days of Nicholas II and his family: Eugene Stepanovich Kobylinsky (1875-1927) and Vasily Semonovich Pankratov (1864-1925).

Kobylinsky was a Russian military officer who served as the commander of the special detachment at Tsarskoe Selo and Tobolsk in 1917-18, where he oversaw the imprisonment of the tsar. He was executed by the Bolsheviks in December 1927.

Pankratov served as Commissioner of the Provisional Government under the Special Purpose Detachment, guarding Nicholas II and his family in Tobolsk, from September 1, 1917 to January 26, 1918.

The reader will find both accounts utterly fascinating to read, and also to compare their impressions of Nicholas II and his family during their house arrest in Tobolsk.

The following is a list of the articles and their respective authors: 

Nicholas II is Becoming Our Anti-Stalin
by Yegor Kholmogorov. *1st English Translation

Transcript of the Interrogation E.S. Kobylinsky. Protocol of 6-10 April, 1919. (30 pages)
*1st English Translation

A Question Mark in the Imperial Matter. How Was the Murder of the Imperial Family Orchestrated, and Did Vladimir Lenin Sanction the Execution?
by Yuri Alexandrovich Zhuk. *1st English Translation

With the Tsar in Tobolsk (38 pages)
by V.S. Pankratov. *1st English Translation

Sovereign News
Compiled, Translated and Edited by Paul Gilbert

– news supplement offers readers with the top news stories and photographs from Russian media sources on the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II, translated from Russian and presented in English for the first time.

Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II is published bi-annually, offering Spring and Autumn issues respectively.

Current and back issues of Sovereign can be purchased at the Royal Russia Bookshop (Canada), Amazon.com (United States), Booksellers van Hoogstraten (Den Haag, Netherlands), and Librairie Galignani (Paris, France).

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 24 December, 2018

This Week in the News – The Romanovs and Imperial Russia

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PHOTO: On 23rd December 2018, the Head of the Russian Imperial House HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna marks Her 65th birthday. 

On behalf of Royal Russia, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Her Imperial Highness, good health and happiness in the coming year ahead – Paul Gilbert

Last year, I had the honour of interviewing Her Imperial Highness on a wide range of topics on the past, present and future of the Russian Imperial House. My 19-page interview was published in the No. 11 Winter 2017 issue of Royal Russia. Click HERE for more information.

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This Week in the News includes a link and brief summary to full-length articles published in the past week from English language media and internet sources.

This initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page.

Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following 5 full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 22 December 2018:

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THIS WEEKS’ ARTICLES – click on the red headline text below to read the respective articles

US Sues for Forfeiture of ‘Ivan the Terrible’ Painting

A painting of Ivan the Terrible stolen during World War II will be sent back to Ukraine, the United States announced Friday with the filing of a federal forfeiture complaint.

5 reasons to visit Novodevichy Convent, Moscow’s most mystical monastery + PHOTOS

Rich in Imperial Russian history, this UNESCO-listed cloister in southwest Moscow prides itself on centuries of religious history. Its spiritual aura makes for a serene, rewarding day out.

Yaroslavl’s Dormition Cathedral: The resurrection of a monument + PHOTOS

Architectural historian and photographer William Brumfield writes in RBTH, about The church’s turbulent history, one which mirrored that of Russia itself.

The Romanov Royal Martyrs Forum

In anticipation of the highly anticipated release of the English version of their book “The Romanov Royal Martyrs”, a public forum has been created, in which those who have expressed an interest in this important publishing project can share their thoughts.

Sorrow to Joy: Our Christmas Cup

John Mark N. Reynolds writes in ‘Patheos’, about the the Khodynka Cup of Sorrows, made for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna in 1896.

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PHOTO: Grigory Rasputin. Mournful Foreboding, painted by the contemporary Russian artist Igor Tokarev. 2016

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Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only,
and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia

The Jewel Album of Tsar Nicholas II

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Between 1889 and 1913 Nicholas II, Grand Duke, Tsesarevich and Emperor of Russia, painted his jewellery in a small album as a private record of his collection. His watercolours of more than 300 items – some of which were created by jewellers such as Fabergé and Cartier – give a realistic picture of what the tsar was wearing as jewellery. His handwritten notes also comprise dates and names of those who presented him with each item, a record of the small circle of those who were near to him.

The drawings of his personal jewellery were made by him not to record valuables such as precious stones or gold but as a personal record of family souvenirs with memorable dates. The album is an encyclopedia of men’s fashion ornaments of the turn of the century full of crowned monograms and symbols as well as surprisingly modern jewellery designs.

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The jewel album of Tsar Nicholas II was re-discovered in the 1990s in the archives of the Moscow Kremlin Museum. It consisted of 82 pages and a total of 305 watercolour drawings of his personal collection of men’s jewellery. The date of receipt of gifts from loved ones connected with holidays and memorable events were noted by Nicholas II in his own handwriting: his birthday, name day, days of engagement and wedding, the day of the coronation, birth, christening, and on major Christian holidays, such as Easter and Christmas.

In 1997, the publishing firm Ermitage issued a facsimile of the album, entitled The Jewel Album of Nicholas II and a Collection Private Photographs of the Russian Imperial Family. It was published in a high quality cloth-bound edition with 216 pages, enclosed in a handsome green-board slipcase. The accompanying text on the jewellery was written by Alexander von Solodkoff, an authority on Russian and Fabergé art. It is supplemented with an article on the history of the album by Irina A. Bogatskaya, curator of the Moscow Kremlin Museum Archives.

In addition to the more than 300 watercolours of Nicholas II’s jewellery, the book also includes 95 illustrations from the original, unpublished private photographs of the Russian Imperial Family. This rare collection offers an authentic glimpse of their private life with evocative scenes of private visits, fashion and interiors of the time. The material was discovered by von Solodkoff in the archive of Hemmelmark, formerly the home of Princess Irene of Prussia, sister of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

Alexander von Solodkoff has studied the history and art of Russia specializing in goldsmith work and jewellery. Among his publications are books such as Russian Gold and Silver (1981), Fabergé (1988) and numerous articles in exhibition catalogues and art historical publications. He served as director of Ermitage Ltd. London. 

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The facsimile edition (pictured above) was distributed through Christie’s of London in the late 1990s, and sold out very quickly. This beautiful book is now long out of print, however, second-hand copies which sell for hundreds of dollars, continue to be highly sought after by Romanov enthusiasts and lovers of Imperial Russian history.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 December 2018

Consecration of the Imperial Room in Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg

On 12th December 2018, Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursk performed the rite of Great Consecration of the renovated side-chapel in the name of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg. His Eminence was served by the hierarchs of the Ekaterinburg Metropolis: Bishop Method Kamensky and Alapaevsky, Bishop Evgeny of Nizhny Tagil and Nevyansky, and Bishop Serov and Krasnoturyinsky Alexy.

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At the end of the service, Metropolitan Kirill recalled in his archpastoral talk that the year 2018 – the Imperial or Royal Year – the year marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths and martyrdom of the Imperial family, was widely celebrated in the Ural city. He recalled that on the night 16/17 July, an estimated 100,000 people participated in the Divine Liturgy at the Church on the Blood and the subsequent cross procession, both of which were headed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. According to the ruling bishop, it was truly a “nationwide prayer celebration.”

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And completing this year, the consecration of the renewed side-altar in the name of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers was performed in the Church on the Blood.

Metropolitan Kirill noted that a Divine Liturgy is performed once a week, on the night of Tuesday/Wednesday, in memory of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, whose murder occurred on the night of Tuesday/Wednesday 16/17 July 1918. In addition, once a month, on the night of the 16/17, a night liturgy is also celebrated. Metropolitan Kirill reached out to Orthodox Christians asking them to attend the night service and pray to the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers.

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–  Here you have this feeling – a special reverence for the Royal Family and our martyrs, the new confessors of the Russian Church, one which will enter the soul, even if the soul is cold. All this love and achievement will melt away any callousness and any coldness. And the more we pray, the more we pay attention to the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, to their feat – the feat of meekness, humility, purity, the feat of absolute love for their God and for their homeland, until then our country will stand, and no evil power will be able to disturb her. Therefore, today we especially thank God for the feat of our Regal martyrs, our holy martyrs, all those who have defended our Homeland and our Church, and thanks to whom we today live on this earth,” Metropolitan Kirill said.

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The ruling bishop also thanked the senior priest of the Church on the Blood, Archpriest Maxim Minyaylo, for his work in this church, and also thanked Abbess Domnik (Korobeinikova) and the sisters of the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent, who “very strongly and powerfully helped create this chapel.”

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The altar of the Imperial Room is situated in the lower church, sanctified in honor of the Holy Royal Martyrs. It was established on the site of the room located in the basement of the Ipatiev House, where Emperor Nicholas II, his family, and four retainers were all brutally murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918. In the summer of 2018, with the blessing of Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, the altar of the Imperial Chapel of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers – the so-called Royal Room – was redesigned and decorated for the Tsar’s Days held in Ekaterinburg. The interior of the room has completely changed: like the Cuvuclia in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

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The central place is occupied by a  unique mosaic panel. in the central part of the altar, depicting the Holy Royal Martyrs and their loyal subjects: Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsesarevich Alexei, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, St. Eugene Botkin, Alexei Trupp, Ivan Kharitonov and Anna Demidova. The mosaic reflects the position of the Royal Passion-Bearers at the time of their martyr’s death: standing with their backs to the east, facing west, as is now depicted in the altar.

Click HERE to read my article Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg Opens Imperial Room, published on 20th June 2018, includes 11 colour photos and video

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 December 2018

Restoration of Montferrand’s Equestrian Monument to Nicholas I

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Restoration has begun on the equestrian monument to Emperor Nicholas I, situated on St. Isaac’s Square in St. Petersburg. Experts say it will take at least two years to complete the project.

A large metal hexagon structure has been constructed around the monument, for which, a 40-ton crane was used. The structure is 19 meters high, while the diameter is 20 meters around. In order not to spoil the view of one of the city’s most picturesque squares, a series of banners with drawings, photographs and historical references have been added to the structure.

the bronze equestrian statue of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855), was designed by the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand (1786-1858). Unveiled on July 7th  [O.S. June 25th] 1859, the six-meter statue was a technical wonder of its time. It was the first equestrian statue in Europe with only two support points (the rear hooves of the horse). Around the base are allegorical statues modelled on Nicholas I’s daughters and personifying virtues.

Click HERE to read more articles about Nicholas I, from the Royal Russia Archives.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 December 2018

This Week in the News – The Romanovs and Imperial Russia

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PHOTO: Nicholas II on-board the Imperial yacht ‘Alexandria’, 1898

It is a shame that the quality of the photograph is not in better shape, as this is a superb photo of the tsar!

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This Week in the News includes a link and brief summary to full-length articles published in the past week from English language media and internet sources.

This initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page.

Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following 4 full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 16 December 2018:

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 THIS WEEKS’ ARTICLES – click on the red headline text below to read the respective articles

Amazing 3D images of Russia’s last Royal family by #Romanovs100 + PHOTOS

#Romanovs100 transformed 10 rare photographs from the Romanov private archives into 3D to suit Facebook’s latest feature and the results are stunning.

Exhibition on Russian Imperial Family Opens in Zurich

A photography exhibition, “The Romanovs: Royal Service” opened recently in the Serbian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church in Zurich, initiated by the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Austria and Switzerland with support from Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery.

7 facts about Ivan the Terrible, the first Russian tsar

In October the city of Oryol (220 miles south of Moscow) erected the country’s first monument to Ivan IV, known as the Terrible, one of many Russian rulers who remain divisive figures today. RBTH remembers how he made it into the history books.

Мои впечатления от симпозиума «Николай Второй: Император. Царь. Святой», 27 октября 2018 года, Колчестер, Великобритания

A review (in Russian) by Igor Krasnov, of the Nicholas II Conference, held on 27 October 2018, in Colchester, England

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PHOTO: Click HERE or on the above image to review the main Royal Russia web site, which features more articles, news archive, videos, and much more!

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Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only,
and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia

The Romanov Royal Martyrs – Part II – The Execution of the Romanovs

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St. John the Forerunner Monastery of Mesa Potamos presents The Romanov Royal Martyrs. The Execution of the Romanovs – Part II

Completing our last homage to the Romanov Centennial, we now publish the second and last part of “The Martyrdom”, covering the tragedy in Koptyaki forest. Read the video’s description on YouTube for a full summary of this last tragic, but spiritually glorious chapter.

The Execution of the Romanovs | Part II – Summary

17 July 1918
Around 3.00 am, in the morning of July 17, Yurovsky with his men and Ermakov headed for Koptyaki forest, where a mineshaft was prepared for the disposal of the bodies. When they reached the forest and started unloading the bodies, Ermakov’s men started to ransack the pockets of the victims. Yurovsky threatened he would shoot anyone who stole anything from the bodies.

Yurovsky undressed the bodies and removed all the valuables that were found on them. He then burned the clothes. The men lowered the bodies into the mineshaft, which turned out to be very shallow. They decided to use explosives, so that the inner walls would break and cover up the bodies. It was already daylight. This didn’t work and Yurovsky decided that the bodies should be transferred to another place the following night. He then returned to Ekaterinburg to report to the Soviet.

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Yurovsky returned to the mineshaft around 4:00 am. By morning they had exhumed the bodies from the shaft with the intention of transferring them to a deeper mineshaft. [On the way, the automobile carrying the bodies broke down. The bodies were put on wagons and Yurovsky returned to the town on horseback to bring new automobiles.]* He returned to the forest at 21.30 pm with two trucks. The bodies were loaded on the trucks and headed for the mineshafts. It was after midnight.

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The trucks got stuck again in a swamp. [Yurovsky decided to burn two of the bodies and bury the rest right there. Maria and Alexei were set on fire while a pit was being dug.]* The bodies were then thrown into the pit, smashed and chopped with shovels, and finally doused with sulfuric acid. The pit was covered up, cross ties were laid on top, and the truck drove over it several times to level it. [Near the spot were the bodies of Maria and Alexei were burned, another pit was dug and the remains of the two children were laid in there.]*

*The facts described in the brackets […] are not presented in the video. A full detail account of all the facts is presented in the forthcoming book “The Romanov Royal Martyrs”.

Click HERE to visit The Romanov Royal Martyrs web site.

© St. John the Forerunner Monastery of Mesa Potamos. 13 December 2018

The Romanov Royal Martyrs – Part I – The Martyrdom

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CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

St. John the Forerunner Monastery of Mesa Potamos presents The Romanov Royal Martyrs. The Martyrdom – Part I

This December marks the last month of the 1918-2018 Romanov Centennial. We are now paying our last homage to the murder of the Imperial Family on this historical anniversary, by producing a video in two parts with the depiction of their martyrdom.

The content of the videos is definitely not pleasant to watch. No, it is very sad, tragic, and frightening, but… it is the truth. It is for this tragic but most spiritually glorious martyrdom that the Orthodox Church has glorified them as Saints. Now, the Royal Martyrs pray for us to God by His throne.

The Martyrdom | Part I – Summary

Around 2.00 am on July 17th, Yakov Yurovsky, the commandant of the Ipatiev house, the “House of Special Purpose”, ordered the Romanovs’ physician, Dr. Eugene Botkin, to awaken the sleeping family and ask them to put on their clothes, under the pretext that they would be moved to a safe location due to impending chaos in Yekaterinburg. The Romanovs were then ordered into a semi-basement room. Alexei could not walk down the stairs, due to a recent injury, and Nicholas carried him in his arms. Two chairs were brought, on which Tsarevich Alexei and Alexandra sat. The prisoners were told to wait in the cellar room while the truck that would transport them was being brought to the house. A few minutes later, an execution squad was brought in and Yurovsky read aloud the order of the execution given to him by the Ural Executive Committee. The Imperial family, Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei, as well as all those who chose to accompany them into imprisonment —notably Dr Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexei Trupp and Ivan Kharitonov— were shot, bayoneted and clubbed to death. The massacre that took place was utterly brutal and lasted around 20 minutes,* before all victims were killed. *The murder in the video takes only a few seconds, but in reality it was a long and frightening procedure. It is described in all details in the forthcoming book “The Romanov Royal Martyrs”.

Click HERE to visit The Romanov Royal Martyrs web site.

© St. John the Forerunner Monastery of Mesa Potamos. 12 December 2018