Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Norwich CT USA
The Crowned Martyrs

His Majesty the Emperor Nicholas II (Nikolai Alexandrovich) began his reign with pure and lofty aspirations at the age of 26. On his own initiative, he boldly appealed to other nations to cut down on military forces and to organize arbitration in international conflicts in order to prevent future wars. The Peace Conference took place in The Hague on May 18, 1899, and adopted a general principle for peaceful settlement of international disputes. The later League of Nations and the present United Nations were to be founded on this first effort.

In 1921, President Harding at the Washington Conference declared in his opening speech on the question of Naval Power: “The proposal to restrict armaments by international agreement is not new. On this occasion it is appropriate to recall the noble aspiration expressed 23 years ago in an imperial rescript issued by His Majesty the Emperor of all Russia.” Quoting almost entirely the Tsar's clear and expressive words in the Russian note, President Harding added: “With this awareness of his duty, His Majesty the Emperor of All Russia proposed to call a conference which was to work on this important problem.”

Thus the Emperor laid the foundation to an endeavor of world significance. His idea was revived again and again and was being carried out with greater efforts than ever. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” It is a tragic fact that the conference called by the Emperor rejected the most important proposal – that of reducing arms and the military budget, while the Emperor himself was forced into three wars – with China, Japan and the First World War.

As a child, the future Emperor was very religious. He loved the icon of the Virgin, her tender arms embracing the Christ-Child. He was a kind, naturally tactful child, who adored his parents.

He was always ready to render service to anyone, regardless of one's social standing. Once, while incognito in Darmstadt, he ran and picked up a parcel, which had fallen from a postal cart, thus saving the driver from trouble. Such was the modest, Christian heart of the young Russian Emperor.

The Emperor spent enormous sums for charity from his own private income of the family estate, but restricted his personal expenditures. Sometimes he wore clothing mended many times over. Through his favorite teacher of childhood days, who had access to his person at any time, he donated scholarships and other benefits, always telling her not to mention the source of the charity.

On his visits to the hospitals of wounded soldiers, the Emperor showed touching compassion to the men not only by words and deeds but also by displaying a genuine sympathy. Once, in the reception room of a hospital, while putting o his military overcoat, large tears fell from his eyes, after a quadruple amputee pleaded: “Emperor, you can do anything, order that I be put to death.”

His simple nature, timid, free of malice, was undemanding and deeply religious. He was ever attracted by the guileless people with a true and simple Russian soul. His love for the common people was noticed by everyone during his numerous conversations with peasants. Once he embraced and kissed an old peasant who had forgotten his speech, overcome by emotions, and those emotions were more valuable to the Emperor than any other words. To the last moment of his life the Emperor believed in the devotion and loyalty of the common people.

When talking about his enemies the Emperor showed no signs of resentment or irritation. If someone expressed amazement he said:

“I put an end to personal irritation and resentment a long time ago. Nothing can be accomplished by it and, moreover, a harsh word coming from me would sound worse than from someone else.”

No matter what the Emperor's inner feelings, he never lost his poise in dealing with people around him. IN that moment of terrible anguish when the life of his only son, on whom he centered all his tenderness, was in danger, the Emperor remained outwardly composed, a little more reserved than usual. Asked by a Cabinet member about his son's condition he replied quietly and calmly: “We hope for God's mercy.”

The Emperor had the outstanding qualities of a man and a ruler, but his favorite expression with regard to himself in a close family circle was “I am just a plain, common man.” He had an excellent memory, exceptional energy and broad learning, a strong and disciplined will power, an acute sense of morality, a great awareness of his responsibilities. Devoted to his ideals, he defended them with patience and persistence. Thoroughly honest, he was a slave to his word and his loyalty towards the allies, which was the reason of his death, proved it better than anything else.

In this age of agitation and propaganda, his truthfulness would seem surprising. His instructions on the way to write an account of the Russo-Japanese War were the following: “The work must be based exclusively on bare facts … We have nothing to hold back, as too much blood has already been shed. Heroism deserves to be recorded along with defeats. We must unfailingly strive to restore historical facts in their true light.”

The Emperor was an implacable enemy of all the attempts to idealize that which was unworthy; he himself spoke and demanded nothing but the truth. Truth alone was what he looked for everywhere.

The head of the government of any country assumes the responsibility for its failure or success. With him rests the last word, the final decision. Shall it be war or peace? Shall there be a compromise? The questions constantly confronted the Emperor, and if he made mistakes, as it is said he did, what ruler did not? We value in him the purity of his motives and intentions as well as the means of their accomplishment.

2.

By the State Law of Russia, “The Emperor, Possessor of the Throne of All Russia, cannot profess any other religion than the Greek Orthodox. As a Christian Emperor, he is the Supreme Protector and Custodian of the Dogmas of the prevalent Faith and the Guardian of the True Believers and Good Order of the Holy Church.”

In the person of the Emperor Nicholas II, the believers had the best and the most worthy representative of the Church, truly “The Most Devout” as he was referred to in church services. He was a true patron of the Church, and a solicitor of all its blessings.

During the reign of Nicholas II, the Church reached its fullest development and power. The number of churches increased by more than 10,000. There were 57,000 churches by the end of the period. The number of monasteries increased by 250, bringing their total up to 1,025. Ancient churches were renovated. The Emperor himself took part in the laying of the first cornerstones and the consecration of many churches. He donated large sums for their construction from his private income. He visited churches and monasteries in all parts of the country, venerating their saints. The Emperor stressed the importance of educating peasant children within the framework of the church and parish and, as a result, the number of parish schools grew to 37,000.

On April 17, 1905, on Pascha Day, the law of Religious Tolerance was published. Any subject of age had the right to profess any Christian doctrine.

The Emperor did much for the glory of the Church. So great was his piety that it gave him the strength to act in the interest of the Church even in the face of opposition from the so-called educated circles of Russia. The Emperor was not influenced by the opinions of the faithless and unpatriotic “intelligentsia,” being aloof from it and feeling himself a kindred soul with faithful church-going people.

3.

Princess Alice of Hesse, who became, as the wife of the Emperor Nicholas II, the Empress Alexandra, lost her mother when she was six years old and was raised by her grandmother, Queen Victorian of England. The Princess visited Russian to attend the wedding of her sister Elizabeth and Grade Duke Serge. There she met the 16-year-old Grand Duke Nicholas, heir to the throne, who later became her husband. Even then they were attracted to each other and eventually fell deeply in love. Marriage, however, presented a religious problem which Princess Alice had to think deeply about. Deeply religious herself, she found it hard to change her creed to that of the Greek Orthodox Church, which was strange and new to her. “The only obstacle between her and I is the question of religion,” wrote the Heir-apparent in his diary in 1891. “Except for this obstacle our feelings are mutual. Trusting in God's mercy, I calmly and humbly await the future.”

The young Princess, disturbed by the prospect of an obligatory change of confession, sought the approval of her conscience. In this she was helped greatly by Archpriest I. L. Ianishev, a most enlightened theologian, her adviser who later became her confessor. For six months he instructed his capable student, who yearned for truth, and taught her the fine points of Orthodoxy with all its beauty.

German by birth, English by upbringing, Protestant by her father's faith, she became a true Russian with ever fiber of her nature. She had a deep love for Russia and became truly Orthodox in spirit, in thought, and in actions in the services, very similar to those performed by religious peasant women.

After the birth of her first child, the Empress gave all her attention to her children; she personally fed them, bathed them, selected their nurses and was constantly in the nursery, not trusting them with anyone. She would spend hours in the classroom, directing their studies. It often happened that while discussing important questions regarding a new charitable organization, she would be holding her baby in her arms, or while signing some business documents she would be rocking a baby's cradle. In her free moments she was always engaged in some work such as embroidering, knitting, or painting.

The Grand Duchesses, were also busy, always occupied with some activity. Wonderful works and embroideries came from their nimble little hands. The two oldest daughters, Olga and Tatiana, worked together with their mother in their military hospitals during the World War. Working as common Red Cross nurses, they changed the dressing of wounded men.

All the Grand Duchesses had been raised in a strict religious spirit and were taught to treat people with consideration without any show of superiority, without haughtiness. The Emperor was always saying: “The more important the man, the more he should help everyone, and never remind others of his high position. My children should be like that, too.” Adhering to this principle in life himself, he raised them to be kind, gracious and considerate towards everybody.

The children were spiritually simple and fond of simple things; natural and guileless they were undemanding, open-hearted and truthful, conscious of their responsibilities and truly religious. The Empress instilled in them that faith, that strength of spirit and humility, which helped them to endure bravely the hardships of banishment and go through martyrdom. The children literally idolized their parents. Their mother, whom they adored, was infallible in their eyes.

In the summer of 1904, the long-awaited heir to the throne was born. The Emperor named him Alexis in honor of Tsar Alexis the Peaceful, as if expressing his true ideal. He became the center of the family, the favorite. He was an exceptionally handsome boy, the most wonderful child anyone could hope for. But alas, when he was two months old the Empress discovered that he was afflicted with hemophilia, a hereditary disease of the House of Hesse, now transmitted tragically to him, the long awaited heir.

The Empress suffered agony, believing herself to be responsible for his condition, innocent though she was. During his short life the handsome boy was subjected to frequent and acute pain. The Emperor in one of his letters once wrote to his mother: “The days from the 10th to the 23rd were the worst. The poor child suffered greatly; the pain was sporadic, occurring every 15 minutes. He hardly slept at all, did not have the strength to cry by only moaned, repeating the same words all over again: “Lord have mercy on me.” I could not stand it but had to remain in the room in order to relieve Alix who had exhausted herself completely, spending every night at his bedside. She bore this trial better than I, especially when Alexis' sufferings were at their worst.” One can imagine how the father suffered. An eye witness of Alexis' illness write: “The crown-prince lay in bed, and moaned pitiably, pressing his head to his mother's hand, his fine face bloodless, unrecognizable. From time to time he stopped moaning to whisper only one word: “Mama,” in which he expressed all his suffering, all his heart-break. And the mother would kiss his hair, his forehead, his eyes, as if by this caress she could lighten his pain, breathe into him some of that life which was leaving him.”

Could there be a mother who in similar circumstances would withhold from using all possible resources – medicine, faith in God, even faith in people who can cure or ease? This was the basis for the connection between the Empress and the “venerable starets,” (elder) Rasputin, a common Siberian peasant. The source of the relations was the most honorable feelings which could fill a mother's heart – love for her gravely ill son and desperate hope. Of Rasputin the Emperor said: “He is only a simple Russian, very religious and pious. The Empress likes him for his sincerity; she believes in his loyalty, and in the power of his prayers for our family and Alexis … but it is altogether our private business … astounding, how people like to meddle into all that does not concern them at all.”

Gregory Rasputin was a simple man, uneducated, coarse and clever, who possessed the powers of hypnotism and clairvoyance. He clothed his words and actions with piety, was kind to those seeking his help, and was profligate in his personal life. In the guileful environment of the Court, one could easily receive praise for having south truth and prophetic directions from the “starets.” But the true reason for his power over the Tsar lay in his influence on the course of the Tsarevich's illness. Every time the child suffered from attacks of his illness, “starets” Gregory would sink into deep prayer and then say to the Empress: “Give thanks to God; once again, He has granted life to your son.” And every time the child would recover.

4.

Emperor Nicholas II, being a religious man faithful to the teaching of the Church, was ever conscious of his high responsibilities as the Anointed Sovereign by the Grace of God and Supreme Ruler of the country – a traditional concept in the history of Russia.

In 1613, at the election of the first Tsar of the house of the Romanovs, Michael I, the statement of the Great Moscow Council ran as follows: “It is decreed that Tsar Mikhail Theodorovich Romanov, the Anointed Sovereign by the Grace of God, be the first of the family of Rulers of Russia from generation to generation answerable for his actions to the Only Heavenly Father, and if anyone goes against this Council's Degree: - be it the Tsar himself, the Patriarch, a nobleman or any other – he will be damned in present days and in the future, and excommunicated from the Holy Trinity.”

To the last days of his reign the Emperor held to the ancient truth of his predestination. In his manifesto to the people of July 3, 1917, we read: “God has entrusted us with the Tsar's power to rule over our people and before His alter we will account for the fate of the Empire of Russia.” When the people's representation to government was formed, the Emperor changed the technique of the government operation by retaining the right of final decision. His Tsar's conscience was on the side of truth but the majority might be casual or fickle.

The Tsar carried out his duty fervently, unselfishly, justly and honorably. He was true to himself, to his position, to Russia, which he served, ready to sacrifice everything, including his own life.

It is evident that the Emperor was the representative of Holy Russia in his outlook on life, his personal life, his views as well as his functions as Tsar, while a great part of the privileged classes had acquired a different character. The intellectuals, affected by many movements and ideas had lost piety and reverence for the Church. A large group of the educated classes began to shun the Church and look for other leaders who were ignorant of it or even openly antagonistic. Among the outstanding men who formed public opinion, who controlled the press, there were many who had no religious learning, who sometimes even mocked the Church requirements. The Church was not favorably received in the “intelligentsia” circle, and met with indifference or scorn. But forsaking religion, society lost its culture, betrayed itself, its national significance, and destroyed its Russian character. Spiritual treason to Russia was going on.

The less society was capable of thinking and feeling according to the teaching of the Church, the more it misunderstood the Tsar. He began to seem strange, unnecessary and old-fashioned. Spiritually abandoning Holy Russia, the privileged society estranged itself from its representative, the Tsar. It no longer shared the feelings of the common Russian people for him. It was annoyed by the Tsar as it was by Holy Russia.

The Emperor's position became painful as a result of this gap. The elements of society which formed public opinion shattered his power and deposed him.

When members of the Duma and Army chiefs were pressing him to abdicate, the Emperor was still hoping for another solution. “But I do not know, is it wanted by all Russia?” he asked, since he had always received in thousands of ways, proof of the people's sincere affection and loyalty.

The members of the Duma and generals assured him that only his abdication would save Russia from a bloody civil war, would hold the front, would prevent conclusion of a shameful treaty with the powerful enemy, and so the Tsar conceded in order to save his country.

In the midst of the war street riots occurred in the Capital. People of importance surrounding the Tsar, instead of showing a solid front, sided with the rioters, convincing the Tsar of the necessity to abdicate. So the Tsar's crown was taken from him not by the revolutionists, but by the members of the Duma and the General, carried away by the impulses of that period. Little did they realize that they were cutting the branch on which they were sitting.

Confronted by this wall which separated him from the people, the Emperor found himself alone, abandoned; he felt the emptiness in his relations with the people surrounding his government. He wrote in his diary at the time: “Everywhere treason, cowardice and deceit!”

“What is there left for me to do, when everyone has betrayed me?” he asked on the day of his abdication, holding a pack of telegrams from the Staff of the Army, including his own uncle, the Grand Duke. “The question is in Russia and her vital interests. For Russia I am ready to give up my throne, my life itself, if I have become a hindrance to the happiness of the motherland. There is no sacrifice too great for the real happiness and safety of Russia. Therefore, I am ready to abdicate from the throne,” telegraphed the Emperor to the Chairman of the Duma. And after a night-long prayer in his private train, the Emperor abdicated.

The last appearance of the Emperor before the Army shows his unbounded self-effacement and devotion to the duty of defense of the country. “For the last time I address you, my dearly beloved soldiers. After my abdication from the throne of Russia for myself and my son, the power to govern will be transferred to the Provisional Government organized by the Duma. God help it to lead Russia to glory and prosperity. God help you, valiant soldiers, to save our motherland from the evil enemy … Those who think now of a treaty, who wish it – are traitors to our country, its betrayers … Defend our Great Motherland bravely and obey the Provisional Government. God bless you all and let Saint George lead you to victory.”

In parting he said to his staff associates: “Remember, get everything that is needed for the Army – the Army needs more now than ever before. I tell you, I cannot sleep when I think that the Army is starving.” With aching heart he relinquished the care of the Army, wondering sadly if this task would be properly done without his constant supervision.

The Emperor bade farewell to everyone at the staff offices regardless of rank, to the weeping officers and Cossacks of the convoy and the regiment, but unable to bear the emotional strain between himself and the men, cut short by parting procedure, bowed his head and, wiping his eyes, left the hall.

In Mogilev, on his way to his family, the Emperor met his mother, who had come from Kiev to meet him. Mother and son embraced and kissed tenderly several times. During the visit the mother sat quietly for a long time and wept a lot. As the Emperor's train left the station, he stood near the window looking out at his mother's coach which was almost directly across from him. The Dowager Empress was blessing him over and over with the sign of the cross. It was their last meeting.

5.

A new era began in the life of the Emperor and his family, marked by the loss of freedom, humiliations and insults, not only to his imperial title but to his human dignity.

On March 7, the Provisional Government decreed: “to recognize the abdicated Emperor Nicholas II and his spouse as deprived of freedom and to escort to abdicated Emperor to Tsarskoe Selo.”

Two days later, on 9 March, the Emperor arrived at Tsarskoe Selo joining his wife and ailing children, and life together under arrest began. When he approached the gates of Tsarskoe Selo, which was locked, the revolutionary guard refused to open them without orders from the officer on duty. The officer's attitude was intentionally disrespectful towards the Emperor. He stood with one hand in his pocket, insolently smoking a cigarette. Other officers, wearing red ribbon bows, came out of the steps of the palace, as the Emperor passed, but none saluted him. The Emperor, however, unperturbed, saluted them.

An amusing description of their life in Tsarskoe Selo was written by the Emperor in a letter to one of his sisters: “our going into the park, with all the members of our household, to work in the vegetable garden, or in the woods, is something like the procession of the animals of Noah's Ark, because near the sentry box of the guard (at the entrance of the round balcony) a crowd of revolutionary guards collects and watches us mockingly. The return is also performed in common as the door is immediately locked behind us. At first I greeted them from habit, but then I stopped it, as they answered reluctantly or did not answer at all.” About these guards the Emperor said: “Poor, confused people!”

On July 31, the Emperor and his family parted forever with the beloved palace and park in Tsarskoe Selo. “Our departure is so painful,” writes the Empress. “We are all packed, and the rooms are so empty. It hurts to leave our home of 23 years.” The Provisional Government sent the Imperial Family to Siberia.

On 6 August, the Emperor's family arrived at Tobolsk, an isolated Siberian town, with a small garrison of soldiers, no industrial proletariat, and a population as yet undisturbed by the Revolution.

The exile was not oppressive at first as the family had a certain degree of freedom. The letters showed courageous spirit, and even gaiety among the young. The Emperor was tormented with thoughts of the country. He wrote to his sister in Crimea: “It is difficult to live without news. Newspaper dispatches are not sold every day and from them we learn only of new terrors and outrages happening in our unfortunate Russia.” The Empress wrote: “My heart is aching for our dear motherland … We are living quietly and have got used to the surroundings, although we are so far, far away from everyone. But God is merciful; He will give us strength and will comfort us. My heart is overflowing with emotion. There is so much sorrow everywhere. But I truly believe that the time of suffering and trials is passing, that the sun will rise again over our tortured motherland.”

It was a time of special moral suffering for the Tsar. He expressed regret for having abdicated, in hopes that the people who requested it would be able to save Russia. But his resignation had been followed by deterioration of the army, deprivation of the country and increased power among the Communists. He was suffering now, realizing that his abdication, because of unrest during the war, had turned out to be useless and that he, motivated only by the interests of his country, had actually rendered a poor service by his resignation. This thought constantly tortured him and never left him. “I cannot forgive myself for yielding the power. I never expected that the power would go to the Communists. I thought that I was transferring the power to the representatives of the people …” In October 1917, the Communists dissolved the Provisional Government and seized the power themselves. It was some time before the change at the Capital began to be felt in the isolated town of Tobolsk, where the Imperial Family was living. But the conditions of their existence was gradually tightened … They were forbidden to go to church services. Recreation facilities in the yard were broken up or removed. Their guards, former disciplined soldiers of the old army, were replaced by the Red soldiers of Communist ideology. The servants who had gone into exile with them were forbidden to go to town and forced into confinement. The servants received no wages, a fact which worried and at the same time touched the family.

A Communist agent arrived from Moscow and announced to the Emperor that he was being taken away and that the departure would happen that very night. The agent assured the Emperor that nothing evil would happen to him and he could be accompanied by others of the household.

On 20 April, the Emperor, the Empress, Grand Duchess Maria and a few members of their household left Tobolsk in primitive carts without seats. They traveled 285 miles to the railroad and finally, ten days later, arrived in Ekaterinburg where they were confined to a house formerly belonging to Ipatiev. It was just before Pasca, which the family had always celebrated together, and now for the first time they were separated.

The Tsarevich was ill at the time and everyone cried much, except the Tsar who seemed calm and had a word of encouragement for everyone. But the separation was not for long.

By 10 May, river navigation had opened up, transportation became easier, and the family was reunited in Ekaterinburg.

For two and a half months the Tsar's family lived in the Ipatiev house among a band of unruly and insolent Red guards who continually derided and maltreated them. During a search of the house a Communist roughly pulled the Empress' handbag out of her hands and spoke insultingly to the Emperor when he protested.

At first the Grand Duchesses were forced to sleep on the floor. Everyone ate unpalatable food from the public communist kitchen, and sat at the same table for meals. Once, at the table, the head of the Red agents, taking a plate, rudely shoved his elbow into the Emperor's face. Most of the time the guards were drunk, wore their hats, smoked, spat and swore. They drew indecent pictures on the walls to taunt the Empress and the girls and stole things from the Emperor. But gradually even they were impressed by the way the Imperial Family endured their misery.

The, on the night of July 17, 1918, one of the most atrocious crimes in the history of the world was committed – the Murder of the Royal Family.

Three days before the murder, the Imperial Family had attended the last church service at their quarters, and the Rev. I. Storozhev described this occasion. “It appeared to me that the Emperor, and all his daughters too, were very tired. During such a service it is customary to read a prayer for the deceased. For some reason, the Deacon began to sing it, and I joined him … As soon as we started to sing we heard the Imperial Family behind us drop to their knees” (as is done during funeral services) … Thus they prepared themselves without suspecting it, for their own death – in accepting the funeral Eucharist. Contrary to their custom none of the family sang during the service, and upon leaving the house the clergymen expressed the opinion that they “appeared different” – as if something had happened to them.

The prisoners were sleeping when, in the middle of the night, they were awakened and ordered to dress for departing from town. The Imperial Family came down into the cellar of the house where the Emperor sat down on a chair in the middle of the room with his son on his lap, as the boy was sick at the time. Around him sat the Empress, the Grand Duchesses, the Doctor and three of their faithful servants, waiting for the signal for departure. They did not know that the carriage was already awaiting them at the gate – a truck in which their bodies were to be taken away.

Then the executioners entered the room. Urovsky came to the Emperor and said: “Nikolai Aleksandrovich, by the order of the Ural Regional Committee you are to be shot with your family,” whereupon he fired at the Emperor several times point blank. The Empress had time to make the sign of the cross before she, too, was skilled at the same moment. But the children were not as lucky. God mercifully spared the parents the agony of seeing their young ones shot and clubbed to death with rifle butts when the bullets failed. The Tsarevich and Grand Duchess Anastasia went through the hardest ordeal of them all – as is often the fate of the innocent.

The bodies were taken to an abandoned mine, cut into pieces and placed in a pile near the entranced to the mine. Gasoline and sulfuric acid were then poured on the bloody mound, and ignited. The fire burned for two days. What was left from this horrible cremation was thrown into the mine with a few hand grenades and then the spot was plowed so that no signs of the disposal of the bodies remained.

The following is a record of those who were murdered at this time:

The Emperor, 50 years of age (born 1868)

The Empress, 46 years of age (born 1872)

Olga, 23 years of age (born 1895)

Tatiana, 21 years of age (born 1897)

Maria, 19 years of age (born 1899)

Anastasia, 17 years of age (born 1901)

Alexis, 14 years of age (born 1904)

The following devoted friends and servants of the Tsar's family who arrived with them from Tobolsk were also killed:

The Emperor's physician, Eugene C. Botkin

The Empress maid, Anna C. Demidova

The cook, Haritonov, and the footman, Troop

Seaman Klimenty Nagorny who attended the Tsarevich from childhood, and the footman of the Grand Duchesses, Serge Sednev, the two who were always protecting the Tsar's family in Ekaterinburg from plunder and insults, were taken to the prison and shot.

Those who were not allowed to reside with the Emperial Family in Ekaterinburg and who were also shot in the prison were:

General Ilia Tatischev and Prince Vassily A. Dolgorukov. Maid of honor, Countess Anastasia V. Hendrikova, and a teacher of the Russian language, Ekaterina A. Schneider, were taken to Perm and shot.

6.

The holiness and good deeds of the Emperor and his family were appreciated by the Russians soon after their martyrdom, but the question of canonization was undoubtedly first raised in Yugoslavia, for the Serbs deeply cherished the Russian Tsar.

Canonization was discussed at the second Church Council of all the Greek Orthodox Outside of Russia (1938) held in Serbia. But this question concerned all the Russian people, those enslaved by Communists as well as refugees from the motherland, and it was necessary that all recognize its meaning and that it be accepted widely by the religious masses.

The Council decreed in August 1938: “In connection with the twentieth anniversary of the murder of the Tsar's family, we institute a general public prayer with a liturgy for the repose of their souls and a panniheda on three days of the year, 6 May (the birthday of the Emperor), 6 December (the namesday of the Emperor), and 17 July (the day of the murder of the Tsar's family).”

Such should be the memory in the Church all over the world. But let everyone individually, filled with love for the great Imperial Martyrs of Russia, always remember them in his prayers and ask God, through their prayers, to have mercy on the Russian land and on all of us Russian people.

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