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2431Tsar and family to be canonised

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  • Priest Seraphim Holland
    Jun 2, 2000
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      Tsar and family to be canonised
      By Marcus Warren in Moscow

      THE last Tsar and his family will be among hundreds of people
      murdered by the Bolsheviks to be canonised by the Russian
      Orthodox Church this summer.

      Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their five children will be
      made saints at a Council of Bishops in August, but the four
      servants executed with them in 1918 have been passed over for
      canonisation. The Orthodox Church's commission on canonisation
      will grant the Romanovs the status of "passion-bearers", saints
      who suffer death with Christian humility, but do not die for their faith
      as martyrs.

      Archpriest Georgy, a member of the commission, told a religious
      weekly: "No one demanded that they renounce their faith.
      Moreover, if we imagine the somewhat impious scene of them
      renouncing it, that would not have altered their fate. The
      commission now has no grounds to assume that the imperial
      family's canonisation will not take place."

      The Tsar and Tsarina and their children - Olga, Tatyana, Maria,
      Anastasia and Alexei - were executed by firing squad on Lenin's
      orders in a cellar in Yekaterinburg in July 1918, with their doctor, a
      lady-in-waiting, a valet and a cook by their sides. Efforts to help
      them to escape to Britain had been thwarted by the reluctance of
      King George V, the Tsar's cousin, to offer them sanctuary and risk
      enraging Left-wing opinion at home.

      Buried in marshes outside Yekaterinburg, the victims' bodies were
      recovered after the collapse of communism. They were reburied,
      royal family and servants together in one vault, in a St Petersburg
      cathedral two years ago.

      The Orthodox Church could not canonise the servants because
      they were merely doing their duty by staying with the Romanovs
      until their death, said Archpriest Georgy, but a suitable way of
      honouring them was being considered.

      © Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2000.

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