2431Tsar and family to be canonised
- Jun 2, 2000Tsar 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
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.
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