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THE HOLY ROYAL MARTYRS IN THE LIGHT OF HISTORY AND GOD ’S PROVIDENCE

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  • Basil Yakimov
    THE HOLY ROYAL MARTYRS IN THE LIGHT OF HISTORY AND GOD’S PROVIDENCE Behind all wars, revolution, downfall of kingdoms, – all the political events of
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 30, 2006
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      THE HOLY ROYAL MARTYRS IN THE LIGHT OF HISTORY AND GOD’S PROVIDENCE

      Behind all wars, revolution, downfall of kingdoms, – all the political
      events of external history – we see the hidden working of spiritual laws
      and, in the final analysis, God’s Providence concerning the fates of
      peoples and nations. Any other explanation of the reasons for the
      revolutions of 1905 and 1917 would be incomprehensible and inaccurate. One
      thing is certain: the Russian society’s apostasy from God and the Church
      brought down God’s wrath upon Russia. As in the many cases of ancient
      Israel’s apostasy from God, about which we read in the Bible, Russia’s
      malady could not be cured by ordinary measures. For the sake of instruction
      and correction God would hand the Jews over into the hands of infidels; the
      very same fate befell Russia in the beginning of the 20th century.

      Through Tsar Nicholas II – an irreproachably pure and wonderful person –
      God’s will was made manifest in the world. His fate, in essence, was deeply
      tragic. He was born on the day of St. Job the Much-suffering and was keenly
      aware that his life was similar to Job’s martyric path.

      His knowledge of his fate was truly prophetic. “I have more than a
      presentiment, – he used to say, – that I am doomed to terrible trials, and
      that I will not be rewarded for them in this world.” Beginning with
      Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese war, which was followed by the
      revolution of 1905-1907, which diminished the Tsar's power and freed the
      forces of anarchy and outright evil, the foundations of Russian sovereignty
      tottered more and more. “I am unsuccessful in all my undertakings, – the
      Tsar bitterly concluded, – I have no luck. However, man’s will is so
      powerless anyway.” He realized that he was not subjectively to blame for
      Russia’s misfortunes; the good of the motherland meant more to him than
      anything else, and he did everything he could for this good. Tsar
      Nicholas’s conscience was clear before God, but his moral suffering,
      nevertheless, reached extraordinary proportions. Thus once, – this was
      during the first Russian revolution, – from the depths of his inner anguish
      the Tsar uttered prophetic words which indicated with absolute accuracy the
      role he was invisibly assigned to play in Russia’s fate by God Himself.
      “Perhaps a sacrifice is needed for the salvation of Russia, – said the
      Sovereign. – I shall be that sacrifice. May God’s will be done.” In saying
      this the Tsar was like the martyrs of ancient times, who freely and without
      coercion gave themselves up to suffering for Christ. Nicholas II was
      murdered in July of 1918 not simply as a helpless and defenseless person:
      the extraordinary courage of his behavior as he descended into the cellar
      of the Ipatyev house with his sick son in his arms, and even earlier, when
      he and the Empress refused to emigrate or flee the country, – all this
      speaks of the fact that their souls were ready for sacrificial and
      Christ-like suffering, which fulfilled the prophetic words spoken by him 10
      years before.

      When Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia came to the aid of this
      small Slavic nation. This event still lives in the historic memory of the
      Serbs; and if among European nations there is still anyone who loves Russia
      and Russians – it is the Serbs. However, their greatest love was for Tsar
      Nicholas II, who had sanctioned Russia’s participation in the war. It was
      the Serbs who began venerating the Russian Tsar as a saint, placing him on
      a par with their great Saint Savva of Serbia. And it was among the Russians
      in Serbia that the issue of canonizing the Royal Family was brought up for
      the first time in 1938.

      The beginning of the war brought success to the Russians at the front, and
      the country was gripped by patriotic fervor. The rear provided immense aid
      to the front; the Empress and the Princesses took an active part in it.
      After learning the art of nursing, they daily spent many hours in the
      hospitals. The Empress and her daughters Olga and Tatyana tended the
      wounded and sat with the dying, providing great comfort to the sufferers.
      The Empress and Tatyana also worked as surgical nurses; it is not hard to
      imagine their courage, patience and truly Christian love: assisting the
      doctors in numerous amputations of injured limbs required, besides
      training, great moral strength. The Winter Palace was also turned into a
      huge hospital. This enterprise also included the preparation of
      undergarments, warm clothes, and other items needed by the soldiers at the
      front; the entire work was organized by the Empress. She also sent to the
      front a multitude of Gospels, icons, and crosses, which were handed out to
      the soldiers. One can imagine the joy of a soldier who had received such a
      blessing from the Empress!

      Soon, however, our armies’ offensive stopped, while our losses began to
      increase. Discontent arose in the top circles of society – both in the
      capital and at military headquarters. The revolutionaries made use of the
      lack of success at the front, in order to disseminate their propaganda at
      the front and in the rear. The Germans quickly moved toward the heart of
      Russia; in these conditions, wishing to raise the spirit of the troops, the
      Tsar took upon himself the supreme command and moved to General
      Headquarters, deployed at Mogilev. Prince Alexis went with him to the
      front.

      However, making use of the Tsar’s absence from the capital, oppositional
      aristocracy increased its activity. The court discussed the advisability of
      a coup d’etat, placing Grand Duke Nicholas (the Tsar’s uncle) on the
      throne. The opposing faction asserted that the Tsar and the Empress stood
      in the way of Russia’s victory in the war; Grand Duke Nicholas sent the
      Tsar a telegram, entreating him to abdicate the throne. Similar telegrams
      were also sent by the majority of the commanding officers at the front. And
      when a revolution occurred in February 1917, the Tsar's entourage took the
      side of the provisional government. The Tsar was assured that only his
      abdication from the throne could save Russia. And in the face of such
      betrayal the Tsar sacrificed himself, heeding these voices. After a fervent
      prayer during the night in front of an icon, he abdicated the throne; this
      took place on March 2nd. “There is no sacrifice that I would not make for
      the true good and salvation of Russia. For this reason I am ready to
      abdicate the throne” – such is the telegram he sent to the chairman of the
      Duma.

      However, after the abdication everything turned out contrary to what the
      opposition was expecting: the people began to fall prey to their basest
      passions and moral decay set in; with unbridled speed Russia rushed towards
      destruction. The Tsar’s sacrifice was accepted by God, but not in the way
      that the architects of the abdication had in mind: there was no immediate
      outward benefit from it. The Tsar had been that mystic principle which had
      restrained the forces of evil; now nothing prevented anti-Christian
      elements from entering into the world.

      A new era began for the Sovereign and his family: their worldly life ended
      and their saints’ life began, together with their Christian exploits. The
      Tsar and his entourage were kept under guard at Tsarskoye Selo. The
      prisoners pinned their hopes only on God’s will, and the Lord helped them
      retain their inner peace until the very end. The Tsar and his family were
      subjected to humiliation and mockery from the guards and the other “new”
      people who now surrounded them. On July 31st the martyrs’ path to Golgotha
      began: they were taken from their palace and sent on to Siberia.


      Holy martyr Empress Alexandra On August 6th the Royal Family arrived in
      Tobolsk on the ship “Rus’.” “My heart bleeds inexpressibly for the dear
      homeland,” – these words of the Empress in a private letter describe the
      inner state of the entire family. But its members were cheerful: they were
      fortified by their faith, the Church, and God’s grace. They faithfully
      participated in church services; the Empress and the children sang in the
      choir. Through their suffering the Royal Martyrs’ spirit grew stronger.
      “God’s way is a daily cross,” – the Empress wrote these words of St. Isaac
      the Syrian in her notebook. “Christians must undergo sorrows and external
      and internal warfare, in order to conquer these blows through patience.
      Such is the path of Christianity,” – another of her excerpts (from St. Mark
      the Great) reveals to us the inner state of the sufferers.

      On the eve of Pascha of 1918 the Royal Family was parted. A commissar
      arrived from the Bolsheviks in Moscow and announced to the Tsar that he
      would be taken away. The Empress decided to accompany her husband despite
      great inner agony, since she was thus being forced to part from the sick
      Prince Alexis. Princess Maria went together with her parents…This parting
      was a torment for the entire family.

      The royal couple was detained by the Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg. In early
      May the other members of the family came here, together with several loyal
      servants. The martyrs had two and a half months to live. They were
      tormented with increasing subtlety, but even among the brutal guards there
      were those who bowed down before their Christian meekness and humility.

      During the night of July 17th the greatest crime was committed: innocent,
      holy people, together with God’s anointed, were heinously murdered. Three
      days before this villainy a church service was served for the Royal Family.
      When the prayer “Grant repose with the saints…” was sung, the martyrs
      unexpectedly got down on their knees. As though sensing their imminent end,
      they sang a funereal hymn for themselves… That fatal night the guards came
      for them, saying that they were being taken out of the city. Instead, they
      were taken down to the cellar; several chairs were standing there, and the
      Tsar sat in the middle, holding the Tsarevich in his arms. Together with
      the Royal Family were Doctor Botkin and their loyal servants. They waited
      for a sign of departure, but instead a commissar entered the cellar
      accompanied by soldiers.

      The commissar – his name was Yurovskiy – announced the forthcoming
      execution. The Empress only had time to make the sign of the cross; she was
      killed instantly, at the same time as the Emperor. Prince Alexis and
      Princess Anastasia suffered longer than the rest; the first bullets did not
      bring them death, and so the soldiers killed them off with bayonets. The
      doctor and the three servants died also, sharing the fate of the Royal
      Family out of love for them. This sacrilegious murder was not simply a
      private crime of the political revolution: it was a universal sin. The
      burden of the sin of regicide still continues to lie upon Russia.

      Tsar Nicholas II and his family were the carriers of the ideals of Holy
      Russia, of the ideals of Orthodoxy. In contrast to many people of that era
      – Christians in name only – they treated Orthodoxy with all seriousness.
      They were God’s elect and, therefore, people not of this world; they were
      alien to the society of those times. As true Christians, they were
      persecuted in this world; their sorrowful path was crowned by martyrdom.
      Now, together with all the other Russian saints, they stand before Christ
      in prayer for Russia.

      THE WHITE CRUSADE

      Our shoulders held high, in our satchels
      Wild honey and locusts we bear –
      We’re the glorious warriors’ forerunners,
      We pay homage to the holy crusade.

      In our reverent and austere service
      To the holy river Jordan we call,
      For behind us who baptize with phrases
      Will come warriors to baptize with swords.

      May the white-winged cuirasses soar then!
      May the golden spear glisten aloft!
      I, the herald of unfading glory,
      Gave to God my entire heart…

      So be it! My uplifted shoulders
      Bending down on the meadow of white,
      My crusader’s songs like candles
      Before the image of Russia I’ll light.

      - Ivan Savin (poet of Russian sorrow)
      Translated by Natalia Sheniloff
    • DDD
      Can you please tell me who wrote the prose part of The Holy Royal Martyrs in the Light of History and God s Providence, below?   Thank you! --Dimitra
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 3, 2006
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        Can you please tell me who wrote the prose part of "The Holy Royal Martyrs in the Light of History and God's Providence," below?

        Thank you!
        --Dimitra Dwelley

        On Mon, 31 Jul 2006 11:10:45 +1100, Basil Yakimov wrote:

        �THE HOLY ROYAL MARTYRS IN THE LIGHT OF HISTORY AND GOD’S PROVIDENCE

        �Behind all wars, revolution, downfall of kingdoms, – all the political
        �events of external history – we see the hidden working of spiritual laws
        �and, in the final analysis, God’s Providence concerning the fates of
        �peoples and nations. Any other explanation of the reasons for the
        �revolutions of 1905 and 1917 would be incomprehensible and inaccurate. One
        �thing is certain: the Russian society’s apostasy from God and the Church
        �brought down God’s wrath upon Russia. As in the many cases of ancient
        �Israel’s apostasy from God, about which we read in the Bible, Russia’s
        �malady could not be cured by ordinary measures. For the sake of instruction
        �and correction God would hand the Jews over into the hands of infidels; the
        �very same fate befell Russia in the beginning of the 20th century.

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