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[orthodox-synod] Holy Royal Martyrs

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  • Nikolaj
    I as a Russian Orthodox Believer demand on behalf of the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia that those who have so shamelessly mocked their memory give an unreserved
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 1, 2000
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      I as a Russian Orthodox Believer
      demand on behalf of the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia
      that those who have so shamelessly mocked their memory
      give an unreserved apology to this list.

      In Christ
      Nikolaj
    • Antiquariu@aol.com
      In a message dated 4/1/00 9:35:13 AM Eastern Standard Time, Pravoslavie@mail.ru writes:
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 1, 2000
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        In a message dated 4/1/00 9:35:13 AM Eastern Standard Time,
        Pravoslavie@... writes:

        << I as a Russian Orthodox Believer
        demand on behalf of the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia
        that those who have so shamelessly mocked their memory
        give an unreserved apology to this list.

        In Christ
        Nikolaj >>


        Dear in-Christ Nikolaj -

        No mocking here, but you need to be aware that Sainthood does not equal
        God-hood. The saints also have their human frailties, and that includes
        Nicholas II. I venerate the memory of Nicholas II as a martyr of the
        Christian faith, not as a supernatural and perfect leader, which he was
        not.Three hundred years of Romanovs and many more that of Russian culture are
        what created the objective realities that led to the revolutions. It was not
        done by the anti-Christ, by foreign demons, or any other such tripe.
        Russians have been superb at killing off their elites for a millenium. One
        can historically argue that there was much less of that during the Slavs
        pagan days. As far as my comemnt about Nichlas II not being able to "lead
        hungry troops to a chow hall," remember that this was the autocrat who
        resigned his position and led his country in some disastrous military
        confrontations. And although George Sprukts, whom I personally cherish as
        one of the few enlightened intellectuals on this list, spoke out about WW I,
        that's a part of history that just doesn't hold water. The primary reason
        that the Russian troops revolted in the trenches (and on board ships, for
        that matter) is because it was not their war. The very same last names who
        are now part of the White Guard pantheon were the ones under attack by a
        majority of Russians from 1917 to 1921 -- that's why they lost. The
        Communists won because there was a real beef with the way things were going
        in Russia, Tsar or not. Did the Communists deserve to survive? No - and I
        do not mean to sound as if I am pro-Communist; I am not. But the picture of
        happy peasants blissfully ignorant and supporting the Tsar is not close to
        true either, and many of the loudest advocates of returning to such a system
        would be the first ones sent to the Dal'nyj Vostok as colonoists if we ever
        returned to it. Lord, spare us from well-meaning autocrats.

        In Christ,

        Vova Hindrichs
      • Michael Malloy
        I am and Orthodox believer, not Russian, but I very much respect and venerate the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia. I second dear Nikolaj s righteous demand! ...
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 1, 2000
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          I am and Orthodox believer, not Russian, but I very much respect and
          venerate the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia.

          I second dear Nikolaj's righteous demand!

          >I as a Russian Orthodox Believer
          >demand on behalf of the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia
          >that those who have so shamelessly mocked their memory
          >give an unreserved apology to this list.
          >
          >In Christ
          >Nikolaj

          Michael Malloy (Not related to anybody named Mallory)

          Prove me, O God, and know my heart;
          examine me and know my paths.
          And see if the way of iniquity be in me,
          and guide me in the way everlasting.

          - Psalm 139:23-24

          "Blazhen muzh, izhe nye ide na sovyet nechestivykh..."
          - Psalm 1
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Michael Malloy (malloy.2@...) (614) 292-2319
          Ohio State University Libraries
          Music and Dance Library - Room 166 Sullivant Hall
          1813 North High Street, Columbus OH 43210
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        • Basil Yakimov
          (Embedded image moved to file: pic04572.jpg) Dear Friends This email brochure in honour of Holy Martyred Royal Family is dedicated to our beloved friend,
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 19, 2006
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            (Embedded image moved to file: pic04572.jpg)

            Dear Friends
            This email brochure in honour of Holy Martyred Royal Family is dedicated to
            our beloved friend, H.R.H.devout Grand Duke Mikhail
            P.S. Sadly due to technicalities photos in this brochure could not come out
            in this mail, please forgive about that.

            Humbly in Christ
            Rab Bozii

            Stefan-Igor H.R. the Serbian
            Holy Royal Martyrs Pray to God for us.



            (Embedded image moved to file: pic10200.jpg)


            Holy
            Royal Martyrs of Russia

            (Embedded image moved to file: pic31468.jpg)

            Grand Duchess Elisabeth and
            Nun Barbara

            Kontakion Tone 6
            Let us celebrate the glorious feast of the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia /
            with spiritual joy, praising their holy passion for Christ / which they
            suffered at the hands of the bitter enemies of God / and thus by enduring
            nobly their holy martyrdom / they crushed Satan under their feet and
            received crowns of glory in the heavens / by their holy prayers o merciful
            Lord / deliver the land of Russia from the power of the enemies of thy
            Holy Cross / bring to power and authority thy anointed one / whom thou has
            pre-ordained to be the last Tsar to rule the land of Russia /with fiery
            faith and with an iron will /who will restore Imperial authority, piety and
            purity of the Orthodox faith in Russia for a short time /and will resist
            the dominion of the abominable Antichrist / before the great and terrible
            day of Judgement.





            We wish you blessed


            GLORIOUS FEAST OF THE HOLY ROYAL MARTYRS OF RUSSIA

            PRAYER TO THE HOLY NEWMARTYRS AND CONFESSORS
            OF THE LAND OF RUSSIA


            O Holy God pleasers, Great pillars of Orthodoxy in the latter times, New
            martyrs and Confessors of the land of Russia pray to God for us sinners O
            Holy Faithful Tsar Martyr Nicholas with Royal Martyrs,
            Holy Patriarch Tikhon with Hieromartyrs and all Holy Newmartyrs and
            Confessors of Russia, hear us sinnerswho celebrate your Most Holy memory
            and beseech your mighty aid.

            You confirmed your love for Christ by the shedding of your Holy blood, your
            faith you preserved pure until the end, by thy sufferings you crushed
            satan's head and with the sign of the Cross you have put to shame the
            servants of the devil,so now in the heavenly kingdom, you together with the
            Saints, Angels and Most Pure Mother of God behold the inexpressible delight
            of the most Holy Radiant Countenance of Christ our God.

            Magnifying your all praised feat we humbly beseech you from the depths of
            oue souls, Remember us the sinful and wretched who on the earth wage war
            against the body, the world, the devil and his servants.

            O Holy Newmartyrs and Confessors of the Russian land, by thy Holy prayers
            intercede for us in front of the Heavenly King our Lord Jesus Christ that
            He may show mercy to us even if we unworthy of His mercy but rather worthy
            of condemnation for our numerous transgressions, that by His great love for
            mankind He may purify, heal and sanctify our whole beings, strengthen our
            mind in His Holy Will, pardon my offenses and correct the works of my
            hands, that He may protect me from all heresies, schisms and demonic
            deceptions from the dominion of antichrist and from every evil visible and
            invisible, that by His Grace He may establish us firmly on the path of
            salvation so that we, the poor and wretched ones, may avoid all snares of
            the evil one and safely enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

            For even if we are enslaved by countless sinful passions and bad habits yet
            we still in our hearts preserve burning flame of love toward our Lord and
            Savior Jesus Christ, and with our whole beings only desire to be with Him
            unto all eternity.

            Mightily hoping in thy Holy prayers and intercessions in front of the
            Throne of the Creator for us sinful ones.

            We are placing oureslves under thy Holy protection, magnifying thy most
            Holy Martyrdom and glorifying one God in Trinity FATHER SON AND HOLY
            SPIRIT to Whom is Due Glory and Worship Unto the Ages of Ages. Amen


            MOLITVA SVETIM NOVOMUCENICIMA I ISPOVEDNICIMA
            ZEMLJE RUSIJE

            Sveti Boziji ugodnici, Visoki stubovi Pravoslavlja poslednjih
            vremena Sveti Novomucenici I Ispovednici zemlje Rusije , molite Boga za nas
            gresne.
            Sveti Blagocestivi Care Mucenice Nikolaje sa Svetim Carskim Mucenicima,
            Sveti Patrijarse Tihone sa Svetim Svstenomucenicima I Svi Sveti
            Novomucenici I Ispovednici roda Ruskoga ,uslisite nas gresne koji vas Sveti
            pomen slavimo I za pomoc vam vapijemo.

            Vi Svetu vasu ljubav ka Hristu mucenickom krvlju potvrdiste , veru cistu do
            kraja sacuvaste,stradanijem vasim sotoni glavu smrskaste i Krstom casnim
            sluge djavolske posramiste,te se sada likujuci sa svim Svetima,Angelima I
            Presvetom Djevom Bogomajkom u Carstvu Nebeskom gledanjem lica Hristova
            neizrecivo nasladjujete.

            Velicajuci vas svecasni podvig mi vas skruseno iz dubine duse
            molimo,opomenite se i nas gresnih koji na zemlji; protiv tela,sveta
            ,djavola I djavolskih slugu vojujemo. O Svi Sveti Novomucenici I
            Ispovednici Roda Rusisjkoga ,Vasim svetim molitvami zastupite nas pred
            Carem Nebeskim Gospodom nasim Isusom Hristom, da se smiluje na nas iako
            nedostojne Njegove milosti vec dostojne svake osude i muke zbog mnostva
            bezakonija nasih, da po velikom covekoljublju Svom On ;isceli
            ,ocisti,osvesta cela bica nasa,da nas urazumi Svetom voljom Svojom,da nam
            otpusti mnoga sagresenia i ispravi dela ruku nasih,da nas sacuva od
            jeresi,raskola,obmane djavolske,od vlasti antihrista I od svakog zla
            vidljivog I nevidljivog , Blagodacu Svojom da nas utvrdi na putu
            spasenija ,te da bi i mi jadni I gresni, Gospodnjim covekoljubljem I vasom
            svetom pomocu I molitvama izbegli sve zamke lukavoga I usli u Carstvo
            Nebesko.

            Jer iako bezbrojnim grehovnim strastima I zlom navikom porobljeni mi ipak u
            svom srcu cuvam neugasivo plamteci oganj ljubavi prema Gospodu nasemu I
            Spasitelju Isusu Hristu, celim svojim bicem samo zeleci da budemo sa Njim
            u svu vecnost.

            Silno polazuci nadu na vase za nas zastupnistvo pred Prestolom Tvorca mi
            stavljamo duse svoje pod vasu Svetu zastitu velicajuci vase Sveto
            Mucenistvo I slaveci BOGA U TROJICI OCA SINA I SVETOG DUHA
            Kome je od svih nebeskih sa zamenim slava cast I poklonjenje sada i u vek
            vekova Amin.

            Tsar Martyr Nicholas II


            Early Years


            Tsar-Martyr Nicholas was born in St. Petersburg on May 6, 1868, the day
            upon which the Holy Church celebrates the memory of St. Job the
            Long-Suffering. And how prophetic this turned out to be - for Nicholas was
            destined to follow the example of this great Old Testament Saint both in
            circumstance and in faith. Just as the Lord allowed the Patriarch Job to
            suffer many things, trying him in the fire of calamity to test his faith,
            so was Nicholas tried and tempted, but he too never yielded and remained
            above all a man of God.


            His grandfather was Tsar Alexander II, the
            liberator of the peasants, who loved him and called him "sun ray". "When I
            was small," said Nicholas to his daughters, "they sent for me every day to
            visit my grandfather. My brother George and I had the habit of playing in
            his study while he was working. His smile was so pleasant, although his
            face was usually handsome and calm. I remember that it made a great
            impression on me in my early childhood... Once my parents were away, and I
            was at the all-night vigil with my grandfather in the small church in
            Alexandria. During the service there was a powerful thunderstorm, streaks
            of lightning flashed one after the other, and it seemed as if the peals of
            thunder would shake even the church and the whole world to its foundations.


            Suddenly it became quite dark, a blast of wind from the open door blew out
            the flame of the candles which were lit in front of the iconostasis, there
            was a long clap of thunder, louder than before, and I suddenly saw a fiery
            ball flying from the window straight towards the head of the Emperor. The
            ball (it was of lightning) whirled around the floor, then passed the
            chandelier and flew out through the door into the park. My heart froze, I
            glanced at my grandfather - his face was completely calm. He crossed
            himself just as calmly as he had when the fiery ball had flown near us, and
            I felt that it was unseemly and not courageous to be frightened as I was. I
            felt that one had only to look at what was happening and believe in the
            mercy of God, as he, my grandfather, did. After the ball had passed through
            the whole church, and suddenly gone out through the door, I again looked at
            my grandfather. A faint smile was on his face, and he nodded his head at
            me. My panic disappeared, and from that time I had no more fear of storms."


            Dominic Lieven writes: "Aged 10, Nicholas was handed over to a military
            governor, General G.G. Danilovich... Danilovich himself invited specialists
            to come to the palace to teach the heir a range of subjects including four
            modern languages (Russian, French, English and German), mathematics,
            history, geography and chemistry. Of the subjects Nicholas was taught,
            history was much the closest to his heart. His membership of the Imperial
            Historical Society from the age of 16 was more than merely honorary. Many
            years later, in the enforced leisure of his Siberian exile, he returned to
            reading works of history. He commented to his son's English teacher, Sydney
            Gibbes, that 'his favourite subject was history' and that he 'had to read a
            good deal when he was young, but had no time for it later'. In his youth
            and adolescence Nicholas had, however, also read fiction in English, French
            and Russian. Someone capable of mastering four languages and coping with
            Dostoevsky and the historians Karamzin and Solovyov at this age cannot have
            been without brains.


            Of his tutors, Charles Heath seems to have been closest to the heir...
            General V.N. Voeykov, the last Commander of the Imperial Palaces in
            Nicholas's reign, knew the monarch well. He commented that 'one of the
            Emperor's outstanding qualities was his self-control. Being by nature very
            quick tempered, he had worked hard on himself from his childhood under the
            direction of his tutor, the English Mister Heath, and had achieved a
            tremendous degree of self-possession. Mister Heath frequently reminded his
            imperial pupil of the English saying that aristocrats are born but
            gentlemen are made.'


            Above all the creatures of the earth, Nicholas Alexandrovich loved birds.
            When he heard them singing, he would become so absorbed that his playmates
            often commented on it. Once, when a young sparrow fell from its nest,
            little Nika, as his friends called him, said: "It is necessary to pray for
            the little sparrows; may Dearest God not take it - He has enough sparrows."


            On March 13, 1881, the Tsar-Liberator was murdered by a revolutionary
            fanatic. On a Petersburg street, in broad daylight, a bomb was thrown which
            injured some of the guards but left the Tsar unhurt. With disregard for
            personal safety, he left his carriage and was attending to the injured when
            a second bomb was thrown, fatally wounding him and many others. He was
            rushed to the Winter Palace where he died in the presence of his
            grief-stricken family. Later, on the spot of the murder, there was built a
            magnificent church, Christ the Saviour "Upon the Blood", which became the
            stronghold of the Catacomb Church in Petrograd after the revolution.


            Nicholas described the event as follows: "We were having breakfast in the
            Anichkov palace, my brother and I, when a frightened servant ran in and
            said: "'An accident has happened to the Emperor! The heir [the future Tsar
            Alexander III, Nicholas' father] has given the order that Great Prince
            Nicholas Alexandrovich (that is, I) should immediately go to the Winter
            palace. One must not lose time.'


            "General Danilov and we ran down, got into a carriage and rushed along
            Nevsky to the Winter palace. When we were going up the staircase, I saw
            that all those who met us had pale faces and that there were big red spots
            on the carpet - when they had carried my grandfather up the staircase,
            blood from the terrible wounds he had suffered from the explosion had
            poured out. My parents were already in the study. My uncle and aunt were
            standing near the window. Nobody said a word. My grandfather was lying on
            the narrow camp bed on which he always slept. He was covered with the
            military greatcoat that served as his dressing-gown. His face was mortally
            pale, it was covered with small wounds. My father led me up to the bed:
            "'Papa,' he said, raising his voice, 'your sun ray is here.'


            "I saw a fluttering of his eyelids. The light blue eyes of my grandfather
            opened. He tried to smile. He moved his finger, but could not raise his
            hand and say what he wanted, but he undoubtedly recognised me.
            Protopresbyter Bazhenov came up to him and gave him Communion for the last
            time, we all fell on our knees, and the Emperor quietly died. Thus was it
            pleasing to the Lord."

            Submission to the will of God was the distinguishing characteristic of Tsar
            Nicholas II's character. His faith in the Divine wisdom that directs events
            gave him that supernatural calm which never abandoned him. We fear
            catastrophes, but, as St. John Chrysostom said, there is only one thing
            that is truly fearful - sin. The Lord is in control of everything;
            everything is either blessed by Him or allowed by Him.


            Nicholas' parents were Tsar Alexander Alexandrovich and Tsaritsa Marie
            Fyodorovna. Alexander was a man with a strong man who feared God and became
            one of Russia's great Tsars, though his reign was short (1881-1894).
            Nicholas' mother, formerly Princess Dagmar of Denmark, was a loving and
            supportive wife and mother who accepted her adopted faith, Holy Orthodoxy,
            into her soul and along with Alexander transmitted it to her children,
            building their house upon a rock. "And when the flood arose, the stream
            beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded
            upon a rock" (Luke 6.48).


            The activity of the hateful revolutionaries was to plague Nicholas and his
            family throughout their lives. In 1888, while Tsar Alexander III and his
            family were travelling towards Kharkov, the imperial train was rocked by
            two explosions and derailed. Only the level-headedness and great physical
            strength of the Tsar kept the Royal Family from being killed.


            Despite such difficult circumstances, Nicholas, now the Tsarevich, was
            being formed in all the Christian virtues. During his youth his kindness to
            others and selflessness impressed all who met him. While living frugally
            himself, he gave freely to those less fortunate. It is known that he often
            anonymously gave scholarships and other gifts through the agency of one of
            his childhood teachers.


            The Tsarevich entered into military service, which formed him in manhood
            through discipline and responsibility. It was during this period, on a
            visit to Japan, that he was attacked by a Japanese policeman with a sword
            and injured. As the heir of the Russian throne, he could have easily had
            the policeman punished severely. But he chose instead to ignore the
            incident, preferring to turn the other cheek and forgive. This wound, to
            his head, was to cause occasional pain throughout the rest of his life.


            A.D. Khmelevsky writes about this visit: "In Japan the heir to the throne
            visited the cemetery of our sailors, where an old Japanese, who had for
            many years been the keeper of the Russian graves, said:


            "'The distinguished guest is intending to visit our ancient capital Kyoto.
            Near Kyoto there lives our well-known hermit, the monk Terakuto. The
            destinies of men are open to the eyes of this ascetic. Time does not exist
            for him, and he gives only signs of how long periods last.'


            "On arriving in Kyoto the heir set off on foot to see Terakuto. He was
            dressed in civilian clothes and accompanied by the Greek Prince George and
            the translator, Marquis Ito. Terakuto was living in a grove. He said (these
            are extracts from the reminiscences of Marquis Ito, published in English):


            "'... Danger is hovering over your head, but death will pass you by and the
            shoot will be stronger than the sword and the shoot will shine brilliantly.
            Two crowns are destined for you - an earthly and a heavenly. Gems play on
            your crown, O master of a mighty realm. But the glory of the world passes
            and will dim the gems on your earthly crown, while the glittering of your
            heavenly crown will last forever. Great sorrows and upheavals await you and
            your country. You will fight for everyone, and everyone will be against
            you. Beautiful flowers bloom on the edge of the abyss, and children rush up
            to the flowers and fall into the abyss if they do not listen to the
            warnings of their father. You will offer a sacrifice for your whole people,
            as the redeemer of its recklessnesses. I see fiery tongues above your head.
            This is the consecration. I see innumerable fires on altars in front of
            you. This is the fulfilment. Here is wisdom and part of the mystery of the
            Creator. Death and immortality, a split-second and eternity. Blessed be the
            day and hour on which you came to old Terakuto.'



            "A few days after this, there was an
            attempt on the life of the heir. A Japanese fanatic struck him on the head
            with a sabre, which gave him a minor wound since Prince George, who was all
            the time with the heir, parried the blow with a bamboo shoot. By command of
            Alexander III, the shoot which had played this role was encrusted with
            diamonds and returned to Prince George. Thus did the shoot prove stronger
            than the sword, and the shoot shone. The records witness that after his
            visit to the hermit Terakuto the heir was for a long time thoughtful and
            sad."


            By 1894 the health of Nicholas' father, Tsar Alexander, began to fail, and
            on October 20 he reposed under the loving hand of his confessor, St. John
            of Kronstadt. By this time Nicholas was already engaged to Princess Alix of
            Hesse (Germany); and they were married one month after Alexander's repose.
            There had been obstacles to this marriage. Tsar Alexander III had been
            opposed to the match, as had been Kaiser Wilhelm. Grand Duchess Elizabeth,
            Princess Alix's sister, wrote to Queen Victoria: "The world is so spiteful,
            and not knowing how long and deep this affection on both sides has been,
            the spiteful tongues will call it ambition, as if to mount this throne is
            enviable."





            But the major obstacle was the Princess' faith. The Princess had been born
            and raised as a Lutheran and was very devoted to her faith, but she needed
            to convert to Orthodoxy in order to become Empress of the Russian nation.
            Being a highly principled woman, she did not take this as a light matter
            and at first resisted. But God in His loving-kindness did not abandon her;
            and soon, after a number of meetings with an Orthodox archpriest who
            expounded to her the Faith, she gladly accepted baptism. Her conversion was
            anything but nominal. The depth of her embrace of Orthodoxy and the
            strength which it gave to her family was to be a spiritual reproach to the
            modern Russian nobility and to the "intelligentsia" who, listening to the
            spirit of antichrist, had gradually become ashamed of their faith,
            considering it something "outdated".


            Dominic Lieven writes: "Like her mother, Alix was a fervent Christian. She
            abandoned Protestantism only after a great struggle. In her bedroom at
            Tsarskoe Selo 'was a little door in the wall, leading to a tiny dark chapel
            lighted by hanging lamps, where the Empress was wont to pray. When in
            Petersburg, the Empress used to go to the Kazan Cathedral, kneeling in the
            shadow of a pillar, unrecognized by anyone and attended by a single
            lady-in-waiting. For Alix life on earth was in the most literal sense a
            trial, in which human beings were tested to see whether they were worthy of
            heavenly bliss. The sufferings God inflicted on one were a test of one's
            faith and a punishment for one's wrongdoing. The Empress was a deeply
            serious person who came to have great interest in Orthodox theology and
            religious literature. She loved discussing abstract, and especially
            religious, issues, and her later friendship with the Grand Duchess Militza
            and Anastasia owed much to their knowledge of Persian, Indian and Chinese
            religion and philosophy. Alix 'zealously studied the intricate works of the
            old Fathers of the Church. Besides these she read many French and English
            philosophical books.'


            "As Empress, Alix held to an intensely emotional and mystical Orthodox
            faith. The superb ritual and singing of the Orthodox liturgy moved her
            deeply, as did her sense that through Orthodoxy she stood in spiritual
            brotherhood and communion with her husband's simplest subjects. But
            alongside this strain of Christian belief, Alix was a born organizer, an
            efficient administrator and a passionate Christian philanthropist. Though
            her interests included famine and unemployment relief, and professional
            training for girls, her charitable work was above all concerned with help
            for the sick and the world of medicine. Typically, even on holiday in the
            Crimea, Alix toured the hospitals and sanitoria in the neighbourhood,
            taking her young daughters with her because 'they should understand the
            sadness underneath all this beauty'."


            The official coronation took place in May of 1896. The
            young Tsar and Tsaritsa spent the majority of their time in seclusion and
            intense prayer, preparing themselves for the awesome responsibility of
            governing, with God's help, the largest nation in the world, which was the
            protector of the Orthodox Faith. The coronation of a tsar is no mere
            secular affair of state. As Bishop Nectarius (Kontzevich) has written, "The
            Tsar was and is anointed by God. This mystery is performed by the Church
            during the coronation, and the Anointed of God enters the Royal Doors into
            the altar, goes to the altar table and receives the Holy Mysteries as does
            the priest, with the Body and Blood taken separately. Thus the Holy Church
            emphasises the great spiritual significance of the podvig (struggle) of
            ruling as a monarch, equalling this to the holy sacrament of the
            priesthood... He (the Tsar) is the sacramental image, the carrier of the
            special power of the Grace of the Holy Spirit."





            As Tsar Nicholas was crowned, he knelt and prayed aloud: "O Lord God of our
            fathers, and King of kings, Who created all things by Thy word, and by Thy
            wisdom has made man, that he should walk uprightly and rule righteously
            over Thy world; Thou has chosen me as Tsar and judge over Thy people. I
            acknowledge Thine unsearchable purpose towards me, and bow in thankfulness
            before Thy Majesty. Do Thou, my Lord and Governor, fit me for the work to
            which Thou hast sent me; teach me and guide me in this great service. May
            there be with me the wisdom which belongs to Thy throne; send it from Thy
            Holy Heaven, that I may know what is well-pleasing in Thy sight, and what
            is right according to Thy commandment. May my heart be in Thine hand, to
            accomplish all that is to the profit of the people committed to my charge,
            and to Thy glory, that so in the day of Thy Judgement I may give Thee
            account of my stewardship without blame; through the grace and mercy of Thy
            Son, Who was once crucified for us, to Whom be all honour and glory with
            Thee and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, unto the ages of ages. Amen."










            His Most Pious Majesty


            The Royal couple settled into their life of responsibility and took the
            lead in setting an example of godliness and true pastoral care for their
            enormous flock. Nowhere was this more evident than in their love and
            carefor the Holy Orthodox Church. They gave much money and support to
            monasteriesand to the building of churches. The Tsar considered it his
            sacred duty to restore to Russia her ancient traditional culture, which had
            been abandoned by many of the "educated" classes in favour of modern,
            Western styles. He encouraged the building of churches in the ancient
            architectural styles, rather than in the styles favoured since the
            disastrous "reforms" of Tsar Peter I and Empress Catherine II. He
            commissioned the painting of large numbers of icons in the Byzantine and
            Old Russian styles, adorning many churches with them. In the words of
            Archpriest Michael Polsky, "In the person of the Emperor Nicholas II the
            believers had the best and most worthy representative of the Church, truly
            'The Most Pious' as he was referred to in church services. He was a true
            patron of the Church, and a solicitor of all her blessings."


            During the reign of Nicholas II, the Church reached her 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 1025. Ancient churches were
            renovated. The Emperor himself took part in the laying of the first
            cornerstones and the consecration of many churches. He visited churches and
            monasteries in all parts of the country, venerating their saints. The
            Emperor stressed the importance of educating the peasant children within
            the framework of church and parish and, as a result, the number of parish
            schools grew to 37,000.


            Christian literature flourished at this time. Excellent journals were
            published, such as Soul-Profiting Reading, Soul-Profiting Converser, The
            Wanderer, The Rudder, The Russian Monk, and the ever-popular The Russian
            Pilgrim. The Russian people were surrounded by spiritual nourishment as
            never before.


            There was no tsar in whose reign more saints were glorified (canonized)
            than than of Nicholas. His love of Orthodoxy and the Church's holy ones
            knew no bounds; and he himself often pressured the Holy Synod to speedily
            accord fitting reverence to many of God's saints. Among those glorified
            during his reign were: St. Theodosius of Chernigov (glorified in 1896), St.
            Isidore of Yuriev (1897), St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (1909), St. Anna of
            Kashin (1910), St. Joasaph of Belgorod (1911), St. Hermogenes of Moscow
            (1913), St. Pitirim of Tambov (1914), St. John (Maximovich) of Tobolsk
            (1916) and St. Paul of Tobolsk (1917).


            In addition, one of the most revered of Russia's saints, Seraphim of
            Sarov, was glorified by the Church during the reign of this pious Tsar in
            1903, at his insistence. At this time, Nicholas was made aware of the
            future apostasy and downfall of the Russian nation and Church through a
            prophetic letter written by St. Seraphim himself. The saint had, shortly
            before his death in 1833, written this letter, sealed it with five wax
            seals and addressed it "to the Tsar in whose reign I shall be glorified".
            He then gave it to Elena Motovilov, the young wife of N.I. Motovilov, who
            is now well-known for recording his conversation with the saint about the
            acquisition of the Holy Spirit. She kept that letter for seventy years and
            gave it to the Tsar at the glorification ceremony. While the exact contents
            are today unknown, it is nevertheless certain that St. Seraphim prepared
            Nicholas for the coming tribulations. Furthermore, on the return trip from
            Sarov, the Royal Family visited St. Seraphim's Diveyevo Convent where
            Blessed Pasha (Parasceva) the Fool-for-Christ spoke to them several hours;
            it is said that she foretold to them their own martyrdom as well as that of
            Holy Russia.


            It is said that the Empress was near to fainting and said: "I don't believe
            you, it cannot be!"


            Now this was one year before the birth of the heir to the throne and they
            very much wanted an heir. So Blessed Pasha got up from her bed with a piece
            of red material and said: "This is for some little trousers for your son,
            and when he is born,you will believe what I have been telling you."


            They left her cell pale and shaken but resolute - they would accept with
            faith whatever God had prepared for them, esteeming the incorruptible crown
            of martyrdom higher than corruptible earthly crowns; electing to accept the
            cup of suffering offered to them by God Almighty, that by drinking of it
            they might offer themselves up as a sacrifice for their people.


            During his reign the Tsar sought the advice of Blessed Pasha on all serious
            questions. He used to send the Great Princes to her, and according to her
            cell-attendant, Eudocia Ivanovna, one would no sooner depart than another
            arrived. After the death of Blessed Pasha's cell-attendant, Matushka
            Seraphima (Bulgakova), they would put all their questions to her through
            Eudocia Ivanovna, who relates that she once said:



            Tsar Martyr Nicholas


            "Your Majesty, come down from the throne yourself!"


            Not long before her death in August, 1915, Blessed Pasha was continually
            making prostrations to the ground in front of the portrait of the Tsar.
            When she was worn out, her cell-attendants lifted her up.


            "Mamashenka, why are you praying to the Tsar?"


            "Stupid, he will be higher than all the tsars."


            There were two portraits of the Tsar: one of him with the Tsaritsa and the
            other of him alone. But she kept prostrating to the one of him alone.


            Again she said about him: "I don't know, a monk saint, perhaps a martyr!"


            Being a peace-maker by nature, the young tsar made an unprecedented
            suggestion to the world early in his reign - that all nations come together
            and meet in order to cut their military forces and submit to general
            arbitration on international disputes.


            The result of his proposal, the Hague Peace Conference, was convenedon May
            18, 1899, and served as the precedent for the later League of Nationsand
            United Nations. In 1921, the American President, Warren Harding, officially
            acknowledged the Tsar's noble efforts towards the limitation of armamentsby
            way of binding agreements among the Powers.


            The Tsar was unparalleled in Russian history for his mercifulness. He
            pardoned criminals, even revolutionaries, and gave away vast quantities of
            his own land and money to alleviate the plight of the peasants. It is
            believed that he gave away the last of his personal wealth during the Great
            War, to support the war effort. Even as a child he often wore patched
            clothing while spending his personal allowance to help poor students to pay
            for their tuition.


            The Emperor took great interest in the strivings of the people for a better
            life. He changed the passport system introduced by Peter I and thus
            facilitated the free movement of the people, including travel abroad. The


            poll tax was abolished and a voluntary programme of hospitalisation
            insurance was introduced, under which, for a payment of one rouble per
            year, a person was entitled to free hospitalisation. The parity of the
            rouble was increased greatly on the international markets during his reign.


            In 1897, a law was enacted to limit work hours; night work was forbidden
            for women and minors under seventeen years of age, and this at a time when
            the majority of the countries in the West had almost no labour legislation
            at all. As William Taft commented in 1913, "the Russian Emperor has enacted
            labour legislation which not a single democratic state could boast of".


            On January 6, 1903, ar Palace, during the salute of the guns of the Peter and Paul
            fortress, one of the guns was loaded with grape-shot, and the grape-shot
            struck the


            windows of the palace. Part fell near the procession where the clergy
            andthe emperor's and empress' suite was. The calmness of the emperor's
            reaction was so striking that it drew the attention of the members of his
            suite. He didn't move a hair and only asked:


            "Who commanded the battery?"


            And when they gave the name, he said with evident sympathy: "Ach, poor
            (so-and-so), how sorry I am for him!"


            They asked the emperor what effect this incident had had on him. He replied
            "I fear nothing until 1918..."


            The emperor forgave the commander of the battery and the officer who
            ordered the shooting because by the mercy of God there had been no serious
            injuries. Only one policeman had been very slightly wounded. His name was-
            Romanov...


            Dominic Lieven writes: "Between 1895 and 1901 the Empress had given birth
            to four daughters: Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia. The four little
            girls were beautiful, healthy and lively children who were greatly loved by
            their parents. Nicholas was a fine father and the family circle was full of
            love, warmth and trust. If the Emperor had a favourite it was probably
            Tatiana, whose personality came closest to that of her mother. Olga, his
            eldest daughter, was the most thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent of the
            four. Marie, the third, with huge grey eyes and a warm-hearted, simple,
            friendly manner, was always the easiest to get on with at first
            acquaintance. Anastasia, born in 1901, was notorious as the family's
            comedian. Under Russian law, however, no woman could inherit the crown. Had
            Nicholas died before 1904, the throne would have gone to his kind-hearted
            but weak-willed younger brother, the Grand Duke Michael. Since Michael was
            a bachelor in 1904 an subsequently contracted an illegal and morganatic
            marriage, the Romanov inheritance would then have passed to a younger
            brother of Alexander III,the Grand Duke Vladimir, and his descendants.
            Tension and mutual dislike between the 'Vladimir branch' and the imperial
            couple were never far below the surface in the twentieth century. Much
            therefore hung on the life of the little boy born in August, 1904. All the
            more horrifying was the discovery that the child had haemophilia.


            "In the Edwardian era there was no treatment for haemophilia and little
            way of alleviating the terrible pain it periodically caused. The chances
            were against a haemophiliac living into middle age, let alone being able to
            pursue a normal life. For any parents who loved their children as intensely
            as the imperial couple did, the physical and emotional strain of a
            haemophiliac son was bound to be great. In the case of Nicholas and
            Alexandra, however, matters were made worse by the fact that it was
            considered unthinkable to admit that the future autocrat of all the Russias
            was incurably ill and quite possibly doomed to an early death. The natural
            sympathy and understanding which might have flowed to the parents had
            therefore to be foregone. Moreover, however harrowing one of Aleksei's
            periodic illnesses might be,a monarch - let alone a Russian autocrat - had
            always to keep up appearances. It says something for Nicholas's
            extraordinary self-control that, adoring Aleksei as he did, he nevertheless
            never let the mask slip. As Alexandra herself once wrote to him, 'you will
            always keep a cheery face and carry all hidden inside.'


            "Inevitably, however, it was the mother who bore the greater burden during
            her son's illnesses, not to mention the incessant worry even when he was
            relatively healthy. Nor could she escape the guilt born of the knowledge
            that she was the cause of her son's suffering and of the extra burden of
            worry about his dynasty's future which had been placed on her husband's
            shoulders. Physically frail and always very highly strung, the Empress
            poured her last drop of energy into watching over her son and nursing him
            duringhis attacks... The effort cost the Empress dear. She was often too
            ill and exhausted to play the role of a monarch's consort, incurring great
            odium as a result. Moreover, the strain of Alexis' illness pushed his
            mother close to nervous collapse. As the Grand Duchess Olga commented, 'the
            birth of a son, which should have been the happiest event in the lives of
            Nicky and Alicky, became their heaviest cross.'"


            Shortly after the birth of Alexis, according to the Procurator Lukyanov,
            the Tsar went to the metropolitan of St. Petersburg and asked for his
            blessing that he abdicate from the throne and become a monk. But the
            metropolitan refused to bless this.


            The tragedy of Alexis' haemophilia was followed by a succession of other
            tragedies, even a small number of which would have broken a lesser man. But
            for the Tsar they only served to further refine the nobility of his soul.


            Royal Family


            First there was the disastrous war with Japan of 1904-05 during which most
            of the Russian fleet was lost. At this time also, sensing public
            disappointment with the defeat, the nihilistic enemies of Christ seized the
            moment and instigated mutinies, strikes, riots and assassinations. Here was
            a whole class of society who were, in the words of St. Paul, "... lovers of
            theirown selves, boasters, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents,
            unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false
            accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors,
            heady, highminded..." (II Timothy 3.2-4).



            Mother
            of God the 'Reigning' Icon



            The last great prophet of Holy Russia, St. John of Kronstadt, who clearly
            foresaw the approaching catastrophe, repeatedly exhorted his countrymen to
            repent and return to their former piety and support the God-anointed ruler
            or face untold disaster, both here and in the world to come.


            In 1905 St. John said: "We have a Tsar of righteous and pious life. God has
            sent a heavy cross of sufferings to him as to His chosen one and beloved
            child, as the seer of the destinies of God said: 'Whom I love, those I
            reproach and punish' (Rev. 3.19). If there is no repentance in the Russian
            people, the end of the world is near. God will remove from it the pious
            Tsar and send a whip in the person of impure, cruel, self-called rulers,
            who will drench the whole land in blood and tears."


            Although the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 was a bloody failure, the Tsar
            refused to allow the official record to whitewash anything. He said:


            "The work must be based exclusively on the bare facts... We have nothing to
            silence, since more blood has been shed than necessary.... Heroism is
            worthy to be noted on an equal footing with failures. It is, without
            exception, necessary to aim at recording the historic truth inviolably."



            Grand Duchess Tatiana


            The year 1905 was to be a "rehearsal" for the bloody events which took
            place twelve years later. Encouraged by Lenin and Trotsky, a campaign of
            disorders was begun all over the Empire. Many high government officials
            were murdered in the streets, among whom, in 1905 was Nicholas' cousin, the
            Grand Duke Sergius, husband of the Empress' sister, Grand Duchess
            Elizabeth.


            The Tsar supported the restoration of canonical order and the patriarchate
            in the Russian Church. Once, at the pre-conciliar assembly convened in
            1906, when the bishops were discussing these issues, he asked them whether
            they had a candidate for the patriarchate. When they said no, he offered
            himself as a candidate. The bishops were shocked and refused his offer. The
            Tsar, being a humble man, never brought this subject up again.


            On one occasion, the emperor was talking about the sufferings that lay
            ahead of him with his prime minister at the time, Peter Arkadyevich
            Stolypin. "It was not for nothing," he said, "that I was born on the day of
            Job the Much-Suffering."


            And on other occasions he said: "I have more than a presentiment that I am
            destined for terrible trials, and that I shall not be rewarded for them on
            this earth... Nothing that I have undertaken succeeds for me; I have no
            successes. Man's will is so weak... How many times have I applied to myself
            the words of the holy Job, 'For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and
            what I dread befalls me.'"


            Once, having prayed a little before an important decision, the emperor said
            to Stolypin: "Perhaps an atoning sacrifice is necessary for the salvation
            of Russia. I shall be that sacrifice. May the will of God be done!"


            Stolypin later recalled: "He made this triumphant declaration to me in the
            simplest, calmest and most even voice. There was a strange mixture inhis
            voice, and especially in his look, of decisiveness and meekness, at the
            same time unshakeable and passive, unclear and well-defined; as if he was
            expressing, not his own will, but was rather bowing to some external power
            - the majesty of Providence."


            After the disturbances of 1905-06, Russian entered into a period of great
            prosperity. With the wise and dynamic assistance of Stolypin, Tsar Nicholas
            led the nation through a time of such growth - agricultural, economic,
            educational and industrial - that had the first World War not occurred,
            Russia would have undoubtedly become the leading nation of the world.


            But the Tsar never pursued industrial growth at the expense of his people.
            In 1908 he was presented with a huge plan for industrialisation which
            demanded far more money than was available. The Tsar replied:


            "Peter I had little money and so he used forced labour and this costhim the
            lives of a million of his subjects... the realisation of this project would
            cost between 10 and 15 millions of the premature deaths of my subjects... I
            cannot in conscience sacrifice millions of my subjects, and therefore we
            must endure (without industrialisation)."


            When he was advised that the success of future wars depended upon
            industrialisation, he replied: "We will hope in God. If the war is short,
            we will win, but if it is long, then such is our fate."


            Again, the head of the police promised the Tsar that there would be no
            revolution in Russia for a hundred years if the Tsar would permit 50,000
            executions. The Tsar quickly refused this terrible proposal. After the
            revolution, however, the Bolsheviks thought nothing of butchering many
            millions of people for acts of "civil disobedience".


            The Tsar tried to heal the revolutionary illness with mercy and
            forgiveness. One student was sentenced to death, but on the eve of the
            execution, his fianc=E9e petitioned the Tsar for a commutation. The Tsar
            was reached by having his personal attendant call him from his bedroom. He
            received the petition and sent off a telegram commuting the sentence. He
            praised the attendant for his daring and even had the student sent to
            theCrimea for treatment of his tuberculosis.


            The Tsar was always careful not to be vindictive, saying: "Irritation
            solves nothing, and besides, a sharp word from me would sound more
            offensive than from anyone else."


            In 1911, during the performance of an opera in Kiev, at which the Tsar was
            also present, Stolypin was assassinated. Before he fell to the ground, he
            turned to his sovereign in the balcony and, blessing him with the sign
            ofthe Cross, said: "May God save him!"


            The Tsar made many pilgrimages, and was a staunch supporter of the schools
            operated by the Church. In 1912, there were 1,988,367 children in these
            schools, in spite of a campaign by the Duma to close them. He also opened
            special industries for the city poor to help them earn their own living.


            In 1914, Russia was forced to enter World War I. As Grand Duchess Elizabeth
            testified, the peace-loving Tsar did not want this war, but aggression
            against Orthodox Serbia by Germany left him no other honourable choice.


            At the outbreak of the war, the Liturgy was celebrated in the Winter
            Palace. The French Ambassador observed that "Nicholas II prayed with a holy
            fervour which gave his pale face a movingly mystical expression". The
            tsar's devotion to prayer was commented on by many; his private car
            included a "veritable chapel", and he never missed a service while in army
            headquarters.


            As soon as the war broke out, the Empress and the four Grand Duchesses
            (Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia) became nurses; and hospitals were
            opened at Tsarskoye Selo, near the family's residence, where wounded
            soldiers were brought. They worked long hours, diligently and tirelessly
            following the commandment of Christ to visit the sick, since "inasmuch as
            ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto
            Me" (Matthew 25.30). Anna Vyrubova, the Empress' closest friend, wrote: "I
            have personally seen the Empress of Russia in the operating room, assisting
            in the most difficult operations, taking from the hands of the busy surgeon
            amputated legs and arms, removing bloody and even vermin-ridden field
            dressings." Vyrubova says that she was a "born nurse", who "from her
            earliest accession took an interest in hospitals, in nursing, quite foreign
            to native Russian ideas. She not only visited the sick herself, in
            hospitals, in homes, butshe enormously increased the efficiency of the
            hospital system in Russia. Outof her own private funds the Empress founded
            and supported two excellent schools for training nurses, especially in the
            care of children."


            When the war broke out, the Tsar ordered that all the money deposited in
            Britain be returned to Russia. The British did not want to comply. The Tsar
            then called a conference of bankers and merchants of the highest rank.
            Heput 92 million roubles on the table and asked them voluntarily "to give
            moneyfor the military victory of which the Russian people will be proud."
            The merchants and bankers refused to give any money. But the Tsar expended
            the whole of his fortune on the war effort.


            At first the war went well, and the country was united heart, soul and body
            in patriotic fervour behind their Tsar. But soon, due to poor
            communications, low-level mismanagement and subversive treachery, problems
            arose in supplying the armed forces with ammunition and food. The army
            began to suffer defeats, and many men were killed. It was at this crucial
            time that the Bolsheviks, fuelled by German money, went to work spreading
            discord among the troops and at home.


            In 1915, tens of thousands of Serbs began to die after their forced march
            to the Albanian coast. Their allies looked upon them with indifference from
            their ships. The Tsar informed his allies by telegram that they must
            immediately evacuate the Serbs, otherwise he would consider the fall of the
            Serbs as an act of the greatest immorality and he would withdraw from the
            Alliance. This telegram brought prompt action, and dozens of Italian,
            French and English ships set about evacuating the dying army to Corfu.


            Once, during manoeuvres, the Tsar and his suite were brought breakfast.
            However, when he discovered that nothing had been prepared for the soldiers
            who were holding his horses, he would not eat until all the soldiers had
            received their rations. He also showed great compassion for the wounded.


            In 1915, the following event described by Count Sheremetiev took place when
            the Tsar and his family arrived in Sebastopol: "His Majesty, who loved to
            make long drives in the car in the environs of Sebastopol after breakfast,
            ... unexpectedly set off with the Empress to the monastery of St. George,


            where he had been for short periods in earlier years, but where nobody
            expected him this time. The abbot and brotherhood were very surprised and
            delighted by the visit of their Majesties...


            "We went into the church, and a moleben began. The harmonious voicesof the
            monks immediately changed in mood: it was as if we had come into a quiet
            bay after a storm. Everything was so prayerful, penetrating and quiet...
            Suddenly beyond the doors of the church, which were very small, there was
            an unusual sound, loud voices and a strange turmoil - in a word, something
            that did not correspond to the seriousness of the moment or the usual
            monastic order. His Majesty turned his head in surprise, knitted his brows
            in displeasure and sent to find out what had happened and from where this
            incomprehensible disturbance and whispering to each other was coming from.
            I went out of the church and learned the following from the monks who were
            standing there: in the rocks of the cliffs to the right and left there
            lived two schema-monks whom none of the monks had ever seen, and who were
            knownto be alive only from the fact that the food which was placed for them
            on the narrow path in the rocks would be taken by some invisible hand by
            morning...


            "And then an improbable event took place which shook all the monks of the
            monastery: two elders in the clothing of schema-monks were quietly climbing
            the steep steps that led upwards from the direction of the sea. They could
            have known nothing about the arrival of his Majesty, for neither the abbot
            nor the brothers themselves, nobody knew about the visit of his Majesty,
            which had been decided on quite suddenly, at the last minute. That was what
            caused the disturbance among the brotherhood. I told his Majesty about this
            and saw that this event made an impression on him, but he said nothing and
            the moleben continued.


            "When the moleben had come to an end, his Majesty and the Empress kissed
            the Cross, then chatted for a while with the abbot and came out of the
            church onto the square...


            "There, at the point where the wooden staircase ended, stood the two old
            elders. One had a long white beard, while the other had a short beard. When
            his Majesty came up to them, they both silently bowed to the earth before
            him. His Majesty was clearly embarrassed, but he said nothing and slowly
            bowed to them.


            "... Now, after all that has happened, I wonder: did the schema-monks not
            foresee with their noetic eyes the destinies of Russia and the Royal
            Family, and did they not bowed down to the feet of his Majesty the Emperor
            Nicholas II as to the great sufferer of the Russian land?


            "Living here, as a refuge, many years later, I heard from one reliable
            person that his Majesty himself told him that once, as he was standing
            onthe deck of the Standart, and passing by the monastery of St. George, he
            saw what seemed to be the figure of a monk in the rocks, continually
            blessing his Majesty as he was standing on the deck of the Standart with a
            large sign of the Cross, until the Standart disappeared from view."


            In August, 1915, Igumen Seraphim (Putyatin) visited Blessed Pasha of Sarov.
            "In my presence the clairvoyant kissed the portraits of the Tsar and his
            family several times. She placed them together with the icons and prayed to
            them as to holy martyrs. Then she wept bitterly. I understood these
            allegorical acts only when there took place the great sorrows experiencedby
            the Tsar and his Family and linked with the war; for although they were not
            torn by grenades or wounded by lead bullets, their loving hearts were torn
            by the unprecedented sorrows and flowed with blood. They were truly
            bloodless martyrs. In the same way the Mother of God was not wounded by
            weapons of torture, but at the sight of the suffering of her Divine Son, as
            Righteous Simeon said, a sword pierced her heart. Then the eldress took
            little icons of the Mother of God of Loving Tenderness, in front of which
            St. Seraphim died, and blessed them from a distance for his Majesty and his
            Family. Then she gave them to me and asked me to send them to them. She
            blessed icons for his Majesty, her Majesty, the Tsarevich, the Great
            Princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, Great Princess Elizabeth
            Fyodorovna and A.A. Vyrubova. I asked her to bless a little icon for Great
            Prince Nicholas Nikolayevich. She blessed one, but not of the Mother of God
            of Loving Tenderness, but of St. Seraphim. She blessed icons for nobody
            else, although I even asked her to bless some for some people. But my
            requests had no influence on her, for she acted independently..."


            Once, in December, 1916, the Emperor and Empress went for the day with two
            of the Grand-Duchesses to Novgorod, where they visited some hospitalsand
            monasteries and attended the Liturgy in the cathedral of Saint Sophia.
            Before leaving, the Empress visited the Yuriev and Desyatina monasteries.
            In the latter there lived the eldress Maria Mikhailovna, who was according
            to different accounts 107 or 116 years old and who for many years had been
            lying on an iron bed in iron chains.


            According to the Empress' own account in a letter to the Tsar: "She blessed
            and kissed us. She sends you an apple (perhaps you'll eat it). She said
            that the war will soon end - 'tell him that we've had enough.' To meshe
            said: 'As for you, beauty - a heavy cross - don't fear.' (She repeated this
            several times.) 'Because you came to us, two churches will be built in
            Russia (she repeated this twice) - don't forget us, come again.'"


            According to another account, when the Empress came in, the eldress
            stretched out her withered hands to her and said: "Here comes the martyr -
            the Tsaritsa Alexandra!" She embraced her and blessed her. A few days
            later she died.


            It has often been asserted that the Tsar was a weak-willed man who allowed
            himself to be ruled by his wife in matters of State, and, through her, by
            the evil monk Rasputin. However, General A.I. Spiridonovich, having
            mentioned the empress' insistence on not trusting anybody but Rasputin,
            Vyrubova and Sablin, comments: "The Emperor understood all this well and
            very frequently acted against her advice, guided by his own experience.
            Sometimes his decisions coincided with the Empress' wishes. But to claim
            indiscriminately that the Emperor acted in state matters only according to
            the Empress' wishes is a great mistake. This means ignoring the facts as
            well as the character and principles of the Emperor. Emperor Nicholas was
            far from being as simple-minded and weak-willed as many thought."


            As for Rasputin, Grand Duchess Olga writes: "Knowing Nicky as I did,I must
            insist that Rasputin had not a particle of influence over him. It was Nicky
            who eventually put a stop to Rasputin's visits to the palace. It was again
            Nicky who sent the man back to Siberia and that more than once. And some of
            Nicky's letters to Alicky are proof enough of what he really thought of
            Rasputin's advice..."


            The enemies accused the Empress of pro-German sympathies because of her
            German blood. But her letters demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt that she
            was completely devoted to Russia. In any case, as the French ambassador
            pointed out, "her education, her intellectual formation and her morals were
            entirely English."


            In May, 1917, a Sarov archimandrite, who was sorrowing over the fate of the
            Royal Family, fell asleep during prayer and saw a vision of the Family
            together with St. Seraphim. And the saint told him not to sorrow, that God
            would not forsake his chosen ones, and that He had sent him, Seraphim, to
            comfort the Royal sufferers in the hour of their trial.


            "Do you see the radiant light come from the faces of the Royal sufferers?
            This is a sign that they are under the special protection of God, as being
            righteous ones... Look at the face of the Empress and you will see that the
            light coming from it is brighter than the others. This is a sign that she
            will suffer more slander than any from the followers of the world's
            slanderer."


            There had been even earlier prophecies of the martyrdom of the Tsar and
            Holy Russia. Thus A.D. Khmelevsky writes: "[Towards the end of the
            eighteenth century] the clairvoyant monk Abel wrote a prophecy entitled 'On
            the destinies of the Russian realm' for the Emperor Paul I Petrovich which
            referred to his great-grandson, the Emperor Nicholas II. This prophecy was
            placed in an envelope and sealed with the personal seal of the Emperor Paul
            I and with an inscription in his own hand: 'To be opened by our successor
            on the one hundredth anniversary of my death.' The document was kept in a
            special room in the Gatchina palace. All the emperors knew about it, but
            none dared to oppose the will of their predecessor. On March 11, 1901, when
            100 years had passed in accordance with the behest, the Emperor Nicholas II
            came to Gatchina palace with the minister of the court and members of his
            suite and, after a funeral service for the Emperor Paul, opened the packet
            and learned of his thorny destiny. The writer of these lines knew about
            this already in 1905.


            "The Emperor Alexander I Pavlovich once visited the elder St. Seraphim of
            Sarov in his poor cell, and this is what the man of God foretold him:
            "'There will a Tsar who will glorify me, after which there will be a great
            disturbance in Rus', and much blood will flow because they will rise up
            against this Tsar and the autocracy, but God will exalt the Tsar...'"


            The Atoning Sacrifice


            The enemies of Holy Russia knew well that the greatest unifying factors in
            Russia were the love of God and love for the Tsar, the visible symbol of
            the Orthodox Empire. By cutting off the head, they hoped to render the body
            powerless through fragmentation, thereby making it malleable to their evil
            intents. Through infiltration of the press, slanderous stories against the
            Royal Family were printed. The foreign press, hungry for scandal, printed
            unverified stories, many of which are still believed to this day. Even the
            Empress was accused of disloyalty and treason - she who was above reproach
            in her heartfelt love for her adopted land. Conspiracies began to take
            shape among court officials, the Duma (Parliament), the generals and the
            nobility, even including relatives of the Tsar. This, at a time when unity
            was more than ever needed.


            The Duma deputies and army generals were putting pressure on the Tsar to
            abdicate. They kept reassuring him that only such an act would save Russia
            from bloodshed. He repeatedly asked: "Are you confident that my abdication
            will save Russia from bloodshed?"


            Again they reassured him that it would. But the Tsar knew the quality of
            the men who were advising him. As he sadly wrote in his diary on the day of
            his abdication: "All around me I see treason, cowardice and deceit."


            And again, on the same day, while holding a bundle of telegrams from the
            Corps of Generals and even from his own uncle, he said: "What is left for
            me to do when everyone has betrayed me?"


            Royal Martyrs


            On the day of the abdication the enemies had arranged that the Emperor
            should not meet his strongest supporter, the Empress. She understood this
            and wrote: "My heart is rent with suffering, since you are completely
            isolated. It is clear that they do not wish to allow us to see each other
            before you sign some sort of paper. If they compel you to make concessions,
            you are under no circumstances obliged to fulfil them, because they are
            obtained by unworthy means. We are all of good cheer, but pressured by
            circumstances. We only suffer for you and endure humiliation for you, holy
            sufferer..."


            And after the abdication, the Empress wrote to the Emperor: "You will be
            crowned by God Himself on this earth, in your own country..."


            And so, after an entire night spent in prayer, he laid aside the crown for
            what he felt was the good of his country. For, as he wrote: "I am ready to
            give up both throne and life if I should become a hindrance to the
            happiness of the homeland." And again: "There is no sacrifice that I would
            not make for the real benefit of Russia and for her salvation."


            Metropolitan Anastasius writes that the emperor "was far removed from the
            idea of defending his authority only for the sake of the desire to rule.
            'Are you sure that this will be to Russia's benefit?' he asked those who,
            supposedly in the name of the nation, presented him with the demand that he
            renounce his hereditary rights, and when he received a positive answer, he
            immediately laid aside the burden of royal government, fearing lest a
            single drop of Russian blood might fall on him in case a civil war arose."


            Though he no longer had the responsibility of government, his first
            thoughts were for his nation, as he said to one of his officers, "Just to
            think that, now I am Tsar no longer, they won't even let me fight for my
            country."


            At the very moment of the Tsar's abdication - 3 o'clock on March 2, 1917 -
            a miracle took place that attested to God's love for Russia. In the village
            of Kolomenskoye, near Moscow, according to a revelation of the Mother of
            God, a search had been taking place for several days for her icon "The
            Reigning Mother of God". This icon had gone at the head of the Russian army
            in 1812 as it drove Napoleon out of Russia. But then this wonder-working
            icon had been forgotten and seemingly lost. No one knew about its fate. And
            only on March 1, 1917, did a pious widow by the name of Eudocia receive a
            revelation to look for the icon in the village of Kolomenskoye. She looked
            through both of the churches of the village, but did not find the icon.
            Then she asked whether they had any old icons. They told her that there
            were some in the basement. She asked to go there, and she and a deacon went
            down into the basement.


            "And truly, there were many old, dust-covered icons there. They began to
            wipe them one by one. But they still did not find the icon they were
            looking for. But when she came up to the icon "The Reigning Mother of God",
            Eudocia cried out: "That's her!", although it was still covered with a
            thick layer of dust which made it impossible to recognise. But when they
            cleaned it, it was true: the wonder-working icon of the Mother of God had
            been found. It depicted the Mother of God seated on a throne, her
            countenance both stern and sorrowful, an orb and sceptre in her hands and
            the Christ-child giving a blessing in her lap, with God the Father looking
            down from above. This icon soon thereafter miraculously renewed itself and
            the robe of the Mother of God was seen to be blood red, something which had
            been foretold also in the dream. Services were written to this icon and
            many people made the pilgrimage to venerate it. Healings, both of physical
            and mental infirmities began to take place before it.


            However, the attention the event deserved was given to it neither by the
            provisional government, which was only to be expected, nor by the people,
            which was less expected, nor even by the Church herself... Then the servant
            of God Eudocia insisted that according to the revelation the icon had to be
            taken round the Kremlin seven times. But they managed to take it round only
            once during the time of Patriarch Tikhon, that is, after the October
            revolution, and to the sound of gunfire. Eudocia said: "The Mother of God
            said: if they take it round the Kremlin seven times, the Bolsheviks will
            not be able to capture it!"


            But this was not done. The Bolsheviks put the icon in a museum under the
            title "A counter-revolutionary icon of the Mother of God". Recently, it has
            been returned to Kolomenskoye.


            After the abdication, on March 9, the Tsar arrived back in Tsarkoye Selo,
            where his family were all under house arrest like common criminals, and
            found all of his children ill. Alexis, Olga and Maria had the measles and
            were bedridden with high fevers; Tatiana and Anastasia both had painful ear
            abscesses, which left Tatiana temporarily deaf.


            Again the image of Job overshadowed him - all had been taken from him
            except his dear ones and his indomitable faith. He did not curse his fate,
            accepting all as the will of God, and did not even murmur against his
            captors who treated him with disrespect and even contempt. What greater
            example could the Russian people have asked for, or what nobler man could
            have led them as their king? Thus Christ's lament over the chosen people
            was fulfilled in Holy Russia as well: "How often would I have gathered thy
            children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,
            and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew
            23.37-38).


            Not only the Tsar, but the whole of his blessed family, met<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
          • interestedplus
            Dear Basil, Thank you very much for your post on the New Martyrs. I have a few friends (non-othodox) who have expressed great confusion over the canonisation
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 20, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              Dear Basil,

              Thank you very much for your post on the New Martyrs. I have a few
              friends (non-othodox) who have expressed great confusion over the
              canonisation of the new martyrs. Its great to have info in English
              to pass on to them.

              Thank you again,

              Alex (chado Ot. Timofeia)

              --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Basil Yakimov <byakimov@...>
              wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > (Embedded image moved to file: pic04572.jpg)
              >
              > Dear Friends
              > This email brochure in honour of Holy Martyred Royal Family is
              dedicated to
              > our beloved friend, H.R.H.devout Grand Duke Mikhail
              > P.S. Sadly due to technicalities photos in this brochure could not
              come out
              > in this mail, please forgive about that.
              >
              > Humbly in Christ
              > Rab Bozii
              >
              > Stefan-Igor H.R. the Serbian
              > Holy Royal Martyrs Pray to God for us.
              >
              >
              >
              > (Embedded image moved to file: pic10200.jpg)
              >
              >
              >
              Holy
              > Royal Martyrs of Russia
              >
              > (Embedded image moved to file: pic31468.jpg)
              >
              > Grand Duchess
              Elisabeth and
              > Nun Barbara
              >
              > Kontakion Tone 6
              > Let us celebrate the glorious feast of the Holy Royal Martyrs of
              Russia /
              > with spiritual joy, praising their holy passion for Christ / which
              they
              > suffered at the hands of the bitter enemies of God / and thus by
              enduring
              > nobly their holy martyrdom / they crushed Satan under their feet
              and
              > received crowns of glory in the heavens / by their holy prayers o
              merciful
              > Lord / deliver the land of Russia from the power of the enemies
              of thy
              > Holy Cross / bring to power and authority thy anointed one / whom
              thou has
              > pre-ordained to be the last Tsar to rule the land of Russia /with
              fiery
              > faith and with an iron will /who will restore Imperial authority,
              piety and
              > purity of the Orthodox faith in Russia for a short time /and will
              resist
              > the dominion of the abominable Antichrist / before the great and
              terrible
              > day of Judgement.
              >

              >

              >

              >

              >

              > We wish you
              blessed
              >

              >
              > GLORIOUS FEAST OF THE HOLY ROYAL MARTYRS OF RUSSIA
              >
              > PRAYER TO THE HOLY NEWMARTYRS AND CONFESSORS
              > OF THE LAND OF RUSSIA
              >
              >
              > O Holy God pleasers, Great pillars of Orthodoxy in the latter
              times, New
              > martyrs and Confessors of the land of Russia pray to God for us
              sinners O
              > Holy Faithful Tsar Martyr Nicholas with Royal Martyrs,
              > Holy Patriarch Tikhon with Hieromartyrs and all Holy Newmartyrs
              and
              > Confessors of Russia, hear us sinnerswho celebrate your Most Holy
              memory
              > and beseech your mighty aid.
              >
              > You confirmed your love for Christ by the shedding of your Holy
              blood, your
              > faith you preserved pure until the end, by thy sufferings you
              crushed
              > satan's head and with the sign of the Cross you have put to shame
              the
              > servants of the devil,so now in the heavenly kingdom, you together
              with the
              > Saints, Angels and Most Pure Mother of God behold the
              inexpressible delight
              > of the most Holy Radiant Countenance of Christ our God.
              >
              > Magnifying your all praised feat we humbly beseech you from the
              depths of
              > oue souls, Remember us the sinful and wretched who on the earth
              wage war
              > against the body, the world, the devil and his servants.
              >
              > O Holy Newmartyrs and Confessors of the Russian land, by thy Holy
              prayers
              > intercede for us in front of the Heavenly King our Lord Jesus
              Christ that
              > He may show mercy to us even if we unworthy of His mercy but
              rather worthy
              > of condemnation for our numerous transgressions, that by His great
              love for
              > mankind He may purify, heal and sanctify our whole beings,
              strengthen our
              > mind in His Holy Will, pardon my offenses and correct the works
              of my
              > hands, that He may protect me from all heresies, schisms and
              demonic
              > deceptions from the dominion of antichrist and from every evil
              visible and
              > invisible, that by His Grace He may establish us firmly on the
              path of
              > salvation so that we, the poor and wretched ones, may avoid all
              snares of
              > the evil one and safely enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
              >
              > For even if we are enslaved by countless sinful passions and bad
              habits yet
              > we still in our hearts preserve burning flame of love toward our
              Lord and
              > Savior Jesus Christ, and with our whole beings only desire to be
              with Him
              > unto all eternity.
              >
              > Mightily hoping in thy Holy prayers and intercessions in front of
              the
              > Throne of the Creator for us sinful ones.
              >
              > We are placing oureslves under thy Holy protection, magnifying thy
              most
              > Holy Martyrdom and glorifying one God in Trinity FATHER SON AND
              HOLY
              > SPIRIT to Whom is Due Glory and Worship Unto the Ages of Ages. Amen
              >
              >
              > MOLITVA SVETIM NOVOMUCENICIMA I ISPOVEDNICIMA
              > ZEMLJE RUSIJE
              >
              > Sveti Boziji ugodnici, Visoki stubovi Pravoslavlja
              poslednjih
              > vremena Sveti Novomucenici I Ispovednici zemlje Rusije , molite
              Boga za nas
              > gresne.
              > Sveti Blagocestivi Care Mucenice Nikolaje sa Svetim Carskim
              Mucenicima,
              > Sveti Patrijarse Tihone sa Svetim Svstenomucenicima I Svi Sveti
              > Novomucenici I Ispovednici roda Ruskoga ,uslisite nas gresne koji
              vas Sveti
              > pomen slavimo I za pomoc vam vapijemo.
              >
              > Vi Svetu vasu ljubav ka Hristu mucenickom krvlju potvrdiste , veru
              cistu do
              > kraja sacuvaste,stradanijem vasim sotoni glavu smrskaste i Krstom
              casnim
              > sluge djavolske posramiste,te se sada likujuci sa svim
              Svetima,Angelima I
              > Presvetom Djevom Bogomajkom u Carstvu Nebeskom gledanjem lica
              Hristova
              > neizrecivo nasladjujete.
              >
              > Velicajuci vas svecasni podvig mi vas skruseno iz dubine duse
              > molimo,opomenite se i nas gresnih koji na zemlji; protiv tela,sveta
              > ,djavola I djavolskih slugu vojujemo. O Svi Sveti Novomucenici I
              > Ispovednici Roda Rusisjkoga ,Vasim svetim molitvami zastupite nas
              pred
              > Carem Nebeskim Gospodom nasim Isusom Hristom, da se smiluje na nas
              iako
              > nedostojne Njegove milosti vec dostojne svake osude i muke zbog
              mnostva
              > bezakonija nasih, da po velikom covekoljublju Svom On ;isceli
              > ,ocisti,osvesta cela bica nasa,da nas urazumi Svetom voljom
              Svojom,da nam
              > otpusti mnoga sagresenia i ispravi dela ruku nasih,da nas sacuva od
              > jeresi,raskola,obmane djavolske,od vlasti antihrista I od svakog
              zla
              > vidljivog I nevidljivog , Blagodacu Svojom da nas utvrdi na putu
              > spasenija ,te da bi i mi jadni I gresni, Gospodnjim covekoljubljem
              I vasom
              > svetom pomocu I molitvama izbegli sve zamke lukavoga I usli u
              Carstvo
              > Nebesko.
              >
              > Jer iako bezbrojnim grehovnim strastima I zlom navikom porobljeni
              mi ipak u
              > svom srcu cuvam neugasivo plamteci oganj ljubavi prema Gospodu
              nasemu I
              > Spasitelju Isusu Hristu, celim svojim bicem samo zeleci da budemo
              sa Njim
              > u svu vecnost.
              >
              > Silno polazuci nadu na vase za nas zastupnistvo pred Prestolom
              Tvorca mi
              > stavljamo duse svoje pod vasu Svetu zastitu velicajuci vase Sveto
              > Mucenistvo I slaveci BOGA U TROJICI OCA SINA I SVETOG DUHA
              > Kome je od svih nebeskih sa zamenim slava cast I poklonjenje sada
              i u vek
              > vekova Amin.
              >
              > Tsar Martyr Nicholas II
              >
              >
              >
              Early Years
              >
              >
              > Tsar-Martyr Nicholas was born in St. Petersburg on May 6, 1868,
              the day
              > upon which the Holy Church celebrates the memory of St. Job the
              > Long-Suffering. And how prophetic this turned out to be - for
              Nicholas was
              > destined to follow the example of this great Old Testament Saint
              both in
              > circumstance and in faith. Just as the Lord allowed the Patriarch
              Job to
              > suffer many things, trying him in the fire of calamity to test his
              faith,
              > so was Nicholas tried and tempted, but he too never yielded and
              remained
              > above all a man of God.
              >
              >
              > His grandfather was Tsar Alexander
              II, the
              > liberator of the peasants, who loved him and called him "sun
              ray". "When I
              > was small," said Nicholas to his daughters, "they sent for me
              every day to
              > visit my grandfather. My brother George and I had the habit of
              playing in
              > his study while he was working. His smile was so pleasant,
              although his
              > face was usually handsome and calm. I remember that it made a great
              > impression on me in my early childhood... Once my parents were
              away, and I
              > was at the all-night vigil with my grandfather in the small church
              in
              > Alexandria. During the service there was a powerful thunderstorm,
              streaks
              > of lightning flashed one after the other, and it seemed as if the
              peals of
              > thunder would shake even the church and the whole world to its
              foundations.
              >
              >
              > Suddenly it became quite dark, a blast of wind from the open door
              blew out
              > the flame of the candles which were lit in front of the
              iconostasis, there
              > was a long clap of thunder, louder than before, and I suddenly saw
              a fiery
              > ball flying from the window straight towards the head of the
              Emperor. The
              > ball (it was of lightning) whirled around the floor, then passed
              the
              > chandelier and flew out through the door into the park. My heart
              froze, I
              > glanced at my grandfather - his face was completely calm. He
              crossed
              > himself just as calmly as he had when the fiery ball had flown
              near us, and
              > I felt that it was unseemly and not courageous to be frightened as
              I was. I
              > felt that one had only to look at what was happening and believe
              in the
              > mercy of God, as he, my grandfather, did. After the ball had
              passed through
              > the whole church, and suddenly gone out through the door, I again
              looked at
              > my grandfather. A faint smile was on his face, and he nodded his
              head at
              > me. My panic disappeared, and from that time I had no more fear of
              storms."
              >
              >
              > Dominic Lieven writes: "Aged 10, Nicholas was handed over to a
              military
              > governor, General G.G. Danilovich... Danilovich himself invited
              specialists
              > to come to the palace to teach the heir a range of subjects
              including four
              > modern languages (Russian, French, English and German),
              mathematics,
              > history, geography and chemistry. Of the subjects Nicholas was
              taught,
              > history was much the closest to his heart. His membership of the
              Imperial
              > Historical Society from the age of 16 was more than merely
              honorary. Many
              > years later, in the enforced leisure of his Siberian exile, he
              returned to
              > reading works of history. He commented to his son's English
              teacher, Sydney
              > Gibbes, that 'his favourite subject was history' and that he 'had
              to read a
              > good deal when he was young, but had no time for it later'. In his
              youth
              > and adolescence Nicholas had, however, also read fiction in
              English, French
              > and Russian. Someone capable of mastering four languages and
              coping with
              > Dostoevsky and the historians Karamzin and Solovyov at this age
              cannot have
              > been without brains.
              >
              >
              > Of his tutors, Charles Heath seems to have been closest to the
              heir...
              > General V.N. Voeykov, the last Commander of the Imperial Palaces in
              > Nicholas's reign, knew the monarch well. He commented that 'one of
              the
              > Emperor's outstanding qualities was his self-control. Being by
              nature very
              > quick tempered, he had worked hard on himself from his childhood
              under the
              > direction of his tutor, the English Mister Heath, and had achieved
              a
              > tremendous degree of self-possession. Mister Heath frequently
              reminded his
              > imperial pupil of the English saying that aristocrats are born but
              > gentlemen are made.'
              >
              >
              > Above all the creatures of the earth, Nicholas Alexandrovich loved
              birds.
              > When he heard them singing, he would become so absorbed that his
              playmates
              > often commented on it. Once, when a young sparrow fell from its
              nest,
              > little Nika, as his friends called him, said: "It is necessary to
              pray for
              > the little sparrows; may Dearest God not take it - He has enough
              sparrows."
              >
              >
              > On March 13, 1881, the Tsar-Liberator was murdered by a
              revolutionary
              > fanatic. On a Petersburg street, in broad daylight, a bomb was
              thrown which
              > injured some of the guards but left the Tsar unhurt. With
              disregard for
              > personal safety, he left his carriage and was attending to the
              injured when
              > a second bomb was thrown, fatally wounding him and many others. He
              was
              > rushed to the Winter Palace where he died in the presence of his
              > grief-stricken family. Later, on the spot of the murder, there was
              built a
              > magnificent church, Christ the Saviour "Upon the Blood", which
              became the
              > stronghold of the Catacomb Church in Petrograd after the
              revolution.
              >
              >
              > Nicholas described the event as follows: "We were having breakfast
              in the
              > Anichkov palace, my brother and I, when a frightened servant ran
              in and
              > said: "'An accident has happened to the Emperor! The heir [the
              future Tsar
              > Alexander III, Nicholas' father] has given the order that Great
              Prince
              > Nicholas Alexandrovich (that is, I) should immediately go to the
              Winter
              > palace. One must not lose time.'
              >
              >
              > "General Danilov and we ran down, got into a carriage and rushed
              along
              > Nevsky to the Winter palace. When we were going up the staircase,
              I saw
              > that all those who met us had pale faces and that there were big
              red spots
              > on the carpet - when they had carried my grandfather up the
              staircase,
              > blood from the terrible wounds he had suffered from the explosion
              had
              > poured out. My parents were already in the study. My uncle and
              aunt were
              > standing near the window. Nobody said a word. My grandfather was
              lying on
              > the narrow camp bed on which he always slept. He was covered with
              the
              > military greatcoat that served as his dressing-gown. His face was
              mortally
              > pale, it was covered with small wounds. My father led me up to the
              bed:
              > "'Papa,' he said, raising his voice, 'your sun ray is here.'
              >
              >
              > "I saw a fluttering of his eyelids. The light blue eyes of my
              grandfather
              > opened. He tried to smile. He moved his finger, but could not
              raise his
              > hand and say what he wanted, but he undoubtedly recognised me.
              > Protopresbyter Bazhenov came up to him and gave him Communion for
              the last
              > time, we all fell on our knees, and the Emperor quietly died. Thus
              was it
              > pleasing to the Lord."
              >
              > Submission to the will of God was the distinguishing
              characteristic of Tsar
              > Nicholas II's character. His faith in the Divine wisdom that
              directs events
              > gave him that supernatural calm which never abandoned him. We
              fear
              > catastrophes, but, as St. John Chrysostom said, there is only
              one thing
              > that is truly fearful - sin. The Lord is in control of
              everything;
              > everything is either blessed by Him or allowed by Him.
              >
              >
              > Nicholas' parents were Tsar Alexander Alexandrovich and Tsaritsa
              Marie
              > Fyodorovna. Alexander was a man with a strong man who feared God
              and became
              > one of Russia's great Tsars, though his reign was short (1881-
              1894).
              > Nicholas' mother, formerly Princess Dagmar of Denmark, was a
              loving and
              > supportive wife and mother who accepted her adopted faith, Holy
              Orthodoxy,
              > into her soul and along with Alexander transmitted it to her
              children,
              > building their house upon a rock. "And when the flood arose, the
              stream
              > beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it
              was founded
              > upon a rock" (Luke 6.48).
              >
              >
              > The activity of the hateful revolutionaries was to plague Nicholas
              and his
              > family throughout their lives. In 1888, while Tsar Alexander III
              and his
              > family were travelling towards Kharkov, the imperial train was
              rocked by
              > two explosions and derailed. Only the level-headedness and great
              physical
              > strength of the Tsar kept the Royal Family from being killed.
              >
              >
              > Despite such difficult circumstances, Nicholas, now the Tsarevich,
              was
              > being formed in all the Christian virtues. During his youth his
              kindness to
              > others and selflessness impressed all who met him. While living
              frugally
              > himself, he gave freely to those less fortunate. It is known that
              he often
              > anonymously gave scholarships and other gifts through the agency
              of one of
              > his childhood teachers.
              >
              >
              > The Tsarevich entered into military service, which formed him in
              manhood
              > through discipline and responsibility. It was during this period,
              on a
              > visit to Japan, that he was attacked by a Japanese policeman with
              a sword
              > and injured. As the heir of the Russian throne, he could have
              easily had
              > the policeman punished severely. But he chose instead to ignore the
              > incident, preferring to turn the other cheek and forgive. This
              wound, to
              > his head, was to cause occasional pain throughout the rest of his
              life.
              >
              >
              > A.D. Khmelevsky writes about this visit: "In Japan the heir to the
              throne
              > visited the cemetery of our sailors, where an old Japanese, who
              had for
              > many years been the keeper of the Russian graves, said:
              >
              >
              > "'The distinguished guest is intending to visit our ancient
              capital Kyoto.
              > Near Kyoto there lives our well-known hermit, the monk Terakuto.
              The
              > destinies of men are open to the eyes of this ascetic. Time does
              not exist
              > for him, and he gives only signs of how long periods last.'
              >
              >
              > "On arriving in Kyoto the heir set off on foot to see Terakuto. He
              was
              > dressed in civilian clothes and accompanied by the Greek Prince
              George and
              > the translator, Marquis Ito. Terakuto was living in a grove. He
              said (these
              > are extracts from the reminiscences of Marquis Ito, published in
              English):
              >
              >
              > "'... Danger is hovering over your head, but death will pass you
              by and the
              > shoot will be stronger than the sword and the shoot will shine
              brilliantly.
              > Two crowns are destined for you - an earthly and a heavenly. Gems
              play on
              > your crown, O master of a mighty realm. But the glory of the world
              passes
              > and will dim the gems on your earthly crown, while the glittering
              of your
              > heavenly crown will last forever. Great sorrows and upheavals
              await you and
              > your country. You will fight for everyone, and everyone will be
              against
              > you. Beautiful flowers bloom on the edge of the abyss, and
              children rush up
              > to the flowers and fall into the abyss if they do not listen to the
              > warnings of their father. You will offer a sacrifice for your
              whole people,
              > as the redeemer of its recklessnesses. I see fiery tongues above
              your head.
              > This is the consecration. I see innumerable fires on altars in
              front of
              > you. This is the fulfilment. Here is wisdom and part of the
              mystery of the
              > Creator. Death and immortality, a split-second and eternity.
              Blessed be the
              > day and hour on which you came to old Terakuto.'
              >
              >
              >
              > "A few days after this, there was
              an
              > attempt on the life of the heir. A Japanese fanatic struck him on
              the head
              > with a sabre, which gave him a minor wound since Prince George,
              who was all
              > the time with the heir, parried the blow with a bamboo shoot. By
              command of
              > Alexander III, the shoot which had played this role was encrusted
              with
              > diamonds and returned to Prince George. Thus did the shoot prove
              stronger
              > than the sword, and the shoot shone. The records witness that
              after his
              > visit to the hermit Terakuto the heir was for a long time
              thoughtful and
              > sad."
              >
              >
              > By 1894 the health of Nicholas' father, Tsar Alexander, began to
              fail, and
              > on October 20 he reposed under the loving hand of his confessor,
              St. John
              > of Kronstadt. By this time Nicholas was already engaged to
              Princess Alix of
              > Hesse (Germany); and they were married one month after Alexander's
              repose.
              > There had been obstacles to this marriage. Tsar Alexander III had
              been
              > opposed to the match, as had been Kaiser Wilhelm. Grand Duchess
              Elizabeth,
              > Princess Alix's sister, wrote to Queen Victoria: "The world is so
              spiteful,
              > and not knowing how long and deep this affection on both sides has
              been,
              > the spiteful tongues will call it ambition, as if to mount this
              throne is
              > enviable."
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > But the major obstacle was the Princess' faith. The Princess had
              been born
              > and raised as a Lutheran and was very devoted to her faith, but
              she needed
              > to convert to Orthodoxy in order to become Empress of the Russian
              nation.
              > Being a highly principled woman, she did not take this as a light
              matter
              > and at first resisted. But God in His loving-kindness did not
              abandon her;
              > and soon, after a number of meetings with an Orthodox archpriest
              who
              > expounded to her the Faith, she gladly accepted baptism. Her
              conversion was
              > anything but nominal. The depth of her embrace of Orthodoxy and the
              > strength which it gave to her family was to be a spiritual
              reproach to the
              > modern Russian nobility and to the "intelligentsia" who, listening
              to the
              > spirit of antichrist, had gradually become ashamed of their faith,
              > considering it something "outdated".
              >
              >
              > Dominic Lieven writes: "Like her mother, Alix was a fervent
              Christian. She
              > abandoned Protestantism only after a great struggle. In her
              bedroom at
              > Tsarskoe Selo 'was a little door in the wall, leading to a tiny
              dark chapel
              > lighted by hanging lamps, where the Empress was wont to pray. When
              in
              > Petersburg, the Empress used to go to the Kazan Cathedral,
              kneeling in the
              > shadow of a pillar, unrecognized by anyone and attended by a single
              > lady-in-waiting. For Alix life on earth was in the most literal
              sense a
              > trial, in which human beings were tested to see whether they were
              worthy of
              > heavenly bliss. The sufferings God inflicted on one were a test of
              one's
              > faith and a punishment for one's wrongdoing. The Empress was a
              deeply
              > serious person who came to have great interest in Orthodox
              theology and
              > religious literature. She loved discussing abstract, and especially
              > religious, issues, and her later friendship with the Grand Duchess
              Militza
              > and Anastasia owed much to their knowledge of Persian, Indian and
              Chinese
              > religion and philosophy. Alix 'zealously studied the intricate
              works of the
              > old Fathers of the Church. Besides these she read many French and
              English
              > philosophical books.'
              >
              >
              > "As Empress, Alix held to an intensely emotional and mystical
              Orthodox
              > faith. The superb ritual and singing of the Orthodox liturgy moved
              her
              > deeply, as did her sense that through Orthodoxy she stood in
              spiritual
              > brotherhood and communion with her husband's simplest subjects. But
              > alongside this strain of Christian belief, Alix was a born
              organizer, an
              > efficient administrator and a passionate Christian philanthropist.
              Though
              > her interests included famine and unemployment relief, and
              professional
              > training for girls, her charitable work was above all concerned
              with help
              > for the sick and the world of medicine. Typically, even on holiday
              in the
              > Crimea, Alix toured the hospitals and sanitoria in the
              neighbourhood,
              > taking her young daughters with her because 'they should
              understand the
              > sadness underneath all this beauty'."
              >
              >
              > The official coronation took place in May of
              1896. The
              > young Tsar and Tsaritsa spent the majority of their time in
              seclusion and
              > intense prayer, preparing themselves for the awesome
              responsibility of
              > governing, with God's help, the largest nation in the world, which
              was the
              > protector of the Orthodox Faith. The coronation of a tsar is no
              mere
              > secular affair of state. As Bishop Nectarius (Kontzevich) has
              written, "The
              > Tsar was and is anointed by God. This mystery is performed by the
              Church
              > during the coronation, and the Anointed of God enters the Royal
              Doors into
              > the altar, goes to the altar table and receives the Holy Mysteries
              as does
              > the priest, with the Body and Blood taken separately. Thus the
              Holy Church
              > emphasises the great spiritual significance of the podvig
              (struggle) of
              > ruling as a monarch, equalling this to the holy sacrament of the
              > priesthood... He (the Tsar) is the sacramental image, the carrier
              of the
              > special power of the Grace of the Holy Spirit."
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > As Tsar Nicholas was crowned, he knelt and prayed aloud: "O Lord
              God of our
              > fathers, and King of kings, Who created all things by Thy word,
              and by Thy
              > wisdom has made man, that he should walk uprightly and rule
              righteously
              > over Thy world; Thou has chosen me as Tsar and judge over Thy
              people. I
              > acknowledge Thine unsearchable purpose towards me, and bow in
              thankfulness
              > before Thy Majesty. Do Thou, my Lord and Governor, fit me for the
              work to
              > which Thou hast sent me; teach me and guide me in this great
              service. May
              > there be with me the wisdom which belongs to Thy throne; send it
              from Thy
              > Holy Heaven, that I may know what is well-pleasing in Thy sight,
              and what
              > is right according to Thy commandment. May my heart be in Thine
              hand, to
              > accomplish all that is to the profit of the people committed to my
              charge,
              > and to Thy glory, that so in the day of Thy Judgement I may give
              Thee
              > account of my stewardship without blame; through the grace and
              mercy of Thy
              > Son, Who was once crucified for us, to Whom be all honour and
              glory with
              > Thee and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, unto the ages of
              ages. Amen."
              >
              >
              >

              >

              >

              >

              >
              >
              >
              >
              > His Most Pious Majesty
              >
              >
              > The Royal couple settled into their life of responsibility and
              took the
              > lead in setting an example of godliness and true pastoral care for
              their
              > enormous flock. Nowhere was this more evident than in their love
              and
              > carefor the Holy Orthodox Church. They gave much money and support
              to
              > monasteriesand to the building of churches. The Tsar considered it
              his
              > sacred duty to restore to Russia her ancient traditional culture,
              which had
              > been abandoned by many of the "educated" classes in favour of
              modern,
              > Western styles. He encouraged the building of churches in the
              ancient
              > architectural styles, rather than in the styles favoured since the
              > disastrous "reforms" of Tsar Peter I and Empress Catherine II. He
              > commissioned the painting of large numbers of icons in the
              Byzantine and
              > Old Russian styles, adorning many churches with them. In the words
              of
              > Archpriest Michael Polsky, "In the person of the Emperor Nicholas
              II the
              > believers had the best and most worthy representative of the
              Church, truly
              > 'The Most Pious' as he was referred to in church services. He was
              a true
              > patron of the Church, and a solicitor of all her blessings."
              >
              >
              > During the reign of Nicholas II, the Church reached her 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 1025. Ancient
              churches were
              > renovated. The Emperor himself took part in the laying of the first
              > cornerstones and the consecration of many churches. He visited
              churches and
              > monasteries in all parts of the country, venerating their saints.
              The
              > Emperor stressed the importance of educating the peasant children
              within
              > the framework of church and parish and, as a result, the number of
              parish
              > schools grew to 37,000.
              >
              >
              > Christian literature flourished at this time. Excellent journals
              were
              > published, such as Soul-Profiting Reading, Soul-Profiting
              Converser, The
              > Wanderer, The Rudder, The Russian Monk, and the ever-popular The
              Russian
              > Pilgrim. The Russian people were surrounded by spiritual
              nourishment as
              > never before.
              >
              >
              > There was no tsar in whose reign more saints were glorified
              (canonized)
              > than than of Nicholas. His love of Orthodoxy and the Church's holy
              ones
              > knew no bounds; and he himself often pressured the Holy Synod to
              speedily
              > accord fitting reverence to many of God's saints. Among those
              glorified
              > during his reign were: St. Theodosius of Chernigov (glorified in
              1896), St.
              > Isidore of Yuriev (1897), St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (1909), St.
              Anna of
              > Kashin (1910), St. Joasaph of Belgorod (1911), St. Hermogenes of
              Moscow
              > (1913), St. Pitirim of Tambov (1914), St. John (Maximovich) of
              Tobolsk
              > (1916) and St. Paul of Tobolsk (1917).
              >
              >
              > In addition, one of the most revered of Russia's saints,
              Seraphim of
              > Sarov, was glorified by the Church during the reign of this pious
              Tsar in
              > 1903, at his insistence. At this time, Nicholas was made aware of
              the
              > future apostasy and downfall of the Russian nation and Church
              through a
              > prophetic letter written by St. Seraphim himself. The saint had,
              shortly
              > before his death in 1833, written this letter, sealed it with five
              wax
              > seals and addressed it "to the Tsar in whose reign I shall be
              glorified".
              > He then gave it to Elena Motovilov, the young wife of N.I.
              Motovilov, who
              > is now well-known for recording his conversation with the saint
              about the
              > acquisition of the Holy Spirit. She kept that letter for seventy
              years and
              > gave it to the Tsar at the glorification ceremony. While the exact
              contents
              > are today unknown, it is nevertheless certain that St. Seraphim
              prepared
              > Nicholas for the coming tribulations. Furthermore, on the return
              trip from
              > Sarov, the Royal Family visited St. Seraphim's Diveyevo Convent
              where
              > Blessed Pasha (Parasceva) the Fool-for-Christ spoke to them
              several hours;
              > it is said that she foretold to them their own martyrdom as well
              as that of
              > Holy Russia.
              >
              >
              > It is said that the Empress was near to fainting and said: "I
              don't believe
              > you, it cannot be!"
              >
              >
              > Now this was one year before the birth of the heir to the throne
              and they
              > very much wanted an heir. So Blessed Pasha got up from her bed
              with a piece
              > of red material and said: "This is for some little trousers for
              your son,
              > and when he is born,you will believe what I have been telling you."
              >
              >
              > They left her cell pale and shaken but resolute - they would
              accept with
              > faith whatever God had prepared for them, esteeming the
              incorruptible crown
              > of martyrdom higher than corruptible earthly crowns; electing to
              accept the
              > cup of suffering offered to them by God Almighty, that by drinking
              of it
              > they might offer themselves up as a sacrifice for their people.
              >
              >
              > During his reign the Tsar sought the advice of Blessed Pasha on
              all serious
              > questions. He used to send the Great Princes to her, and according
              to her
              > cell-attendant, Eudocia Ivanovna, one would no sooner depart than
              another
              > arrived. After the death of Blessed Pasha's cell-attendant,
              Matushka
              > Seraphima (Bulgakova), they would put all their questions to her
              through
              > Eudocia Ivanovna, who relates that she once said:
              >
              >
              >
              > Tsar Martyr
              Nicholas
              >
              >
              > "Your Majesty, come down from the throne yourself!"
              >
              >
              > Not long before her death in August, 1915, Blessed Pasha was
              continually
              > making prostrations to the ground in front of the portrait of the
              Tsar.
              > When she was worn out, her cell-attendants lifted her up.
              >
              >
              > "Mamashenka, why are you praying to the Tsar?"
              >
              >
              > "Stupid, he will be higher than all the tsars."
              >
              >
              > There were two portraits of the Tsar: one of him with the Tsaritsa
              and the
              > other of him alone. But she kept prostrating to the one of him
              alone.
              >
              >
              > Again she said about him: "I don't know, a monk saint, perhaps a
              martyr!"
              >
              >
              > Being a peace-maker by nature, the young tsar made an unprecedented
              > suggestion to the world early in his reign - that all nations come
              together
              > and meet in order to cut their military forces and submit to
              general
              > arbitration on international disputes.
              >
              >
              > The result of his proposal, the Hague Peace Conference, was
              convenedon May
              > 18, 1899, and served as the precedent for the later League of
              Nationsand
              > United Nations. In 1921, the American President, Warren Harding,
              officially
              > acknowledged the Tsar's noble efforts towards the limitation of
              armamentsby
              > way of binding agreements among the Powers.
              >
              >
              > The Tsar was unparalleled in Russian history for his mercifulness.
              He
              > pardoned criminals, even revolutionaries, and gave away vast
              quantities of
              > his own land and money to alleviate the plight of the peasants. It
              is
              > believed that he gave away the last of his personal wealth during
              the Great
              > War, to support the war effort. Even as a child he often wore
              patched
              > clothing while spending his personal allowance to help poor
              students to pay
              > for their tuition.
              >
              >
              > The Emperor took great interest in the strivings of the people for
              a better
              > life. He changed the passport system introduced by Peter I and thus
              > facilitated the free movement of the people, including travel
              abroad. The
              >
              >
              > poll tax was abolished and a voluntary programme of hospitalisation
              > insurance was introduced, under which, for a payment of one rouble
              per
              > year, a person was entitled to free hospitalisation. The parity of
              the
              > rouble was increased greatly on the international markets during
              his reign.
              >
              >
              > In 1897, a law was enacted to limit work hours; night work was
              forbidden
              > for women and minors under seventeen years of age, and this at a
              time when
              > the majority of the countries in the West had almost no labour
              legislation
              > at all. As William Taft commented in 1913, "the Russian Emperor
              has enacted
              > labour legislation which not a single democratic state could boast
              of".
              >
              >
              > On January 6, 1903, ar Palace, during the salute of the guns of
              the Peter and Paul
              > fortress, one of the guns was loaded with grape-shot, and the
              grape-shot
              > struck the
              >
              >
              > windows of the palace. Part fell near the procession where the
              clergy
              > andthe emperor's and empress' suite was. The calmness of the
              emperor's
              > reaction was so striking that it drew the attention of the members
              of his
              > suite. He didn't move a hair and only asked:
              >
              >
              > "Who commanded the battery?"
              >
              >
              > And when they gave the name, he said with evident sympathy: "Ach,
              poor
              > (so-and-so), how sorry I am for him!"
              >
              >
              > They asked the emperor what effect this incident had had on him.
              He replied
              > "I fear nothing until 1918..."
              >
              >
              > The emperor forgave the commander of the battery and the officer
              who
              > ordered the shooting because by the mercy of God there had been no
              serious
              > injuries. Only one policeman had been very slightly wounded. His
              name was-
              > Romanov...
              >
              >
              > Dominic Lieven writes: "Between 1895 and 1901 the Empress had
              given birth
              > to four daughters: Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia. The four
              little
              > girls were beautiful, healthy and lively children who were greatly
              loved by
              > their parents. Nicholas was a fine father and the family circle
              was full of
              > love, warmth and trust. If the Emperor had a favourite it was
              probably
              > Tatiana, whose personality came closest to that of her mother.
              Olga, his
              > eldest daughter, was the most thoughtful, sensitive and
              intelligent of the
              > four. Marie, the third, with huge grey eyes and a warm-hearted,
              simple,
              > friendly manner, was always the easiest to get on with at first
              > acquaintance. Anastasia, born in 1901, was notorious as the
              family's
              > comedian. Under Russian law, however, no woman could inherit the
              crown. Had
              > Nicholas died before 1904, the throne would have gone to his kind-
              hearted
              > but weak-willed younger brother, the Grand Duke Michael. Since
              Michael was
              > a bachelor in 1904 an subsequently contracted an illegal and
              morganatic
              > marriage, the Romanov inheritance would then have passed to a
              younger
              > brother of Alexander III,the Grand Duke Vladimir, and his
              descendants.
              > Tension and mutual dislike between the 'Vladimir branch' and the
              imperial
              > couple were never far below the surface in the twentieth century.
              Much
              > therefore hung on the life of the little boy born in August, 1904.
              All the
              > more horrifying was the discovery that the child had haemophilia.
              >
              >
              > "In the Edwardian era there was no treatment for haemophilia and
              little
              > way of alleviating the terrible pain it periodically caused. The
              chances
              > were against a haemophiliac living into middle age, let alone
              being able to
              > pursue a normal life. For any parents who loved their children as
              intensely
              > as the imperial couple did, the physical and emotional strain of a
              > haemophiliac son was bound to be great. In the case of Nicholas and
              > Alexandra, however, matters were made worse by the fact that it was
              > considered unthinkable to admit that the future autocrat of all
              the Russias
              > was incurably ill and quite possibly doomed to an early death. The
              natural
              > sympathy and understanding which might have flowed to the parents
              had
              > therefore to be foregone. Moreover, however harrowing one of
              Aleksei's
              > periodic illnesses might be,a monarch - let alone a Russian
              autocrat - had
              > always to keep up appearances. It says something for Nicholas's
              > extraordinary self-control that, adoring Aleksei as he did, he
              nevertheless
              > never let the mask slip. As Alexandra herself once wrote to
              him, 'you will
              > always keep a cheery face and carry all hidden inside.'
              >
              >
              > "Inevitably, however, it was the mother who bore the greater
              burden during
              > her son's illnesses, not to mention the incessant worry even when
              he was
              > relatively healthy. Nor could she escape the guilt born of the
              knowledge
              > that she was the cause of her son's suffering and of the extra
              burden of
              > worry about his dynasty's future which had been placed on her
              husband's
              > shoulders. Physically frail and always very highly strung, the
              Empress
              > poured her last drop of energy into watching over her son and
              nursing him
              > duringhis attacks... The effort cost the Empress dear. She was
              often too
              > ill and exhausted to play the role of a monarch's consort,
              incurring great
              > odium as a result. Moreover, the strain of Alexis' illness pushed
              his
              > mother close to nervous collapse. As the Grand Duchess Olga
              commented, 'the
              > birth of a son, which should have been the happiest event in the
              lives of
              > Nicky and Alicky, became their heaviest cross.'"
              >
              >
              > Shortly after the birth of Alexis, according to the Procurator
              Lukyanov,
              > the Tsar went to the metropolitan of St. Petersburg and asked for
              his
              > blessing that he abdicate from the throne and become a monk. But
              the
              > metropolitan refused to bless this.
              >
              >
              > The tragedy of Alexis' haemophilia was followed by a succession of
              other
              > tragedies, even a small number of which would have broken a lesser
              man. But
              > for the Tsar they only served to further refine the nobility of
              his soul.
              >
              >
              > Royal
              Family
              >
              >
              > First there was the disastrous war with Japan of 1904-05 during
              which most
              > of the Russian fleet was lost. At this time also, sensing public
              > disappointment with the defeat, the nihilistic enemies of Christ
              seized the
              > moment and instigated mutinies, strikes, riots and assassinations.
              Here was
              > a whole class of society who were, in the words of St. Paul, "...
              lovers of
              > theirown selves, boasters, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to
              parents,
              > unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false
              > accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good,
              traitors,
              > heady, highminded..." (II Timothy 3.2-4).
              >
              >
              >
              >
              Mother
              > of God the 'Reigning' Icon
              >
              >
              >
              > The last great prophet of Holy Russia, St. John of Kronstadt, who
              clearly
              > foresaw the approaching catastrophe, repeatedly exhorted his
              countrymen to
              > repent and return to their former piety and support the God-
              anointed ruler
              > or face untold disaster, both here and in the world to come.
              >
              >
              > In 1905 St. John said: "We have a Tsar of righteous and pious
              life. God has
              > sent a heavy cross of sufferings to him as to His chosen one and
              beloved
              > child, as the seer of the destinies of God said: 'Whom I love,
              those I
              > reproach and punish' (Rev. 3.19). If there is no repentance in the
              Russian
              > people, the end of the world is near. God will remove from it the
              pious
              > Tsar and send a whip in the person of impure, cruel, self-called
              rulers,
              > who will drench the whole land in blood and tears."
              >
              >
              > Although the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 was a bloody failure,
              the Tsar
              > refused to allow the official record to whitewash anything. He
              said:
              >
              >
              > "The work must be based exclusively on the bare facts... We have
              nothing to
              > silence, since more blood has been shed than necessary.... Heroism
              is
              > worthy to be noted on an equal footing with failures. It is,
              without
              > exception, necessary to aim at recording the historic truth
              inviolably."
              >
              >
              >
              > Grand Duchess Tatiana
              >
              >
              > The year 1905 was to be a "rehearsal" for the bloody events which
              took
              > place twelve years later. Encouraged by Lenin and Trotsky, a
              campaign of
              > disorders was begun all over the Empire. Many high government
              officials
              > were murdered in the streets, among whom, in 1905 was Nicholas'
              cousin, the
              > Grand Duke Sergius, husband of the Empress' sister, Grand Duchess
              > Elizabeth.
              >
              >
              > The Tsar supported the restoration of canonical order and the
              patriarchate
              > in the Russian Church. Once, at the pre-conciliar assembly
              convened in
              > 1906, when the bishops were discussing these issues, he asked them
              whether
              > they had a candidate for the patriarchate. When they said no, he
              offered
              > himself as a candidate. The bishops were shocked and refused his
              offer. The
              > Tsar, being a humble man, never brought this subject up again.
              >
              >
              > On one occasion, the emperor was talking about the sufferings that
              lay
              > ahead of him with his prime minister at the time, Peter Arkadyevich
              > Stolypin. "It was not for nothing," he said, "that I was born on
              the day of
              > Job the Much-Suffering."
              >
              >
              > And on other occasions he said: "I have more than a presentiment
              that I am
              > destined for terrible trials, and that I shall not be rewarded for
              them on
              > this earth... Nothing that I have undertaken succeeds for me; I
              have no
              > successes. Man's will is so weak... How many times have I applied
              to myself
              > the words of the holy Job, 'For the thing that I fear comes upon
              me, and
              > what I dread befalls me.'"
              >
              >
              > Once, having prayed a little before an important decision, the
              emperor said
              > to Stolypin: "Perhaps an atoning sacrifice is necessary for the
              salvation
              > of Russia. I shall be that sacrifice. May the will of God be done!"
              >
              >
              > Stolypin later recalled: "He made this triumphant declaration to
              me in the
              > simplest, calmest and most even voice. There was a strange mixture
              inhis
              > voice, and especially in his look, of decisiveness and meekness,
              at the
              > same time unshakeable and passive, unclear and well-defined; as if
              he was
              > expressing, not his own will, but was rather bowing to some
              external power
              > - the majesty of Providence."
              >
              >
              > After the disturbances of 1905-06, Russian entered into a period
              of great
              > prosperity. With the wise and dynamic assistance of Stolypin, Tsar
              Nicholas
              > led the nation through a time of such growth - agricultural,
              economic,
              > educational and industrial - that had the first World War not
              occurred,
              > Russia would have undoubtedly become the leading nation of the
              world.
              >
              >
              > But the Tsar never pursued industrial growth at the expense of his
              people.
              > In 1908 he was presented with a huge plan for industrialisation
              which
              > demanded far more money than was available. The Tsar replied:
              >
              >
              > "Peter I had little money and so he used forced labour and this
              costhim the
              > lives of a million of his subjects... the realisation of this
              project would
              > cost between 10 and 15 millions of the premature deaths of my
              subjects... I
              > cannot in conscience sacrifice millions of my subjects, and
              therefore we
              > must endure (without industrialisation)."
              >
              >
              > When he was advised that the success of future wars depended upon
              > industrialisation, he replied: "We will hope in God. If the war is
              short,
              > we will win, but if it is long, then such is our fate."
              >
              >
              > Again, the head of the police promised the Tsar that there would
              be no
              > revolution in Russia for a hundred years if the Tsar would permit
              50,000
              > executions. The Tsar quickly refused this terrible proposal. After
              the
              > revolution, however, the Bolsheviks thought nothing of butchering
              many
              > millions of people for acts of "civil disobedience".
              >
              >
              > The Tsar tried to heal the revolutionary illness with mercy and
              > forgiveness. One student was sentenced to death, but on the eve of
              the
              > execution, his fianc=E9e petitioned the Tsar for a commutation.
              The Tsar
              > was reached by having his personal attendant call him from his
              bedroom. He
              > received the petition and sent off a telegram commuting the
              sentence. He
              > praised the attendant for his daring and even had the student sent
              to
              > theCrimea for treatment of his tuberculosis.
              >
              >
              > The Tsar was always careful not to be vindictive,
              saying: "Irritation
              > solves nothing, and besides, a sharp word from me would sound more
              > offensive than from anyone else."
              >
              >
              > In 1911, during the performance of an opera in Kiev, at which the
              Tsar was
              > also present, Stolypin was assassinated. Before he fell to the
              ground, he
              > turned to his sovereign in the balcony and, blessing him with the
              sign
              > ofthe Cross, said: "May God save him!"
              >
              >
              > The Tsar made many pilgrimages, and was a staunch supporter of the
              schools
              > operated by the Church. In 1912, there were 1,988,367 children in
              these
              > schools, in spite of a campaign by the Duma to close them. He also
              opened
              > special industries for the city poor to help them earn their own
              living.
              >
              >
              > In 1914, Russia was forced to enter World War I. As Grand Duchess
              Elizabeth
              > testified, the peace-loving Tsar did not want this war, but
              aggression
              > against Orthodox Serbia by Germany left him no other honourable
              choice.
              >
              >
              > At the outbreak of the war, the Liturgy was celebrated in the
              Winter
              > Palace. The French Ambassador observed that "Nicholas II prayed
              with a holy
              > fervour which gave his pale face a movingly mystical expression".
              The
              > tsar's devotion to prayer was commented on by many; his private car
              > included a "veritable chapel", and he never missed a service while
              in army
              > headquarters.
              >
              >
              > As soon as the war broke out, the Empress and the four Grand
              Duchesses
              > (Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia) became nurses; and hospitals
              were
              > opened at Tsarskoye Selo, near the family's residence, where
              wounded
              > soldiers were brought. They worked long hours, diligently and
              tirelessly
              > following the commandment of Christ to visit the sick,
              since "inasmuch as
              > ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done
              it unto
              > Me" (Matthew 25.30). Anna Vyrubova, the Empress' closest friend,
              wrote: "I
              > have personally seen the Empress of Russia in the operating room,
              assisting
              > in the most difficult operations, taking from the hands of the
              busy surgeon
              > amputated legs and arms, removing bloody and even vermin-ridden
              field
              > dressings." Vyrubova says that she was a "born nurse", who "from
              her
              > earliest accession took an interest in hospitals, in nursing,
              quite foreign
              > to native Russian ideas. She not only visited the sick herself, in
              > hospitals, in homes, butshe enormously increased the efficiency of
              the
              > hospital system in Russia. Outof her own private funds the Empress
              founded
              > and supported two excellent schools for training nurses,
              especially in the
              > care of children."
              >
              >
              > When the war broke out, the Tsar ordered that all the money
              deposited in
              > Britain be returned to Russia. The British did not want to comply.
              The Tsar
              > then called a conference of bankers and merchants of the highest
              rank.
              > Heput 92 million roubles on the table and asked them
              voluntarily "to give
              > moneyfor the military victory of which the Russian people will be
              proud."
              > The merchants and bankers refused to give any money. But the Tsar
              expended
              > the whole of his fortune on the war effort.
              >
              >
              > At first the war went well, and the country was united heart, soul
              and body
              > in patriotic fervour behind their Tsar. But soon, due to poor
              > communications, low-level mismanagement and subversive treachery,
              problems
              > arose in supplying the armed forces with ammunition and food. The
              army
              > began to suffer defeats, and many men were killed. It was at this
              crucial
              > time that the Bolsheviks, fuelled by German money, went to work
              spreading
              > discord among the troops and at home.
              >
              >
              > In 1915, tens of thousands of Serbs began to die after their
              forced march
              > to the Albanian coast. Their allies looked upon them with
              indifference from
              > their ships. The Tsar informed his allies by telegram that they
              must
              > immediately evacuate the Serbs, otherwise he would consider the
              fall of the
              > Serbs as an act of the greatest immorality and he would withdraw
              from the
              > Alliance. This telegram brought prompt action, and dozens of
              Italian,
              > French and English ships set about evacuating the dying army to
              Corfu.
              >
              >
              > Once, during manoeuvres, the Tsar and his suite were brought
              breakfast.
              > However, when he discovered that nothing had been prepared for the
              soldiers
              > who were holding his horses, he would not eat until all the
              soldiers had
              > received their rations. He also showed great compassion for the
              wounded.
              >
              >
              > In 1915, the following event described by Count Sheremetiev took
              place when
              > the Tsar and his family arrived in Sebastopol: "His Majesty, who
              loved to
              > make long drives in the car in the environs of Sebastopol after
              breakfast,
              > ... unexpectedly set off with the Empress to the monastery of St.
              George,
              >
              >
              > where he had been for short periods in earlier years, but where
              nobody
              > expected him this time. The abbot and brotherhood were very
              surprised and
              > delighted by the visit of their Majesties...
              >
              >
              > "We went into the church, and a moleben began. The harmonious
              voicesof the
              > monks immediately changed in mood: it was as if we had come into a
              quiet
              > bay after a storm. Everything was so prayerful, penetrating and
              quiet...
              > Suddenly beyond the doors of the church, which were very small,
              there was
              > an unusual sound, loud voices and a strange turmoil - in a word,
              something
              > that did not correspond to the seriousness of the moment or the
              usual
              > monastic order. His Majesty turned his head in surprise, knitted
              his brows
              > in displeasure and sent to find out what had happened and from
              where this
              > incomprehensible disturbance and whispering to each other was
              coming from.
              > I went out of the church and learned the following from the monks
              who were
              > standing there: in the rocks of the cliffs to the right and left
              there
              > lived two schema-monks whom none of the monks had ever seen, and
              who were
              > knownto be alive only from the fact that the food which was placed
              for them
              > on the narrow path in the rocks would be taken by some invisible
              hand by
              > morning...
              >
              >
              > "And then an improbable event took place which shook all the
              monks of the
              > monastery: two elders in the clothing of schema-monks were quietly
              climbing
              > the steep steps that led upwards from the direction of the sea.
              They could
              > have known nothing about the arrival of his Majesty, for neither
              the abbot
              > nor the brothers themselves, nobody knew about the visit of his
              Majesty,
              > which had been decided on quite suddenly, at the last minute. That
              was what
              > caused the disturbance among the brotherhood. I told his Majesty
              about this
              > and saw that this event made an impression on him, but he said
              nothing and
              > the moleben continued.
              >
              >
              > "When the moleben had come to an end, his Majesty and the Empress
              kissed
              > the Cross, then chatted for a while with the abbot and came out of
              the
              > church onto the square...
              >
              >
              > "There, at the point where the wooden staircase ended, stood the
              two old
              > elders. One had a long white beard, while the other had a short
              beard. When
              > his Majesty came up to them, they both silently bowed to the earth
              before
              > him. His Majesty was clearly embarrassed, but he said nothing and
              slowly
              > bowed to them.
              >
              >
              > "... Now, after all that has happened, I wonder: did the schema-
              monks not
              > foresee with their noetic eyes the destinies of Russia and the
              Royal
              > Family, and did they not bowed down to the feet of his Majesty the
              Emperor
              > Nicholas II as to the great sufferer of the Russian land?
              >
              >
              > "Living here, as a refuge, many years later, I heard from one
              reliable
              > person that his Majesty himself told him that once, as he was
              standing
              > onthe deck of the Standart, and passing by the monastery of St.
              George, he
              > saw what seemed to be the figure of a monk in the rocks,
              continually
              > blessing his Majesty as he was standing on the deck of the
              Standart with a
              > large sign of the Cross, until the Standart disappeared from view."
              >
              >
              > In August, 1915, Igumen Seraphim (Putyatin) visited Blessed Pasha
              of Sarov.
              > "In my presence the clairvoyant kissed the portraits of the Tsar
              and his
              > family several times. She placed them together with the icons and
              prayed to
              > them as to holy martyrs. Then she wept bitterly. I understood these
              > allegorical acts only when there took place the great sorrows
              experiencedby
              > the Tsar and his Family and linked with the war; for although they
              were not
              > torn by grenades or wounded by lead bullets, their loving hearts
              were torn
              > by the unprecedented sorrows and flowed with blood. They were truly
              > bloodless martyrs. In the same way the Mother of God was not
              wounded by
              > weapons of torture, but at the sight of the suffering of her
              Divine Son, as
              > Righteous Simeon said, a sword pierced her heart. Then the eldress
              took
              > little icons of the Mother of God of Loving Tenderness, in front
              of which
              > St. Seraphim died, and blessed them from a distance for his
              Majesty and his
              > Family. Then she gave them to me and asked me to send them to
              them. She
              > blessed icons for his Majesty, her Majesty, the Tsarevich, the
              Great
              > Princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, Great Princess
              Elizabeth
              > Fyodorovna and A.A. Vyrubova. I asked her to bless a little icon
              for Great
              > Prince Nicholas Nikolayevich. She blessed one, but not of the
              Mother of God
              > of Loving Tenderness, but of St. Seraphim. She blessed icons for
              nobody
              > else, although I even asked her to bless some for some people. But
              my
              > requests had no influence on her, for she acted independently..."
              >
              >
              > Once, in December, 1916, the Emperor and Empress went for the day
              with two
              > of the Grand-Duchesses to Novgorod, where they visited some
              hospitalsand
              > monasteries and attended the Liturgy in the cathedral of Saint
              Sophia.
              > Before leaving, the Empress visited the Yuriev and Desyatina
              monasteries.
              > In the latter there lived the eldress Maria Mikhailovna, who was
              according
              > to different accounts 107 or 116 years old and who for many years
              had been
              > lying on an iron bed in iron chains.
              >
              >
              > According to the Empress' own account in a letter to the
              Tsar: "She blessed
              > and kissed us. She sends you an apple (perhaps you'll eat it). She
              said
              > that the war will soon end - 'tell him that we've had enough.' To
              meshe
              > said: 'As for you, beauty - a heavy cross - don't fear.' (She
              repeated this
              > several times.) 'Because you came to us, two churches will be
              built in
              > Russia (she repeated this twice) - don't forget us, come again.'"
              >
              >
              > According to another account, when the Empress came in, the
              eldress
              > stretched out her withered hands to her and said: "Here comes the
              martyr -
              > the Tsaritsa Alexandra!" She embraced her and blessed her. A few
              days
              > later she died.
              >
              >
              > It has often been asserted that the Tsar was a weak-willed man who
              allowed
              > himself to be ruled by his wife in matters of State, and, through
              her, by
              > the evil monk Rasputin. However, General A.I. Spiridonovich, having
              > mentioned the empress' insistence on not trusting anybody but
              Rasputin,
              > Vyrubova and Sablin, comments: "The Emperor understood all this
              well and
              > very frequently acted against her advice, guided by his own
              experience.
              > Sometimes his decisions coincided with the Empress' wishes. But to
              claim
              > indiscriminately that the Emperor acted in state matters only
              according to
              > the Empress' wishes is a great mistake. This means ignoring the
              facts as
              > well as the character and principles of the Emperor. Emperor
              Nicholas was
              > far from being as simple-minded and weak-willed as many thought."
              >
              >
              > As for Rasputin, Grand Duchess Olga writes: "Knowing Nicky as I
              did,I must
              > insist that Rasputin had not a particle of influence over him. It
              was Nicky
              > who eventually put a stop to Rasputin's visits to the palace. It
              was again
              > Nicky who sent the man back to Siberia and that more than once.
              And some of
              > Nicky's letters to Alicky are proof enough of what he really
              thought of
              > Rasputin's advice..."
              >
              >
              > The enemies accused the Empress of pro-German sympathies because
              of her
              > German blood. But her letters demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt
              that she
              > was completely devoted to Russia. In any case, as the French
              ambassador
              > pointed out, "her education, her intellectual formation and her
              morals were
              > entirely English."
              >
              >
              > In May, 1917, a Sarov archimandrite, who was sorrowing over the
              fate of the
              > Royal Family, fell asleep during prayer and saw a vision of the
              Family
              > together with St. Seraphim. And the saint told him not to sorrow,
              that God
              > would not forsake his chosen ones, and that He had sent him,
              Seraphim, to
              > comfort the Royal sufferers in the hour of their trial.
              >
              >
              > "Do you see the radiant light come from the faces of the Royal
              sufferers?
              > This is a sign that they are under the special protection of God,
              as being
              > righteous ones... Look at the face of the Empress and you will see
              that the
              > light coming from it is brighter than the others. This is a sign
              that she
              > will suffer more slander than any from the followers of the world's
              > slanderer."
              >
              >
              > There had been even earlier prophecies of the martyrdom of the
              Tsar and
              > Holy Russia. Thus A.D. Khmelevsky writes: "[Towards the end of the
              > eighteenth century] the clairvoyant monk Abel wrote a prophecy
              entitled 'On
              > the destinies of the Russian realm' for the Emperor Paul I
              Petrovich which
              > referred to his great-grandson, the Emperor Nicholas II. This
              prophecy was
              > placed in an envelope and sealed with the personal seal of the
              Emperor Paul
              > I and with an inscription in his own hand: 'To be opened by our
              successor
              > on the one hundredth anniversary of my death.' The document was
              kept in a
              > special room in the Gatchina palace. All the emperors knew about
              it, but
              > none dared to oppose the will of their predecessor. On March 11,
              1901, when
              > 100 years had passed in accordance with the behest, the Emperor
              Nicholas II
              > came to Gatchina palace with the minister of the court and members
              of his
              > suite and, after a funeral service for the Emperor Paul, opened
              the packet
              > and learned of his thorny destiny. The writer of these lines knew
              about
              > this already in 1905.
              >
              >
              > "The Emperor Alexander I Pavlovich once visited the elder St.
              Seraphim of
              > Sarov in his poor cell, and this is what the man of God foretold
              him:
              > "'There will a Tsar who will glorify me, after which there will be
              a great
              > disturbance in Rus', and much blood will flow because they will
              rise up
              > against this Tsar and the autocracy, but God will exalt the
              Tsar...'"
              >
              >
              > The Atoning Sacrifice
              >
              >
              > The enemies of Holy Russia knew well that the greatest unifying
              factors in
              > Russia were the love of God and love for the Tsar, the visible
              symbol of
              > the Orthodox Empire. By cutting off the head, they hoped to render
              the body
              > powerless through fragmentation, thereby making it malleable to
              their evil
              > intents. Through infiltration of the press, slanderous stories
              against the
              > Royal Family were printed. The foreign press, hungry for scandal,
              printed
              > unverified stories, many of which are still believed to this day.
              Even the
              > Empress was accused of disloyalty and treason - she who was above
              reproach
              > in her heartfelt love for her adopted land. Conspiracies began to
              take
              > shape among court officials, the Duma (Parliament), the generals
              and the
              > nobility, even including relatives of the Tsar. This, at a time
              when unity
              > was more than ever needed.
              >
              >
              > The Duma deputies and army generals were putting pressure on the
              Tsar to
              > abdicate. They kept reassuring him that only such an act would
              save Russia
              > from bloodshed. He repeatedly asked: "Are you confident that my
              abdication
              > will save Russia from bloodshed?"
              >
              >
              > Again they reassured him that it would. But the Tsar knew the
              quality of
              > the men who were advising him. As he sadly wrote in his diary on
              the day of
              > his abdication: "All around me I see treason, cowardice and
              deceit."
              >
              >
              > And again, on the same day, while holding a bundle of telegrams
              from the
              > Corps of Generals and even from his own uncle, he said: "What is
              left for
              > me to do when everyone has betrayed me?"
              >
              >
              > Royal
              Martyrs
              >
              >
              > On the day of the abdication the enemies had arranged that the
              Emperor
              > should not meet his strongest supporter, the Empress. She
              understood this
              > and wrote: "My heart is rent with suffering, since you are
              completely
              > isolated. It is clear that they do not wish to allow us to see
              each other
              > before you sign some sort of paper. If they compel you to make
              concessions,
              > you are under no circumstances obliged to fulfil them, because
              they are
              > obtained by unworthy means. We are all of good cheer, but
              pressured by
              > circumstances. We only suffer for you and endure humiliation for
              you, holy
              > sufferer..."
              >
              >
              > And after the abdication, the Empress wrote to the Emperor: "You
              will be
              > crowned by God Himself on this earth, in your own country..."
              >
              >
              > And so, after an entire night spent in prayer, he laid aside the
              crown for
              > what he felt was the good of his country. For, as he wrote: "I am
              ready to
              > give up both throne and life if I should become a hindrance to the
              > happiness of the homeland." And again: "There is no sacrifice that
              I would
              > not make for the real benefit of Russia and for her salvation."
              >
              >
              > Metropolitan Anastasius writes that the emperor "was far removed
              from the
              > idea of defending his authority only for the sake of the desire to
              rule.
              > 'Are you sure that this will be to Russia's benefit?' he asked
              those who,
              > supposedly in the name of the nation, presented him with the
              demand that he
              > renounce his hereditary rights, and when he received a positive
              answer, he
              > immediately laid aside the burden of royal government, fearing
              lest a
              > single drop of Russian blood might fall on him in case a civil war
              arose."
              >
              >
              > Though he no longer had the responsibility of government, his first
              > thoughts were for his nation, as he said to one of his
              officers, "Just to
              > think that, now I am Tsar no longer, they won't even let me fight
              for my
              > country."
              >
              >
              > At the very moment of the Tsar's abdication - 3 o'clock on March
              2, 1917 -
              > a miracle took place that attested to God's love for Russia. In
              the village
              > of Kolomenskoye, near Moscow, according to a revelation of the
              Mother of
              > God, a search had been taking place for several days for her
              icon "The
              > Reigning Mother of God". This icon had gone at the head of the
              Russian army
              > in 1812 as it drove Napoleon out of Russia. But then this wonder-
              working
              > icon had been forgotten and seemingly lost. No one knew about its
              fate. And
              > only on March 1, 1917, did a pious widow by the name of Eudocia
              receive a
              > revelation to look for the icon in the village of Kolomenskoye.
              She looked
              > through both of the churches of the village, but did not find the
              icon.
              > Then she asked whether they had any old icons. They told her that
              there
              > were some in the basement. She asked to go there, and she and a
              deacon went
              > down into the basement.
              >
              >
              > "And truly, there were many old, dust-covered icons there. They
              began to
              > wipe them one by one. But they still did not find the icon they
              were
              > looking for. But when she came up to the icon "The Reigning Mother
              of God",
              > Eudocia cried out: "That's her!", although it was still covered
              with a
              > thick layer of dust which made it impossible to recognise. But
              when they
              > cleaned it, it was true: the wonder-working icon of the Mother of
              God had
              > been found. It depicted the Mother of God seated on a throne, her
              > countenance both stern and sorrowful, an orb and sceptre in her
              hands and
              > the Christ-child giving a blessing in her lap, with God th<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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