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[orthodox-synod] Re: Holy Royal Martyrs

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  • Antiquariu@aol.com
    In a message dated 4/1/00 9:35:13 AM Eastern Standard Time, Pravoslavie@mail.ru writes:
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 1, 2000
      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 2 of 5 , Apr 1, 2000
        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 3 of 5 , Jul 19, 2006
          (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 4 of 5 , Jul 20, 2006
            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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