Today, July 17th, 2017, marks the 99th anniversary of the murder – martyrdom, for the Russian Orthodox Church, and many others as well – of the last Tsar, Nicolas II Romanov, his Empress, Alexandra, and their children: now revered as Royal Martyrs and Passion-Bearers. Please follow the link for my gifted young friend Ryan Hunter’s essay on the Royal Martyrs. Ryan also writes:
Today we remember and commemorate the murder and martyrdom 99 years ago of the Russian Imperial Family – Emperor Nicholas II (b. 1868), Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (b. 1872), and their four daughters and one son – along with several of their trusted servants and friends on 17 July 1918. The Emperor had abdicated the throne under dubious circumstances – with some believing he did so under duress, and others that his very signature was forged – on the Ides of March 1917.
The glorification (canonization) of the Imperial Family as passion-bearers – those who went to their deaths with tremendous fortitude, faith, and courage – took place by the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in 2000, with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) having taken the step of declaring them as martyrs in 1981.
Today the Imperial Family are for many Russians a symbol of the dignity, beauty, and nobility of soul of Old (pre-Soviet) Russia, and a growing movement of mostly young Russians has expressed support for restoring the monarchy under the Romanov House. Reports estimate some 70,000 Russians and other Orthodox believers made the journey to Ekaterinberg to the memorial church dedicated to them.
The last Russian Imperial Family, especially the Emperor and Empress themselves, were victims of a systematic defamation campaign by Bolshevik revolutionary and later official Soviet communist propagandists. Too often, American and Western European historians and politicians have uncritically regurgitated these tired slanders. Anyone familiar with the warm, beautiful letters to and from the Emperor, Empress, and their children will find themselves in a world in which the highest, noblest Christian ideals were valued, defended, and embodied.
The Empress’ beloved older sister, the widowed Grand Duchess and abbess Elizabeth (“Ella”) – both beloved granddaughters of Queen Victoria – died the day after her, and was also glorified as a saint of the Orthodox Church.
O Holy Martyrs, pray to God for us!