St. John the Baptist Parish, A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, Canberra, Australia

Way of the Orthodox

Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, Holy Emperor of all Russia

The battle against Tsar Nicholas II was clearly bound up with the battle against God and faith . . . He became a Martyr, having remained faithful to the Ruler of those who rule, and accepted death in the same way as the martyrs accepted it. Archbishop John Maximovitch

FEW figures in history have been so misunderstood and maligned as the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, the last emperor of Orthodox Holy Russia. The modern "Western" mind tends to view history in a strictly political way. But with an Orthodox world view, history must be seen as the unfolding of the story of man's redemption through the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for our sakes, and His Holy Resurrection. The rising and falling of nations, the development of culture?in short, all of history?can only be correctly analyzed in this context. With the murder of Tsar Nicholas, the Byzantine form of government, which places Christ at its head, ended, ushering in the present age of lawlessness, apostasy and confusion. His was a government in the tradition begun sixteen centuries earlier by St. Constantine the Great. That such an unthinkable tragedy as the Russian Revolution could take place attests to the truth of the scriptural warning that "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matthew 24:12). This pious Christian emperor was surrounded by people, even among his own relatives, whose self-centeredness and petty worldliness had obscured the love of God in their hearts to the point that they failed to unite around their sovereign in his time of need. They thereby cleared the way for the revolutionary element?the enemies of God?to despoil the Holy Russian Empire and place in its stead a satanocracy whose aim was the annihilation of the remembrance of God from the face of the earth. Much has been written through the years about the tragedy of the Royal Martyrs?some well-meaning, some disappointingly critical, some outright slanderous?but almost none from the viewpoint of the Orthodox Christian "measuring stick." We are presenting this short Life in an attempt to provide that viewpoint, and to encourage Orthodox believers to turn to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas and his family in prayer for their intercession before the throne of God.

1. Birth And Early Life

Tsar-Martyr Nicholas was born in 1868 in St. Petersburg on May 6, 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 parents were the then-Tsarevich (heir) Alexander Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Marie Feodorovna. They were a good strong couple whose relationship was without quarreling or dissension. Alexander was a firm and uncomplicated man who feared God and become 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 hat house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock" (Luke 6:48). On March 13, 1881, when Nicholas was only thirteen years of age, a tragic event occurred which shook the sensitive soul of the youth. This was the assassination of his beloved grandfather, Emperor Alexander II, the "Tsar-Liberator," who was responsible for freeing the serfs in Russia. 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 build a magnificent church, Christ the Saviour "Upon the Blood." The activity of hateful revolutionaries was to plague Nicholas and his family throughout their lives. In 1888, while Tsar Alexander III and his family were traveling 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, at a young age, 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. Concerning his time of formation it can be said, as was said of our Lord whom the young Nicholas strove to imitate, that he "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52).

2. The Death Of Tsar Alexander Iii, The Marriage Of Nicholas And His Coronation

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. 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." 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 Nektary Kontzevitch 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 emphasizes the great spiritual significance of the podvig (struggle) of ruling as a monarch, equaling 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."1 As Tsar Nicholas was crowned, he knelt and prayed aloud: "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 hast 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 has 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 Judgment 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 honor and glory with Thee and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, for ever and ever. Amen." So it was that the new Tsar in all things placed God first, and therein was his treasure laid, "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Matthew 6:20).

3. The Reign Of Tsar Nicholas

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 care for the Holy Orthodox Church. They gave much money and support to monasteries and 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" class in favor of modern Western styles. He encouraged the building of churches in the ancient architectural styles, rather than in the styles favored 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 Devout' as he was referred to in church services. He was a true patron of the Church, and a solicitor of all its blessings. "During the reign of Nicholas II, the Church reached its 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 donated large sums for their construction from his private income. 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."2 Christian literature flourished at this time. Excellent journals were published, such as "Soul-Profiting Read," "Soul-Profiting Converser," "Wanderer," "The Rudder," "Russian Monk," and the ever-popular "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 that 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 Yurievsky (1897), St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (1909), St. Anna of Kashin (1910), St. Germogen (Hermogenes) of Moscow (1913), St. Pitrim of Tambov (1914), St. John (Maximovitch) of Tobolsk (1916), St. Paul of Tobolsk (1917) and St. Sophrony of Irkutsk (1918). 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 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 he 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 for several hours; it is said that she foretold to them their own martyrdom as well as that of Holy Russia. 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. The young Tsar, as a fervent lover of the Beatitudes of Christ, strove to emulate them all. He was truly meek, sought after righteousness, and was acknowledged by all who knew him as pure-hearted. As desirous of peace, he made an unprecedented suggestion to the world early in his reign?that all nations come together and meet in order to cut down on their military forces and submit to general arbitration on international disputes. The result of his proposal, the Hague Peace Conference, was convened on May 18, 1899, and served as the precedent for the later League of Nations and United Nations. As a giver of mercy he was unparalleled in Russian history?pardoning criminals, even revolutionaries; giving away vast quantities of his own land to alleviate the plight of the peasants; and countless other charitable deeds of which only God knows. And, of course, few mourned as he did, and few were persecuted unjustly as he was. There soon began an endless succession of 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. First there was the disastrous war with Japan of 1904-1905 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 their own selves, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despiser of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded?" (II Timothy 3:2-4). 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 their God-anointed ruler or face untold disaster, both here and in the world to come. The year 1905 was to be a "rehearsal" for the bloody events which took place twelve years later. Encouraged by the traitors 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 Sergei, husband of the Empress' sister, Elizabeth. This good woman later visited the assassin of her husband in the spirit of forgiveness and tried to induce him to repentance, for the salvation of his soul. She went on to enter monastic life, founding a sisterhood for charitable works, the convent of Sts. Martha and Mary. The nun Elizabeth was finally to share the same martyric end as the Tsar and his family. In the midst of these troubles, in the summer of 1904, an event which should have been the cause of great joy was turned into tragedy when it was learned that the long-awaited newborn heir, Alexis, was born with the dread disease hemophilia, which was to afflict him horribly during the course of his all too short life. What pain of heart this caused the gentle ruler can scarcely be imagined. Yet this child, brought up in the love of Christ under the wise guidance of his parents, lived in imitation of the Saviour and manfully endured his terrible sufferings in such a way that all who knew him were amazed. His agonies purified his young soul, and he was, at the time of his martyrdom, a "sacrificial lamb" for his people. After the disturbances of 1905-06, Russia entered into a period of great prosperity and moral renewal. With the wise and dynamic assistance of his Prime Minister, Pyotr Stolypin, 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 Satan, the enemy of our salvation, could not countenance such a threat to his plans. 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 of the Cross, said, "May God save him!" Then, in 1914, Russia was forced to enter World War I. The peace-loving Tsar had no desire to go to war, but aggression against Orthodox Serbia by Germany left him no other honorable choice. It was from this war that neither the Royal Family nor Holy Russia herself would ever return. As soon as the war broke out, the Empress and the four Grand Duchesses (Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia) became nurses (Sisters of Mercy); and hospitals were opened at Tsarskoe 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). The Tsar spent much of his time at army headquarters, personally overseeing the war effort and visiting the troops to encourage them. At first the war went well, and the country was united heart, soul and body in patriotic fervor 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 Russian army began to suffer reversals and many men were lost. It was at this crucial time that the Bolsheviks, fueled by German money, went to work spreading discord among the troops and at home. The enemies of Holy Russia knew well that the greatest unifying factors in Russia were 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 hr 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. As Nicholas himself sadly wrote in his diary at that time: "All around me I see treason, cowardice and deceit." At this point, many people began to accuse the Tsar of being "cut off" and aloof. But the Tsar and his family, surrounded by elements foreign to the spiritual atmosphere of their home life, by the political machinations of selfish people and by whole segments of society grown cold towards God, could not be blamed for safeguarding their pearl of great price. As Archimandrite Constantine of Jordanville has written: "Need one be amazed that the Tsar shut himself off? ? This was the chaste guarding of his spiritual personality from an alienated out world, because not only the Tsar's co-workers, but even his kinsmen turned out to be alien to him."3 It should also be noted that the Emperor and Empress were very trusting and believed deeply in the essential goodness of humanity, created in the image and likeness of God. What grief it must have caused them when they finally realized into what depths of spiritual depravity many of their subjects had fallen!

4. Abdication And Imprisonment

Finally, on March 3, 1917, isolated from his family, bereft of friends, Nicholas II, the Anointed Tsar of the last Christian Empire, abdicated the throne, pushed to this decision against his better judgment by his faithless advisors. But, he wanted to know, was this wanted by all the people? Yes, they assured him. It was not true, however, since at that time almost all of Russia outside of St. Petersburg was still behind him. But he did no know this. And so, after an entire night spent in prayer, he laid aside the crown for what he felt was the good of his country. Later, seeing the result of this decision, he was to regret it to his dying day. At the time 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; "There is no sacrifice that I would not make for the real benefit of Russia and for her salvation." Though he no longer bore 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." On this very day, a miracle took place that attested to God's love for Russia. In the village of Kolomskoe, near Moscow, a woman had a dream in which she was told to locate a particular icon of the Mother of God. After much searching, it was discovered in the basement of the main church of this village, almost black with age and soot. When it was carefully cleaned, there appeared the "Reigning Icon" of the Theotokos, with the Mother of God depicted seated on a throne, her countenance both stern and sorrowful, the blessing Christ-Child in her lap. This icon soon thereafter miraculously renewed itself and the robe of the Theotokos 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. As it is well-known that the Tsar had a particularly strong reverence for the Mother of God, it is believed by many that it was his fervent prayer to Her that caused Her to make Her mercy to the Russian people known through this miracle; that She would henceforth reign over Holy Russia interceding for the faithful (This icon was preserved and has been recently returned to the Kolomskoe church). The Church reacted to Nicholas' abdication by providing the country with its missing father-figure. For the first time since the reign of Peter I (who had abolished the patriarchate) the Synod, owing to this time of great need, elevated Archbishop Tikhon, a courageous confessor against the godless tyranny that was soon to descend upon Russia, to the patriarchal throne. After the abdication, Nicholas made his way back to his family in Petersburg, all of whom were 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). The Royal Family was moved to Tobolsk in Siberia in August of 1917, as the provisional government began to collapse amidst Bolshevik ravings. Many Russians everywhere behaved as though in a trance, against their better instincts or even worse?as though possessed. The Tsar and his family remained in Tobolsk until the following April, taking comfort only in prayer and in each other. "In what consisted the meaning of [their] life? In fulfilling God's commandments. Where could support be found? In prayer, in awareness of the providential hand of God stretched out over it. It may have been that the only family experiencing complete calm and untroubled family happiness was the imprisoned Royal Family; so great was the adornment of its spiritual powers, so clear was its conscience, so near was God to it. This indeed was a 'home church.'"4 Even in the midst of their persecution they had one great consolation?there were still those who loved them, true godly people all over Russia who prayed for them; and many were those who, in defiance of the authorities, would pause in front of the house of their captivity and, making the sign of the Cross, pray for the safety and well-being of their sovereigns.


In April of 1918, Tsar Nicholas and his family and faithful servants were transferred to Ekaterinburg by the now victorious Bolsheviks. There they spent three hellish months of psychological torture?and yet they all retained their inward calm and state of prayer, so that not a small number of their tormentors were softened by these valiant Christian strugglers. As Pierre Gilliard, the French tutor to the Tsarevich Alexis recalled: "The courage of the prisoners was sustained in a remarkable way by religion. They had kept that wonderful faith which at Tobolsk had been the admiration of their entourage and which had given them such strength, such serenity in suffering. They were already almost entirely detached from this world The Tsaritsa and Grand Duchesses could often be heard singing religious airs, which affected their guards in spite of themselves. "Gradually these guards were humanized by contact with their prisoners. They were astonished at their simplicity, attracted by their gentleness, subdued by their serene dignity, and soon found themselves dominated by those whom they thought they held in their power. The drunken Avdiev found himself disarmed by such greatness of soul; he grew conscious of his own infamy. The early ferocity of these men was succeeded by profound pity."5 When this would happen, the inhuman Bolsheviks would replace the guards who had been so touched with crueler and more animalistic ones. Seldom being allowed to go to church, they nevertheless nourished their souls with home prayers and greatly rejoiced at every opportunity to receive the Divine Sacraments. Three days before their martyrdom, in the very house in which they were imprisoned, there took place the last church service of their suffering lives. As the officiating priest, Fr. John Storozhev, related: "'It appeared to me that the Emperor, and all his daughters too, were very tired. During such a service it is customary to read a prayer for the deceased. For some reason, the Deacon began to sing it, and I joined him? As soon as we started to sing, we heard the Imperial Family behind us drop to their knees' (as is done during funeral services)? Thus they prepared themselves without suspecting it, for their own death?in accepting the funeral viaticum. Contrary to their custom none of the family sang during the service, and upon leaving the house the clergymen expressed the opinion that they 'appeared different'?as if something had happened to them."6 Finally, after midnight on July 4, 1918, the entire family, with their doctor and two faithful servants, was brought to the basement of the house of their confinement under the pretext of moving them once again. There they were brutally and mercilessly murdered, the children as well as the adults, under the cover of darkness?for "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). The Tsar was shot as he stood forward to defend his family. Tsaritsa Alexandra was able to make the sign of the Cross before shoo, too, fell. Amid screams, the children were shot, clubbed and bayoneted, in an act of indescribably brutality. There is evidence that the murders were ritualistic; strange symbols (CABALISTIC) were found on the walls of the room where the crime took place. Thus ended the life of the gentle, Christ-like Tsar, as a sacrifice for the Orthodox Faith and for the Russian people, both of whom he so fervently loved and believed in. This crime was the beginning of an inhuman bloodbath which left tens of millions dead, the Church in the grip of atheists and Holy Russia entirely unrecognizable. Now it is up to us to pray to the twice-crowned Tsar-Martyr Nicholas and his family to intercede before the throne of God that the sins of the Orthodox might be forgiven. And may our Lord Jesus Christ grant us the strength of faith to follow the example of these true servants of His.......


God's acceptance of the pure sacrifice of the Tsar-Martyr was not long in manifesting itself through miraculous visions and intercessions. The first of these presented here actually occurred in 1917, the year before the Tsar's martyrdom, and was experienced by Metropolitan Makary of Moscow:

The Dream of Metropolitan Makary

I saw a field. The Saviour was walking along a path. I went after Him, affirming, "Lord I am following you!" And He, turning to me, replied: "Follow Me!" Finally we approached an immense arch adorned with stars. At the threshold of the arch the Saviour turned to me and said again: "Follow Me!" And He went into a wondrous garden, and I remained at the threshold and awoke. Soon I fell asleep again and saw myself standing in the same arch, and with the Saviour stood Tsar Nicholas. The Saviour said to the Tsar: "You see in My hands two cups: one which is bitter for your people and the other sweet for you." The Tsar fell to his knees and for a long time begged the Lord to allow him to drink the bitter cup together with his people. The Lord did not agree for a long time, but the Tsar begged importunately. Then the Saviour drew out of the bitter cup a large glowing coal and laid it in the palm of the Tsar's hand. The Tsar began to move the coal from hand to hand and at the same time his body began to grow light, until it had become completely bright, like some radiant spirit. At this I again woke up. Falling asleep yet again, I saw an immense field covered with flowers. In the middle of the field stood the Tsar, surrounded by a multitude of people, and with his hands he was distributing manna to them. An invisible voice said at this moment: "The Tsar has taken the guilt of the Russian people upon himself, and the Russian people are forgiven."7

The next two miracles took place in Serbia in the 1920's:

The Serbian people loved the Russian Tsar with all their heart. On March 30, 1930, there was published in the Serbian newspapers a telegram stating that the Orthodox inhabitants of the city of Leskovats in Serbia had appealed to the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church with a request to raise the question of the canonization of the late Russian Emperor Nicholas II, who was not only a most humane and purehearted ruler of the Russian people, but who also died with the glory of a martyr's death. Already in 1925 there had appeared in the Serbian press an account of what happened to an elderly Serbian lady who had lost two sons in the war and whose third son, who had disappeared without a trace, she considered also to have been killed. Once, after fervently praying for all who had been killed in the war, the poor mother fell asleep and saw in a dream the Emperor Nicholas II, who told her that her son was alive and was in Russia, where he had fought together with his two dead brothers. "You will not die" - said the Russian Tsar - "until you see your son." Soon after this dream, the old woman received news that her son was alive, and within a few months after this she joyously embraced him alive and well when he returned from Russia. On August 11, 1927, in the newspapers of Belgrade, there appeared a notice under the headline, "Face of Emperor Nicholas II in the Monastery of St. Naum on Lake Ochrid." It read as follows: "The Russian painter S. F. Kolesnikov was invited to paint the new church in the ancient Serbian Monastery of St. Naum, being given complete creative freedom in adorning the interior dome and walls. While completing this, the artist thought of painting on the walls of the church the faces of fifteen saints, to be placed in fifteen ovals. Fourteen faces were painted immediately, but the place for the fifteenth long remained empty, since some kind of inexplicable feeling compelled Kolesnikov to wait for a while. Once at dusk he entered the church. Below, it was dark, and only the dome was cut through with the rays of the setting sun. As Kolesnikov himself related later, at this moment there was an enchanting play of light and shadows in the church, and all around seem unearthly and singular. At this moment the artist saw that the empty oval which he left unfinished had become animated and from it, as from a frame, looked down the sorrowful face of Emperor Nicholas II. Struck by the miraculous apparition of the martyred Russian Tsar, the artist stood for a time as if rooted to the spot, seized by a kind of paralysis. Then, as he himself describes, under the influence of a prayerful impulse, he leaned the ladder against the oval, and without making with charcoal the outline of the wondrous face, with brushes alone he made the layout. He could not sleep the whole night, and, hardly had the first daylight appeared than he went to the church and in the first morning rays of the sun was already sitting high on the ladder, working with such a fever as he had never known. As he himself writes: "I painted without a photograph. In the past I several times saw the late Emperor close up, while giving him explanations at exhibitions. His image imprinted itself in my memory."8 The following vision was seen in 1971 by a certain Basil, a spiritual son of Archbishop Leonty of Chile of blessed memory, who had reposed that same year, at the time when the church was discussing the glorification of the New Martyrs of Russia:

At the beginning of this dream I saw myself in a huge temple not built by human hands. On the right kliros for quite a distance was a huge crowd of people dressed in white; I could not make out their faces. Around me there was a quiet, heartrending singing, although I couldn't see anyone there. Then both sides of the altar swung open and from them began to come out holy hierarchs and monks, fully vested in gentle blue vestments: among them I could recognize only St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia. From the door near me, among the passing bishops, Vladika Leonty passed by and stopped near me, saying: "You, brother Basil, were called and you did come. You know we have a great celebration here today!" "What kind of celebration, Vladika?" I asked. And he continued: "The heavenly glorification of the Tsar-Martyr!" And having bowed to me slightly, he continued on his way to the kathedra (in the center of the church). Finally, the holy doors of the altar opened, and out of them came the Tsar-Martyr, looking just as he appears on his official portraits during the first years of his reign?that is, very young. He was dressed in the Tsar's royal mantle, as during his coronation, and he wore the emperor's crown on his head. In his hands he held a large cross and on his pale face I noticed a slight wound, either from a bullet or some blow. He passed by me at an even pace, descended the step of the ambo, and went into the center of the church. As he neared the kathedra, the singing increased in volume, and when his foot touched the step of the kathedra, it became so loud that it seemed that a whole world of people had gathered and were singing with one breath.9 Then, there is this recent occurrence in 1988, also giving evidence of the sanctity of the Tsar-Martyr. In Switzerland, an Orthodox believer, Claude Lopez, wrote concerning a commemorative coin of the Tsar. He, having great veneration for the New Martyrs, especially the Tsar, had placed the coin in his icon corner, along with an icon of the Royal Martyr with a halo. One day he noticed moisture on the coin and discovered that it was exuding a quantity of fragrant myrrh, which had flowed into the box in which it was kept. This obvious miracle continued until October of 1988, and resumed briefly during Autumn of 1989. Finally, there is this testimony of a man from Spain:

I am 48 years old. I am Spanish-born from Barcelona. My name is Mateo Gratacs Vendrell. When the things I am going to mention happened, I was not a member of the Orthodox Church. Now, through God's mercy, I've become a member (August 1989). During four years I had had a pain in the loins and in the belly on the right side. I consulted various doctors and went through the usual routine (x-rays, ecography, etc., and analyses). All the results were negative. It was deduced that my pain was psychosomatic (psychological). To calm me down, I was treated through acupuncture and laser, by in vain; my pain was still there. I was desperate. One night as I was experiencing again acute pain, I started reading. To mark my page I had put a portrait of Tsar Nicholas (his icon, in fact). I looked at the icon and he (the Tsar) looked at me. I started asking him to pray to Christ our Lord; for having suffered during the last days of his life, he would have compassion. I accepted the pain hat I had but I could not accept the fact that I was "mad," because I knew that my pains were real. On the next day, after that very night, as I was on my way to a job, a client who is also a friend of mine asked how I was and upon knowing that I was still suffering, he asked whether I had consulted Dr. P. I answered no. He told me to go and see him on his behalf. I went there on the next day. When he examined me he said that there was nothing psychosomatic; I had an invisible (on the radio) kidney stone. I underwent a "natural treatment" and the stone went out naturally after one month. During this period of time I prayed to the Lord to remember me because of my love for the Tsar. I promised to Tsar Nicholas that I would distribute and make known his icon as a "moleben" for the mercy he showed to the poor man who suffered for four years and saw his problem solved in less than a month through his intercession. THANK YOU SAINT NICHOLAS II, I AM VERY THANKFUL. Mateo Gratacs Vendrell 5 Sept., 1989 Barcelona, Spain

7. Recent Developments In Russia

Throughout the long, torturous years of Soviet persecution of the Church and her believers there has always existed a faithful group that has quietly preserved the memory of the Royal Martyrs as a "leaven" of national conscience. This so irked the communist authorities that in 1977, during the Brezhnev era, the Ipatiev house, where the Royal Family was martyred and which had become a place of pilgrimage, was blown up and the site razed. Then, an astounding discovery was made: in 1979, writer and former detective Geli Ryabov located, after extensive research, the holy relics of Tsar Nicholas and his co-sufferers. Due to fear of the government, however, Ryabov waited until 1989 to reveal this sacred find to the public (See Ryabov interview, The Orthodox Word, Vol. 26, No. 4, p. 226). Gradually the Russian conscience has begun to awaken. Memorial services to the Tsar have been held across the country; one of which, at the Donskoy Monastery, was even televised (There was present an icon of the Tsar-Martyr as well as a pre-revolutionary imperial flag). Voices in the Russian press have openly brought up the question of "national gilt" for the death of their Tsar, which they say must somehow, through acts of repentance, be expiated. This year, in Leningrad, there has been an exhibition of more than 240 photographs of the Romanovs in a state history museum. Organized by the Radonezh Spiritual Enlightenment Society, it is described as intending to promote spiritual rebirth. Tens of thousands of people have enthusiastically attended. At the time, a privately published 30-page pamphlet on the Martyrs quickly sold out 200,000 copies. Thousands of people attending the exhibition have also signed a petition calling for the city to be returned to its original name of St. Petersburg. Finally, in an amazing development, two cherished sites have been returned to believers. Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow recently re-consecrated the Uspensky (Dormition) Cathedral in the Kremlin, which for four centuries was used for the coronation of tsars and the enthronement of patriarchs. He stated that this marked the revival of Russia's spiritual and moral ideals. And, miraculously, the site of the Ipatiev house in Ekaterinburg has been given to the Church as a memorial shrine, in response to a multitude of letters demanding this. As Tass, the Soviet news agency has reported, "So far there is only a wooden cross on the spot, but according to Russian Orthodox Church tradition it should be replaced with a chapel or a church."

8. Epilogue

The significance of the life and martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II for our times can hardly be overestimated. As the last anointed Orthodox monarch in history, his abdication and death signaled the end of the Byzantine Era of Christianity. For the first time since St. Constantine the Great followed the sign of the Life-Giving Cross and led his subjects to the saving grace of Orthodoxy, Christendom is left without an earthly symbol and protector. The faithful were driven back into the catacombs?in a sense, entering a second time into the womb which gave them birth, there to be spiritually purified and "born again." "The Holy Apostle Paul in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, writes: 'The mystery of iniquity is already in action but is not fulfilled up to today, until there be taken away from the midst he who restraineth' (II Thessalonians 2:7). Our spiritual writer, Bishop Theophan the Recluse, and others explain that by this' he who restraineth' one can understand the power of the Tsar."10 The Orthodox Tsar was "the bearer of the consciousness that the Supreme authority should be obedient go God, should receive sanctification and strength from Him to follow God's commandments. He was a living incarnation of faith in the Divine Providence that works in the destinies of nations and peoples and directs Rulers faithful to God into good and useful actions? The battle against him was closely bound up with the battle against God and faith."11 Looking back, and at the present, we can clearly see that since the removal of "he who restraineth" the power of Satan is no longer held back. We stand as horrified witnesses to the unleashing of evil which has occurred since 1917 in all aspects of life. The world is rushing to embrace and enthrone antichrist in a way that was not possible before. Instead of the visible manifestation of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on earth, we see warring "jurisdictions" outstripping each other in worldliness, division over the "calendar question" (since 1923), and the selling out of the soul of the Church through "Sergianism" and the ecumenical movement. In the world today examples of godlessness abound?nuclear weapons, dangerous genetics experiments, pollution, wars, famines and terrible new diseases In the realm of morality, shameless excesses are committed. Millions of unborn children are slaughtered each year. Perversity has become an accepted "choice." Drug use is killing off young people, who are listening to so-called music with satanic overtones. And one could go on. This has happened because people have lost Jesus Christ in their hearts. There is no Christian nation, no right-believing ruler to set the tone. Divided and scattered, we are easy prey for the fallen spirit of the world. However, our merciful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will, in His lovingkindness, grant forgiveness to those with a repentant heart. The enormous sin of regicide still lies heavily upon the consciences of all Orthodox Christians and will not be lifted until the crime is both recognized and deeply repented of by the whole of Christendom, which allowed it. Now in our own time, this is beginning to happen. In the Soviet Union today, over three-fourths of all newly born children are being baptized (compared to less than one-fourth in the U.S.). Belief in communism has completely crumbled and a spiritual revival of enormous magnitude is occurring Russia at this moment. It is certainly not insignificant that the name and image of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas is intimately bound up with this rebirth. Many saints and righteous ones have predicted that there would be a last flowering of true Christianity in Russia and over the whole world before the end of time. Holy Russia has yet a word to say to the world, and the prayers of intercession of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas will play no small part in this. Although we have no earthly Christian emperor to lead us, care for us and protect us, we do have the divinely-crowned Martyr to intercede for us before the throne of the Heavenly King. monk Zachary

Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas, Pray To God For Us

Homily Before A Memorial Service For The Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco

Forty years ago, a single day saw the collapse of the greatness and glory of the Russian State, a bulwark of peace throughout the whole world. The signature of the Sovereign, the Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich, on the act of abdication from the Throne,is a historical boundary separating Russia's great and glorious past from her present dark and cruel circumstances. The entire weight of the present regime's evil and its reordering of life is aimed at honest, well-intentioned and devout people, and the whole nation lies in oppression and constant fear. People are afraid of their own thoughts, thoughts they have not expressed aloud; they are afraid that what they are thinking might be reflected in their facial expressions. What happened that day, forty years ago? Apostasy from God's Anointed, apostasy from an authority submissive to God, apostasy from the oath of fidelity to the Anointed Sovereign, given before God, and the giving over to him to death. He who had devoted all his strength in God's name to the service of Russia was deprived of authority, and then also of freedom. For decades the dark forces of evil carried on a struggle against God's Anointed, against the ruling authority faithful to God. These same forces also killed the Emperor Alexander II,the Tsar-Liberator. This crime sobered the people, it shook the entire country, and that moral up surge gave Emperor Alexander III, the Peacemaker, the opportunity to rule Russia with a strong arm. Russia enjoyed two decades of peaceful life and development. Then a new conspiracy arose for the overthrow of the Royal Throne. It was a conspiracy of Russia's enemies. Within Russia itself there was a struggle against her very essence, and, having destroyed the Throne, Russia's enemies even obliterated her name. Now the whole world can see the close connection between the Royal authority, faithful to God, and Russia. When the Tsar ceased to be - Russia ceased to be. The struggle against the Tsar and Russia was carried out by concealed godlessness, which later revealed itself openly. Such was the essence of the struggle against the Tsar and Russia, against the foundation of her life and historical development. Such are the meaning and aim of that struggle, which perhaps not everyone realized - those who were its accomplices. Eveything filthy and paltry and sinful which could be found in the human soul was summoned against theTsar and Russia. All of this, with all its might, rose up in struggle against the Royal Crown, which was crowned by a cross, for Royal service is bearing of the Cross. People always rise up against the Cross by means of slander and falsehood, doing the devil's work, for, according to the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, "When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it " (St. John 8:44). Everything was roused up againstthe most meek, pure and abundantly-loving Tsar, so that at the terriblehour of the struggle against him he would remain alone. Filthy slanders were spread before hand against the Tsar and his family, so that the people would grow cool towards him. Faithfuless allies took part in the conspiracy. When the Sovereign was in need of moral support, his closestassociates did not provide it and violated their oath. Some took part inthe conspiracy; others, out of weakness, counseled abdication. The Tsarremained completely alone, surrounded by "treachery, baseness andcowardice." From the day of the abdicatio, every thing began to collapse. It could not have been otherwise. The one who united everything, who stood guard for the Truth, was overthrown. A sin was committed, and now sin had easy access. In vain do some wish to separate February from October,* the one was direct consequence of the other. In those March days, Pskov became the Tsar Gethsemane, and Ekaterinburg-his Golgotha. Tsar Nicholas died as a martyr, with unshakeable faith and patience, having drunk the cup of suffering to the dregs. The sin against him and against Russia was perpetrated by all who in one way or another acted against him, who did not oppose, or who merely by sympathizing participated in those events which took place forty years ago. That sin lies upon everyone untiit is washed away by sincere repentance. In raising up prayers for the reposeof his soul, we pray also for Tsars Paul I and Alexander II, who were likewise slain in March. And we pray for the forgiveness of the Russian people of the grave sin of betrayal and regicide. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil. Before us, before the Russian people, lies the path of resurgence-which is the path of consciousness of sin and repentance. For the rebirth of Russia, all political and other programs of unification are in vain: what Russia needs is the moral renewal of the Russian people. We must pray for the forgiveness of our sins and for mercy on our homeland, just as the Lord God freed Israel from the Babylonian captivity and restored the ruined city of Jerusalem. *Many attribute the Russian Revolution to the Bolsheviks, who seized power in October (.S.) 1917. Archbishop John and others point out that the groundwork for the Revolution was laid much earlier, as evidenced by the lack of support given the Tsar the time of the February uprisings, which precipitated his forced abdication in March. -pub.

A Prayer to The Tsar Martyr

Holy passion-bearer Tsar Martyr Nicholas! The Lord has chosen thee as His anointed one to judge with mercy and righteousness thy people and to be the guardian of the Orthodox Kingdom. This royal service and the care for souls thou hast completed with the fear of God. Testing thee as gold in the furnace, the Lord has allowed bitter sorrows to come upon thee, as to the much suffering Job, by depriving thee of thy royal throne and sending upon thee martyric death. Having meekly endured all this, like a true slave of Christ, thou art partaking of the highest glory at the Throne of the God of All, together with the Holy Martyrs, the holy Tsarina Alexandra, the holy youth Crown Prince Alexis, and the holy princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia and with the faithful servants of thine, as well as with the holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth and with all the Royal Martyrs and the Holy Martyr Barbara. For as having great boldness before Christ King, for whose sake thou hast endured everything, pray with us, that the Lord might forgive the sin of thy people, who did not stop thy slaughter, as King and Anointed One of God, that the Lord will deliver the suffering land of Russia from the fierce and godless ones, who came upon it because of our sin and apostasy, and that He will restore the throne of Orthodox Tsars, and to us will grant forgiveness of sins and will instruct us on every good deed, that we might acquire humbleness, meekness and love, as these Martyrs have done, that we will be vouchsafed the Heavenly Kingdom, where together with thee and all the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, we might glorify Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen materials

1 Bishop Nektary Kontzevich, "The Mystical Meaning of the Tsar's Martyrdom," The Orthodox Word, Vol. 24, Nos. 5 & 6, p. 327. 2 Archpriest Michael Polsky, The New Martyrs of Russia, p. 112. 3 Archimandrite Constantine, "Guide to Salvation: For the 100th Anniversary of the Tsar Martyr's Birthday," Orthodox Life, 1968, No. 3, p. 4. 4 Ibid., p. 5. 5 Pierre Gilliard, Thirteen Years at the Russian Court, p. 284. 6 Polsky, op. cit., p. 122. 7 Fr. Seraphim Rose, "Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II," The Orthodox Word, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 152-153. 8 Ibid., pp. 153-155 9 Ivan Andreyev, Russia's Catacomb Saints, pp. 602-603. 10 Kontzevitch, op. cit., p. 327. 11 Archbishop John Maximovitch, "Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II," The Orthodox Word, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 185. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY Andreyev, Ivan, Russia's Catacomb Saints, Platina, California, St. Herman of Alaska Press, 1982. Buxhoeveden, Baroness Sophie, The Life and Tragedy of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, London and New York, Longmans, Green & Co., 1918. Gilliard, Pierre, Thirteen Years at the Russian Court, London, Hutchnson & Co. Graham, Stephen, Russia in Division. ? ? ? ? Undiscovered Russia, London, John Lane Co. Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar, 1914-1916, New York, McBride & Co., 1924. Lyons, Marvin, Nicholas II, The Last Tsar, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1974. Nicholas II: Letters of the Tsar to the Tsaritsa, ed. by C.E. Vulliamy, tr. by A. L. Hynes, Gordon Press, New York, 1976. Orthodox Life, periodical, Jordanville, New York, articles in the following issues: 1951, No. 1; 1955, Nos. 5,6; 1966, No. 4; 1968, No. 4; 1981, Nos. 4, 5; 1982, Nos. 2, 4, 5; 1988, No. 4. Orthodox Word, The, periodical, Platina, California, articles in the following issues: 1968, No. 4; 1974, Nos. 3, 4; 1983, No. 6; 1988, Nos. 5, 6. Polsky, Archpriest Michael, The New Martyrs of Russia, Montreal, Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev Press, 1972. Trewin, J. C., House of Special Purpose, New York, Stein & Day, 1975. Vorres, Ian, The Last Grand Duchess, London, Hutchinson & Co., 1964. Vyrubova, Anna, Memories of the Russian Court, New York, McMillan & Co., 1923. Wilton, Robert, Last Days of the Romanovs, London, Thorton Butterworth Ltd., 1920.

Reprinted from The Orthodox Word, Vol. 26, No. 4 (153) July-August, 1990

Kontakion to the Tsar Martyr Nicholas

O passion-bearer chosen from birth and incarnation of the love of Christ, * we sing thee praises as one who did love above all thy fatherland. * As thou hast boldness before the Lord, * enlighten our darkened minds and hearts that we may cry to thee: * Tropar ion, Tone 5 Thou didst meekly endure the loss of an earthly kingdom, * and bonds and many sufferings from the fighters against God, * witnessing of Christ even unto death, * O great Passion-bearer and God crowned Tsar Nicholas. * Wherefore Christ God did crown thee and thy Queen and children with a martyr's crown in Heaven; * do thou entreat Him to have mercy on the Russian land and to save our souls.

Holy Tsar Martyr Nicholas!

Pray unto God for us sinners!

Holy Tsaritsa Martyress Aleksandra.

Holy Icons belonging to The Imperial Martyrs, found at the Ipatiev House after their murder.

The Holy Family Altar in the House in Tobolsk, where the Imperial Family were being held before they were transferred to Ekaterinburg.

Another Short Account Of The Life Of God's Anointed Sufferer Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

Very soon after Russia accepted the seed of the Gospel (in the year 988) her soil was sanctified by the blood of martyrs. The pure young sons of Grand Duke Vladimir, Boris and Gleb, accepted death at the hands of a political assassin in order to save their people from civil war and terrible upheaval. They became sufferers for righteousness (I Peter 3:14); being conformed to the innocent suffering of Christ, they became true "Passion-Bearers.As in the beginning of Holy Russia, so at the end: it pleased God to reveal Himself to the Russian people through the innocent suffering of Saints Boris and Gleb; now, in these latter times, He has again unveiled Himself through the purifying suffering of a Tsar, the Anointed of God and supreme Protector of Christ's Church in Russia, Nicholas II.Western writers do not understand Orthodox monarchy. And because America rebelled against the King of England; Americans in particular have no sympathy for the idea of Monarchy. Indeed! , it is almost a sacred tradition to applaud any nation that "comes to its senses" and overthrows its king! The Tsars of Russia are viewed in this same man- centered rather than God-centered light.But; in Orthodox Russia there once existed a society composed not of "church and state" (such as existed in medieval Europe) but of "government and priesthood"-a holy commonwealth. The Tsar was never placed outside the Church or "above the law," but always within the Church and subject to the law of Christ. He was very much the "servant of the Gospel": he was required to live by it and rule by it in order to be worthy of the blessings of God upon himself, his family, and his nation. Such a righteous Father to his people was the last Tsar, Nicholas II. And now, in this year of grace, 1981, in spite of more than 60 years of Marxist deception, it pleases God to reveal Nicholas and those that suffered with him, to the Church and to the whole world (if only the world will hear it!)! .Blessed Archbishop John Maximovitch has written: "Why was Tsar Nicholas II persecuted, slandered and killed? Because he was Tsar, Tsar by the Grace of God. He was the bearer and incarnation of the Orthodox world view that the Tsar is the servant of God, the Anointed of God, and that to Him he must give an account for the people entrusted to him by destiny..."In Orthodox teaching, Tsar Nicholas was the last representative of lawful Christian authority in the world, the last one to restrain the mystery of iniquity (2 Thess. 2:27). (And, indeed, from the time of his martyrdom can be dated the unprecedented lawlessness, godlessness, and apostasy of this final age: the complete unleashing of the forces of darkness, which now threaten to complete ly engulf the world as a preparation for the reign of Antichrist.)An Orthodox monarch receives his authority from God, but by what means and in what manner does it come to him? Authority to govern in the Name of God and perform the! highest earthly ministry descends upon a Tsar in the Sacrament of Anointing, at the time of his coronation. After the crowning he is told that "this visible and material adornment of thy head is to thee a manifest sign that the King of Glory, Christ, invisibly crowneth thee." The Anointing takes place after the reading of the Gospel in Divine Liturgy. The chief hierarch anoints the Tsar with Holy Chrism on the brow, eyes, nostrils, lips, ears, breast, and hands, saying each time: "The Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit."Thus, Nicholas II received his authority through a Sacrament. The Holy Spirit was upon him! "By rejecting the Tsar, the people blasphemed the Sacrament and trampled upon the grace of God" {Illustratted History of the Russian Peop1e).In 1917 Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow saw in a vision the Saviour speaking to Tsar Nicholas: "You see," said the Lord, "two cups in my hands: one is bitter for your people, and the other is sweet for you." In the vision t! he Tsar begged for the bitter cup. The Saviour then took a large glowing coal from the cup and put it in the Tsar's hands. The Tsar's whole body then began to grow light, until he was shining like a radiant spirit. Then the vision changed to a field of flowers, in the middle of which Nicholas was distributing manna to a multitude of people. A voice spoke: "The Tsar has taken the guilt of the Russian people upon himself and the Russian people is forgiven." Nicholas him self once said: "Perhaps an expiatory sacrifice is needed for Russia's salvation. I will be that sacrifice. May God's will be done!He had a very strong sense of his destiny as an Orthodox ruler. Although he had an opportunity to flee the country with his family and seek refuge outside Russia, he and his Empress deliberately chose to stay and accept whatever awaited them. He had been born on the feast of the Prophet Job and because of this he often remarked to his advisors: "I have a secret conviction that ! I am destined for a terrible trial, that I shall not receive my reward on this earth." No wonder that our Russian Bishops Abroad wrote (in 1968): "Job the Much-Suffering, on the day of whose commemoration the Tsar was born, said in his grievous suffering, concerning the day of his conception: 'As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year" (Job 3:6). Terrible was the night of the murder of the Tsar"! On that unspeakable night, "the prisoners were all in a deep sleep when they were awakened and ordered to dress in order to leave the city.... The Imperial Family descended to the basement where the Sovereign sat down, with his ill son, on a chair in the middle of the room. The Duchesses, the doctor, and three dedicated servants were seated around him. Every one was waiting for the signal to depart. At the executioner's announcement (which stunned all the prisoners) of the impending execution, the Empress succeede! d in crossing herself. She was killed instantly, together with the Sovereign. God spared them from hearing the groans of the Tsarevitch and the cries of the wounded Grand Duchess Anastasia. The first bullets did not bring death to the youngest ones and they were savagely killed with blows of bayonets and gun-butts and with shots at point-blank range. The imost innocent and ho1y had suffered the greatest torture"? (Illustrated Russian History).In the words of Fr. Dimitry.Dudko, one of the first of that wave of modern confessors to speak out against the betrayal of the Church in Russia: "The Tsar is a saint and, moreover, one of the greatest saints. O great saint of Russia, Great-Martyr Nicholas, pray to God for us!" "St. Seraphim prophesied in clear words about the tragic fate foreordained by God for the Tsar who would be present at the Sarov solemnity of faith, when there would be Pascha in the midst of summer (the glorification of St. Seraphim in 1903). According to hi! s prophecy, if there would be repentance in the Russian people, God would yet have mercy on her, but first He would allow for a time the triumph of lawless men: the Tsar would be overthrown and killed, so that the people might know in experience what life was like under the Tsar anointed by God, and under the rule of men who have trampled underfoot the law of God. St Seraphim, by revelation from God, wrote in his own hand a letter to the Tsar who would come to Sarov and Diveyevo, entrusting it to his friend Motovilov, who gave it to Abbess Maria, who in turn handed it personally to Emperor Nicholas II in Diveyevo on July 20, 1903. What was written in the letter remains a secret, but one can suppose that the holy elder saw all that was to happen and warned against the frightful events to come...(Abbot Seraphim, Peking, 1920, in Orthodox Russia, 1981, No.1

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