The Last of the Romanovs?

Robert K. Massie, the author of the famous biography Nicholas and Alexandra, wrote a fascinating sequel several years ago entitled The Last of the Romanovs. I read both books, and thought that The Last of the Romanovs was exceptionally well-researched and well-documented. It recounts the rather remarkable story of how the relics of the Tsar Martyr Nicholas II and his family were discovered in the forest outside of Ekaterinberg several years ago. Subsequent DNA analysis of the relics-- using the closest surviving biological relatives of the Royal Martyrs (including the British royal family)-- confirmed beyond any reasonable scientific doubt that these relics were those of the Royal Romanov Martyrs.

I had an opportunity to venerate the relics of the Royal Martyrs at the Fortress of Sts. Peter and Paul in Petrograd in about 2003, shortly after they were enshrined there, in a ceremony that Patriarch Alexey II did not attend, as I recall. Hence, I am puzzled by these recent reports from Europe claiming that these relics are not those of the Royal Romanov Martyrs. Of course, I am not privy to any "inside" information, but anyone who has read The Last of the Romanovs will probably share my bewilderment about the recent claims regarding these relics. Hitherto, the only person I know who believed that the relics were inauthentic is a ROCOR parishioner from the Soviet Union who was very pro-Union ten years ago, and used to refuse to venerate the icon of the Royal Martyrs in our old ROCOR parish.

As a final note, when I was reading The Last of the Romanovs, the story of how these relics were discovered reminded me of many hagiographical stories from Orthodox Christian history about the often miraculous revelation of holy relics of the martyrs. I do recall thinking that "God is glorified in his saints," as I read this remarkable story. Of course, that, in and of itself, does not vouch for the relics' authenticity, but the whole account had a distinctly Orthodox Christian quality.

I wonder if the current stories circulating in the Russian Federation about the inauthenticity of these Romanov relics is part of an attempt to conceal the embarrassment of the Moscow Patriarchate regarding the obvious absence of their former chief hierarch, Patriarch Alexey II, at the historic enshrinement of the relics in the Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress. Is the Kremlin now planning a re-enshrinement ceremony of sorts with Patriarch Kyril, Vladimir Putin, and the Romanov heir as the masters of ceremony?


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir;

The absence of the Patriarch at this burial had nothing to do with authenticity or politics. The process of interring saints (which the Imperial family already were in ROCOR, but not by the Moscow Patriarchate) is different than the orthodox burial of orthodox pravoslavnie.

The Patriarchate rode a delicate line. Now that the bodies of Maria and Alexei have been recovered, I would not be surprised to see, in the next few years, the entire family disinterred and moved toa cathedral in their honor as saints (Ekaterinburg, ganina yama, or the church of the Feodorovsky Virgin at Tsarskoye Selo.)



Joanna said...

How can we trust the scientists who suffer ridicule and career destruction if they don't "find" what they are expected to find? Science is forever "proving" what is not true.

Science "has proven" that men come from apes and that the earth is billions of years old.

Nay, if the Romanovs want further investigation, there is a reason for it. And I trust their doubts over "science" any day.