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Father Demetrios Serfes
   Fr. Demetrios Serfes

O Lord Jesus Christ,
Son Of GOD,
Have Mercy,
Upon Me,
A Sinner!

"The Jesus Prayer"
Also known as
"The Prayer of the Heart"

Eastern Orthodox Spirituality
Portrait Of An Emperor

written for the 70th Anniversay of the Martyrdom of Tsar-Martyr 1918 - 1988
by John W. Ryder
(From Russia, Vol. III, No. 20, July, 1945)

Compiled by Father Demetrios Serfes

Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich II
Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich II

(Fr. Demetrios notes: The 17th of July, in the year 1998, will mark, or commemorate, the eightieth anniversery of the martyrdom of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and his beloved family of Russia. The Western World needs to fully understand Orthodox monarchy. In the Orthodox teaching, Tsar Nicholas was the last representative of lawful Christian authority in the world, the last one to retain the mystery of iniquity (II Thess. 2:27). Since the time of his holy martyrdom, the need for us all to "wake up", and pursue the "truths at hand", to fully understand the last Tsar, together with his family, becomes apparant . He was killed precisely for being an Orthodox Tsar-for his Orthodoxy! We also need to recognize the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas and his family have provided a cleansing for Russia and for us all, the world-over! Let us all spiritually cry out, the more with a single mouth and a single heart, to glorify Him from Whom is given every good thing and every perfect gift-God Who is wondrous in His Saints!)
It is my very great privilege, as an American, on this anniversary of the martyrdom of His Imperial Majesty, Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich II, Her Imperial Majesty, the Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna, His Imperial Highness, the Tsarevich Alexei Nicholaevich, and Their Imperial Hignesses, the Grand Duchesses Olga Nicholaevna, Tatiana Nicholaevna, Maria Nicholaenva, and Anastasia Nicholaevna, to bring to the attention of the American people some truthful facts about the last great Ruler of the Romanov Dynasty.

I do not think it wise just to give a biographical sketch, which one can read in any encyclopedia, nor do I fee that the life of Nicholas II requires an apologia, but rather in the form of an essay I would point out a few facts and try to present them in their proper light. It is extremely difficult, I would warn my American readers, to find a book printed in the American tongue which is unprejudiced, fair, or just, in its portrayal of Nicholas II and His reign.

I regret that I am compelled to write that most of the books one finds in our American libraries are malicious and vicious in their elements of propaganda, and are a part of an extensive and expansive propaganda, deliberately misrepresenting Old Russia and its rulers.

Christian IX, King of Dnemark, was called the Father-in-law of Europe. I recall a mural in the Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, which portrays Nicholas II as very young boy, part of a family group, showing the great family of the Danish King, among whom was the Princess Dagmar, later to become the Russian Tsaritsa Maria Feodorovna, mother of Nicholas II. I wish that many might see this mural, for then they could think of the Tsar Nicholas II as a human being, and could sympathize with him as a human being, notwithstanding the extremely exalted position to which he was later called as Tsar, the Anointed Ruler of All the Russians.

The Romanov Dynasty was elected by the people to be the God-anointed Tsars of All the Russias. The Romanovs did not by force usurp the throne of Russia, nor did they buy it.

On the twenty-first of February, 1613, the people gathered in the Square before the Kremlin, having passed through the Time of Trouble, which followed the deminse of the Tsar Ivan Vasilievich IV, and the brief reigns of Boris Godunov and Prince Vasily Shuisky, and the terrible invasions of the Poles, who were backing the Prentender, the false Dimitri, cried out, "We want Michael Romanov for Tsar!"

Two months later the Prince Pojarsky and Troubetskoy offered the Monomachos Crown to the newly-elected Tsar, symbol of His succession to and continuation of the Byzantine Imperium.

In spite of all adverse criticism, Nicholas II was a worthy successor to that Imperium, and was one of the great Tsars of the Romanov Dynasty.

As Tsarevich, Nicholas Alexandrovich II laid the cornerstone, with proper ceremony, as his first official act, of the Trans-Serberian Railroad.

On his twenty-eighth birthday, Nicholas Alexandrovich II, wearing the simple dark green uniform of a Colonel of the Preobrazhensky Guards, entered the Uspensky Cathedral within the Kremlin to receive the Imperial Crown of All the Russias. In his Cornonation Oath, Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich II swore to maintain the Holy Orthodox Faith, and to be responsible before God for Russia.

Nicholas II was a man with a deep sense of duty and took his Coronation Oath seriously. He felt that his great responsibility to God and to the Russian people, was to protect the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church and the Russian State.

The Tsar was much criticized by some because, during his reign, there were not so many balls and other social functions, but the fact is that the conscientious Tsar spent long, tedious hours at his administrative desk, performing the arduous duties which he felt imperative of his personal supervision.

Lincoln has been praised because he took a personal interest in simple, private individuals. Nicholas II had the identical compassion for humanity.

One day a watchmaker of Preluk, Issac Goldenberg, telegraphed the Tsar for permission to visit St. Petersburg to visit his sick son, a student. The Tsar personally wrote upon the telegram: "Grant without delay. The man's place is at the bedside of his ailing son."

We must remember that the nineteenth century was a period of transition and great unrest, of over-reliance on scientific knowledge, and revolution; for instance, Lenin had a naive veneration for electricity, and almost regarded "the powers of electrification" as supernatural.

As a boy Nicholas II has seen His liberal grandfather, Alexander II, who had freed the serfs, brought to his death by brutal assassination. This was proof enough that these revolutionists did not want progress, but merely power for themselves, which they finally obtained, and which we witness today as such an overwhelming threat to our present civilization.

Nicholas Alexandrovich II, notwithstanding his oath to preserve the ancient imperium, was not backward, as so often maliciously written, but tried to cooperate with the democratic trend of the times, and to bring the representatives of the people into the discussions of state affairs.

The Greeting and Message to the first Duma, Russian Parliament, was read in the Great Throne Room of the Winter Palace on the twenty-seventh day of April, 1906:

Celestial Providence that imposed upon Us the responsibility for the weal of Our country, has moved Us to summon the deputies of Our people for cooperation in legislative labors. Fervently believing in a glorious future for Russia, We welcome them as the representatives whom Our much-beloved subjects elected in accordance with Our command. Although difficult tasks await you, we are certain that love for your homeland and a burning desire to serve Russia will inspire and strengthen you. We, for Our part, shall steadfastly preserve the principles which were granted to you. We sincerely trust that you will consecrate all your strength to the service of the country so that you may ascertain the needs of the peasantry so near and dear to Our heart, and may plan ways of increasing education and national wealth. While bent upon your labors, you will constantly bear in mind that the dignity and happiness of the Empire must rest firmly upon order in accordance with the princilples of law. May Our sincere wishes find fulfillment, so that We may leave a happy, strong, well-ordered, and enlightened Empire to Our son. God's blessing be upon the labors now before Us, the State Council, and the Duma. May this day forever be a day of renewal of Russia's best forces. With the very best that is in you, embark, then, upon the lavors for which We have called you together and prove yourselves worthy of the confidence bestowed by Tsar and people. May God be with Us and with you!

But the same revolutionary forces, which had refused to cooperate with Alexander II and had assassinated him, in reward for His liberal gesture in freeing the serfs, again refused to cooperate with the grandson of that Tsar, Nicholas II. Instead of seeking the welfare of Russia, as the noble Tsar suggested in his opening speech from the throne, they spent their precious time in attacking the Imperial Family, and Ministers of State. Their desire was one, and that was to obtain the absolute concentration of power into their own selfish hands, such as we see exhibited by the despot Stalin today-in Stalin we almost hear repeated the terrible words of Rehoboam: "My father chastised you with whips, but I well chastise you with scorpions."

Nicholas II has been called the "Peace-loving Tsar," for, more than anything else, he longed for the happiness and contentment of the great peasant masses of Russia and of all Russians. He knew what happiness and contentment can be developed only where there exists PEACE.

On the twelfth of August, 1898, the Imperial Russian Government, at the suggestion of Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich II, proposed to all sovereign countries that in the future all difficulties be settled by an International Court of Arbitration to be established at The Hague. At this time, when so much is being made of Dumbarton Oaks and the San Francisco Charter, we should pause for a moment and think of this great Romanov Tsar, who proposed and even greater and more just plan to secure universal peace for mankind almost half a century ago! How little the people appreciate the efforts of the truly great; how readily the people is led astray by vicious and malicious propaganda- "Away with Him! Away with Him!" cried the mobs incited by their evil leaders, who could not bear the presence of Truth and Justice and Righteousness.

At the opening of the Second Duma, the Prime Minister, Peter Arkadievich Stolypin, later assassinated by the revolutionists, shouted at the unruly members, "You seek to create tremendous upheavals, but we seek to create a strong Russia."

In the Great Wolrd War I, the Tsar Nicholas II was faithful to his Allies, the United States, France, Great Britain, etc., etc., and refused under all circumstances to make a separate peace with the common enemy, Germany. This act of treason to the Allied Cause, the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, a seperate peace treaty with Germany, was made by the traitor bolsheviks, under the guidance and instigation of Trotsky (Leon Braunstein) and Lenin (Ulianov).

Nicholas Alexandrovich II was exemplary as a father and husband. He refused a state marriage and married for love. His bride was the lovely and gracious Alicia, Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England. Princess Alicia was baptized into the Holy Orthodox Catholic Faith as Alexandra Feodorovna, and remained a faithful daughter of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church until her brutal martyrdom at Ekaterinburg by the godless bolsheviks.

One must be moved and impressed by the tender devotion and happy family life of the Imperial Couple. Some writers have scoffed at this affectionate family life and called it bourgeois, but we must remind these writers that a happy family life is the second greatest blessing which God can bestow upon mankind. Until their martyrdom, the Imperial Family enjoyed the great blessing of God. Their home at Tsarskoye Selo was a resplendent example to the Nation of fidelity and devotion and the apex of human love.

The brutal and bloody martyrdom took place at Ekaterinburg during the night between the sixteenth and seventeenth of July, 1918. No Russian took a responsible part in this bloody deed.

Later, Red functionaries, the Chekists, were to have a memorandum come to light which read: "During the night we shot the Romanov Family and their confidants, eleven people altogether. I remained int he cellar the whole time. First, the four daughters of the former Tsqr, Olga, Maria, Tatiana, and Anastasia, were brought in. They conducted themselves quietly and enough, although it is possible that they were weeping. We shot all four in quick succession. Then Nicholas II was brought into the cellar with his wife and son. When the former Tsaritsa glimpsed the bodies of her daughters, she screamed loudly, and rush to the side of her boy. We did not waste much talk on her, and shot her immediately. At the same time some of the men pulled the trigger and Nicholas fell to the floor. The last of them, the little Tsarevich Alexei, dropped after two shots, but it was necessary to drill four more bullets into him." (Editors notes: this is the first time we heard this account of the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II, and his family). Thus ended the act of martyrdom of the Last Tsar and his Family of the Romanov Dynasty.

In the requiem service of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church:

"Again we pray for the repose of the souls of the departed servants of God, the Blessed Nicholas Alexandrovich and all Orthodox warriors, and the Imperial Family, and all who have laid down their life in battle for the Faith and Fatherland, and that they may be forgiven every transgression, both voluntary and involuntary." (Source: Orthodox Life, St. Job of Pochaev Brotherhood, Holy Trinity Monastery, New York., Vol. 38, No. 4 July-August 1988., pp. 23-27).


Glory Be To GOD For All Things!