Russian Orthodox Church Of the Ascension, Ykaterinburg
This Web Site Is Humbly Dedicated To John Wilson Smith & Family of England
This web site is also in memory of Dr. Eugene Botkin, Anna Demindova, Alexei Trupp & Ivan Karinotov
A Letter From Father Demetrios
Serfes On The Burial of
Tsar Nicholas II & Family
July 15-18, 1998
by Father Demetrios Serfers
Addressed by e-mail to Laura Astorian
INTRODUCTION : The secret murder on the night of July 4/17, 1918 of the Russian Sovereign, Emperor Tsar Nicholas II along with the young heir Tsarevich Alexis, the Tsaritsa Empress Alexandra, the four Princesses, and those devoutly serving them the family doctor Eugene Botkin, Alexandra's maid Anna Demindova, Nicholas' valet Alexei Trupp and cook Ivan Karinotov.
The murder was committed without a trial by foreigners on orders of the Soviet Government. The people expressed their indignation albeit timidly and not at all corresponding to the enormity of the crime. The millions upon millions of Russian people murdered by the same Soviet's became like the Tsar, the Redemption for the loss of faith and piety in the nation.
We must humbly consider that the essence of the Tsar's power was not based on a pact, but rather his total devotion to serve the people. "That God may make you wise and place upon you this great service..." (from the prayer that the Metropolitan reads on behalf of the people during the coronation ceremony). Most important, the crown bearer in this case Tsar Nicholas II realizes his responsibility before God. This situation obliged all the people of the government to safeguard the inviolability of the Tsar's rule. (cf. I Kin. 10:1; II Kin. 1:14).
The Memorial Service
For The Tsar & Family
Inside The Church
Of The Ascension,
Upon the burial of the Holy Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and his beloved family, as well with his devoted friends, which actually began on 15 July, in Ykaterinburg and concluded in St. Petersburg at the Church of Ss. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral on 18 July 1998.
Several kind people who love the Royal Martyrs e-mailed myself and asked my reactions to this burial the Royal Funeral and Imperial Burial.
One such person was Laura Astorian who had a web page and wanted to expand it and wrote to me for suggestions and guidelines. Laura's web site is: "The Imperial Family". Laura and many others have set up web sites to honor the Royal Martyrs of Russia long before the burial and funeral. Some new web sites are now being developed which makes my soul "Rejoice in the Lord our God"!
I humbly wrote by e-mail the following letter to Laura Astorian in regards to my reactions to the Royal Burial and Imperial Funeral of Tsar Nicholas II and his beloved family:
19 July 1998
I pray you're doing well, and may God Bless you today and always!
My heart truly rejoiced and my soul was uplifted to see your beautifully presented pages on the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia - it's outstanding, expressed with true humility, peaceful, and done with much love and dedication, honoring the Royal Martyrs and those who love them...
I am very pleased, and can assure you that I shall refer your pages to others, and share this spiritual beauty of the Royal Martyrs. I know that they will be as happy as I am this morning before I go to Church.
You did an excellent job, and you are the first to present up to date and much needed material. It was especially moving for me to see the actual royal caskets of the Tsar Martyr and the Tsarina Martyr - I was so pleased to see these photos, believe me, as I had not seen these before. I will continue to review your most honorable and respectful web site as the day proceeds, and I will send you suggestions, as you requested, later in the afternoon when I return from Church services.
However in the meantime you wanted my reactions to the "Royal Funeral of the Imperial Romanov Family And Friends".
Once the actual Royal Funeral began on July 15th in Ykaterinburg every waking hour was overwhelming to me, and I kept thanking God that I am living in this age when this happened to our precious and loving friends the Royal Martyrs of Russia. My earnest love for the Royal Martyrs grew much stronger as all I could think to myself was 'thank you precious friends for your love'. To suddenly see the first photo of the honor guards
standing in front of the bones and the special small royal caskets made out simple wood (which was humbly done and which truly reflected the humility of this beloved family)
Coffin of Royal Martyr
Tsar Nicholas II
(St. Petersburg Times)
I wept!!! I could not move, and I could not start to share this newly released photo with others.
As I began to regain control of my feelings I still kept weeping as I e-mailed this photo to several friends, and they were just as moved as I was when I first saw it. Then later on, I saw a photo of the Royal Martyrs in the Russian Orthodox Church in Ykaterinburg. All of a sudden my heart rejoiced that these precious bones were no longer on a table, no longer in a lab, no longer in a morgue, no longer being flown all over the world to be subjected to DNA testing... Now they were in a Church! I had to sit back and reflect, then stand up and make the sign of the Cross and thank God so much that at last our precious and loving friends have found peace. Peace for not only this family but also for us all too.
I couldn't rest once I knew that the Royal Funeral had begun on July 15th, and I became quite drained. But as the next day proceeded and I knew the bodies were now in St. Petersburg (I saw another procession photo on the internet and in several newspapers). I was completely at ease with more peace then I had ever imagined! Then I heard that President Boris Yeltsin and his wife would attend, and I was most gratified because I had often heard that the President's wife was a pious Russian Orthodox Christian and I suppose that she helped influence her husband to change his mind. I suppose, too, that she also wanted to attend the Royal Funeral.
As the days proceeded, and I knew the hour the funeral began, I went to Church with several other faithful members to pray, later returning to continue to observe the unfolding events, determined to be fully aware of actually what was happening. It continued to be a spiritual joy for me knowing our precious and loving friends were given a honorable funeral, and that at last they would have their own peace.
However at the same time it was 'shocking' for me to see and to learn that many people living in Russia were still most dishonoring and disrespectful to what was happening around them... and did not fully spiritually grasp the holiness of this great event in our time. Reports kept coming out from the Duma which also were not respectful, and this indicated to me that a certain percentage of the Duma still has communist believers... One such comment was: the Tsar deserved to be shot!
Then, finally, on July 17th, and with great spiritual joy, I saw the ABC (NBC said nothing about the Royal Funeral to my dismay) nightly news which actually showed the interior of the Church funeral in St. Petersburg... I had to stand up and fold my hands in prayer... I felt I was at the funeral myself now. Oh I wanted to go so badly, but I just had to celebrate three funerals myself for parish members who reposed in the Lord, so it seemed our God wanted me to stay with my parish members. I finally understood why I could not really go to this Royal Funeral after all!
Then yesterday I read an account in the New York Times (July 18th) and the London Times (July 18th) that confirmed, to my great sadness, that no names were mentioned at this Royal Funeral! I did another memorial service again at the church and spoke the names out as loudly as I could, with tears, as I know that our Lord God heard this service and names. Afterwards I also did an Akathist service to the Tsar Martyr and his family.
I was very wounded and hurt that the Patriarch of Russia did not go to the Royal Funeral, and continued to insult the Royal Martyrs by agreeing with the communist leaders and some believers that 'these are not the bones'! Christians know well that a nation wide repentance and worthy extolment of the struggles of the murdered Royal Family could wipe away this great sin from the nation's conscience.
I had felt that the Patriarch should of had reconsider and call for 'repentance' and 'renewal' among the faithful. Even earlier the Patriarch in his report about the burial of the Royal family would not even mention 'one name' and called them very sadly 'the Ykaterinburg remains'??? I was truly trying very much to treat the Patriarch with respect, but disappointed in him.
I now understand that he celebrated some kind of memorial service in which he mentioned no names, north of Moscow, together with a few members of the Romanov Family who are in disagreement with those who did go to the Royal Funeral. What did the rest of the Synod of Bishops do at this time? "Touch not my anointed ones, and deal not wrongfully with my prophets" (I. Chronicles 16:22). Now I hear they want to rebury Lenin and I suddenly said to myself 'the Patriarch will attend'!!! I wondered if the the New York Times and the rest of the media would report this as a Christian burial???
Lenin did not believe in God, and he ordered millions of millions of killings (including the Tsar and his family along with his friends) of the faithful Russian Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox Christians. Bishops (including Patriarch Tikhon) were martyred, priest were martyred, monks were martyred, nuns were martyred, men, women and children martyred... concentration camps grew until we seemed to have more concentration camps than churches, which, too were blown up and destroyed! I expect to see the Patriarch at Lenin's funeral, (his reburial) if and when this ever takes place.
Finally I kept telling myself that at last the faithful and loving friends of these Royal Martyrs can now go to the tomb and pray... and that I believe, with great spiritual joy, that more miracles will now begin to happen as finally the family has found a resting place, God and His great love will surely reveal this.
I also feel that I need to consider that publishing is now a very important activity, and I have now decided to publish some of my web pages - this has already been earlier suggested by many friends. I also need to continue to give more accounts of facts and further information about the Royal Martyrs, and continue to undertake research into them (as I have done for almost four decades).
I now want to know where the remains are of the precious and God-loving Tsarevich Alexis and the other missing child (Russia tells us the Tsarevich Alexis and Grand Duchess Marie where not buried at the Royal Funeral, and then America tells us the Tsarevich Alexis and Grand Duchess Anastasia is missing). These most beloved children that is Royal Child-Martyrs of the Tsar and Tsarina must be found and accounted! I will pursue this too! We have two missing Royal Children and what is going on to try to discover them? I think you too should ask the same question: Where are the 'Missing Royal Children of the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas and Family' I, of course, believe they are still buried somewhere in the forest of Ykaterinburg and nowhere else.
More historical information must be searched out, and more truths revealed. I will continue onwards with my prayers and constant research for the discovery of the "Missing Child-Martyrs of Russia"! I will be most pleased if we either find them or fully understand what happened to them (that is, an informative truthful account of their martyrdom's) and can convey that information to those who love these Royal Child-Martyrs and all the family now buried. Two spaces are waiting for these Royal Child-Martyrs. I am also so very pleased and spiritually joyful that new, dedicated web sites are now being posted, and that I am able to assist with some of them.
I also think it would be honorable to mention on your web site the gracious and loving Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth and the New Martyr Barbara and those with them. I will have a dedication to them very soon, as I am waiting for my Internet Assistant Raymon David who so kindly helps me post these web sites, in which I had prepared on their holy martyrdom, July 18th.
The Royal Imperial Funeral is over - but is it? Not finally until the precious and loving children of these present Royal Martyrs are revealed to us. I want the truth of where the Missing Child-Martyrs are, and the truth must be told to us as to really what happened to them? Once again I repeat that I do not believe that anyone escaped from that horrific night of martyrdom... They all were slaughtered, brutally buried, and shamefully put into the cold muddy grounds of the forest of Ykaterinburg! Now finally we have found some bodies and need to find or fully understand where are the others?
Then the rest of the Royal family members will be at peace, knowing that the truth has been revealed... However, Laura, in the Kingdom of our Loving God all the family stands together now humbly praying for us all!
What a spiritual joy and what a spiritual blessing, perhaps more than we can ever imagine on this earth! Peace at last in heaven! Now we need to seek and learn to have that peace too.
Once again thank you - Thank You for sending me this most honorable web site for our precious and dear friends the Holy Royal Martyrs, and your most dedicated, loving presentation! You brought more joy to my heart and more peace to my soul then I could perhaps e-mail you at this time.
I must know prepare to go to Church and while I stand and pray as well as kneel in prayer, I shall humbly thank God for you, and ask him to continue to Bless you and watch over you always!
Thank you for making my day and once again Thank God for our beloved friends the Royal Martyrs of Russia.
I cry out in prayer in remembrance O Gracious God of the 80th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas and Family of Russia. Let us rejoice in the divine love and spiritual beauty of this kind family, who loved God, country and us all. In Thy Kingdom O God, we find no more pain or sufferings, but life everlasting. Amen!
God Love And Bless You!
With The Love of Christ Our True God,
+ Father Nektarios Serfes
Who prays for you, and with you!
The photo of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension is in Ykaterinburg, and the remains of the Royal Family Tsar Nicholas and family were transferred to the Ascension Church from the local morgue.
The New York Times reported the Church of the Resurrection which was a mistake (July 17, 1998 p. A3). According to accounts, such as Radzinsky's book, "The Last Tsar", the Ipatiev house was situated directly opposite the Church of the Ascension in Ykaterinburg.
Russian Orthodox Church
Of the Ascension,
It was this Church of the Ascension that the Royal Martyrs could see the top of this Church and Cross from the top floor of the Ipatiev house. It was also reported at the time of captivity of the Royal family that machine guns faced the Ipatiev house from the bell tower in which the Tsar and his family did not know at the time. It's remarkable the same Cross the Royal Martyrs saw and the same Church that faced them at the Ipatiev where now brought to this Church in which the Divine Liturgy and a Memorial Service was celebrated for them...
"The Church of the Ascension of the Lord was founded in 1792 and was being built for about a century. In the first Soviet years it housed an exemplary school; during 1941-44 its premises was used to keep part of the Hermitage's evacuated collection of masterpieces; later still it was the History Department of the Museum of Local Lore. Recently the Church has been returned to God-believers". (Source: "The Church of Ascension. Ykaterinburg Golden Age").
I would like to thank Laura Astorian for her information. I would also like to thank Linda DeLaine who kindly helped me find information about the Church of the Ascension and photo, Linda also has a respected web site on the Royal Martyrs. Thanks also to John Wilson Smith who most kindly assisted me in this web site presentation. I also thank Raymon David for posting this web site.
The photo used for this web site of the young boy lighting a candle at the Memorial Service at the Ascension Russian Orthodox Church in Ykaterinburg, Russia for the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and Family is from the "New York Times", July 17, 1998., p. A3.
For the latest on the pilgrimage to the burial site for the Royal Martyrs of Russia at Ss. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia please read this new Press Release.
Holy Royal Martyrs Of Russia & Family, Pray Unto God For Us! Glory Be To God For All Things!
b a c k - t o p e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org. 7-19-1998