The Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Olga.
This page being presented is in memory of the handmaiden of our Lord my sister Anastasia, "Memory "Eternal!"
Father Nektarios Serfes
23rd March 1998
The Royal Martyr Olga,
in her nurse uniform
Introduction by Father Nektarios Serfes:Beauty in itself can be radiant, spiritual beauty shines out even more movingly, and the love for God and for one another radiates from us to the extent that its boundaries cannot be measured. This was abundantly true of all the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. Whenever you look at the photographs, or watch one of the videos of the Royal Family, you can see in these girls' faces both natural beauty and a spiritually radiated peace - a remarkable quality that extends beyond just their faces, affecting the way they stood, moved, their gestures and their actions.
The Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Olga was the eldest daughter of the Tsar and Tsarina. She was born on 3 November 1895 at Tsraskoye Selo. The young parents of the Grand Duchess were so attached to their first baby and they refused to be separated from her and took her with them on their first trip abroad, first to England, and then to France for an official visit, where, aged only a few months, "young Grand Duchess" became a star in the press.
Stanley Gibbs, Tsarevich Alexis' teacher from England, described Olga thus: "She was hot-tempted but did not bear grudges. She had her father's heart, but lacked his consistency. Her manners were harsh. She was well-educated and mature intellectually. One sensed in her a 'good Russian young lady' who loved solitude, reading poetry, who was impractical and disliked everyday matters. She was very musical and would improvise on the piano. Straightforward and sincere, she was unable to conceal her feelings and was evidently closer to her father than to her mother."
There is, perhaps, a kinship of expression in the photographs of Grand Duchess Olga when she is seen in the company of her beloved father the Tsar; and again a "different look" in the photographs with her sisters and young brother. Different, but in each case reflecting her own very special beauty, a beauty that was not only outward but also inward and contemplative, as we discover from her writings. She wrote poetry of spiritual significance, moving prayers, and indeed had a collection of prayers that particularly touched her. These writings have astonished many in recent years, and even the contents of her diary has become popular. Here is an example of a letter the Grand Duchess Olga wrote to her mother in Livadia, on 3 April 1912, who was not feeling well:Precious Mama, God bless you and help you not to be too sad. (Editor's notes: This refers to the Tsarevich Alexis' illness). It is awful to be on our beloved yacht without its 'sunshine' who we will miss frightfully. I should so much prefer to remain here with you than being on board without you. May He make you well again and then everything will be all right . It must be very hard for you too, sweet love, but God will reward you for your sorrow. Good night. All prayers and thoughts remain with you. Good night. I kiss you lovingly and remain your ever very true loving daughter Olga.
(Source: "A Life Long Passion. Nicholas And Alexandra Their Own Story", by Andrei May Lunas and Sergei Mironenko., Doubleday, N.Y., 1997., p.352).
This young lady who well deserved the title Grand Duchess, as well as a holy passion-bearing Martyr, also worked on war relief work with her mother and sisters in the infirmary during the early years war with Germany. By the end of 1914, 85 hospitals and ten "medical trains" had been established in Russia under the Empress Alexandra's direct patronage. At the Armorial Hall of the Winter Palace a hospital ward was established, the Empress and her two eldest daughters the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana were certified as qualified nurses, and later on were honored as Red Cross War Nurses, the two younger Grand Duchesses, Marie and Anastasia, were established as "patronesses" and went to tend the wounded at a smaller hospital in the Fedorovsky Gorodok at Tsarskoye Selo. Many long hours were spent in the hospital wards, and they all worked extremely hard. We learn from Grand Duchess Olga of what she did on a daily basis from her diary as a nurse,"Friday 20 October 1916, with mama to Znamenie Church and the infirmary. Went straight away to give out medicines, then wrote, made the beds... This evening, the four of us went to the infirmary. Ensign Petrov of the 44th Valtaisk regiment came in yesterday, wounded in the stomach and chest. Called in to see all of them..." We also have many other accounts from the Grand Duchess' diary. She never became tired of being a devoted Red Cross Nurse, she was never distressed by the most repugnant sights. She put her whole heart into work, and was filled with joy when a soldier recovered, to have his photograph with the Tsarina and Grand Duchesses. Words of encouragement and comfort were often on her lips, in common with the Tsarina and the other Grand Duchesses. This devoted Royal Family watched with joyful anticipation for signs of healing and recovery, and if someone had been suffering intensely because of their wounds, the Grand Duchess Olga was noted for offering her gracious kindness and words of comfort.
Her brief notes and poetry have become a blessing for many as they read and reflect upon them, and help us all to grow spiritually. One such note was given by Grand Duchess Olga to her beloved father Tsar Martyr Nicholas.
Young Grand Duchess Olga
He found several notes from the children in his coat pocket as he left on the fateful journey from Tobolsk with Tsarina Alexandra and their third daughter, the Grand Duchess Marie, which later ended up in Yekaterinburg: "God protect you, bless you and have pity on you, my dear darling Papa. Don't worry about Alexei... God knows the reasons and will bring us out of this."
All the Grand Duchess Olga 's letters were warm and affectionate to whomsoever she wrote, and it appears that she loved to both write and receive letters from her relatives and friends. Often her letters where deeply spiritual in nature, and full of love for God, Russia and its people. The Grand Duchess also stayed in constant contact with one of her teachers, P. Petrov, as well as Ania Vyrubova with whom she worked together in the hospital as a nurse. We find also constantly affectionate letters to both her father and mother whenever she was separated from them.
While all of the Imperial Romanov family where under house arrest in Tobolsk, Grand Duchess Olga wrote on behalf of her beloved father the Tsar: "Father asks us to remember that the evil which is now in the world will become yet more powerful, and that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love..." All of the Royal Martyrs found strength from each other, and their faith in God was deep and glorious.
Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Olga
Since Tsar Matyr Nicholas II embraced the tradition of the tsar's authority being both sacred and moral, the Grand Duchess Olga was always by his side, honoring the needs of Russia. We learn that she defended her beloved father in his actions as Tsar, and reiterated his love for all of Russia. We must admit that the tragedy in the fate of both Tsar Martyr Nicholas II and his family had falling victim to cruel revolutionaries. The gracious faith, love and hope in the meantime never deserted any members of the family including Grand Duchess Olga. In the final months before their martyrdom we note their acceptance of the end. At the same time the communist party produced a different hope of universal freedom and justice arising from class struggle, a hope which only turned out to be false promises. The new, repressive ideology, killed millions upon millions, beginning with the Imperial Romanov Family...then the Patriarch, most of his bishops, most of the priesthood, most of the monks, most of the nuns and most of the faithful Russian Orthodox Christians, men, women, and and children. There was the horrific destruction of churches, monasteries, and all church properties - orphanages, schools and hospitals, as well as the charitable causes and concerns sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church for the benefit of the Russian people. All of Russia, which became the Soviet Union, was now a country full of blood and holy martyrdom. We learn that brother turned against brother, and sister turned against sister! Sadly enough too, children turned against parents. We have a constant betrayal of innocent victims! More Christians were slaughtered and martyred in Russia from 1917 up to the early 1980s, than in the first three centuries of the Christian era.
It seemed that the Tsar-Martyr and his family had begun the way, and helped others to follow their example of how each Christian should bear his cross, even unto death. The Tsar-Martyr went first on that fateful night of 17 July 1917, and then the Tsarina, the Tsarevich, and the other Grand Duchesses, as well as their devoted friends. One by one they began to fall onto the bloody floor of the Ipatiev house in Yekaterinburg.
Grand Duchess Olga
After this horrific holy martyrdom of the Imperial Romanov Family, the discovery of very important documents were found in the Ipatiev House. On reflection, it was a dreadful time at the Ipatiev House for all of the Royal Martyrs and their friends in their last months, as only black bread and tea were offered, as well as some left-over food from the guards, and it was made clear in one of the last letters written by Grand Duchess Olga to Ania: "Darling, you must know how dreadful it all is."
For the first time we have discovered what was left behind in the building that was called the "House of Special Purpose". Hundreds upon hundreds of holy icons, crosses, books belonging to each member of the Royal family and their friends, personal clothing items and precious gifts presented to each member of the Royal household that they received while under house arrest...all in this hot, closed-up house that no one could see in to or see out of. The Royal Martyrs spent their last months at this house. All we have to do is to read the horrific accounts of how each member was treated, and we begin to realize that behind these walls was so much suffering and hardship which was certainly not deserved by a Tsar, a Tsarina, a Tsarevich, or the Grand Duchesses and their friends.
A Prayer in honor of the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Olga:
O precious Grand Duchess and Passion-Bearer Olga, your life was blessed with prayer, with gracious faith, and undying hope that was shared by others who too found Holy Martyrdom.
Your thoughts and concerns became a deep inspiration, and a means of knowing the true reality of bearing one's Cross, and enduring the persecution spoken of by our Lord.
Your life has given us the desire to take up our Cross with love, and turn to our God who also loves us all.
Your love for Russia and its devout followers of Christ our Lord has opened the Kingdom of Heaven to those who struggle to behold the spiritual beauty of our Loving God.
Pray for us who cry unto you before the Throne of our Gracious God, to forgive us and learn about love. Amen.
Father Nektarios Serfes,Thanks to Bob Atchinson for information concerning "The Yekaterinburg List Of Romanov Items" and who has recently helped us to reveal some very important items that belonged to the Imperial Romanov Martyrs (and friends) at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg. Most of these items were confiscated by the then Soviet Government, and some are in the archives in Moscow. Bob maintains a outstanding web-site for the Alexander Palace Association: http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/index.html.
26 February 1998
From the collection, let me share with you two prayers which were found in the back of the icon of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, written by the Holy Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Olga.
The First Prayer:"Queen of the sky and earth,The Second Prayer:
consolation of the afflicted,
listen to the prayer of us sinners.
You are our hope and salvation.
We are bogged down in the filth of passion,
we err in the gloom of vice.
O, turn towards her gaze which observes everything.
Holy Russia, your glorious homeland
is in danger of perishing.
We invoke you, our Protectoress,
we know nothing but you.
Do not abandon your children,
spirit of the afficted.
Do not divert your gaze
from our grief and our martyrdom.""Send us patience, Father,Two other handwritten poems the Holy Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Olga, were found at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, and appear in Sergei Bekhteyev's, "Songs of Russian Grief and Tears". Both poems are remarkable for their emotion and inexhaustible faith:
to support us in this year
of dark days and tempests,
these persecutions of the people
and these tortures of our executioners.
Give us the strength, O just God,
to pardon the wickedness of our neighbors,
and to carry the heavy, bloody cross with your humility.
And in these notorious days,
when our enemies strip us,
help us, Savior God,
to suffer the shame and the insults.
Master of the world, bless us with your prayers
and give peace to our souls
at this terrible, unbearable hour.
And at the gates of the tomb,
cause us to be born again as with our lips
we, your slaves, humbly pray,
The First Prayer: "Before The Icon Of Our Lady".
"Of earth and heaven blessed Tsarina,
Our only source of consolation,
Lenient to every praying sinner.
O, heed our humble supplication.
Groping amid the dark of spite,
Ensnared with evil's fiendish lace,
We dare not complain at our plight,
But give our Motherland Thy grace.
The holy land of Russia, once blessed,
Is now ordained to dire subversion,
Of all the suffering Patroness,
O save our country from incursion.
Please, don't avert thine eyes from those
Who thirst for Thy compassion,
O, grant us hope for repose
In our sorrow, and oppression."
The Second Prayer found, "Prayer In Time of Trial and Tribulation":
"To Thee, Lord Gracious, we appeal:Prayer provides essential nourishment for the whole, mind, heart and soul, and from reading the above prayers and the Orthodox poetry written and selected by the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Olga, we become fully aware of the presence of our Lord God in our lives, and at the same time we have been spiritually enthralled, which helps to lead ourselves into prayer, providing our innermost being with illumination and peace. Let us frequently reflect upon these prayers and apply them with prodvig (struggle) and with love for our Lord God.
Help us to bear vilification
And to share the ordeal.
O Christ Redeemer, give us strength
In ghastly woe never to repine,
Help us surmount the bloodstained
Way of the Cross with meek forbearance O' Thine.
In days of outrageous tumult,
O Lord Creator, give us power
To bear injury and insult
From looting enemies of ours.
Almighty Lord, Benignant Master,
Bless us with The divine orison,
And in the hour of dire disaster
Will give us peace Thy benison.
And at the edge of doom impending
Rid us of fear and dismay
And grant us fortitude unending
For our Foes to humbly pray."
I humbly thank John Wilson Smith for his kind assistance for this web-site, and for Bob Atchison who gives us so much understanding and information for the Imperial Romanov Martyrs of Russia. Visit this outstanding and most respectful web site and increase your interest in the Imperial Romanov Martyrs: http://www.intlromanovsociety.org/ Another honorable web site for further interest for the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and his family maintained by Ann Brunning is: "Passion For the Romanovs", Two more new and most outstanding web sites in regards to the Imperial Romanov Martyrs are now available for review as these pages ring forth with great devotion and truth we need all to contemplate upon:"The Last Imperial Family of Russia" by Pedro Matias, who is from Portugal, The second honorable web page is "Alexei Nicholaevich Romanov" which is well presented by Aaron Glaeser.
Holy Royal Martyr
Grand Duchess Olga,
Pray Unto God For Us!