Father Nektarios Serfes - Royal Martyrs Of Russia
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Imperial Fyodorovskii Cathedral Tsarskoe-Selo
Imperial Fyodorovskii Cathedral
Tsarskoe-Selo
(Courtesy Bob Atchison)

This web site is
dedicated to
John Godl,
and to all
those who love the
Royal Martyrs Tsar
Nicholas & Family

 
The Last Easter -Pascha-
For The Royal Martyrs
Tsar Nicholas II & Family
At Tsarskoe Selo, 1917

November 1998
Compiled by Father Nektarios Serfes
Boise, Idaho. U.S.A.


Introduction by Father Nektarios Serfes:

In 1917 His Majesty Emperor Tsar Nicholas II and his beloved family were held under house arrest in Tsarskoe Selo. The Imperial Romanov family were imprisoned at the Alexander Palace from March until August. While under house arrest, the family held their last holy week services and Holy Pascha (Easter), in the same way that every Orthodox Christian participated in these Holy Week services and looked forward spiritually for the services for the Bright Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. These preparations for Holy Week are a time for frequent daily services, personal preparations for Holy Confession, and in addition, during Holy Week, this is the culmination of a strict period of fasting which actually begins 40 days beforehand.  The actual fast is broken upon the joyous celebration of Holy Pascha (Easter).

Sadly enough, the Imperial Romanov family could no longer go to the church they loved most, the nearby Russian Orthodox Fyodorovsky Cathedral, for the appointed services held during Holy Great Lent, as their imprisonment became more severe just around the time for the preparations for the Holy Week and Holy Pascha in late March and early April 1917.  Besides the house arrest, the Tsar's children were very ill with measles, as was Tsarina Alexandra's friend Anna A. Vyrubova.  The Tsarina herself did not catch the measles and she acted as a most devoted and loving mother during this time, attending all of the five children and Anna as well.

The parish priest from the Russian Orthodox Church were able to come to the Tsarskoe Selo to perform the necessary services for Holy Week and Holy Pascha.  Within the Alexander Palace Tsarina Alexandra had created a Chapel.  Wherever the Imperial Romanov family went they had their own holy icons,  gifts to them from family and friends, and they had special ones which were particularly loved and venerated. There were precious icons in all the Royal Family's individual rooms at the Alexander Palace, and the Family also had their special religious books and many prayer books.  Later on, as we discover from photos of the final period of their captivity in Ykaterinburg, many of these holy icons had been taken from the Palace and were in their rooms in the Ipative House.

It is important to note that during the preparation of these 40 days of prayer and fasting, the Orthodox faithful read spiritual books - Holy Scriptures and Holy Fathers,  the teachings of the Church, and the lives saints and martyrs of the Church.  The Imperial Family apparently read these religious books throughout the whole year, and this is evident from their diaries and the  many religious books found after their Holy Martyrdom on July 17th, 1918, at the Ipative house.

Alexander Palace Chapel
Alexander Palace Chapel
The following information about the Imperial Romanov Family's last Holy Week services and Holy Pascha, at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, comes from the "Diary of Archpriest Afanasy Beliaev, the Dean of the Fyodorovsky Cathedral in Tsarskoe Selo, 2-31 March 1917". Archpriest Afanasy Ivanovich Beliaev, was the senior priest (which means several other parish priest where assistants) at the Fyodorvsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral at Tsarskoe Selo.  From March to July 1917, he replaced Father Aleksei Vasiliev, confessor to the Tsar's family, who had fallen ill. The Fyodorovsky Cathedral was built in 1912 with the Imperial family's direct assistance. One can note from the video "The Days Of The Last Tsar" the Imperial family attendance for the consecration of the Cathedral, and of the placing of the Cross at the top of the Church for it's completion.

From the actual diary of Archpriest Afanasy Beliaev, we discover the great spirituality of the Imperial Romanov Family, and their desire to have these Great Lenten services celebrated, and, as well, to have a special service just before Holy Week when the Imperial children were ill with the measles.  We note as well the deep respect the Royal family had for the Russian Orthodox priest, and for the way they expressed their love of the Russian Orthodox Faith.  We note form reading the diary that Their Majesties expressed a great deal of obedience, meekness, and humility, giving themselves up completely to the will of God.  In spite of their house arrest at Tsarskoe Selo, and the Tsar's abdication, we see that the Royal Family, and household servants, were still very loving and kind to those around them, sharing their joy in celebrating the Passion of our Lord - which was to become their passion leading, eventually to their Golgotha.

We learn from Father Afanasy diary that the priest had a deep and honorable respect for the Imperial Romanov Family.  At the beginning Tsar Nicholas II had not yet arrived in Tsarskoe Selo when the priest first came to the palace in concern for the illnesses of the Imperial children.  The Tsar, however, did  arrive on 9 March, to be with his family, just in time to celebrate the preparations for the Holy Week Services about to take place during the  weekdays, then the  Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Glorious Bright Resurrection.

I would like to now humbly present to you: "Diary of Archpriest Afanasy Beliaev, Dean at the Fyodorovsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Tsarskoe Selo, 2-31 March 1917."  This is the last time Their Majesties celebrated Holy Week and Holy Pascha-Easter in Tsarskoe Selo


The Last Easter -Pascha- for The Royal Martyrs
Tsar Nicholas II & Family at Tsarskoe-Selo, 1917
From the Diary of Archpriest Afanasy Beliaev

2 March 1917.  Dimitry Nikolaevich Loman, church warden at the Fyodorovsky Cathedral, visited me and said that I had been invited to come to the Znamensky Church, to take the miracle-working icon of the
Mother of God of the Sign
Mother of God of the Sign
(Courtesy Bob Atchison)
Heavenly  Tsaritsa (Mother of God) to go with Her to the Alexksandrovsky Palace to hold a service in the children's section of the palace, where the Tsar's children are lying sick with measles.  A car was sent, which took me to the Znamensky Church.  Having entered the church, I met Father, Archpriest, and Dean Ioann F. Sperasnsky, who had already arranged for the vestments to be prepared, the Icon readied, and people to be gathered together to carry Her.  So I immediately donned the robes, took the cross, and sang, together with the Znasmensky Church parish clergy as we set out for the palace, the festal hymn "We Your Servants Have You, All-Pure Virgin, as an Unbreachable Wall and Fountain of Wonders."

Admission to the Palace was accomplished with ease, despite its being guarded by the Combined Infantry Regiment.  We went through the first entrance up to the second floor to the children's section and, having walked through row of bright rooms, came into a large, half dark room where the sick children were lying down in simple, separate beds.  We put the Icon on the table that had been prepared for it. The room was so dark that I could hardly see those present in it.  The Empress, dressed as a nurse, was standing beside the bed of the heir; not far from her stood other nurses and nannies.  A few thin wax candles were lit before the icon.  The thanksgiving service began (Editors notes: this was a Moleben service to the Mother of God). Oh, what a terrible, unexpected sorrow has befallen the Tsar's family!  The news came that the Sovereign, called to Tsarskoe Selo by the Empress and already hurrying from Headquarters back to his dear family, has been detained on the road and arrested, and it is even possible that he has abdicated from the throne.

Something terrible is going on in Petrograd: houses are being destroyed and burned; soldiers have betrayed the tsar and, having joined with the popular mob of workers, are smashing police stations, removing and arresting their bosses and former representatives of the authorities, letting criminals out of prison's and declaring complete freedom for all who proclaim a republic.  A fierce battle between the troops and the police has begun.  Even Tsarskoe Selo is uneasy.  In the Sofiisky part of town, where the troops are stationed, noise and frenzied cries can be heard; the rapid fire of arms is ongoing; soldiers are destroying and smashing wine shops and stores; police buildings are being burned down; they have set prisoners from the jail. One can imagine what circumstances the helpless Empress finds herself in, a mother with five such seriously sick children of her own.

Suppressing her womanly feebleness and all her bodily ailments, dedicating herself in a heroic, self-assured manner to looking after the sick, with full trust in the help of the Heavenly Tsaritsa, she decided first of all to pray before the miracle-working icon of the  Our Lady of the Sign (Znamenie Bozh'ei Materi) instructing that the icon be brought into the chambers of the sick children.  Fervently, on her knees, with tears in her eyes, the earthly Tsaritsa asked the Heavenly Tsaritsa for help and intervention.  Venerating the icon and coming to stand beneath it, she asked to bring it also to the sickbeds so that all the sick children could also touch their lips to the miracle-working Icon.  Holding out the cross to be kissed, I said: "Fortify yourself and be brave, Your Majesty, for the dream is terrible, but God is merciful In all things, rely upon His divine will.  Believe, trust, and don't stop praying."  The holy icon was taken into all the children's rooms; we went downstairs and came to a separate, isolated room where Anna A. Vyrubova, sick with measles and covered with a rash, was lying down.

There I only read a prayer before the icon of the Mother of God, at which time the sick person, fervently pressing her flushed head to the holy icon, did not want to let it out of her hands for a long time.  The Empress, having come downstairs from the children's rooms by the direct, inner staircase, stood next to the sickbed and also fervently prayed.  When we left with the icon, the palace was already cordoned off by troops, and it turned out that all those within were under arrest.

11 and 12 March, Saturday and Sunday. When the Sovereign arrived at Tsarskoe Selo from Headquarters on 9 March, I was invited by a telephone call from the Aleksandrovsky Palace to come and conduct the vigil (venoshnaia) and a long history in the palace church together with members of the court staff: archdeacon, psalm reader, and choristers (four).  When we arrived at the palace, we were met by the commandant and the guard on duty.

After entering the corridor of the lower floor where The Majesties' chambers were located, the Sovereign's valet came up to and said: "His Majesty asks that you come into his room.  He wants to say a few words to you about the forthcoming service in the palace church." In response to those words, the young ensign accompanying us said: "That is not allowed," and, addressing me, stated: "Be so kind as to go into the church; it s forbidden to talk with him." The astonished valet objected: "allow this or I will inform His Majesty," but the stern guard was categorical: "I don't care.  I cannot allow any meeting with anyone whomsoever - no contacts."  And thus we were led into the church without stopping and in total silence.

After a few minutes, still before the start of the service, Marshal of the Imperial Court Benkendorf came into the  church hall and, in the name of the Sovereign, asked me to hold services in the palace church on Sundays and holidays.  After the end of the vigil, I appealed to the palace commandant with a request to explain: Were there some sort of instructions for us concerning how to conduct services and how to act - for example, how to answer the Sovereign if he were ask about something?  How should he be addressed? How should he be referred to during services and so forth and, in general, how should one comport oneself with all the employees of the palace?

To the the commandant answered: "There is no instructions, but of course questions on the part of the Sovereign should be answered, although the conversation must not be political and must be in the presence of the guard on duty.  It's better to avoid addressing him, although I call him 'Your Majesty.'  Decline personal meetings in his rooms, and in general the less reason for reprimands on the part of the guard, the better it will be for the arrested."  And truly, the Sovereign and his wife are so refined and grateful that they come to services themselves when we stand already robed at the altar and leave the church after services before anyone else does.

The stand in church completely separately behind screens, taking up a rather small space in the corner with a separate entrance.  The first time in the presence of the Sovereign, after the great entrance (with the Holy Gospel), when it was necessary to talk of the Russian State and the Provisional Government instead of the Devout Autocrat Sovereign Emperor and so on, I could not at first find the strength and almost started weeping.  With a cracking voice, stumbling over the words, I finished the commemorations.  On 24 and 25 March I conducted the vigil, I gave each person one very small twig of the consecrated willow branch. (Editors notes: this seems to be the vigil for Palm Sunday). Even in this, the disrespect and penal conditions were evident.

May God Bless.

29 March. Rose at 7 in the morning, prayed to God and read the preparation prayers for Holy Communion.  I wait for the Liturgy.  It turned out that Schneider's rooms are next to mine and that Vyrubov's servants, who thirst for freedom, are on the other side.  The Liturgy is performed in the presence of three persons.  The last time, there were great bows.

After the Liturgy, I read prayers for the confessors and gave a brief sermon on how to approach repentance.  Confession for the servants is set for 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  At 1 o'clock, lunch is served: shredded cabbage  with pickles and potatoes, and kisel (blancmange).  The Confession began at 2 o'clock and lasted until 5 o'clock.  There were fifty-four people confessing; the rest of those still fasting in preparation for communion were left until Saturday.  At half past 6, I began Matins with festal singing: "When the Glorious Disciples."  Four soloists from the court choir dressed in crimson tailcoats sing at all the services.  By 8 o'clock the service was over.

Today at 5 o'clock I was visited by the palace commandant (Korovichenko).  He turned out be a wonderful, altogether humane and noble person.  He informed me that I was a free person, that I can walk the palace halls freely and talk with all persons who live at court, and can even walk out into the garden to breathe the fresh air.  After vigil, I saw (Doctor) Botkin and talked with him.  Dinner was served at 8 o'clock at night - soup with mushrooms, and dry biscuits in sweet syrup with a slice of pineapple.  I received the newspaper Novoe vremia (New times).

30 March.  I walked the palace halls and was amazed at the luxury and richness.  From the windows of the round hall I saw how the grave were being prepared for those who died during the days of the wineshop riots in Tsarskoe Selo.  The site for the graves was opposite the palace on an open field. ("Victims in the Revolution" were buried along the avenue leading to the Aleksandrovsky Palace, within sight of the windows, in a ceremony on Holy Thursday, 30 March 1917).  The Liturgy, at which the Tsar's family fervently prayed and all took Holy Communion, was over around 12 o'clock.  Those fasting approached the holy chalice modestly, and I said a few words to them that could also be heard by all those present in the Church.

After the Liturgy the footman told me that the father confessor, via Anichkov, agreed, despite his sickly state, to appear at the palace for the confession of Their Majesties, but he was answered that he need not trouble himself to come, for everything could be done without him.  But nobody knew who would be invited to replace the father confessor, and there were no instructions yet issued on the matter.  It appeared that everything was going smoothly and the service was satisfying everyone.  They brought a small but wondrous Shroud of Christ from the Fyodorovsky Cathedral and a special table for it, a large book of the Gospels, and festal Paschal-Easter vestments.  The altar and table of oblation were covered for now in black vestments, and black chasubles were readied for the clergy.

The vigil and reading of the Gospels was set for 6 o'clock, I opened the window [now I] hear military music; the "Marseillaise" and funeral marches are being played.  From the window many soldiers can be seen.  It is impossible to make out what is being done at the graves because of the distance, although all this is taking place by the palace opposite the round hall, not far from the Church.  And this on Holy Thursday during Holy Week.  Verily, they know not what they do.  At 6 o'clock the service began with the twelve Holy Gospel readings.  The devout are all the same, one hundred people all told, including the suite and servants, in the presence of the guard on duty.

The choristers sang beautifully - the four soloists from the court choir - especially "The Wise Thief."  The service was reverential and moving, although it was shortened considerably: the Gospels were read, and after each reading, one hymn was sung.

The whole service lasted for 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Their Majesties listened to the whole service while standing.  Folding lecterns on which the Gospels rested were placed before them so that they could follow along with the entire time.  Everyone stood to the end of the service and left through the common hall for their rooms, which they had never done before.  One has to see for oneself, be near  enough to understand and be convinced of how fervently the former Tsar's family pray to God, in an Orthodox manner and often upon their knees.

They stand at worship with such obedience, meekness, and humility, giving themselves up completely to the will of God.  And I, a sinner and unworthy servant of the altar of the Lord, feel my heart stop beating, the tears flow; and despite the oppressive difficulty of seclusion, the Lord's abundance fills my soul, and the words of prayer flow, freely reaching and penetrating the hearing of the devout.  At 8 o'clock, dinner is served: cabbage soup with mushrooms, and desert.

At 9 o'clock in the evening, I get ready for Holy Friday; there will be the bearing out of the Shroud of Christ; I think about what to say before the grave of the innocent sufferer Savior of ours.  I read the marvelous hymns in Russian translation designated for Holy Friday and am moved by their content.  What will tomorrow bring?  How many and which people are getting ready to confess?

31 March (Editors notes: this day is Holy Friday also known as Good Friday).  9 o'clock in the morning.  I got up early and spent the night anxiously.  The wonderful conditions and all conveniences notwithstanding - it's clean, bright, warm, and cozy  - sleep still wouldn't come.  I washed for a long time and wet my heard with cold water, prayed to God, and began to write some words for the bearing out of the Shroud of Christ.

At 12 o'clock, I went to the church to hear confession from those readying themselves for Holy Communion.  There turned out to forty-two at confession, including two doctors: Botkin and Derenvenko.  At half past 1, I received notification that I am expected at half past 5 in the children's section to take confession from the three sick princesses and the former heir and ready them for communion.  At 2 o'clock, Vespers began and the shroud was born out to the middle of the Church.

A place for the shroud was adorned with rugs, and whole bushes of blooming white and red lilacs were brought, and many roses, and a wonderful, elegant flower bed of live flowers were made.  The table brought from the Fyodorovsky Cathedral for the placing of the shroud was put in the center of the flower bed.  Their Majesties, two princesses, and the suite appeared in deep mourning of them in black dress.  Vespers passed in a decorous and rather ceremonial manner.  The shroud was brought to the center of the Church.

I said a few words: "What a sad, ceremonial, holy act is now performed in all Orthodox Churches!  The bearing out of the shroud.  Before us is the grave with the sacred image of the Divine Sufferer who died for the sins of all people.  Oh, how strongly, irrepressibly I, a sinner, am drawn to cling to this coffin and, in place of the sacramental anointed one, to shed tears of repentance upon His most pure body.  Oh, how clearly I hear His words, spoken from the cross.

I also hear that death cry rending the soul, addressed to the Heavenly Father: 'My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!'  And what a bottomless well of grief is heard in this cry!  'Let people leave Me, abandon Memory friends and acquaintances turn away from Me.  Let my near and dear leave me.  But You, My Heavenly Father, why are You so angry with Me?  Why have You averted Your wondrous, bright, and loving gaze?'  And what a terrible, unheard-of  occurrence.  From the heavens there is no vice, no command.  From that heaven where the voice of the Heavenly Father was always heard, 'This is My Beloved Son, listen to Him,' not a sound now comes-a terrible condition, to feel, to see oneself in an unbearably difficult moment of grief abandoned by God.  And this for the only begotten Son of God.  Oh, what a great mystery! A mystery that is beyond human comprehension. 

But the wondrous power of God appears in what is inaccessible to the mind of man.  And thus, in this inscrutable mystery of redemption we understand that God is the greatest, most eternal and boundless Love.  There are those who love God.  This love moved the Son to accept suffering and death; this love forced the Father to abandon his Son in the moment of His most unbearably difficult sufferings.  Divine Love did all this to draw to itself all suffering, persecuted, and equally repentant sinners.  O, Lord, my Savior!  What consolation You pour into my defeated heart with Your sufferings and death.  I feel deeply that in all my sorrows I am not alone.  For You, Lord, are with me.  And walking with You, I fear not evil nor to be in the valley of death." 

These words  spoken in the church by the shroud made many cry.  One of the princesses' nannies was led away to another hall to be calmed.  The footman came and announced: "It's time to go; they are already waiting." 

I donned the the stole, took the cross and the Gospels into my hands, and went upstairs after the footman, who showed the way to the children's room.  These rooms are decorated in an amazing Christian manner.  In a corner of her room, each princess has a placed a real iconostasis filled with many icons of different sizes and with depiction's of the especially venerated saints.  Before the iconostasis is a folding table covered with a towel, and upon it are placed the prayer books and liturgical books, as well as the Holy Gospels and cross.  The rooms' furnishing and their entire arrangement reflect an innocent, clean, chaste childhood unaware of worldly filth.

In order to listen to prayers before confession, all four (ill) children were in one room, where the sick Olga Nikolaevna lay.  Aleksei Nikolaevich sat in a chair dressed in a little light blue robe sewn along the edges with a patterned braid.  Maria Nikolaevna was half lying down in a large chair that was on wheels, which Anastasia Nikolaevna easily moved about. After reading of prayers and a brief word before confession, only Olga Nikolaevna remained in the room.  The heir exited by himself, and Anastasia Nikolaevna took Maria Nikolaevna away.

Then I went to another room to hear confession from the rest: Aleksei, Maria, and Anastasia Nikolaevna.  I will not say how the confession went.  My general impression was a follows: Lord, let all children be morally as upright as the children of the former tsar.  Such mildness, restraint, obedience to their parents' wishes, such absolute devotion to God's will, cleanliness in their lodgings, and complete ignorance of worldly filth either passionate or sinful amazed me and I was totally at loss: as a confessor, do I need to remind them of sins unknown to them?

Hearing confession from all four of them took 1 hour and 20 minutes.  At half past 7, the Saturday Matins began.  I read the so-called lamentations over the shroud, and the religious procession with the bearing out of the shroud was completed by carrying it through and behind the altar, coming to the altar by the north doors and leaving by the south, walking around the rooms near the walls of the round hall, and returning to the church and the royal doors (on the altar) and (going) back again to the middle of the church.  Prince Benkendorf and Doctor Botkin and Derevenko carried the shroud; behind them came Nicholas Aleksandrovich, Alexandra Fyodorovna, Tatiana and Anastasia Nikolaevna, the suite, and a servant with lit candles.

Matins ended at 8 o'clock in the evening, and the confession of the ladies of the suite began: Naryshkina, Dolgorukova, Gendrikova, and Buksgevden. The footman appeared and announced that Their Majesties are waiting to confess in their bedroom at 10 o'clock.  I sat in my room from 9 to half past.  The time went by quickly.  At 9:40, I went to the Church, prayed at the holy Altar, venerated the shroud, donned my stole, took the cross and the Gospels, and followed the footman to Their Majestis' chambers.  There a female servant took me through the rooms into the bedrooms, where one wide bed stood, and pointed to a small room in the corner, a chapel where Their Majesties would be confessing.  No one was in the room yet.

Not two minutes had passed when the former Sovereign walked in with his wife and Tatiana Nikoaevna.  The Sovereign greeted me, presented Her Majesty and, indicating his daughter, said: "This is our daughter, Tatiana,  You, Father, start the prayers that are read prior to confession and we will pray together."  The chapel room is very small and is filled from top to bottom with hanging or standing icons.  Lamps burn before the icons.  Deeper, in the corner, stands a special iconostasis with carved columns and places for famous icons, and before it stands a folding table upon which has been placed an ancient altar Gospels and cross and many prayer books.

I did not know where to put the cross and Gospels that I had brought  and so put them right down on the books that were already there.  After reading of the prayers, the Sovereign and his wife left and Tatiana Nikolaevna stayed for Holy Confession.  After her, Her Majesty came in an agitated state, to confess the illnesses of her heart before the holy Cross and Gospels.  His Majesty came for Holy Confession after her.  Taking confession from all three lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Oh, how unspeakable happy I am that I was favored by God's grace to become the mediator between the Heavenly Ruler and the earthly one.  Beside me was standing the one above whom no one else living on earth rises superior.

Until this time, this was our God given Anointed Sovereign, a Russian Orthodox Tsar who reigned for twenty-three years by the law of succession to the throne.  And now Nicholas, a humble slave of God, like a meek lamb, benevolent toward all his enemies, harboring no offense, fervently praying for Russia's prosperity, believing deeply in her glorious future, on bended knee, gazing at the Cross and Gospels, in the presence of my unworthiness, tells the Heavenly Father the innermost secrets of his unfortunate life and, prostrating himself before the greatness of the Heavenly Tsar, tearfully asks forgiveness for his voluntary and involuntary sins.  After the reading of the final prayer and the kissing of the Cross and Gospels, what clumsy words of comfort and consolation, what joy could I instill in the heart of this person who was maliciously taken away for his people and who remains to this moment completely certain of the rightness of his actions, which were directed toward the good of his beloved motherland?

When I said: "Ah, Your Majesty, what good You would have done for Russia had Your granted in Your time a full Constitution, thereby fulfilling the wish of the people.  Everyone would have hailed You as the Angel of good, love and peace." 

To This he responded in amazement: "That may be true!  Yes, everyone betrayed me.  I was told that there was anarchy in Petrograd and rebellion, and I decided to go: not Petrograd, but to Tsrskoe Selo, and so from the Nikolaevsky line headed to Pskov, but the railroad was already cut off.

I decided to return to the front, but that line also turned out to be cut.  And so alone, without a close adviser, deprived of freedom like a captive criminal, I signed the act of abdication from the throne for myself and my son and heir.  I decided that if this needed for the good of the motherland I was ready for anything.  It is sad for my family!"  And burning tears fell from the eyes of the weak - willed sufferer. Later there was a general conversation.

Alexandra Fyodorovna asked how Father Alexander's health was and I answered that despite all his desire to be in Tsarskoe Selo and officiate, he still was unable to do this because his nerves were badly upset.  Her majesty said: "I am very sorry.  Give him our regards and wishes for good health, as you are his close relative."  The Tsar conveyed the same wishes for good health, also asked after the health of Father Vasiliev, and added: We all came to love him so very much.  The reason for his nerves being upset I partly attribute to the loss of his son, whom we also knew and over whose death we grieved.  Please give him my kind regards." 

And Nicholas Aleksandrovich asked me: "You no longer officiate in the Yekaterinburgsky Cathedral, but what the Fyodorovsky?  I was very happy when I learned that you had agreed to officiate for us here in the Fyodorovsky Cathedral.  And what is happening at present, what is the condition of this wonderful cathedral?"  I answered that all the buildings of the Fyodorovsky settlement, together with the cathedral, are temporarily entrusted to the management of commissar Golovin.  For a few minutes the conversation continued about family life.  Incidentally, Her Majesty said: "I was misunderstood.  I only wanted to do good."

Source: "The Fall of the Romanovs" by Mark D. Steinberg and Vladimir M. Khrustalev, and Russian documents translated by Elizabeth Tucker., Yale University Press, New Haven and London., 1995., pp. 137-146.

I would like to thank John Wilson Smith for his kind assistance for this web site.  I would also like to thank Bob Atchison for allowing me to use the photo of the Palace Chapel at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo.

Holy Royal Martyrs
Tsar Nicholas & Family
Pray Unto God For Us!

Glory Be To God For All Things!

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b a c k - t o p e-mail : father@serfes.org. Novemeber 1998