|Father Nektarios Serfes - Russian Royal Family - A Prayer to St. Alexis the Child Martyr||Last Modified October 27, 2003|
By Keith Spencer
October 27, 2003
Dear Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes,
I'm writing this to thank you for your beautiful website about the Romanov saints, and share with you my own story of faith. I pray that this isn't presumptuous on my part.
Long before I was introduced to the Christian faith, I was drawn to the story of the Romanov's. I discovered their story when I was 11 years old through Robert K. Massie's book "Nicholas and Alexandra." I was initially attracted to their story as one of tragic romance, and didn't understand the religious significance of their lives. Their story inspired in me a love of history that I have to this day, and which I'm in the process of making my career.
Coming from a Baptist background, and being so young, I had no exposure to the the idea of saints, let alone an appreciation for their intercessory prayers. Nevertheless, I felt especially drawn to the Crown Prince Alexis and would ponder his life and even, in my innocence, "talk" to him, much like I would talk with God. Always, in a way I couldn't name, Alexis was a comfort to me and I felt that he was listening to me in heaven.
As my life progressed I went through some serious hardship and found myself ultimately estranged from God and the simple faith of my childhood. I even ended up identifying as a rather rabid Communist. But even then, whenever I would read Bolshevik accounts of the Revolution I would "close my eyes" when the Royal Family was mentioned. I couldn't face the fact that I was validating the murder of a family that I once loved. I especially couldn't face Alexis who's life was so rooted in my own life as a child. Perhaps this is too psychological an analysis, but I sensed that he in many ways "represented" my own innocence, and I knew that my innocence had been killed somewhere along the line, and it hurt.
Fortunately, that time of my life is now past. Eventually, by God's grace, I was drawn back to Him. I came full circle and began to think again of the Romanov's, and consider again Alexis's influence in my early life. But this time I realized that God was always calling to me through Alexis and his family. By way of example: When I was at the height of my Communist militancy I worked graveyard at a photocopy shop. A gentleman would regularly come in with things to copy, and they were always pictures related to Tsarist Russia. One day he brought in a rare photograph. It was a photo of the Crown Prince. He made an actual print of that photo and gave it to me. Some may call this coincidence, but when I consider the degree of chance that entails, I doubt it. Now I slowly progress in cultivating my faith and, though I'm thirty, I try to do so as a little child after the admonition of our Lord. In this spirit I wrote this personal devotional prayer and thought I'd share it with you.
A Prayer to St. Alexis the Child Martyr
Content written/compiled by Father Nektarios Serfes.
(c) Father Nektarios Serfes