Father Nektarios Serfes - Royal Martyrs Of Russia
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Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II & Tsarina Alexandra of Russia
Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II &
Tsarina Alexandra of Russia
The Mystery Of
The Anointed Sovereigns
Tsar Nicholas II &
Tsarina Alexandra of Russia

Compiled by
Father Nektarios Serfes
15 March 1999
Boise, Idaho U.S.A.

This Web site
is humbly
dedicated to
His Royal Highness
Prince Michael,&
Princess Julia Romanoff

Introduction by Father Nektarios Serfes: 

The glorification, or the holy canonization, of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, included the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II & Tsarina Alexandra, along with their children, as well as the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth and the New Martyr (Nun) Barbara.

This holy canonization had taken place in Manhattan, New York, on November 1, 1981, at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign.  Present at  this canonization service in attendance where many Russian Orthodox Hierarchs, parish priest, and monastic, as well as the faithful, who were indeed blessed to attend this holy service.
Metropolitan Philaret At The Divine Liturgy
Metropolitan Philaret
At The Divine Liturgy,
Holy Canonization
New Martyrs &
Royal Martyrs of Russia,
November 1981

The night before this service, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philaret, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (this jurisdiction is also known as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) the last Panikhida service (Memorial service for the departed in the Lord) for all the New Martyrs and Confessors, as well as the Royal Martyrs of Russia.  Then followed the All Night Great Vigil services, which included Vespers, and Matins.  At the actual service of Matins the act of holy canonization or the glorification of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, which included the Royal Martyrs took place with great prayer and piety.

The following morning  (November 1, 1981), Vladika Metropolitan Philaret entered the Church to be greeted by the Deacons and the Priest, as well as other Bishops, for the first Hierachal Divine Liturgy to commemorate, now officially the New Martyrs and Confessors, and Royal Martyrs of Russia.

It was for the first time in the Russian Orthodox Church at a Divine Liturgy that the tropar and kontakions could now be sung in prayers.  That morning was spiritual jubilation for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as well as for the faithful, including those who where very much aware of the lives of the New Martyrs and Confessors, and Royal Martyrs of Russia.  There was a wonderful response among many faithful Russian Orthodox Christians in Russia, and elsewhere around the world, and in addition many non Russians and even non Orthodox responded favorably to the glorification or holy canonization.

Not too long after this act of holy canonization and glorification the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, received a letter from an Orthodox Rabbi, who lived in England. This letter was received in a favorable manner, and it pointed out the divine institution of the monarchy from Old Testament sources, some of which were woven into the Rite of Anointing Tsars. This article is of considerable interest to  Orthodox Christians, and presents historical material that harmonizes with Orthodox principles of government at the time of the reign of Emperor Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Tsarina Alexandra in Russia.

It is worth mentioning at this point that the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, is considering the act of glorification or holy canonization of the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and the Royal Children, Tsarevich Alexis, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia, and this significant matter will be brought up at a meeting of the Synod of Bishops in Moscow, in the year 2000.  I pray earnestly that the Orthodox Church in Moscow will indeed proceed with the act of holy canonization for Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and their family.

The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, has already acted upon the holy canonization of the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Abbess Elizabeth and the New Martyr (Nun) Barbara, as well as several other canonization's of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, since the time of the revolution in 1917.

The list of New Martyrs is growing year by year, but it will take many more years for these sessions of the Synod of Bishops in Moscow, to continue with the process of canonizing future New Martyrs of Russia.  Please keep in mind at present the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (with its headquarters in Manhattan, New York) is not in communion with the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, Russia.  We have, however, many people would like to see a universal act of the acceptance of the holy canonization of the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1981, or the act of canonization in Moscow, Russia!

We must certainly now agree that even although Emperor Tsar Nicholas II abdicated from his throne in a written statement dated 2 March 1917 , his Majesty was still Tsar and Emperor of Russia upon the horrific night of his slaughter and martyrdom, along with his wife, children, and friends, on 17 July 1918, at the House of Special Purpose (the Ipatiev house) in Ykaterinburg, Russia.  One cannot ever mention or say just "Nicholas II", but always Tsar Nicholas II, as he was always Tsar and Emperor of Russia, upon his death, and also in referring after their deaths, Tsar, or Tsarina, or the Tsarevich, or the Grand Duchesses.

In this discussion I would like to point out that currently the exiled King of Greece, who now resides in England, is still titled and referred to as King Constantine, and his wife Queen Maria.  From the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church, once you are anointed with the oil as Tsar, (or King, or Emperor) you are Tsar always!  Once a priest is ordained a priest, he is always a priest!

Now let me humbly and finally share with you what the article by the Rabbi from England, said about the "Mystery Of The Anointed Sovereigns":

Within the pages of Holy Scripture, we first find the oil of anointing mentioned in Exodus 30:22-25.  A special oil (also called the oil of unction) is to be used to consecrate the most sacred articles of the Tabernacle of Moses and to anoint the High Priest.  "It shall not be poured upon the bodies of ordinary men" (v.32).  The persons and articles so anointed become consecrated as "holy" and "most holy."

The Hebrew word for "holy" is codes.  It means "set aside for God's use," and is similar to our English words "consecrated" and "sacred."  It was, then from the word of God Himself, that Jewish law and tradition understood that pouring oil over certain people set them apart as consecrated and holy.

From the days of Moses (ca. 1450' B.C. or perhaps 12880, according to other authorities) until the destruction of the first Jerusalem Temple in 586, all High Priest was enrobed in his garments of office and invested with the sacred breast-plate.  Then he was enthroned, anointed and crowned with the great, jeweled mitre.  Its golden plate hung down upon his forehead with the inscription, "Holy to the Lord."  The aointing oil was poured over his head in the pattern of a cross.  But after the destruction of the first Temple, when the lineage of the High Priests was lost, the method for compounding the sacred oil became uncertain (it had been a jealously-guarded secret), and the act of anointing the High Priest fell into disuse.

I Sam. 10:1 tells us that Samuel poured the sacred oil of unction on the head of King Saul as he consecrated him prince over God's People.  Saul was the first King of Israel, and his anointing designated him as sacred in person, consecrated and set-apart, not an ordinary person.  The oil was poured upon the heads of Jewish kings in a circle, representing the crown of circlet of sovereignty.

In the later incident, David refused to harm King Saul (I Sam. 24:1-15).  David said, "The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, to the Lord's anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing that he is the Lord's anointed" (v.6, also 10).  Just as Exodus forbids unconsecrated people to touch the Tabernacle articles that have been anointed, similarly one refuses to harm the person whom the Lord has anointed.  The person of the Sovereign has the same sanctity as the Art of the Convenant or the Altar.

Anointing might also give the anointed one of the power of prophecy or of spiritual insight.  "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed (David) in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day on" (I Sam. 16:13; cf. I Sam. 10:6, 10-13).

We find also that the Prophet Elias was commanded to anoint Elisha, that the spiritual succession pass from one to the other (I Ki. 19-16).

Russia and England, two ancient monarchies whose roots go to the early medieval period, both adopted the traditions of anointing and crowning.  In England, these traditions go back at least to Anglo-Saxon times and the tenth century.  In Russia, they were introduced from Byzantium as part of the conversion to Orthodoxy.

Since Saxon times, while English monarchs are being anointed, these words, taken from I Kings 1:38-39, are recited or sung: "Then Zadonsk, the Priest and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.  And all the people rejoiced and said: God save the King, long live the King, God save the King!"  The composer Handel set these words to music for the coronation of George II in 1727, and they have been sung during the anointing of the sovereign ever since; most recently in 1953, while the Archbishop of Canterbury anointed our Queen.

Anointing, then, is a continuous link from Biblical times to our own.  The anointed sovereign is sacred, consecrated to God.  He, like the High Priest of Israel, is enrobed, enthroned, anointed and crowned.  He is a prince chosen by God and consecrated, but, though deeply loved and respected, her political powers are negligible, except for her unmeasured and informal influence.  After 30 years, Her Majesty may well have more experience in government than all her ministers!

Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra were true and believing sovereigns.  They were robed and enthroned, anointed and crowned, and the biblical traditions of sovereignty were bestowed on them.  But can an anointed person resign that "commission"?

Abdication seems to a feature of more recent monarchies.  In English history, only two kings have abdicated.  Richard II was forced to abdicate in 1399 after gross mismanagement of the nation.  The other instance, in 1936, is worth some examination.

King Edward VIII reigned from January to December of 1936.  The son and successor of King George V (who bore a close resemblance to his cousin, the Tsar).  Edward intended to marry Walleye W. Simpson, a twice divorced woman.  For the King, as secular head of the Church of England, to marry a divorcee and make her his Queen was deemed improper by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Land.  The King and his advisors proposed a morganatic marriage in which his wife would take a lesser title than Queen, and their children would have no rights of succession.  However, there was no provisions for morganatic marriage in British law, and marriage apart from the law was unthinkable.  A choice was required; the throne or the lady.  The King abdicated in favor of his younger brother, who became King George VI.

It should be noted that one of the pressures on the crisis was that if the King were to abdicate, he must do so before his coronation.  Once anointed and crowned, abdication would be very difficult.  We have seen that the mystery of anointing and crowning creates a special person; a person not untouchable or infallible, not all-powerful or absolute, but sacred, consecrated and set-apart from others and above the waves of politics.  By abdicating before his coronation, Edward VII preserved the stability of the Crown, and the mystery of the anointing intact.

Tsar Nicholas II, anointed, crowned and consecrated in May, 1896, bore within himself, and shared with his Tsarina and wife, an inner calm and tranquility of faith beyond all changes in politics and political forces.  Spiritually speaking, his abdication on March 2, 1917, was of not effect.  Those who are anointed cannot resign their spiritual elevation, though they may lay down the earthly trappings of power or have them torn away.

Those who are true and devoted adherents of the Russian Orthodox Church have no right to speak of His Majesty Tsar Nicholas II as the "extras" or as the "Tsar-abdicate."

Clearly, those of the Russian Orthodox faith should recognize the direct link that has come down from the days of Moses, through the High Priests and Kings of Israel, to Tsar Nicholas II, in the God-commanded ceremony of anointing.

Many studies have been written about the last months of the Tsar, the Tsarina and their children.  Perhaps it was during this time that the true sense of their anointing and crowning reached its highest meaning in them, and their children, innocent and pure, spiritually received this inheritance.  With quiet faith and clam dignity they faced mounting indignities, insults and physical assaults until they were translated by their terrible enemies from this life.

In the end, it was a matter of deep and abiding faith, a faith untrammeled in the dross of this world, untainted by earthly and corrupting power.  Tsar Nicholas and his family are martyrs and are to be numbered among the martyrs of all nations, peoples and faiths, translated from this world in pain and blood to the company of martyrs.

So long as we are inspired by the faith of courage and the courage of faith, their martyrdom will be a marvel to all folk.

"Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad; let them declare among the nations: 'The Lord reigns.' "  (I Chron. 16:31).*

* This could be understood: Let the heavens with the host of angels, the company of saints and martyrs, rejoice, let all the congregations of faithful upon the earth be glad; and let them all proclaim together, "The Lord reigns."  Those in heave and those upon earth, those in this life and those in life everlasting, are untied together in prayer and supplication, declaring together, "The Lord reigns."

(Source: Orthodox Life, No. 4, 1982., Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y., pp.43-45).

I would like to humbly thank John Wilson Smith for his kind assistance for this presentation.

Holy Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas,
Tsarina Alexandra, & Children,
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. 03-14-1999