Father Nektarios Serfes - Royal Martyrs Of Russia
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Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II.
Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II
God Bless The Tsar

Written by
Father Nektarios Serfes
15 April 1999
Boise, Idaho U.S.A.

Written in commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Holy Martyrdom of the Passion Bearers, the Holy Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, Tsarevich Alexis, Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Marie, & Grand Duchess Anastasia, & those with them....  1918-1998

Troparion To The Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II (Tone 5)
Thou didst meekly endure the loss of an earthly kingdom,* and bonds and many sufferings from the fighters against God,* witnessing of Christ even unto death, * O great Passion-bearer and God-crowned Tsar Nicholas. * Wherefore Christ God did crown thee and thy Queen and children * with a martyr's crown in Heaven; * do thou entreat Him to have mercy on the Russian land * and to save our souls.

Introduction by Father Nektarios Serfes:

Mother Alexandra, Abbess of  Transfiguration Monastery
This web site is in memory of Mother Alexandra, Abbess of Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. Mother Alexandra was also Princess Illena of Romania.

Memory Eternal!

From a Orthodox Christian perspective we learn that the Tsar Martyr Nicholas II, and his family, who are also martyrs, lived their lives first and foremost as Russian Orthodox Christians, and applied this faith to the people of Russia, whom they all loved.  All of the Royal family members could have appeared in public only when necessary and avoided any limelight.  However, in the case of the Tsar and his family, we discover that every member of the family had a deep religious conviction, and applied their faith on a daily basis.  Each member of the family wanted to go to Church on a regular basis, and this was obvious as the Tsarina Alexandra made sure wherever they went that an Orthodox Church would be nearby for them to attend services whenever they had to travel.  In all of the palaces where the Royal family lived, an Orthodox chapel or church was on the grounds.  Tsarina Alexandra herself was inspirational in building a chapel at the Alexander Palace, as well as the famous Church on the grounds of Tsarskoye Selo.

We also discover that the Royal family made many frequent pilgrimages to the Russian Orthodox monasteries throughout Russia.  Tsar Nicholas himself, during his reign, commissioned studies for consideration of saints to be canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.  More saints therefore where canonized during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II then any previous Tsar of Russia.  It is significant that during the lifetime of Tsar Nicholas II more  churches where built during the reigns of any previous Tsars.  This was also the case for schools, and orphanages, as well as hospitals.  Tsarina Alexandra was a Red Cross nurse, as were also her beloved daughters Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, and the other two Grand Duchesses Marie and Anastasia, did voluntary work at the Red Cross hospitals during the war with Germany.

Tsar Nicholas II assisted practically by giving numerous private donations to many Orthodox churches in not only Russia itself, but also throughout the world, especially in America, Japan, as well as in Europe.  Religious items such as bells, holy Gospels, banners, and other liturgical items still exist today that Tsar Nicholas donated.  Hardly any mention of these donations where made by Tsar Nicholas himself, but only afterwards many people indicated that they had something in their churches that had been donated by Tsar Nicholas II, and especially within the many Russian Orthodox churches outside of Russia.  Liturgical items donated by Tsar Nicholas can also be found in the Holy Land, as well as at Holy Mt. Athos.

The Tsar and his beloved family where completely devoted Russian Orthodox Christians.  Every day, especially in the evenings, the family would gather together to study Holy Scripture, and as well as the lives of the saints and martyrs of the church, and also the history of the Church.  Each member of the Royal family knew the lives of the saints and were well versed in Holy Scripture, as well as the teachings of the Holy Fathers of the early Church. This in itself is well documented in the diaries of the family members, and as well as those who knew the Royal family on a personal basis.  It was indicated that when the Royal Family where under house arrest at the Ipatiev house in Ykaterinburg, Grand Duchess Olga had a copy of "My Life In Christ"  by Father John of Kronstadt, who is now known as St. John of Kronstadt, and that this book was given to her as a gift from her mother Tsarina Alexandra.  It is also known that one week before the martyrdom of the Royal Family in Ykaterinburg, Tsarina Alexandra read the life and teachings of St. Seraphim of Sarov to Tsarevich Alexis.  Tsarevich Alexis himself heard the life of St. Seraphim of Sarov a thousand times, and he always enjoyed it when his mother would read it to him when he was very ill.

During the lives of the Royal family, every day it seemed that they went first to the morning services, the Holy Divine Liturgy, before their daily tasks commenced., and their day usually included the evening services as well, Vespers and Matins. This is obvious both from their diaries and the many hundreds of photographs available to us, and several films which we can now view them on video. Often in these films we see them coming out of a Church or going into one.

When the time came for fasting in the Orthodox Church the Royal Family were very particular about the food that was served, and when it was a time of strict fasting, all matters of entertainment where then canceled.  The young Grand Duchesses would at times would put on stage plays at the palace in the evenings, and if it was Great Lent then afterward Lent was over these plays continued.  No entertainment was allowed at the palaces during the periods of lent.  This included the 40 day fasting period for our Lord's Holy Nativity, the 40 day fasting period for our Lord's Holy Resurrection, as well as the fasting periods for the Apostles' fast, and finally the Dormition fast.

Each member of the Royal family often went to Holy Confession, and where frequent in participating in the Holy Sacrament (Holy Mystery) of Holy Communion.

I would like to now present to you: God Bless The Tsar.

God Bless The Tsar
Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes
May the Holy Passion Bearers, the Martyred Royal Family of the last Byzantine Emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, intercede before Christ our God for the return of their homeland to its historic Orthodox faith, and for the salvation of our souls.

The Tsar's family was particularly pious and ascetic.  This was the personal desire of both Nicholas and Alexandra.  In their last year, while virtual prisoners of the new communist government, their personal piety and devotion together as a family drew them close to the Holy Orthodox Church.  By the grace of God they were able to worship and receive the Holy Mysteries, despite their hardships and the interference of their guards.

They died as an Orthodox family, worthy of emulation by us all.

The communist propaganda that painted the Tsar as ruthless and feudal tyrant was just that: propaganda.  Unfortunately it was, and is, widely believed around the world.

The truth is that the Tsar was the civil and religious leader of his country; in naval terms he was the "captain of the ship."  As such he was ultimately responsible and accountable for everything done in the name of the state and the Russian Orthodox Church.

As Tsar he exercised his authority through the political apparatus that was part of the Russian system - and which changed very little in the way it operated even in the Soviet era.  His advisors and his subordinates did both good and evil in the name of the state; as Tsar he is responsible for their actions and accountable before God.

This should be a lesson to each of us clergy who also exercise a delegated authority in the name of the Orthodox Church -- sometimes directly and sometimes through Sunday school teachers, youth workers, assistants, etc.  We are responsible for their actions and accountable to God.

As leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Tsar was its defender and firm supporter.  Virtually every Orthodox church in America (of all ethnic backgrounds) received at least some material benefit from the royal treasury at the direction of the Tsar.  Whenever it was in his immediate power, or whenever it was brought to his attention, he and his family expressed their faith through acts of kindness and mercy (such as the tending of those ill and injured) and he authorized the expenditure of funds from the preservation and promulgation of the Orthodox Church.

Let the record read very clearly, and let this record be proclaimed loudly far and wide:

Tsar Nicholas II and his family are a model Orthodox family.  They lived our holy, catholic and apostolic faith under their particular circumstances.  In a world of incredible luxury and wealth, in a life of many pressing demands upon them for their time and attention, these Christians held fast to their faith and to the practices and discipline of the Church.

How few wealthy people today even go to church (of any sort) much less had personal lives of strict obedience to the Church and her teachings?

How few people today in America, surrounded by incredible prosperity such as the world has never known, live lives of piety and devotion?

The state of Tsarist Russia was not better or worse than the governments of the other industrialized countries at that time.  In fact, there was a degree of civilization and culture in Russia that rivaled and often exceeded that in other European nations.  Whereas America fought a brutal and bloody civil war to emancipate its black inhabitants from slavery, the Russian Tsar freed the serfs without bloodshed or violence, but as an enlightened and paternal ruler of his Christian people.

The Potemkin villages and poverty of the peasantry in Russia were of a kind with the conditions in the rest of Europe and America.

Let it be known, that not the Tsar and his government, but the Atheistic Communists brutally murdered millions of Russian citizens and virtually destroyed the souls of an entire nation, reducing them to a near sub-human culture.

The world has seen only a decline in the spiritual condition of the Orthodox since the regicide committed eighty years ago this date.  Let us ponder on this.

Through the prayers of these pious and devout family members, Royal Passion Bearers and confessors for Christ and His Church, may the Lord have mercy upon us and save us.

I would like to humbly thank John Wilson for assistance for this text, and Raymon David for posting this for me.  God Bless you both!

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. 15-4-1999