Father Nektarios Serfes - Royal Martyrs Of Russia
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Royal Child-Martyr Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.
Royal Child-Martyr Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.
Miracle Of The Child Martyr Grand Duchess Maria

Compiled by Father Nektarios Serfes
Boise, Idaho
11 April 2000

Introduction by Father Nektarios Serfes:

Humbly I am presenting to you a miracle healing on behalf of the Royal Child Martyr Grand Duchess Maria, and secondly within this text another miracle that took place in Ykaterinburg (Ekaterinburg) of a innocent man while in prison who was set free through the intercessions of the Tsar Martyr Nicholas II.

Grand Duchess Maria Romanov was the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra, and was the sister of Grand Duke Tsarevich Alexis, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, and Anastasia. To both the Tsar and Tsarina each of their children was indeed a blessing from God, and each child along with their parents were a strength to one another! Let me add also a smile, and a closeness to one another, for each time they seperated from one another it was to their sorrow, as we learn from their diaries, but what a great hour it was when all of the family came together as one! Joy and happiness prevailed in this family!

The Royal Child Martyr Grand Duchess Maria, the third daughter, born in 1899, was strong broadly-built and good looking, with light grey eyes. She could paint and draw, and played the piano competently. She was fond of children and inclined to domesticity, and would have made an excellent wife and mother. Maria had the reare quality of being perfectly happy in any surroundings, even when the family was imprisoned in both Tsarskoye-Selo and Tobolsk. For this reason she was chosen by her parents to accompany them when they were force to separate from the family and embark upon their last fateful journey to Ekaterinburg. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints!

Holy Child-Martyr Grand Duchess Maria,
Pray Unto God,
For Us!

In The Love Of Christ Our Lord,

+ Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes
Who prays for you and with you!
11 April 2000

The following was received from a woman from Serbia, Nina Kartasheva:

"The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, and a model of meekness.... I'm reading the troparion to St. Nicholas as usual and recall the days of my childhood in the far nothrern Urals, in Verkhoturye. Both of my grandmothers had been exiled there in the '30s with their children, who later became my parents. I cam into the world in a later, more peaceful time. There was no longer any overt repression, and no one considered my grandmothers as exiles. But during Khrushchev's time the attitude towards the Faith had again become, to say the least, abusive; but if one were to speak more strickly and correctly, it was intolerrant. However, irregardless of that, in old Russian families the traditions, religious practices, and of Faith itself were preserved. The elderly Orthodox people of the settlement of the special-status exiles stood firm: "They won't send us any further than Verkhoturye!'

"I was then still a young girl, a seven-year-old second-grader. It was December 5, (18) Editors Notes: new calendar followed by old caldendar the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Our Church celebrates this great Saint twice a year, and in the common parlance these feasts are called Winter Nicholas and Spring Nicholas, December 19 and May 22, according to the new calendar.After school, after I had eaten dinner and played for a while, my grandmother seated me at the table under the icons to write out the Akathist to St. Nicholas for a sick aunt. Even now I vividly remember the thin notebooks and its horizontal lines; on the back cover was printed the solemn oath of the young pioneer. I remember my porcelain inkwell, painted with gold butterflies, and its little lid, and my pen with its little lid, and my pen its wonderful #12 nib. I nearly and painstakingly wrote the prayerful words and hurried just a little bit, because soon the children would be coming for me so we could go skating and jumping through the snowdrifts together. Buit I rushed painstakingly, so that my grandmother would be satisfied and let me go. In the morning she and I would be going to church, and I was afraid that she might forbid such a worldly amusement.

"The children arrived when I had finished writing the thirteenth kontakion and had begun writing the prayer. I asked them to wait until I was done. The fidgety Lyba poked her nose into the notebook: 'What are you writing?' I turned away: 'Something... my grandmother needs it.' But the children had read the word 'Prayer.' In scholl the teachers and youth leaders had already explained to us that there was no God. The most politically conscious of them began to tease me, and the most advance one, Tanya B., made her ink-stained fingers into a figushka (a rude gesture) and pointed them at St. Nicholas in the icon: 'Here Look! I'm not afraid of your old fogey gods.! What do you think - wil he cut off my hands, feet and ears? So there!'

"Blotting what I had written and closing the notebook, I blinked with confusion, glancing at the solemn oath of the young pioneer. My grandmother came in from the other room, stern but dear. She took the notebook and looked at what was written in it. The children quited down and edged towards the door: 'Come on out, we're going to run around behind the sheds.' But my grandmother wouldn't let me go. I was ashamed to tell her about Tanya's outburst. My grandmother would have considered even the word 'figushka' to be wild and unseemly on my lips, which, of course, it would have been.

"We were in church on Sunday. I stood right by the icon of Winter Nicholas - in this icon the Saint is painted in a mitre, whereas in the Spring icon he has nothing on his head. In the church I liked the Winter Nicholas - it was more majestic. But at home I liked our Spring Nicholas, with his high forehead and its receding hairline and the dear features of his face. I stood by the icon and couldn't figure it our - was Tanya a good or bad girl? I somehown didn't consider her to be either bad or good, but if she didn't believe in God it was because she was 'advanced,' and therefore I decided that it was possible to pray for her.

"On Monday Tanya came to school wither arm in a sling. They had left us the other day to take a walk behind the sheds, and some courageous boys were jumping off the shed roofs into the snowdrifts there. The girs, who had been educated in 'equal rights,' decided to test their nerve. Tanya at that time dreamed of becoming an astronaut and jauntily jumped first from the roof into a snowdrift, but quite unsuccessfully. The girls brought her home and told her mother what she had done at our place before the icons. Her mother then told off our teacher: 'See, God punished Tanya - though it's all right, since it's not a fracture but a dislocation. What's the matter with you, Olga Nikolaevna, that you sick the children on God? He is bothering you?' Tanya's mother, aunt Marusya, was straightforward and ingenuous woman. Tanya is now a respected mother of two children. Her husband's name is Nicholas, and she always says, 'I've believed in God since the second grae, I've never doubted.'

"In the second grade I was really my grandmother's granddaughter. I loved her very much, and therefore I simply could not anger her in any way. That would have been unnatural, while to be obedient was easy and simple. And that's how it was until the eighth grade. And then there came the most frivoulous age, when the boys were paying me a lot of attention and I became very intrested in apparel, dances, movies, and books on adult subjects. On top of that there was, as they say, 'the tyranny of peer pressure.' And my circle of school-friends looked upon my grandmother as a 'holdover from the dark past.' My classmates already had modern hairstyles and were wearing their skirts above the knee. No one yet dared in the eighth grade to wear makeup, but they were already trying to wear pants. I myself wore old-fashion dresses and a braid with a black, also old-fashioned ribbon. After all, fashion did not exist for my grandmother, and her dresses were of an old-fashioned cut, down to her ankles. They were of black wool in the winter and of staple-cloth in the summer, with a cream-colored collar clasped with a brooch. But she was a grandmother, and I was a young woman, and I wanted different-colored dresses!

"Now it was again December 18, the eve of the Winter Nicholas. My grandmother was getting ready for church. We were to leave together for the city by bus, but once there I set off for music school, while grandmother went to the nuns, who lived next to the church in a little wooden house. They were secret nuns, nuns in the world, as was my grandmother. I was told to come to them after my lesson at the music school, to go to the services in church; afterwards my grandmother would decide whether to keep me there to spend the night or send me home. By the school she parted with me: 'Well, my child, come to pray!'

"Now, in my mature years, it wold not really be so indiscreet to say that as the dawn of my tender youth, at fourteen or fifteen years of age, I was probably a good-looking girl, and this hindered me from remaining within my grandmother's sphere of influence. Even the teacher of musical literature, a student-teacher from Sverdlovsk conservatory, favored me with special attention and conversations. He read me the fashionable poets Yevtushenko, Voznesnsky and Akhmadulina, and said that realistic art was 'Stalinist stuffiness.' He told me about Picasso and was exasperated at the 'medicrity' of our Russian wooden houses with their carrved window sills, and their frames in the form of cross: 'How much better Italian windows are!' And when I timidly objected that we have a severe climate and that Italian windows would let the cold in, he inisted that beauty was more important than warmth. But I loved our native beauty, even in our lacy window-casings, and therefore I held out against his weak explanations... Was it in the conservatory that they had fostered in him such xenophilia and scorn for his own culture? He himself was an ordinary Russian boy, although then he seemed to me to be very grown-up and intelligent.

"That day he said to me, 'Wait I'll walk you to the bus.' I was frightened: 'You don't have to, I'm going to see my grandmother.' 'And where is your grandmother? Doesn't she live with you?' 'She's with friends today.' It felt awkward for me to let him know what was going on, but the young teacher was not afraid, even of my grandmother, and his intentions were most honorable, so we left school together. I was already a final-year student, and was considered to be almost an adult. Teachers were quite highly regarded in the provinces and so, of course, I didn't dare tell the teacher that he need not accompany me.

"The teacher and I approached the outskirts of the city, where the cemetery rested under the snow, and where the lone open church glimmered. Beside it were two little houses. In one lived the widowed priest, and in the other lived the nuns. My grandmother saw me from the window and came to the gate. She was in her black klobuk (formal monastic head-covering) and I was horrified, that no everyone would know that she was a nun. My grandmother recognnized the teacher-she knew all my teachers and clasmates. She greted him and asked, 'Have you come to pray too, Valery Nikolaevich?' Poor Valery Nikolaevich blushed, and I felt how ashamed he was for himself and for me-that I was so outdated and went to church with my grandmother. He muttred something and clumsily took his leave. And I, among the dear old pious women, suddenly felt sad and depressed. I saw myself though the yes of Valery Nikolaevich as someone hot up-to-date, who didn't understand Voznesensky or Picasso. 'Grandma, I'm not going to church. I'm going home.' My grandmotherwas displeased, and I saw it, but I persisted. She let me go.

"At home, without my grandmother there, my father and stepmother acted like children! The television blared, and Papa's hunting dog, Burka, leapt about in the kitchen, although in my grnadmother's presence she didn't even peep at the porch. I stood in front of the mirror. 'Outdated ... old-fashioned....' I thought. From the mirror a frightened, thin girl looked at me; not so old-fashioned, but so it seemed to me. And suddenly, all at once, something broke loose and changed within me. Up to that moment I had always felt an aspiration upward, heavenward, as if I had been holding on to a big, shiny balloon on which was written 'Jesus Christ' and 'Mother of God.' This great invisible balloon had lifted me up above the earth, and I had always felt joyful and light! ...And now it was as if I had to let go of that balloon and was falling heavily to the earth.

"I went skating. They let me go, of course. The settlement for special-status exiles was by the time just a regular village. The timber-mill stood on a picturesque spot. The Aktai River flowed into the Tura with its rocky, forested banks, through knolls and fileds. Not far off, in a former convent, was a sanitarium for children. It was always merry there-in the winter there was skating rink with music, and in the summer there were volleyball, swings and croquet. My stepmother worked at the sanitarium and therefore they let me onto the grounds, even my friends. But on that day there was an ice-skating competition there, and I decided to go skating at the homemade village rink. It was also on the Aktai River and young boys skated there. I wasn't allowed to walk there, since there were ice-holes. But that day I didn't remember that I wasn't allowed.

"I skated in a very 'modern' style and imagined that I was like a championship figure-skater whom I like ver much on television. I go a running start, twirled in the air and quitte skillfully, it seem to me, flew backwards-right into an ice-hole! Was I scared and terrified? I don't know. It was like a sudden burn, only in the water! They pulled me out and ran with me to a club nearby. I had only enough presence of mind to know that I need to dry myself off by the round Dutch oven. Then the woman who worked as a guard there came, gasped and sent a girl to my home. My parents were more firightened than I was. They changed my clothes and bundled me up. At home they gave me tea with raspberries, but by morning I was sick. My grandmother was at church and arrived only towards evening. It was twice as bad without her, and until she came I was delirious and asked to be given a ballon with
Royal Child-Martyr Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.
Royal Child-Martyr
Grand Duchess Maria
of Russia.
the words 'Jesus Christ and Mother of God' written on it. Only when I took my grandmother's hand, as if it were the string of my shiny balloon, did I calm down.

"I was ill for some time before I recovered, but as a result and a reminder I came down with penumonia once every year after that, although in a milder form. Most often it happened on the Winter Nicholas, which was not a good sign. And so it lasted not for one or two, but for about ten years. By that time I had already married and my dear, unforgettable grandmother was no longer in this world. That year, in the spring, I had sat in a draft and once again became very ill. But I stayed on my feet for a long time, unil I collapsed. It was May 19, the birthday of the Emperor New Martyr Nicholas. This day is underlined in my diary. To my sorrow I was absolutely alone at home-my husband was away on business, my relative were far away, and there was no one to help me. But I needed help, since I couldn't even get up to answer the doorbell. Something lifeless, dead and frightful pressed me down. My spirit grew weak and I was feverish and thirsty. In the morning I felt a little better and came to. There was a smell of lilacs, birds were singing, and my fever was almost gone. There was something heavy covering me on top of the blanket. An old-fashioned officer's coat with eagels on the shoulders! Lord! Where did it come from?! A girl, about seventeen years old, was sitting in the armchair, quietly reading in a wonderfully deep voice the Akathist to St. Nicholas out of my notebook, which I immediately recognized. 'I'm hallucinating!' I was frightened. I didn't know this girl and no one-not even my niece from Leningrad, if she were here-could read the Akathist in such a manner. This unknown girl did not have modern pronunciation, but like my grandmother pronounced her 'ch' and 'shch' like someone from old Petersburg. Certainly, I was hallucinating! But for some reason I asked, 'Where did such a strange coat come from?' It's my Papa's,' the girl replied. 'And who are you?' 'Maria.' 'Which Maria?' 'A nurse.'

"I looked at her round face and big gray eyes. There was something admirable and meek in her appearance. Her dress was simple, light blue, and there was a fresh lilac branch in the vase. 'Give me something to drink.' She came to me with a cup of warm milk. I asked, 'Is this part of my halluncination?' 'Dostoyevsky said that there are no hallucinations or madness. It's just that in exceptional circumstances people also see the other world.' I drank the milk, and it was warm and tasty.

"Today you'll recover completely. Papa said so. Today is his birthday, and his nameday is in three days. This is a present to you from him. And I'll sit with you. Do you want me to read the service again?' 'No! Read something else, something secular and merry, and then the service...'

"The wonderful voice changed from low, soothing tones to crystal-like heights, and she read me a funny story about a young lady with a lace unbrella and a frilled skirt.... Was it Chekhov? I could in no way recall such a story. It was only in the '90s, when books by N. Taffy appeared, that I recognized it! But back then, God knows, I had only seen Taffy's name barely mentioned in soviet publicatons of other authors. I had not read a singel work by this brillian writer. The story ended. For some reason I didn't dare ask her to read me any more; I had somehow begun to believe in my merciful guest. She arose. Above the head of my bed there hung (and still remain) my grandmother's icons of the Savior and the Mother of God. The girl stood before the icons and I knelt in bed: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, save us and have mercy on us sinners. Most Holy Mother of God, save us.'

"Then I fell asleep and awoke healthy and refreshed. I was alone in the room. But the lilac branch was still in the vase with its wonderful scent, and it hadn't been there before my illness. The lampada was burning although I hadn't lit it; I didn't even have any oil. I usually bought menthol oil from the pharmacy, hat it blessed by the priest in church and lit the lampada on feast days. But that year menthol oil had disappeared from the pharmacies, and the lampada had not been lit for three months.

But the most incredible and precious proof that I, the bad and sinful one, had been favored by a visitation from the other world was my grandmother's prayer rope! The prayer rope was real, and I still have it at home. At that moment it was hanging on the corner of the icon of the Savior. And it was that very prayer rope which we had put in my grandmother's coffing and buried her with! The little tassel on the cross, made of green yarn, had rotted, but the prayer rope itself had not fallen apart, and later I reung it and gave half the beads to my priest. When my aunt came to see me six months later and saw the prayer rope she turned pale with fright and then began to cry, begging me to give it to a church to avoid temptations, because signs like this bring misfortune. I have had plenty of troubles and temptations, but I won't part with the prayer rope. I wasn't about to tell anyone about it then or I would have been considered crazy, but all those close to me and my priest believed me and prayed with me. My illness passed without a trace, and the doctors were delighted when they checked my lungs.

"I have a firm belief that it was through the prayers of my grandmother that I had been healed in such a miraculous way. Is't it a miracle? I believe that it was due to her prayers to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and the Royal New Martyrs, whom she had always honored. She and I had gone twice on a pilgrimage to what was then called Sverdolsk (now Ekaterinburg), to the Ipatiev house (where the Royal Family was killed). The first time was on July 4/17, on the anniversary of the murder of the Royal Family, and the second time was on May 9/22, the spring feast of St. Nicholas. People gathered at the Ipatieve house secretly, at night, because during the day the police would drive them away. I was a little girl, but I remember everyone praying quietly and telling a great number of strories of grace-given help. One young man wept and related how he'd had a revelation in a dream that the Emperor-Martyr was interceding for him before God, and that soon afterwards he had been released from prison, where he had landed innocently, through slander. The terrible Ipatiev house was probably destroyed by santanists because the Russian people commemorated their Sovereign there, and because Sovereign himself prays for (and will always pray for) his Holy Russia.

"Now that this decisive time has come, we have even more assurance that the Lord will not be mocked. The Ipatiev house was destroyed, but we remember everything, as we remember that Ekaterinburg was shamefully called Sverdlovsk
Child-Martyr Grand Duchess Marie
Grand Duchess Marie
(Photo colorized
by Bob Atchison,
and printed
with permission)
(Editors Notes: Now once again Sverdlovsk is now called Ekaterinburg -also spelled Ykaterinburg). And we remember it through some genetic memory, through our souls. You can't deceive the soul, and it will understand - even in today's half-truth, because the soul lives by the Holy Spirit.

"From faraway Australia I recently received a blessing from Alexandra Filipovna Kuzminskaya - an icon of the Royal New Martyrs. In the icon's margins stand the four Grand Duchesss, like white angels: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. When I stand before this icon I always involuntarily think of how everthing is providential, even our misforturnes.. It was providential that millions of Russians at the beginning of this century found themselves in exile. Thanks to this, Russian Orthodox churches are everywhere! On very continent the Divine Liturgy is now served in the language spoken by St. Alexander Nevksy and St. Dimirtry Donskoy... And Russia, the Great Martyr, is now going through a second acquistion of faith, a saving acquistion at a time when the whole earth is spinning unbalanced through time and space, ready to overturn and burn with the sins that overflow the measure of patience. It is being held back from disaster only by holy prayers offered to God for peace, love and goodness, prayers to soften the evil hearts of mankind.

"May God help us. Forgive me the daring with which I have written this story. I have written it down as it happened, without invention, without embellishing anything. This is how it happened. I have truthfully and sincerely told about the little things in which the great become manifest. May the Lord save you, dear reader.

"P.S. After having reread what I have written I was tempted to make certain corrections and abridegments to make my story more literary and complete. Certainly, the fact that my grandmother's prayer rope had been brought to me from the old world is too incredilble. From the viewpoint of artistic credibility this paragraph should have been thrown out. Nevertheless I have not chosen artistic credibility, but a fact from life. This how it happened. Indisputably, from the literary perspective, Grand Duchess Maria should have been replaced by Olga or Tatiana because Maria was never a nurse, (Editors Notes: The Grand Duchess Maria did volunter her time assisted the nurses, during the war with Germany, as well as the Grand Duchess Anastasia) and the reading of Taff spoils the plot. But this is not a plot, and I have not written a literary work; I have only put down everything as it happened. And since it was said 'Maria,' and 'A nurse,' I dare not change anything, no matter how incredible or unpolished it seems. Maria's pale blue dress was simple, without an apostolnik.* In my icon of the Royal New Martyrs, Maria is also depicted not dressed as a nurse, like Olga and Tatiana, but in the white dress of a Grand Duchess. The dress is covered with a pale blue mantle. She is standing on the Sovereign's side, below Olga. On the Empress' side stands Tatiana, and below her the youngest, Anastasia, dressed exactly like Maria, except that her mantle is pale pink.

"Real life is always much more miraculous and incredible than anything writers or poets can think up. Certainly each one of you, I know, has had his own mystical experiences. And this healing was not the only incident in my sinful life when I, walking 'as though the midst of many snares' of the enemy, have unexpectedly received a fearful, mysterious warning or merciful support.

"O Lord, don't leave us weak and sinful ones. Save us and have mercy on us by the prayers of the Theotokos and all Thy saints."

* A head-covering worn by nuns, leaving only the face exposed. They were also worn by nurses in pre-revolutionary Russia. -Trans.

Source: The Orthodox Word., St. Herman Brotherhood., Platina, Ca., No. 202. 1998., pp. 225-235.

For further information on the Royal Child-Martyrs of Russia please visit The Child-Martyrs

Holy Royal Child Martyr Grand Duchess Maria,

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 : fr-d-serfes@serfes.org. 4-11-2000