Tropar & Kontakion
For Royal Martyrs & New Martyrs Of Russia

"In Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II and his family of Russia 1918-1988"

Compiled by
Father Nektarios Serfes
May 1998

Icon of Royal Martyrs and New Martyrs of Russia
Icon of Royal Martyrs
& New Martyrs of Russia
(Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y).

A Note from the Editor Father Nektarios Serfes:

I humbly present to you the "Tropars and Kontakions" for the Royal Martyrs of Russia Tsar Nicholas and his Family, and for the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and  New Martyr Barbara (also known as Ss. Elizabeth and Barbara), as well as for the New Martyrs of Russia.

These tropars and kontakions were composed in earlier times and are used by the faithful of the Eastern Orthodox Church on the commemoration day during the Divine services in the Church. These particular prayers can be also be said at any time, as the faithful also use these prayers in their homes. Normally when the faithful sing these hymns they stand before the holy icons with a lighted candle. If one is unable to sing these hymns they can also be read.

What is a "Tropar" and "Kontakion"?
In the Eastern Orthodox Church the "Tropar" is also known as the "Dismissal Hymn", and this hymn is composed and used in prayer to commemorate a particular saint, or martyr, and as well as a feast day - the church has twelve feast days. The "Kontakion" is also another hymn normally following the "Tropar" or "Dismissal Hymn". These hymns are sung during Vespers, Matins, and the Holy Divine Liturgy, as well as during the Akathist service or a Moleben (also spelled: "Molieben" - a Russian Orthodox tradition of the "Moleben" is a supplication prayer service in honor of either our Lord Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, or a particular saint or martyr, and only an ordained priest can celebrate a "Molieben").  In order to celebrate a Molieben service the particular saint must already be canonized.

Each "Tropar and Kontakion" has a particular tone sung, and we have eight tones. If the saint or martyr is not officially canonized by the Eastern Orthodox Church then at any time a "Memorial Service" can be celebrated. Traditionally speaking the Orthodox Church does not have a last "Memorial Service". This "Memorial Service" can be celebrated by the parish priest in the Church or at the site of burial. If a particular saint or martyr is about to be canonized in the Church then the last "Memorial Service" is normally celebrated prior to the evening vigil services upon the act of holy canonization. For example in Moscow, Russia, the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and family are not recognized as saints under the Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, and since the burial service will be celebrated, thereafter "Memorial Services" can be celebrated at any time afterwards up until the evening of  holy canonization. Since the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has officially canonized the Royal Martyrs Tar Nicholas II and his family this Church no longer celebrates a "Memorial Service", but now has "Molieben" services to the Royal Martyrs,  and as well sings the "Tropar" and "Kontakion" for intercession. The Akathist to the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas and his family can also be  said in both Church and in the home.

Any faithful member of the Church can perform an Akathist and it can be celebrated by the parish priest in the Church or any place.

What is an "Akathist"?
It is a collection of odes or stanzas either sung to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary the Theotokos, our Guardian Angel, a Saint or Martyr. The word Akathist is a Greek word which means "not to be seated, but standing". An Akathist is a short version of Kontakion which are sung in between the stanzas. To view the Akathist for the Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II and his family, written by Daniel Stoylpin (a relative of former Prime Minister Pyotr Stoylpin) please access "The International Romanov Society" website and go to prayers.

An Akathist is normally written or compiled in advance, in preparation for a holy canonization service, which can now be sung or read by the faithful at home, or the parish priest would schedule this service in the Church. We also have available the "Akathist to the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth and New Martyr Barbara", which will be posted later.

Since both the Russian Orthodox Outside of Russia and the Patriarchate of Moscow have now both officially performed the act of holy canonization for the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth and the New Martyr Barbara, the tropar-dismissal hymn and kontakion can be sung in all Orthodox Churches. The Akathist and a Molieben can also be celebrated.

A further explanation of the term "Memorial Service" for the Greek Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church: In the Russian Orthodox Church  the "Memorial Service" is called: "Panikhida", and the general funeral service is called the "Parastasa" (Requiem Service). In the Greek Orthodox Church the "Memorial Service" is called: "Mnimosino-Memorial", the Funeral Service is called "Kithia", and the burial at the cemetery is called "Endaphiasmo" , which concludes with a "Trisagion" , which is a brief memorial service.

When upon the burial of the Royal Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and his family takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, a "Parastasa" will be celebrated, and after the funeral service is over then the faithful themselves can request a "Panikhida-Memorial Service".  This Panikhida can be celebrated at the buiral place of the Royal Martyrs or in the Church and usely this service can be performed throughout the year, either on one's birthday, anniversary, or the date of the person's repose in the Lord.

Throughout the year the Eastern Orthodox Church has designated days for  memorial services for the departed in the Lord, and this is called "Saturday of the Souls". Names are given to the parish priest to be remembered at these services, and the parish priest also remembers these names in private prayers.  Memorials are as well established for the departed in the Lord at the Church.

The faithful send requested names for rememberance of those departed in the Lord to the priest, indicating the first name and that these names are to be remembered in prayer for the "Departed".

Tropar-Dismissal Hymn of the Royal Martyrs. First Tone

Most noble and sublime was your life and death, O Sovereigns;* wise Nicholas and blest Alexandra, we praise you,* acclaiming your piety, meekness, faith, and humility,* whereby ye attained to crowns of glory in Christ our God,* with your five renowned and godly children of blest fame. * Martyrs decked in purple, intercede for us.

Kontakion of the Royal Martyrs. Second Tone

Royalty and martyrdom were joined together, O blest ones, * in your death for righteousness and right belief, O wise Sovereigns, * Nicholas and Alexandra, * with your five children. *Hence, Christ our God hath deemed you worthy of thrones in Heaven; * and with twofold crowns of glory, * ye reign for ever, * adorned with grace divine.

Tropar-Dismissal Hymn of the Martyrs Elizabeth and Barbara. Plagal of First Tone

Emulating the Lord's self-abasement on the earth, * thou didst forsake royal mansions to serve the poor and disdained, * overflowing with compassion for the suffering. * And taking up a martyr's cross, * thou in meekness didst perfect the Saviour's image within thee, * Wherefore, with Barbara, entreat Him to save us all, O wise Elizabeth.

Kontakion of the Martyrs Elizabeth and Barbara. Third Tone

In the midst of worldliness, * thy mournful heart dwelt in Heaven; * in barbaric godlessness, * thy valiant soul was not troubled; * thou didst long to meet thy Bridegroom * as a confessor, * and He found thee worthy of thy martyric purpose. * O Elizabeth, with Barbara, * thy brave companion, * pray to thy Bridegroom for us.

The feast day commemorating the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, and their children, Alexis, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, is commemorated on July 4/17 (new calendar followed by old calendar dates). The feast day for the Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth and the New Martyr Barbara is commemorated on July 5/18 (new calendar followed by old calendar dates). The Russian Orthodox Church in Russia follows the old calendar.

The translation used for the "Tropar-Dismissal Hymns and Kontakions" are from "The Horolgion", Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, Masschusetts., 1971.

More prayers have been written to honor the Royal Martyrs please visit this web site:

I would like to humbly thank John Wilson Smith for his kind assistance on this web site.

Holy Royal Martyrs

Tsar Nicholas & Family,

Pray Unto God For Us!

Holy Royal Martyr

Grand Duchess Elizabeth,

And New Martyr Barbara,

Pray Unto God For Us!

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