Skip to comments.Church on the Blood Consecrated
Posted on 07/17/2003 7:17:32 AM PDT by RussianConservative
YEKATERINBURG, Ural Mountains -- Surrounded by crowds of Russian Orthodox faithful, clerics on Wednesday consecrated a golden-domed memorial church on the spot where Tsar Nicholas II and his family were shot to death by the Bolsheviks 85 years ago.
Crowds gathering Wednesday for the consecration of Yekaterinburg's Church on the Blood, built where Nicholas II was killed.
Russian Orthodox priests wearing gilt-edged red robes chanted and carried crosses under lowering skies in Yekaterinburg, where the last tsar, his wife, Alexandra, and their five children were executed in a cellar on July 17, 1918.
The Church on the Blood, a white-walled structure topped by several shining gold-colored onion domes at different levels, was built on the murder site at a cost of 328 million rubles (about $1 million)Actually that $10 million, much of it donated by large companies, Itar-Tass reported.
"I am delighted that I am here on this historic day. This place is known to everyone as the Russian Calvary," a descendant of the Romanovs, Olga Kulikovskaya-Romanova said at the ceremony.
Other family members and well-known people, including Mstislav Rostropovich, joined about 1,000 pilgrims who arrived for the consecration.
Some traveled hundreds of kilometers on foot and stayed at a tent camp set up in a nearby field, NTV television reported.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II has been ill lately and was advised by his doctors not to travel to Yekaterinburg, Itar-Tass reported.
In a message, Alexy said the consecration suggests "a possible historic turn" for Russia and called for unity between the Russian Orthodox Church, the state and the Russian people. In imperial Russia, church and state were extremely close and the tsar was considered to have the divine right to rule. All Euro monarchs claim same, called Divine Rule
At the main entrance to the church stands a sculpture depicting the last minutes of the Romanov's lives -- surrounded by members of his family, Nicholas clutches his son, Alexis, to his chest.
Nicholas, who abdicated in March 1917 as revolutionary fervor swept Russia, was canonized by the church in 2000, along with his family, after years of debate on the issue following the collapse of the Soviet regime.
Nicholas and his family were detained and in April 1918 they were sent to Yekaterinburg. Three months later, a firing squad lined them up in the basement of a merchant's house and shot them. The building was demolished in 1977 on orders from Boris Yeltsin, who was the top regional official at the time.
The remains of the royal family were unearthed from a mining pit near Yekaterinburg in 1991 and were buried in St. Petersburg in 1998.
It was an incredibly moving experience, because in addition to things like the Faberge Coronation Coach egg, the coach itself, artwork and jewels, there were items like Nicholas' hair from when he was 3, love letters between him and Alexandra, art by the children along with schoolbooks, etc. I couldn't make it through many sections without crying, and didn't see many dry eyes in the place - it was a great experience for all of us, especially the kids.
These were nice people, slaughtered by animals.
They were such a lovely family and so devoted to one another, children included.
Thanks for sharing about the exhibit, especially the little personal mementos. The rest of it, jewels, all that, are nice, I suppose, but that's part of what led to the problem in the first place; i.e., so much for the few, so little for the many.
One light note - my middle daughter is named Alexandra, and if I remember right, she wasn't quite 6 at the time. She scooted loose from us in the middle of the exhibit, charging onto the next room. They had one of the throne chairs in there, and all the talk about "Tsarina Alexandra" in the recording over her headset was going to her head. I managed to snag her just as she was headed under the rope to sit on the throne.
It was considerably worse. In that stampede, the day after the coronation, "hundreds were dead and thousands wounded." (Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra).
An eerie parallel was that in another book (can't remember which) I read that - here we go again - several? - people were trampled to death after Stalin's funeral.
Would that necessarily be a good thing for Russia?
I saw a picture of a statue of that Yurovsky or whatever his name was in or near Ekaterinburg. I wonder if it is still there.
The details of the slaughter are so horrible.
Let us pray that they find and identify the other two bodies so they can all rest together.
That said, I'm not optimistic; we monarchists are still a small minority. But one can always hope. God Save the Tsar!
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