Getting to know the Saints: Tell us about your patron saint!

An online Synaxaristes including martyrologies and hagiographies of the lives of the Orthodox Church's saints.

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Lucian
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Postby Lucian » Fri 27 February 2004 3:49 pm

My patron/name saint is St. Lucian of Kiev, a priest monk of the Kiev Caves Lavra martyred by the Mongols in the 13th century. His feast day is October 15.

Honestly, I don't know any more about him. I have tried to obtain an icon but have thus far been unable to. I heard that the monastery in Jordanville has one; I sent them an email but received no reply concerning the icon, only a regular emailing of their newsletter.

A friend of mine was in Kiev this past summer and tried to find an icon for me at the Caves Lavra itself. But her time was limited and there was some confusion, so, once again, no icon.

I think I will try the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Alyosha
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Postby Alyosha » Fri 27 February 2004 4:43 pm

Dear Lucian,

This web site is in Russian (www.days.ru), but I hope it can be helpful to you. This is a direct link to the picture of the icon of Saint Lukian Pecherski. I have printed icons from this web site on a good printer and had them blessed by my priest.

http://www.days.ru/Images/im1889.htm

Thank you,
Olya

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Natasha
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Postby Natasha » Fri 27 February 2004 4:47 pm

Great site-thanks!

Lucian
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Postby Lucian » Fri 27 February 2004 5:24 pm

Оля wrote:Dear Lucian,

This web site is in Russian (www.days.ru), but I hope it can be helpful to you. This is a direct link to the picture of the icon of Saint Lukian Pecherski. I have printed icons from this web site on a good printer and had them blessed by my priest.

http://www.days.ru/Images/im1889.htm

Thank you,
Olya


Thanks, Olya. I have seen that icon before on the OCA web site. I was told by someone (who may or may not be trustworthy) that it is actually of St. Lucian of Antioch.

However, since your info comes from an actual Russian site, I think it can be relied upon.

I have never heard him called "Pecherski."

Is there any biographical info on him on that site? My Russian is not all that good, but my wife is Russian, so if you can point me to the info, she can translate it for me.

Thanks again!

Alyosha
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Postby Alyosha » Fri 27 February 2004 7:19 pm

Unfortunately, I didn't see his life there, only an icon that was submitted by a visitor to the site (hence reliabiltiy may be questionable?)

"Pecherski" is an adjective which comes from word "peschery" - same as "caves" in English. I hope you can find his story! You might want to call Jordanville bookstore and have them look up the icon.

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尼古拉前执事
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Tsar Martyr Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov II

Postby 尼古拉前执事 » Mon 29 March 2004 4:00 am

The Royal Passion Bearer

Tsar Martyr Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov II

    Contrary to the popular, and widely taught, belief, Tsar Nicholas II cared for the Russian People. This is obvious when you look at his life, one which is filled with hardship. Not only was Russia discontent with the Tsar's rule, but the Tsarevich was afflicted with the rare disease Hemophilia. All of this weighed heavily on the God anointed Tsar, who desired more to become a monk, than to rule an empire.

    "Few figures in history have been so misunderstood and maligned as the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, the last emperor of Orthodox Holy Russia. The Modern "Western" mind tends to view history in a strictly political way. But with an Orthodox world view, history must be seen as the unfolding of the story of man's redemption through the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for our sakes, and His Holy Resurrection." . "The rising and falling of nations, the development of culture - in short, all of history - can only be correctly analyzed in this context. With the murder of Tsar Nicholas, the Byzantine form of government, which places Christ at its head, ended, ushering in the present age of lawlessness, apostasy and confusion. His was a government in the tradition begun sixteen centuries earlier by St. Constantine the Great. That such an unthinkable tragedy as the Russian Revolution could take place attests to the truth of the scriptural warning that "because iniquity shall about, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). This pious Christian emperor was surrounded by people, even among his own relatives, whose self-centeredness and petty worldliness had obscured the love of God in their hearts to the point that they failed to unite around their sovereign in his time of need. They thereby cleared the way for the revolutionary element - the enemies of God - to despoil the Holy Russian Empire and place in its dead a satanocracy whose aim was the annihilation of the remembrance of God from the face of the earth.

    Much has been written through the years about the tragedy of the Royal Martyrs - some well-meaning, some disappointingly critical, some outright slanderous - but almost none from the viewpoint of the Orthodox Christian 'measuring stick.'"(1)

    The life of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas must not be veiled in a political way if one wishes to see his life in it's fullest

    The Tsarevich Nicholas II was born to Tsar Alexander III and Tsaritsa Mary Feodorovna, on May 18, 1868. His sister Xenia in 1875, his brother Mikhail in 1878, his brother George was born in 1879, and his sister Olga in 1882. The Tsarevich Nicholas was very close to his younger brother George, who was the youngest boy in the family. He was brought up in "Spartan simplicity".(2) The Imperial palace at Gatchina had nine hundred rooms, but the Tsarevich and his siblings slept in army issue cots and had hard pillows. There were cold baths in the morning, and porridge for breakfast. These children were not spoiled as many would believe. The Tsarevich Nicholas was tutor-ed by Constantine Petrovich Pobedonostsev, who tutor-ed Tsar Alexander II as a boy, and was also procurator of the Holy Synod. Constantine Pobedonostsev explained quite well to Nicholas that the Tsar was God anointed and received his power from God. The Tsarevich Nicholas finished his education in May of 1890, a few days before his 21st birthday.

    The Tsaritsa Alexandera Feodorovna was born Alix Victoria Helena Louise Beatrice, Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt on June 6, 1872. The Tsarevich Nicholas first met her while visiting his uncle and aunt, the Grand-Duke Serge and Grand-Duchess Elizabeth, who was Alexandera's older sister. In 1892 Nicholas wrote in his diary, "My dream is to someday marry Alix H. I have loved her a long while and still deeper and stronger since 1889 when she spend six weeks in St. Petersburg. For a long time, I resisted my feeling that my dearest dream will come true"(3). Although Tsarevich Nicholas and Alexandera were immediately drawn to each other, she was reluctant to leave Lutheranism to become Orthodox, a requirement for a Tsaritsa. Nicholas proposed in the spring of 1894 to Alexandera in Coburg, Germany, the locale of Alexandera's bother Ernest's marriage. The Tsar and Tsaritsa objected to Nicholas wanting to marry such a "minor" princess, but eventually gave into his bombardment of requests. Tsar Alexander immediately sent his own confessor Fr. Yanishev to catechize the future Tsaritsa, and start her education in Orthodoxy.

    Six weeks later, upon returning to Russia from a trip to England with Alexandera, the Tsarevich found his father, the Tsar, in bad health. The Tsar was advised to rest in the "warm climate of the Crimea". At first the Tsar did not agree but as his health worsened he did. In the summer palace at Lividia in the Crimea, the Tsar began to improve, but, soon afterwards, fell ill again. St. John of Kronstadt was summoned to pray for the ailing Tsar, but he still grew worse. The Tsarevich asked Alexander to come and stay in Lividia with his family, to which she agreed. She wired ahead that she wanted to become Orthodox as soon as possible. For the next 10 days the Tsar's illness grew worse. Tsar Alexander III received Holy Unction and afterwards soon died on November 1, 1894. Nicholas was now Tsar of all Rus. In he late afternoon, an iconostas was set up on the front lawn of the palace. A priest administered the oath of allegiance to His Imperial Majesty, Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov II. The very next day before noon, the Tsar, Alexandera, and the widowed Mary Feodorovna went to the palace chapel. At 10 o'clock November 2, 1894, princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt was chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church and given the name and title of Grand Duchess Alexandera Feodorovna. Upon the Tsar's insistence the wedding, which was originally scheduled for the next spring was pressed forward to after the reposed Tsar's funeral. Tsar Nicholas wished the wedding to be held privately at Lividia, but his uncles prevailed saying the wedding she be after the funeral, in St. Petersburg. The funeral went on. The family kissed the dead Tsar as he laid in his coffin. There were Pannikhidas held twice a day in the chapel to pray for the reposed Tsar's soul. Soon the body was moved from the palace chapel to a cathedral. During the procession to St. Petersburg services were held in many towns along the way. Once in Moscow the body was taken to the Kremlin and 10 litanies were served on the steps of 10 cathedrals along the way. The procession slowly advanced once in St. Petersburg to the cathedral of the Fortress of Sts. Peter and Paul, where Romanov Tsars are buried. The wedding took place on November 26, 1894, a week after the funeral, and the birth date of Tsaritsa Mary. In spring of 1895, Tsaritsa Alexandera found she was pregnant. In Mid November 1895 the Grand-Duchess Olga Nikolaievna was born. In 1896, after 12 months of mourning for Tsar Alexander III, Tsar Nicholas was to be coronated in Moscow, the date was set for May.

    As Tsarevich, Nicholas' life was filled mostly with state affairs and training as a soldier at Krasnoe Selo. This period of his life is often compared to that of a rich playboy, which it may or may not have been like. I strongly doubt that it was a luxurious at Krasnoe Selo for him as many people would think, as this was a military training base, a place were luxuries are shunned. After completing his time in the military, the Tsarevich went on a vacation, visiting various kingdoms around the world, such as: England, India, and Japan. While in Japan he was attacked and almost killed by a samurai. Fortunately the only wound he suffered was a deep cut to his forehead. Although, had Prince George of Greece not used his cane to stop the samurai's second blow, the Tsarevich surely wouldn't have lived. This cut the trip short, and embittered Nicholas toward the Japanese, which he fondly referred to as "Japanese Monkeys", not even sparing the Emperor of Japan this title.
 

    A Tsar's coronation is always held in Moscow, not in the western capital of St. Petersburg, as the coronation of the Tsar is much too important an even to be held in the modern world. A Tsar's coronation is a mystical event, it is not just a crowning physically, but also spiritually, a crowning not by man, but by God. The ancient capital of Moscow is the only place that such an event takes place. By tradition the uncrowned Tsar does not enter Moscow until the day before the coronation. When arriving the Tsar and/or Tsaritsa pray and fast in Petrovsky Palace. Inside Moscow buildings were white washed and decorated with evergreens. Thousands of people poured into the city, Cossacks, Siberians, Caucasians and Turks. The coronation meant that there would be a three day holiday, pardons to prisoners, and fines and taxes would be lifted. On the afternoon of May 25, 1896 the Tsar's formal entry into Moscow took place. Two lines of troops bordered a four mile march rout, and held back crowds. At two o'clock squadrons of the Imperial Guard Calvary rode into the streets forming the beginning of the procession, the sun flashing off their gold helmets. The Cossacks of the Guard came next wearing long red and purple coats, behind them rode the nobility of Moscow, wearing gold braid and crimson sashes with jeweled medals sparkling on their chests. Then came the Court Orchestra by foot, Imperial Guard footmen wearing red knee breeches and white silk stockings. The appearance of court officials signaled the coming of the Tsar. The Tsar was not "lavishly costumed", but was rather dressed in a simple army tunic, buttoned under the chin, his right hand in salute. Behind the Tsar followed Grand-Dukes and foreign princes, followed b the carriage of Catherine the Great, carrying the dowager Tsaritsa Mary. Next came a gold carriage, drawn by eight horses and carrying the as yet uncrowned Tsaritsa Alexandera Feodorovna. The procession went through the Nikolsky gate into the Kremlin. The next day heralds proclaimed that a Tsar was to be crowned that very day, May 26, 1896. Crimson velvet carpet was laid down the Red Staircase which led to the Ouspensky Sobor, where the coronation would take place. Opposite the Red Staircase a wooden grandstand had been built to hold the guests who cold not squeeze into the cathedral, which would be filled shoulder to shoulder. The formal procession down the Red Staircase was led by priests in their vestments. The Dowager Tsaritsa Mary came next. Tsar Nicholas and Alexander then appeared at the top of the staircase. The Tsar in the blue-green uniform of the Preobrajensky Guard with a red sash. At the bottom of the staircase the Tsar and Tsaritsa bowed before the crowd and were blessed by priests with holy water (or oil) on the forehead. They said a prayer before an Icon held by a priest, after which the priests all kissed the Tsar and Tsaritsa's hand and proceeded to enter the cathedral. Before the immense Iconostas were, Metropolitans, Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Sub-Deacons, Readers, and Acolytes. At the front of the cathedral were the coronation thrones. The Tsar sat in the 17th century Diamond Throne of Tsar Aleksei, encrusted entirely with gems and pearls. The Tsaritsa sat in the Ivory Throne, brought to Russia by Ivan the Great's Byzantine bride Sophia Paleologus, the niece of Emperor Constantine, from Byzantium. The Coronation service lasted five hours. After the Royal Hours and Matins came to robing of the Tsar and Tsaritsa. The Tsaritsa knelt while the Metropolitan prayed for the Tsar. While everyone else stood, the Tsar knelt and prayed for all Russia and her people: "Lord God of our fathers, and King of Kings, Who created all things by Thy word, and by Thy wisdom has made man, that he should walk uprightly and rule righteously over Thy world; Thou hast chosen me as Tsar and judge over Thy people. I acknowledge Thine unsearchable purpose towards me, and bow in thankfulness before Thy Majesty. Do Though, my Lord and Governor, fit me for the work to which Thou hast sent me; teach me and guide me in this great service. May there be with me the wisdom which belongs to Thy throne; send it from Thy Holy Heaven, that I may know what is well-pleasing in Thy sight, and what is right according to Thy commandment. May my heart be in Thine hand, to accomplish all that is to the profit of the people committed to my charge, and to Thy glory, that so in the day of Thy Judgement I may give Thee account of my stewardship without blame; through the grace and mercy of Thy Son, Who was once crucified for us, to Whom be all honor and glory with Thee and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, for ever and ever. Amen."(4) Truly, what other country has this gift from God? Then the Tsar was anointed with Holy Oil(5), and swore and oath to rule the empire and to preserve autocracy as Tsar(6). Then for the only time in his life the Tsar entered the altar to receive Holy Communion as a priest would. As the Tsar walked up to the altar the Chain of the Order of St. Andrew slipped off. It is fortunate that few people saw this, as Russians are very superstitious, and this could have been taken as a bad omen. Tradition says that the Tsar is to crown himself. He takes the crown from the Metropolitan and places it on his own head. Tsar Nicholas wanted to use the Cap of Monomakh, used by St. Vladimir, the 12th century Grand Prince of Kiev. The crown would not only signify the Tsar's connection with Russia's past, but it also weighed only two pounds. Instead he had to use the nine pound Imperial Crown of Russia, made for Catherine the Great. Shaped like a Bishop's miter and crested with a cross of diamonds surrounding an uncut ruby, 94 two inch diamonds surrounded by smaller diamonds cover the crown. The Tsar left the crown on his head for a moment, and then took it off and placed it on the Tsaritsa's head. He then took it off of her head, and placed it back on his own again. The Tsaritsa wore a smaller crown afterwards. The Tsar kissed the Tsaritsa and they went back to the thrones. The service ended with every member of the Imperial family giving homage to the Crowned Tsar of all the Russias. Tsaritsa Alexandera later wrote that she didn't feel tired during the whole service, and that she felt as thought the service was a "mystic marriage" between Russia and herself. And that she felt not only as the Tsaritsa, but as the Matushka(7), of all Russia and her people. At the end of the service the Tsar and Tsaritsa walked from the cathedral wearing mantles embroidered with the double-headed imperial eagle. They climbed the Red Staircase, turned and bowed to the crowed three times. The crowd let out a "Mighty Cheer" as cannons fired and all the bells of all the churches in Moscow rang in unison. 7,000 guests dined at the coronation banquet. Among Grand Dukes and Royal Princes, Emirs and Ambassadors was one room filled with plain Russian people in simple dress. They were there by hereditary right, descendants of people who had at one time or another saved the life of a Russian Tsar. Most honored among them were the descendants of an old servant, Ivan Susanin, who had refused, under torture, to tell the Poles where the young Mikhail Romanov, first of the Romanov Tsars was hidden. The banquet meal consisted of Borshch, Pepper Pot Soup, Turnovers filled with meat, Steamed Fish, Young Spring Lamb, Pheasants in Cream Sauce, Salad, Asparagus, Sweet Fruit, Wine and Ice Cream. On a dias beneath a golden canopy dined the Tsar and Tsaritsa. All that day the Tsar wore the enormous crown of Catherine the Great. It was so big it almost came over his eyes. Unfortunately it rested right atop the scar made by his would be Japanese assassin many years ago, giving him quite the headache.

    The Tsar and Tsaritsa soon settled into their new life, full of responsibility, and set an example of godliness for their flock, the Russian people. They gave money to support monasteries and the building of churches. Tsar Nicholas considered it his sacred duty to restore Russia to her ancient traditional culture, which had been abandoned by many, who considered themselves to be of the "educated" class. These "educated" people were in favor of the styles of the modern west. He encouraged the building of churches in the ancient styles, rather than the western styles which were favored after the "reforms" of Peter the Great and Catherine II. He commissioned the painting of many icons in the Byzantine and Old Russian styles, as opposed to the western styles, adorning countless churches with them.

    During Tsar Nicholas' reign the church reached it's fullest development and it's fullest power. There were 57,000 churches at the end of his reign, while there had been 10,000 less beforehand. 250 new monasteries were built, making a total of 1025 in all of Russia. Ancient churches were renovated, and the Tsar himself took part in the laying of the first cornerstones and consecration of many churches. He donated large sums of money, for churches to be constructed with, from his own, private, income. He visited many churches and monasteries in all parts of Russia, venerating their saints. The importance of educating the peasant children within the church and parish framework was stressed by the Tsar, and the number of parish schools grew to 37,000.

    During this time Christian literature flourished. Journals were published such as, "Soul-Profiting Reading," "Russian Monk," and the ever-popular "Russky Palomnik" (Russian Pilgrim). Russia's people were surrounded with spiritual nourishment as they never before had been.

    More saints were glorified in Tsar Nicholas' reign than in that of any other Tsar. His love of Orthodoxy and the Church's holy ones was boundless. He often pressured the Holy Synod to speedily glorify many of God's saints, including St. John (Maximovitch) of Tobolsk, the relative and patron of our modern St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco. St. Seraphim of Sarov was glorified at the Tsar's insistence in 1903. This is when Nicholas was made aware of the future apostasy and downfall of the Russian nation and the Church through a prophetic letter, to the Tsar, written by St. Seraphim himself. The Saint, shortly before his death in 1833, written this letter and addressed it "to the Tsar in whose reign I shall be glorified.". He then gave it to the young wife of N.I. Motovilov, who is well known for recording his conversation about the acquisition of the Holy Spirit with the saint. Elena Motovilov kept the letter for seventy years and gave it to the Tsar at the glorification of St. Seraphim. The exact contents of the letter are un-known, nevertheless it is certain that St. Seraphim prepared the Tsar for the coming hardships. On the return trip from Sarov the Royal Family visited St. Seraphim's Diveyevo Convent where Blessed Pasha (Parasceva) the Fool-for-Christ spoke to them for several hours. It is said that she told them of their own martyrdom, as well as that of Holy Russia. They left her cell pale and shaken but ready to accept with faith God's will, "esteeming the incorruptible crown of martyrdom higher than corruptible earthly crowns; electing to accept the cup of suffering offered to them by God Almighty, that by drinking of it they might offer themselves up as a sacrifice for their people."(8)

    The Tsar was a fervent lover of the Beatitudes of Christ, and he strove to emulate them all. He was meek, sought after righteousness, and all who knew him acknowledged him as pure-hearted. As he was desirous of peace, early in his reign he made a suggestion to the world - that all nations come together and meet in order to cut down on their military forces and submit to general arbitration on international disputes. As a result the Hague Peace Conference was convened on May 18, 1899, and served as the precedent for the League of Nations and the United Nations. His mercy was unmatched in Russian history - he pardoned criminals, and even revolutionaries; giving away vast quantities of his land to lessen the plight of the peasants; and did countless other charitable deeds, which God only knows of. And, of course, few mourned as much as Tsar Nicholas, and few were as persecuted as he was.

    Soon an endless number of tragedies began, a small number of which would surely have broken a lesser man that the Tsar, but for him, they served only to "refine the nobility of his soul."(9)

    Tsar Nicholas loved his people a great deal, this is evident by the many things he did to better their lives eternally, not just for the time they were on the earth. He built many churches and monasteries and Russia had never before been so spiritually alive.

    The Russian people loved their Tsar immensely. Although many of the intelligentsia were dissatisfied with the Tsar, the peasants (who were much more of the population than the intelligentsia) were generally happy. Russia was not like other countries of it's time, it revolved around Christ's church, and many of it's citizens did not care about anything else. Therefore Tsar Nicholas was a good leader for them, as he exemplified everything that a Tsar, the anointed of God, should be.

    Many schools were opened for the children of Russia under the Tsar, and as is outlined above, they were not as the schools of today are. These schools were based upon the Church, and were taught by many Priests, Monks and Nuns, who educated the children and guided them on "The Path To Salvation."

    The Russo-Japanese war was disastrous for Russia. She lost most of her fleet, and the public disappointment was high. Sensing this disappointment the nihilistic enemies of Christ, seized the moment and instigated many mutinies, strikes, riot, and assassinations. St. John of Kronstadt, the last great prophet of Holy Russia, clearly saw the approaching catastrophe, and exhorted his countrymen, repeatedly, to repent, return to their former piety, and support their God-anointed ruler, or disaster both here and in the would to come, would face them.

    In 1905 a campaign of disorders was begun all over the empire, encouraged by the traitors Lenin and Trotsky. Many government officials were murdered in the streets, including Nicholas' cousin the Grand Duke Sergei, the husband of the Tsaritsa's sister Elizabeth. This good woman later visited the assassin of her husband, and, in the spirit of forgiveness, tried to convince him to repent for the salvation of his soul. She went on entering into monastic life, founding a sisterhood for charitable works, the convent of Sts. Martha and Mary.

    In the summer of 1904 the Tsarevich Alexis was born. This even which should have been a joyous one, was suddenly made quite tragic when it was learned that the Tsarevich was born with the dreaded disease hemophilia, which afflicted him horribly during his all too short lifetime. It cannot be imagined what pain of heart this cause Russia's gentle ruler. The Tsarevich Alexis was brought up in the love of Christ, guided by his parents and lived in imitation of the Savior and endured his terrible sufferings in such a way that all who knew him were amazed. It can truly be said that "His agonies purified his young soul and he was, at the time of his martyrdom, a 'sacrificial lamb' for his people."

    Russian entered into a period of great prosperity and moral renewal after the disturbances of 1905-06. Tsar Nicholas, with his wise Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin led Russia through a time of such growth, agricultural, economic, educational, and industrial, that had World War I not occurred , Russia would surely have become the leading nation of the world. Satan though, the enemy of your salvation, would not stand such a great threat to his plans. During the performance of an opera in Kiev, at which Tsar Nicholas was also in attendance, Stolypin was assassinated. Before falling to the ground, he turned to his sovereign, who was in the balcony, and blessing him with the sign of the cross said, "May God save him!"

    In 1914 Russia was forced into World War I. The Tsar, who was peace-loving, had no desire to enter into a war, but aggression against Orthodox Serbia by Germany left no other honorable choice. The Royal Family, nor Holy Russia herself ever returned from this war. As soon as the war broke out, the Tsaritsa and the four Grand-Duchesses, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, became nurses (Sisters of Mercy); and hospitals were opened near the family residence at Tsarskoe Selo, where wounded soldiers were brought. The Grand-Duchesses with their mother worked long hours, following the commandment of Christ to visit the sick and infirm, since "inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me" (Matt. 24:30). The Tsar spent much of his time personally overseeing the war effort and army headquarters, and visiting the troops to encourage them.(10)

    At first the war went well, and Russia was united "heart, soul and body in patriotic fervor behind their Tsar." Unfortunately, soon, due to poor communications, low-level mismanagement and treachery, problems arose in supplying the armed forces with food and ammunition. The army began to suffer reversals and many men were lost. At this crucial time the Bolsheviks, backed by German money, went to work spreading lies and propaganda, and general discord, among the troops at home. Holy Russia's enemies knew that the greatest unifying factors in the country were love of God, and love for the Tsar, who was, the visible symbol of the Orthodox Empire. By cutting off the head, they hoped to render the body powerless by fragmentation, making it malleable to their evil intentions. They infiltrated the press and published slanderous stories against the Royal Family. Foreign press, as hungry for scandal as always, printed stories which were unverified, and many of them are still believed up to this day. Conspiracies began to shape among court officials, the Duma, the generals and the nobility, even including the Royal Family's relatives. This all was taking place at a time when unity was needed more than ever. The Tsar wrote in his diary at that time: "All around me I see treason, cowardice and deceit."(11) Many people, at this point, began to accuse the Tsar of being aloof and "cut off". Archimandrite Constantine of Jordanville has written: "Need one be amazed that the Tsar shut himself off? . . . This was the chaste guarding of his spiritual personality from an alienated outer world, because not only the Tsar's co-workers, but even his kinsmen turned out to be alien to him."(12) Also, the Tsar and Tsaritsa were extremely trusting and believed deeply in the essential goodness of humanity, created in the image and likeness of God. One cannot imagine what grief this must have caused them when they realized into what depths of spiritual depravity so many of their subjects had fallen.

    On March 3, 1917, away from his family, and without friends, Nicholas II, the Anointed Tsar of the last Christian Empire, the "Third Rome", against his better judgement, but pushed by his faithless advisors, abdicated the throne. He wanted to know though, was this what his people wanted? He was assured that yes, it was. However, it was not true, almost all of Russia, outside of St. Petersburg, was behind him. But he didn't know this. So after an entire night of prayer, he set aside the crown for what he felt was the good of his country. He later regretted it, seeing the result of his decision, until his dying day. He wrote at that time: "I am ready to give up both throne and life if I should become a hindrance to the happiness of the homeland." And: "There is no sacrifice that I would not make for the real benefit of Russia and for her salvation."(13) His first thoughts though were still for his nation, even though he was no longer the Tsar, as he said to one of his officers, "Just to think that, no I am Tsar no longer, they won't even let me fight for my country."

    In the village of Kolomskoe, a miracle that showed God's love for Russia took place. In Kolomskoe, which is near Moscow, a woman had a dream, during which she was told to locate a certain icon of the Mother of God. After much searching, it was discovered in the basement of the main church of this village, almost black with age and soot. When it was carefully cleaned, there appeared the "Reigning Icon" of the Theotokos, with the Mother of God depicted seated on a throne, her countenance both stern and sorrowful, the blessing Christ-Child in her lap. Soon thereafter this icon miraculously renewed itself and the robe of the Theotokos was seen to be blood red, something which had been foretold also in the dream. Services were written for this icon and many people made the pilgrimage to Kolomskoe to venerate it. Both physical and mental infirmities began to be healed before it. It is well-known that the Tsar had a particularly strong reverence of the Mother of God, and it is believed by many that it was his fervent prayer to Her that caused Her to make Her mercy to the Russian people known through these miracles; that She would henceforth reign over Holy Russia, interceding for those faithful who prayed for her help.

    When Tsar Nicholas abdicated, the Church reacted by providing the country with its missing father-figure. The Synod, owing to this time of great need, elevated Archbishop Tikhon, a courageous confessor against the godless tyranny that was soon to descend upon Russia, to the patriarchal throne. This was the first time since the reign of Peter I (who had abolished the patriarchate) that the Church again had a patriarch.

    After his abdication, the Tsar made his way back to St. Petersburg where his family was, finding them all under house arrest like common criminals, and all of the children ill. Alexis, Olga, and Maria had the measles and were bedridden with high fevers; Tatiana and Anastasia both had painful ear abscesses, which left Tatiana temporarily deaf. All had been taken from the Tsar except his loved ones and his indomitable faith. He did not curse God for this, but accepted it as His will, he did not even murmur against his captors who treated him with disrespect and contempt.

    The Royal Family was moved to Tobolsk in Siberia in August of 1917, as the provisional government began to collapse amidst the Bolsheviks. Many Russians everywhere behaved as if there were in a trance, against their better instincts, or worse, as if possessed. The Tsar and his family remained in Tobolsk until the following April, taking comfort in only prayer, and each other. They had one great consolation, even in the midst of their persecution - there were still those who loved them, true godly people all over Russia who prayed for them; and many who in defiance of the authorities, would pause in front of the house of their captivity, and making the sign of the cross, pray for the safety and well-being of their sovereigns.

    In April of 1918, the Tsar, his family and faithful servant were transferred to Ekaterinburg     (renamed "Sverdlovsk" by the Bolsheviks, after the party boss who played a key role in deciding to murder the Royal Family) by the now victorious Bolsheviks. They spent three months of psychological torture there, and still retained their inward calm and state of prayer. Not a small number of their tormentors were softened by these valiant Christian strugglers. They were almost entirely detached from this world, and the Tsaritsa and Grand-Duchesses could often be heard singing hymns. Gradually their guards were humanized by contact with their prisoners. The early ferocity of these men was succeeded with pity, and when this would happen the inhuman Bolsheviks would replace the guards with more cruel animalistic ones.

    The Royal Family was seldom allowed to go to church, but nourished their souls with home prayers and greatly rejoiced at every opportunity to receive Holy Communion. Three days before their martyrdom, in the Ipatiev house where they were imprisoned there took place the last church service in their lives. As the officiating priest, Fr. John Storozhev, related: "'It appeared to me that the Emperor, and all his daughters too, were very tired. During such a service it is customary to read a prayer for the deceased. For some reason, the Deacon began to sing it, and I joined him.... As soon as we started to sing, we heard the Imperial Family behind us drop to their knees' (as is done during funeral services).... Thus they prepared themselves without suspecting it, for their own death - in accepting the funeral viaticum. Contrary to their custom none of the family sang during the service, and upon leaving the house the clergymen expressed the opinion that they 'appeared different' - as if something had happened to them."

    "Finally after midnight on July 4, 1918, the entire family, with their doctor and two faithful servants, was brought to the basement of the house under the pretext of moving them once again. There they were brutally and mercilessly murdered, the children as well as the adults, under the cover of darkness - for "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). The Tsar was shot as he stood forward to defend his family. Tsaritsa Alexandera was able to make the sign of the Cross before she, too, fell. Amid screams, the children were shot, clubbed and bayoneted, in an act of indescribably brutality. There is evidence that the murders were ritualistic; strange symbols were found on the walls of the room where the crime took place. Thus ended the life of the gentle, Christ-like Tsar, as a sacrifice for the Orthodox Faith and for the Russian people, both of whom he so fervently loved and believed in."(14) This crime began the inhuman bloodbath which left tens of millions dead, the Church in the hands of atheists and Holy Russia unrecognizable.

    The following is a miraculous vision seen by Metropolitan Makary of Moscow in 1917, a year before the Royal Family's martyrdom.

The Dream of Metropolitan Makary





    I saw a field. The Savior was walking along a path. I went after Him, affirming, "Lord I am following you!" And He, turning to me, replied: "Follow Me!" Finally we approached an immense arch adorned with stars. At the threshold of the arch the Savior turned to me and said again: "Follow Me!" And He went into a wondrous garden, and I remained at the threshold and awoke.

    Soon I fell asleep again and saw myself standing in the same arch, and with the Savior stood Tsar Nicholas. The Savior said to the Tsar: "You see in My hands two cups: one which is bitter for your people and the other sweet for you."

    The Tsar fell to his knees and for a long time begged the Lord to allow him to drink the bitter cup together with his people. The Lord did not agree for a long time, but the Tsar begged importunately. Then the Savior drew out of the bitter cup a large glowing coal and laid it in the palm of the Tsar's hand. The Tsar began to move the coal from hand to hand and at the same time his body began to grow light, until it had become completely bright, like some radiant spirit.

    At this I again woke up.

    Falling asleep yet again, I saw an immense field covered with flowers. In the middle of the field stood the Tsar, surrounded by a multitude of people and with his and he was distributing manna to them. An invisible voice said that this moment: "The Tsar has taken the guilt of the Russian people upon himself, and the Russian people is forgiven."(15)

    In conclusion, this shows us how mystically the Tsar took the sins of the Russian people upon himself, because of his love for them. Many believe that the Tsar did not care about his people, and that he was aloof and detached. But he cared deeply about them, even though many did not realize it.

    It is known that all of the Royal Family and their doctor and servants who were with them were killed that night in Ekaterinburg. Many though believe the heresy that the Grand Duchess Anastasia was not killed, and escaped to Germany. There was even a German woman claiming to be the long lost Grand-Duchess, but she has been disproved. Last year the move Anastasia was released, showing that many still believe this. What will this movie do for the children of our country? They to will believe that Anastasia was not killed, even though the "evil sorcerer" Rasputin tried to end her life. The Grand-Duchess Anastasia was martyred along with her family and is now a saint seeing the vision of Christ God, we should not make up useless propaganda about her, but rather pray for her intercession before God that our souls may be saved.

    In 1991 in Moscow, their was a coup to overthrow the government led by Mikhail Gorbachev, led by his own advisors, and fellow party members. President Gorbachev had put into effect in Russia the policies of glasnost and perestroika. With these policies in place he hoped to restructure the then Soviet Union, and let down the iron curtain that had separated it from the rest of the world since the time of Stalin. Many communist party members though saw this as the down fall of the Soviet form of government, and started the coup. Unfortunately for them, they could not have been more wrong, and by starting the coup, caused their own downfall. The Russian people who were on Gorbachev's side revolted against the coup, and were led by Russia's President Boris Yelstin. When soldiers were sent to stop the rioters, and stop President Yelstin, there was an effect much like the one that took place in 1917, when soldiers were ordered to stop Bolshevik riots; they turned against their officers, and joined the revolutionaries. Mikhail Gorbachev was found, held captive in his summer dacha (house) by backers of the coup. He was brought back to Moscow, and the leaders of the coup were either imprisoned, or killed themselves. The people had already tasted too much freedom though, and overthrew the Soviet government, and the first free election ever was held in Russia, putting Boris Yelstin into the office of President.

    Long before any of this happened, in 1979 the Royal Family's relics were found buried in the woods outside of Ekaterinburg by an writer/investigator named Geli Ryabov. He soon put back the relics though, and told no one, so as not to alert the Soviet government that anyone knew of their existence, as it was generally believed that they were forever lost. In 1988 he again came to the site, and the official excavation of the Royal Family's relics was begun. Since that time the relics have been moved to Moscow, and confirmed as those of the Royal Family, doing away with any skepticism. Unfortunately the relics are still in Moscow in a morgue, and will remain there indefinitely.

    The Russian Church, which also became free in 1991, has been trying to canonize the Royal Family as saints. The Russian Church Outside Russia, which split from the patriarchal church when communism took over the Russian government and outlawed Christianity, glorified the Royal Passion Bearers in late 1981, and while many, if not most, Russians consider them saints, there has not yet been an "official" canonization, not that this is needed, but it is a customary tradition.
 

HOLY TSAR-MARTYR NICHOLAS

PRAY TO GOD FOR US!
 

  1 R. Monk Zachariah Liebmann, "MARTYROLOGY OF THE COMMUNIST YOKE: The Life of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II," The Orthodox Word, 153 (1990), 193-4.


2. Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandera (New York: Dell Publishing Co. Inc., 1967), p. 13

3. 3. Massie, p. 27.

4 Liebmann, p. 200

5 See Illustration.

6. The Tsar's complete title is as follows:

Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, Tsar of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, Kazan, Astrakhan, of Poland, Siberia, of Touric Chersonese, of Georgia, Lord of Pskov, Grand Duke of Smolensk, of Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia, Courland and Semigalia, Somogotia, Bialstock, Karelia, Tver, Yougouria, Perm, Viatka, Bulgaria, and other countries; Lord and Grand Duke of Lower Novgorod, of Chernigov, Riazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslav, Belozero, Oudoria, Obduria, Condia, Vitebsk, Mstislav and all the region of the North, Lord and Sovereign of the countries of Iveria, Cartalinia, Kabardinia, and the provinces of Armenia, Sovereign of the Circassian Princes and the Mountain Princes, Lord of Turkestan, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig Holstein, of Storman, of the Ditmars, and of Oldenbourg, etc.

7. Mother

8 Liebmann, p. 204.

9 Liebmann, p. 204.

10 See Photo.

11 Liebmann, p. 210.

12 Archimandrite Constantine, "Guide to Salvation: For the 100th Anniversary of the Tsar-Martyr's Birthday," Orthodox Life, 1968, No. 3, p. 4.

13 Liebmann, p. 210.

14 Liebmann, p. 215.

15 Fr. Seraphim Rose, "Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II," The Orthodox Word, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 152-153.

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IacobPersul
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St. James the Persian

Postby IacobPersul » Thu 19 May 2005 9:14 am

This is my first post and seemed like a good place to start.
My patron saint is the Great Martyr James the Persian. I don't feel that I chose him so much as discovered him, if that makes any sense. During my catechumenate I was told to read up on all the various saints James and he just leapt out at me. His martyrdom was so inspiring to me. Hopefully others here will appreciate why if they read the following:

http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/pages/Orthodox_Life/st_james_persian.htm

In Christ,

James


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