In memory of the Romanovs, who suffered for Christ 100 years ago this day
  • "The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality.

    And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for Himself. As gold in the furnace hath He tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign forever.

    They that put their trust in Him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with Him: for grace and mercy is to His saints, and He hath care for His elect."

    Wisdom of Solomon 3: 1-9
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,590
    The Russian church didn't canonize them but does call them Passion Bearers. They were not martyrs but faced death in a Christ-like way. The church outside Russia fully canonized them. I have an icon of them in my icon corner. I am also fond of Alexandra's older sister, St. Elizabeth Grand Duchess of Russia, who was martyred. Her icon is in my corner as well.
  • May they rest in peace and be blessed with eternal light.

    I have always revered Nicholas and Alexandra, the innocent tsarevich, and their daughters. Only totally depraved men (and women) could have done what they did to their sovereign - and, of course, they did it with the blessing of their superiors from on high.

    It would have been a far better XXth century had the Russian revolution had not happened. Truth be known, it wasn't inevitable. I give credit to three men for all the ills of the XXth century - Otto von Bismarck, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin. Everything flowed from the twisted minds and the power-craving vision of these three.

    Just the same, Nicholas was not a saint. He was an autocrat who believed passionately in his divine calling and in the autocratic way of life. In my youth I believed quite strongly in the divine right of kings. I still do, but that belief has become tempered somewhat. There is no perfect form of government. Government is of men, and men's (and women's) pluses and minuses, greatnesses and smallnesses are to be found in all of them, our own much-touted-but-incredibly-corrupt democracy included. Any form of government will only be as healthy and good as the men and women who form it at any given time - and that goes as well for the moral fibre of the people who are its subjects or its citizens.
  • much-touted-but-incredibly-corrupt democracy


    Indeed.

    He was an autocrat who believed passionately in his divine calling and in the autocratic way of life


    Is autocracy incompatible with sanctity?

    In my youth I believed quite strongly in the divine right of kings


    If you believed in the Stuart version of the Divine Right of Kings, it's good that your belief has been tempered with age. On the other hand, …….
    . Any form of government will only be as healthy and good as the men and women who form it at any given time



    Do you mean that God allows us our folly?

    May the souls of the Tsar and his family and their servants, butchered 100 years ago today, rest in peace.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Chris -

    Ha! - - -

    ...allows us our folly?
    Indeed!
    It's called 'free will'.
    ...incompatable with...
    Not essentially or substantially, but autocrats, as a type, have a poor 'track record' of sanctity.
    (But then, so do presidents - even less so do congressmen-women and parliamentarians)
    ...it's good that your belief...
    Oh, tush!
    Are you advocating some eccentric notion that 'divine right' as understood by St Charles and the unfortunate James II was somehow faulty? (Here is a toast to Bossuet.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,590
    Nicholas, and family, were devout Christians. That doesn't mean he was an effective leader with answers to the problems of his day. He led the country into three disastrous wars, the last one being devastating for Russia. German generals, in particular, brought Lenin back from exile with the hope he would destabilize Russia and get it out of the war. Nicholas also realized too late that reforms were needed, but he waited too long to initiate them. As was said about Louis XVI, he was a good clock maker. Terrible leader.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Churchill likened the Kaiser's release of Lenin (who was languishing in a German prison where he belonged) back into Russia by sending him in on a train to the injection of a deadly bacillus into his cousin's country.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 838
    But, they weren't killed because of their faith. They were killed by political enemies. To call them martyrs is a little much in my book.
  • BHCordova,

    They were killed by atheists for the advancement of an atheistic philosophy.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 838
    But were they killed because of their religious beliefs?
  • Religious beliefs were part and parcel of the tsaristic regime and the tsar. Chris is right, religion is one of the things that the revolutionaries were wont to stamp out. The tsar and all he stood for was hated by the power-mad revolutionaries. Whilst they were plotting the overthrow of the regime, the tsar's daughters were tending sick and wounded soldiers and serving as nurses where needed. Hospital wards were even set up in royal palaces.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,092
    Peter the Great abolished the Moscow Patriarchy and established synodical government instead. I think (but may be wrong) that the tsar was responsible for episcopal aqppointments (as the monarch is for the Church of England). So until his abdication Tsar Nicholas was effectively Head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,102
    "To call them martyrs is a little much in my book."

    Except your and my books are irrelevant on this point. ROCOR and the Orthodox Church in Russia addressed the issue on different ways, and they are the only ones with earthly jurisdiction over the issue.
    Thanked by 1toddevoss
  • ...the tsar was responsible for...

    Indeed, he was. Caesaro-papism was-is the order of the day in the Eastern Orthodox world, and has been since Byzantine days. Henry VIII may have been the only western monarch to copy the Eastern model, but he wasn't anywhere near the only one to have thought about doing so. Too, more than one historian has supposed that Henry II (of Becket fame) would have taken the course that Henry VIII did several hundred years later if he could have gotten away with it.

    England's Henry the Bad, who died believing himself a good Catholic and bequeathed his soul to our Lady of Walsingham, would have been aghast at the irreversibly Protestant direction that 'his' church took under his unfortunate son, the adamantly Protestant Edward VI. A form of de facto caesaro-papism also showed its face in the west in the treaty of Westphalia which in 1648 ended the Thirty Years' War. The treaty provided that the religion of the ruler (Catholic or Protestant) would be the religion of the state. That Catholic rulers were allowed to name their bishops was a widespread reality. In many cases this was a provision that kept them within the Roman fold.

    As recently as the early XXth century the Austro-Hungarian emperor, the legendary Franz Joseph, vetoed the 1903 election of a pope, Cardinal Rampiolla Marano. The shocked consistory had no idea that that law was still 'on the books'. They quickly elected a different pope, Pius X, who was more to the emperor's liking, and Pius lost no time in prohibiting any future such vetos.

    Lay investiture (which remains to this day a sorrowful tug-of-war in regard to the perils of the Church in China) has been a recurring theme in the history of the Latin Church, and we, by and large, consider it an infringement on the Church's spiritual authority and institutional integrity, a spiritual institution free from state meddling. Not so the Eastern Churches, where caesaro-papism and the lay investiture that goes with it has been an accepted, even welcome, reality from the very earliest days. Even today, though the Russian Church has been given a new lease on life under the current regime, it is careful not to ruffle the state's feathers and plays its dutiful part in fostering Russian nationalism.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,590
    Exactly, Jackson. The popes took on some of the powers belonging to the emperors as the empire's influence and power declined. In the first 1,000 years the idea of a pope having the authority to call a council would have been near heresy, if not treason. Only the emperor had that power. We needed that emperor in 1960.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 358
    'Henry the Bad, who died believing himself a good Catholic'
    After what he did to his wives? I suppose he must have blanked that out.....
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • The Russian church didn't canonize them but does call them Passion Bearers. They were not martyrs but faced death in a Christ-like way. The church outside Russia fully canonized them. I have an icon of them in my icon corner. I am also fond of Alexandra's older sister, St. Elizabeth Grand Duchess of Russia, who was martyred. Her icon is in my corner as well.


    The Moscow Patriarchate did indeed canonise or "glorify" the Russian Royal Family — they are saints in every sense of the word — as did the Russian Church Abroad. In fact, the latter made canonisation an absolute requirement for reunion with Moscow, which finally occurred in 2007.

    The difference is that the latter specifically declared them martyrs for the faith, whereas the latter, in the course of their investigations, did not find the basis for declaring them martyrs for Christ, instead opting to call them "Passion-bearers", ones who died violent deaths in a Christ-like way, though not (as we Catholics call it) in odium fidei.

    (There are other saints of this category, the most famous ones being Ss. Boris and Gleb, two princes who were killed for political, but not explicitly religious, reasons.)

    The Russian Church Abroad, when returning to full communion with Moscow, was not asked to change their categorisation of the Royal Family as martyrs.

    For myself, the idea that the Russian Royal Family were killed for entirely political reasons and not because of their place in Russia's Christian culture, is rather hard to swallow.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,590
    I believe ROCOR canonized them first. As I recall, there was some resistance in Moscow to declaring them martyrs so they were declared passion bearers. In any event, they were later canonized.

    One could argue politics or religion as the cause of their death. I think it was both. Nicholas was the emperor and had military support and he still headed the military. He was also head of the Russian church since Peter the Great took power away from the Patriarch - even abolished it at one point. How much power he had after his last abdication - he abdicated more than once - is open to question.
  • It would be impossible to say that Nicholas died only for secular or only for religious reasons. Church and state were so inextricably wedded, and Nicholas, as autocrat of both, that it could only be said that he died for both. Surely, he would have believed so. His murderers (and their 'higher ups' as well as they themselves) certainly hated both and wished to see both die with him.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,141
    This makes me wonder how far Marie Antoinette's cause has progressed while I wasn't paying attention.
  • ...how far Marie...
    Ha! Not Marie (who didn't say 'let them eat cake'), but I was just wondering whether her unfortunate husband had any following who considered him saintly. I've never heard of any. He was a good man and had the makings of a good king. If he'd just had the stuff to ignore his wife, and if it hadn't been for the implacable opposition of his noblility to any change he might have led his kingdom into better times. One thing is sure - there were no saints amongst those who did him in!

    Of course England's Charles I has quite a following in high church and Anglo-catholic circles who consider him a saint. He even has a day on many English ordo kalendars.
  • Jackson,

    You've been reading too much propaganda. His wife wasn't the boil that needed to be lanced.
  • Propaganda, Chris???

    Ha! I do not read propaganda.
    You'll have to be somewhat more specific.
    His meddlesome wife, plus the intransigence of his nobility and the parlements were more than this otherwise good king could rein in. Bankrupting the country to finance the American revolution didn't help!

    One lasting thing is his due - that is, there would be no USA but for Louis XVI, his money and his navy.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,092
    image
    Statue of King Charles the Martyr at Grace and St Peter's Parish in Baltimore, Maryland
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,632
    It's hard (really hard) to determine the truth regarding the history of nobility slain in revolutions: Most standard history, written by Republicans/Communists/whomever-the-murderers-of-kings-are, are usually vehemently anti-monarchical, to the point that you feel you'd probably be better off as a Jew under Hitler than a Frenchman under Louis & Antoinette; on the other hand, the pro-royal stuff can be overwhelmingly so, not only to the point of canonization, but to ranking the victims of regicide to a higher place in the heavenly courts than the Queen of Heaven herself. The truth must lie in the middle.

    I think the best thing we can do is what the French Traditionalists do for Louis and Antoinette: Pray for the repose of their souls.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,590
    Louis had many problems besides not being equipped temperamentally for the office. He did call the Estates General into session - big mistake since they never agreed on much of anything. Wiser kings had known better. French agriculture was reeling from the tail end of the Little Ice Age. The French farmers would not adapt away from cereal grains to growing root crops which could survive the climate changes. Other countries did this, but not France. As Jackson mentioned, help to our own country put them in a financial bind. I have even read that the debts incurred building Versailles weakened the economy for many years to come. Then there is the reputed masonic plotting and scheming. Too much going on at the same time.
  • “Surrounded everywhere by treason, cowardice, and deceit."

    "The Empress and I know that we are in the hands of God. May His will be done!”


    These utterances of Tsar Nicholas express two things:

    1.) He understood what evil was arrayed against him, his family, and his people.

    and

    2.) He accepted the cross that God, in His providence, had ordained.


    It seems to me that Nicholas' only damning fault throughout his reign was that he was too kind, too patient, too longsuffering, too forgiving, too innocent, and frankly just too good for Russia or any other nation on earth. The same holds true of his wife Alexandra, and their children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei. They were, as the Apostle says, people "of whom the world was not worthy" (Hebrew 11:38).

    Nicholas II was honestly the best Tsar that Russia ever had. He was the model of a Christian ruler, who cared deeply for his people, and who deserved their loyalty and support. No wonder he and his family were killed by the godless Bolsheviks. He represented everything that those monsters despised and envied. But most important of all, the Tsar in his person and in his royal office represented Christ enthroned, whom the atheists in their malice have always sought to dethrone. This awful drama has repeated itself numerous times in numerous ways throughout history, and in our modern age it has exceeded all previous performances.

    But I find it disappointing that so much of the Soviet propaganda against the Romanovs is still alive and well here in the post-Soviet West. Nicholas and Alexandra are criticized either for things they never actually did, or things they had no control over. They are rarely given credit for any of the things they actually did, and Nicholas in particular is so often singled out for undeserved blame. Add to this story the typical bias and distorted picture of Russia which is popular in the West, and you have yourself a doctoral thesis worthy of any history department at an American or European university.


    Whig histories really are the worst.
  • I cannot improve on Planctus' exposition. Contrary to popular belief, Russia was not a basket case under Nicholas, who had made so many reforms and seen his country grow economically, his armies far from beaten in dissarray (why else was Wilhelm at his wits end to get Russia out of the war?),that things in general were going well, so well that Lenin at one point exclaimed, 'oh, we will never get to have our revolution'. That says everything we need to know about that bacillus, Lenin.

    If Nicholas and Alexandra have anything about them that was blameworthy it was being enthralled with that monster, Rasputin. Alexandra herself was most to blame for putting the fate of Russia in the hands of that charlatan.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,590
    Yes, and Rasputin caused issues between Alexandra and her sister, St. Elizabeth Grand Duchess of Russia. Elizabeth saw through him.

    As far as Russia's armies, I think you overestimate. The Russian army was much weaker than the German. It had people but was poorly equipped and trained. I recall at one of the few battles in WWI that Russia won, film footage shows Nicholas rejoicing with his uncle because Russia had won that particular battle. He seemed oblivious to the fact that Russia lost 200,000 men in that battle. Not much of a victory.

    Nicholas lived, as all Tsars did, in splendid isolation. He seemed a bit naive on the subject of wars, and WWI was the third disastrous war Nicholas led Russia into. He was a good man, but not a good military commander. It was his hope that his son would succeed him as autocrat. In reality, Alexei could never have ruled because of his severe hemophilia.

    Casualties of World War I
    Country Total mobilized forces Killed or died 1
    :
    Russia 12,000,000 1,700,000
    France 8,410,000 1,357,800

    British Empire** 8, 904,467 908,371

    Columns don't line up when posted. Here is a link https://www.infoplease.com/us/world-war-i-primer/casualties-world-war-i



    Fascinating stuff. I saw a picture of the royal houses of Europe and Russia taken before the war. By the end of the war, all the empires except Britain had fallen and the royals exiled or killed.
  • ...all the empires had fallen...

    The Austro-Hungarian Empire had not fallen. It was still intact. Karl and Zita were the last Kaiser and Kaiserin, following upon the death of Franz Joseph. Karl was declared Blessed and Venerable by Pope John Paul II. He was a brilliant and forward-looking emperor who accomplished much good for his people in the brief few years of his reign. He was a passionate Catholic who was loved by the common people, whose welfare he sought. His tireless efforts to end the war which he hated were rebuffed by the Entente powers, and especially by that Presbyterian twit Woodrow Wilson, who demanded the dissolution of his nation as a condition of peace. He died in exile an old man though only in his early thirties. It is interesting that none of his foes, the 'good guys', have been beatified by the Church - even if they had been Catholic (we assume that Clemenceau was Catholic?).
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,590
    Karl tried to reign as king of Hungary but Wilson would have none of it. He was a good man who tried to bring peace, but it was too late. Also when he was emperor, Wilhelm II threatened to invade Austria if Karl pulled out of the war and made peace. He was hammered by two sides. The strains and stresses ruined his health. To illustrate the quality of people here, Zita said she would spend her time praying for the people of their former realm.

    BTW, I have an icon of Karl, as well. He was a good and saintly man.

    I know it is one of those, "what ifs," but if Franz Ferdinand had lived, things would have been much different. He was a reformer who saw the reforms necessary to heal the problems in the empire. He noted that a government run by Austrians and Hungarians that totally ignored the other nationalities in the empire was a dangerous situation. The emperor, Franz Joseph, hated him and rejoiced when he was assassinated. He wanted no changes and considered Franz Ferdinand dangerous.

    It is interesting that none of his foes, the 'good guys', have been beatified by the Church!


    Were any of those foes other than France and Italy even Catholic? Include Belgium, though that country was and is insignificant militarily. I don't think they were, so they couldn't be beatified.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,655
    I think we can all agree - Woodrow Wilson sucks swamp water.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,655
    Were Nicholas II (and Louis XVI, and Karl Hapsburg, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Don Carlos, etc.) perfect? Of course not. I remember a story where Nicholas couldn't be bothered by the total destruction of the Russian fleet because he wanted to finish a game of tennis.

    But Planctus and Chick are right. Even if they are fallen men, they are men who lived Christian lives and realized that the Christian ideal was to be followed as much as possible in governing society. Hence their being placed in the crosshairs of the revolutionaries.

    Also - wasn't T.S. Eliot a member of the Society of King Charles Martyr? (A group I considered joining before swimming back across the Tiber, as it were.)
  • Woodrow Wilson: America's first globalist President.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,655
    Yeah.

    Created the Federal Reserve.
    Introduced the Popular vote (instead of State Legislatures) into presidential elections.
    Popularized a loose interpretation of the Executive Power in American politics (forget the Constitution and all that!)
    Ran on a non-intervention platform, then brought us into WWI "to save (shudder) Democracy"
    Tried to guilt us into adopting the Fourteen Points and joining the League of Nations (God bless Henry Cabot Lodge, the man who saved America)
    And let's not even mention his lovely contributions to "Birth of a Nation"!
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Stimson,

    He segregated the armed forces. That way, Truman got credit for desegregating them.

    However, since this thread isn't about Wilson, and since Charles raises the question by way of an aside:

    Could Nicholas II be declared a saint more easily than, say, any Protestant ruler, should such a ruler die at the hands of atheist thugs, or can we be reasonably certain that he won't be canonized because he wasn't Catholic?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,590
    It is generally true that the churches recognize each other's saints, although they may not always agree. The various churches differ in their methods for declaring sanctity, although with some individuals it is a matter of acclamation by the people. I'm not aware of the Catholic or Orthodox churches canonizing a Protestant - well, other than Marty Haugen. ;-)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,102
    TR was the first globalist president. And he would have gotten the USA into WW1 faster than Wilson did. Just sayin'.

    The Seventeenth amendment was sent by a Congress (with a Senate under GOP control) under President Taft to the states for ratification, and ratification was completed just five weeks after Taft left office.

    The fashionable frothing over Wilson as universal American curdling widget has been overdone. It's becoming a caricature of itself.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,655
    Agreed, Liam - but Wilson never invented a popular plush named after himself, nor got stuck in a bathtub. So we can't find him adorable or hilarious in spite all of the bad he did.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Whilst having a coffee at Barnes & Noble's this evening I chanced upon a new book by one Helen Rappaport with The Race to Save the Romanovs for a title. Methinks that it would be most interesting.

    It seems that even the current regime understands the revolution to have been an unnecessary mistake - even an embarrassment. Its hundredth anniversary was almost totally ignored, whilst a great and official fuss was made over the hundredth anniversary of the regicide (17 July 1918) - with the Russian Orthodox Church having a major role therein.

    It occurs to me that the press and others are fond of calling the Putin a czar and so forth. We should not do this because it would really 'make his day' to be so compared. He is a petty but powerful (and dangerous!) tyrant. One notes (this being typical of the sons of revolutions) that the Putin loves to be compared to a tsar and basks in the imperial legacy but that there are no plans for a restoration.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen