Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Family of Saints

This post is in honor and memory of the Romanov family who were murdered by the Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918. They have been canonized as Saints by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and as Passion-bearers by the Russian Orthodox Church. This new family of Saints includes St. Nicholas II, his wife St. Alexandra, along with their four daughters St. Olga, St. Tatiana, St. Maria, St. Anastasia, and their only son St. Alexei. Their new feast day is on July 17.

Sometimes common sense gets lost in the attempts by professional, accomplished historians to write and publish the premier text on certain key 20th century events, such as the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Indeed, even Karl Marx himself predicted that a Communist Revolution in the Russian Empire would never be successful and that the most likely candidate was, in fact, Germany his native country. Regardless of the numerous, carefully detailed explanations offered by the academics, the ingredients of the story still read like a fictional tragedy straight out of Kafka or Tolstoy. Consider the cast of characters:

MARX: a failed, bitter, angry Communist intellectual and journalist from a recently converted dynastic family of Rabbis, who courted and married a beautiful, blonde German girl of noble blood, but then managed to publish almost nothing, except a small book called 'The Communist Manifesto' written mostly by his friend and life-time patron Frederick Engels.
RASPUTIN: a dirty, lecherous Russian peasant with strange, occult powers that appeared to miraculously heal the Czarevich Alexei of his terminal illness, historically known as the Mad Monk.
LENIN: a stern, politically fanatical, Russian intellectual from a upper-class background with a completely shaven head and a well-trimmed goatee who was sent back to Russia from a defeated Germany on a mysterious black train to instigate a Revolution against the Czar.
TROTSKY: a naive, ambitious, internationalist, anti-religious son of a hard-working Jewish farmer from the Ukrainian Shetl, originally named Lev Bronstein.
STALIN: a Georgian Socialist Revolutionary expelled from Orthodox Seminary for spreading Marxism, historically known as Uncle Joe, or the Gorgeous Georgian.

These days the general understanding of the Romanovs, especially that of Nicholas II, is that he was both a brutal dictator and an inept ruler who was destined to lose control of the Russian Empire. In reality, he was deeply Christian man much more concerned with his family and his faith. All things considered, they were just as much the pawns of history as any other family. The greatest tragedy about the Bolshevik Revolution that seems to get lost in the historical milieu is the fate of the Russian people, who went from being ruled by a classical autocracy to a fanatical, anti-Christian (and anti-Jewish) dictatorship who violently persecuted and oppressed their own people most of all. The facts speak for themselves:

Soviet Prison Facts
- In 1917, there were only 28,600 total prisoners within the Russian Empire, the largest prison population ever known in the history of Imperial Russia.
- In stark contrast, 14 million Soviet prisoners passed through the Gulag from 1929 to 1953, while an additional 6 to 7 million were forcibly exiled to remote regions of the USSR.
- A 1993 study reveals that a total of 1,053,829 prisoners died in the Gulag between 1934 to 1953.

Soviet Anti-Jewish Facts
- In the summer of 1919, nearly all Jewish properties, including synagogues, were seized by the Soviet authorities. Numerous Rabbis and other religious leaders were threatened with violent persecution.
- In the mid-1930s, Stalin had any remaining Jewish leaders arrested and executed, while the Yiddish schools were forcibly shut down.
- By the late 1940s, the Communist party had abolished any and all Jewish organizations, while only a few synagogues were left open and kept under strict surveillance by the KGB.

Soviet Anti-Christian Facts
- Within five years after Lenin and the Bolsheviks had seized power, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and 1,200 priests had been executed by the Soviet authorities.
- Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the vast majority of the Russian Orthodox Clergy, along with many of its most devout believers had been shot dead or sent to the Gulag.
- Between the years 1927 and 1949, the number of Russian Orthodox Churches dropped from 29,584 to less than 500.
- From 1917 to 1935, 130,000 Orthodox priests were arrested. 95,000 of these priests were eventually put to death by the Soviet authorities.

By tradition, individuals believers that have been officially canonized by the Church are considered by the living Christian authorities to be in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those observers who believe that the Romanov family were arrogant, elitist tyrants who looked down on the Russian people do not know their history and should take the time to look up the many historically accurate summaries of the Romanovs who are now some of the newest Orthodox Christian Saints in Heaven.

Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra did anything but spoil their children, and were adamant that all of them become as well-educated and intelligent as possible. Except for the expensive outfits worn only on public occasions, they had very few personal possessions that they could call their own. Priceless gifts and diplomatic offerings were taken away and kept as additions to the Imperial collection, which was originally meant as an everlasting heritage for all of Russia. From the beginning, Nicholas II and his wife insisted their children see themselves as having been born with special burdens which included numerous God-given responsibilities and duties they had to live up to and not as superior individuals born to rule over the unruly masses. The loving relationships they formed with the common peasants who were an integral part of the Imperial staff proves this to be the case.

For many reasons, the canonization of the Romanovs means that, even if the Russian Orthodox Church doesn't canonize every victim of Soviet persecution, those who aren't so well-known will still have an entire family of Heavenly advocates who already know first-hand what it was like to be murdered by a tyrannical regime based upon principles violently hostile to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Likewise, if the Romanov children are anything like they were before their execution, they would probably tell you that their personal Sainthood matters far less than the well-being of every single nameless, faceless victim of the International Communist Empire who never cared for them at all.

A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

- Stalin

A lie told often enough becomes the truth.

- Lenin

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus. God Save the Queen!


SOURCE: Canonization of the Romanovs, WIkipedia

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, his wife Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei are saints of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and passion bearers of the Russian Orthodox Church. The family was murdered on July 17, 1918 in Ekaterinburg, Russia by the Bolsheviks.

The family was canonized in 1981 as new martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. They were canonized along with their servants, who had been killed along with them. The canonized servants were their court physician, Yevgeny Botkin; their footman Alexei Trupp; their cook, Ivan Kharitonov; and Alexandra's maid, Anna Demidova. Also canonized were two servants killed in September 1918, lady in waiting Anastasia Hendrikova and tutor Catherine Adolphovna Schneider. All were canonized as victims of oppression by the Soviet Union.

Alexandra's sister, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, who was murdered by the Bolsheviks on July 18, 1918, was canonized as New-Martyr Elizabeth by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, along with Prince Ioann Konstantinovich of Russia, Prince Igor Konstantinovich of Russia, Prince Konstantine Konstantinovich of Russia, Grand Duke Sergey Mikhaylovich of Russia, and Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley, Fyodor Remez, Grand Duke Sergei's personal secretary, and Elizabeth's faithful companion, Sister Varvara Yakovleva, who were all killed with her. They were declared martyrs of oppression by the Soviet Union.

In 1992, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna and Varvara Yakovleva were canonized as New-Martyr Elizabeth and New-Martyr Barbara by the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia. The princes and others killed with them were not canonized.

In 2000, after much debate, the Romanov family was canonized as passion bearers by the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church did not canonize the servants, two of whom were not Russian Orthodox: Alexei Trupp was Roman Catholic and Catherine Adolphovna Schneider was Lutheran.

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