MOSCOW: July 16, 2008
Epistle of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II On the 90th Anniversary of the Murder of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers
Eminent Archpastors, Reverend Pastors, Honorable Monks and Nuns, God-loving Laypersons, Faithful Flock of our Holy Orthodox Church!
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the execution of the family of the last Russian Emperor in Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg.
The Holy Royal Passion-bearers died a martyric death: Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and their children—Tsarevich Alexei, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. Suffering together with them were Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Barbara.
The evil deed that took place in July 1918 marked the beginning of the tragic events which our people endured in the 20th century.
In the Epistle of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church held in Moscow last June states: "Paying honor to the holy Royal Passion-bearers, we must draw strength and courage from the veneration of their podvig and, as we behold their resistance to evil through meekness and humility, 'follow their faith' (Hebrews 13:7)."
Ones Christian attitude towards the world and to oneself is measured by the degree that we are prepared to accept the suffering that meets us in our life's path.
We are called upon to view these sufferings not as mere chance occurrences, but as the sorrowful but also joyful path of emulating Christ, the path upon which the Lord leads us to salvation. That is why again and again we turn our thoughts to the tragic event in Russian history, so that we may make spiritual sense of the past and of the present of our people.
The decades of our history which were marred by the sufferings of war, internecine strife, starvation and indescribable, massive repressions were in many ways determined by the moral failings rooted in the abandonment of the eternal truths revealed to us by God.
I would hope that the period of militant atheism and its consequent sufferings have forever receded into the past. One sees signs of this in the spiritual image of our times: society is returning to the unchanging values of faith, Orthodox churches are springing up everywhere, and the land of the Urals, soaked in the blood of the innocent Martyrs, is today visited by tens of thousands of pilgrims streaming in from throughout Russia and from abroad to prostrate themselves before the podvig of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers.
The Memorial Church-on-the-Blood of All Saints of Russia, erected on the site of the murder of the Royal Family, has already become a symbol of the renascence of our Fatherland in repentance, truth, love and devotion to God, a symbol of the reestablishment of historical memory and of the resurrection of Holy Russia.
Another important visible sign of the transformation must be the spiritual and moral transfiguration of society, the establishment of peace and concord, the end of strife and quarrels, which were so abundant in the last century.
Yet it is important to remember that, as always, each person is faced with the duty of moral choice which determines his fate, for the All-Sovereign Lord, addressing the heart of each one of us, says: "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).
We must remember under all of life's circumstances that only the Lord is the source of life. His leadership brings genuine good to mankind, and the true wholeness of being. Only by fulfilling His legacies will bring man into harmonic life and will enable eternal blessedness, and contrarily, every violation of the will of God will lead to new sorrows and misfortunes.
Therefore, the way out of every crisis lies on the path of spiritual renewal. The Lord Himself invisibly helps everyone who follows Him. The Church of Christ knows from Her two-thousand-year experience that the grace-filled help of God is able to make a cardinal change in the life of a person, it can illuminate ones heart and mind, and grant him strength. "The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace" (Psalms 29:11).
As we turn to God, let us beseech Him, that through the prayers of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers, He allow us to fulfill our labors in pureness of heart, in strong faith and unshakable hope, with inner peace and in concord with everyone around us, so that the words from the Holy Scripture apply to us: "not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:9).
May the Lord help us, by the example of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers, all the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, to banish from our hearts all enmity and hatred, deceit and untruth, wrath and envy, to don the good deeds of love and obedience, peace and patience, humility and brotherly love.
May Divine blessing be with all of you.
+ALEXY, PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA