Putting the feat of the Russian Royal family into perspective

Understanding the feat of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers

July 20, 2021

Metropolitan Veniamin

To a large proportion of today's people, the feat of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers is still a subject of misunderstanding. Many continue to second-guess the choices of the last Russian Tsar. Yet the only perspective from which one can judge his actions fairly is that of the Gospel. The Russian emperor was following its teachings as much as possible, while critics with only a cursory knowledge of it or with a literal understanding of its text, rebuke the Tsar with weakness and indecision and consider him responsible for the Russian monarchy's collapse. That is a great misconception.

The Russian monarchy was falling apart because the teachings of the Gospel had not entered deep into people's hearts. Religion was taught in every school, and Orthodoxy was prominent, and so were many other aspects of church and spiritual life. However, as the New Holy Martyr John Vostorgov wrote, Russia was nearing a storm. Its people's faith was weak; sectarianism and drunkenness were widespread. Worship services were becoming increasingly brief and fast. God's wrath was imminent. And so it struck.

Contrary to what many are saying, the Russian royal family was not the cause of the upheaval. It happened because the life of the Russian society was not sufficiently grounded in the Gospel. The latter was particularly true of the elites, who were spending their time at balls and parties. The emperor's religious life, including his hard work for the canonisation of Saint Serafim of Sarov, made him an alien and strange figure for the top brass. Their desires and aspirations lay elsewhere.

The emperor was doing his best. Eventually, he realised that his actions could result in great loss of life among his people, and yielded to pressure. However, even this episode in history has many uncertainties. Did he sign the abdication? Did somebody else draft the document sign it for Nicholas II, and ascribed the signature to him? The multitude of uncertainties should not surprise us, as evil always thrives on them. It depends on lies and distortions to appear more attractive than it truly is.

History tends to repeat itself after some time. We owe it to ourselves to draw relevant conclusions from the lessons of history. Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, pray to God for us!

Metropolitan Veniamin

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