Archbishop Nathaniel

On the Day of the Murder of the Royal Family

On the Anniversary of the Murder of the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II and His Royal Family
"Come, take up the cross, and follow me." said our Lord Jesus Christ to His followers, to all Christians. And for these last millennia, many souls faithful to Christ had answered this call. One of those few who to a greater degree, or at least with greater clarity in emulating Christ with his labor [podvig], fulfilled this call of the Lord was our martyr, the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II Aleksandrovich, killed forty-three years ago.

Significance is assigned more accurately to historical events not in the moment of their occurence, but some time afterwards.
Yes, the martyric death of the Sovereign and his family shook the Russian heart even then, at the moment when it occurred, immediately. And it was even then a sobering moment for many, a blow that struck from them the fever of revolution. But at the time it was taken mainly as our own, personal, familial, solely Russian historical tragedy. Our consciousness did not distinguish this event clearly and distinctly from other incidents of regicide in our history: Ivan VI, Paul I, Alexander II and others before.
But as the decades pass from that terrible day, the murder of the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II and his Royal Family assumes a definite meaning in our consciousness, and maybe in the consciousness of the whole world .
It is becoming more and more apparent, both for us and for everyone who wishes to hear and understand, that the unavoidable tragedy of our epoch is connected with this crime of 43 years ago.

The seizing of our Motherland by demonic powers, this event, seemingly unparalleled in the history of the world, and the frantic impotence of the powerful of this world before the advent of this triumph of evil, the inability of these--who in the words of the Church rule but do not reign--to resist, who fear defeat: how can all this be explained? Only by saying that 43 years ago, on 4/17 July 1918, the ancient prophesy of the apostle was fulfilled--that the Restrainer will be taken from the world, and he who reigned not thanks to the volatile passions of men but by Divine selection, and honorably "walking before God," fulfilled his royal obligation.
We are not the only witnesses to this. Even our enemies speak of this quite plainly: "Not one revolution in Europe or in the entire world could achieve final victory while the present Russian government exists," wrote one of the founders of communism, Engels ("K. Marx and the Revolutionary Movement in Russia, Moscow, 1933, p. 15.)

Consequently, based not only upon our own understanding of world events but also upon the testimony of those who are to blame, we can say that the immeasurable rush of blood spilt over these last four decades from the many millions of victims killed among our people before the slaughter of World War II, before the blood spilt in Korea, in Hungary, in the Congo, in Laos and so many other bloody events that followed--this ocean of blood would not have been shed if 44 years ago we had not betrayed our Sovereign, and had his martyric blood not been spilt.

The Sovereign denied himself, took his cross and followed Christ.
The very act of reigning became a martyric struggle in his day. From the days of Alexander III not one year, or at least not one three-year period did not pass without an attempt on the Tsar's life or without a conspiracy to kill the Tsar. The unrestrained wrath of the powers of evil of the entire world was concentrated upon him. Indeed, he lived like a lamb being led to slaughter, a doomed victim, a lion ripped to shreds by hounds. And those of us who lived then, and our fathers and grandfathers, even if most of us were not among the vile murderers, did we not participate as well, repeating the banal slander, at times the shallow, hackneyed, mindless and false accusations against the Tsar's throne and against the Tsar himself, those accusations and that banality that flowed like a filthy river and, alas!, continue to flow even now on the pages of our free emigre newspapers and magazines, and which are repeated after us, yes, after us by the rest of the world?

Oh, if only in this would we express our repentance for what happened, express our horror before the depth of our fault before the whole world, if even now, in the eleventh hour of human history, would we cease the repetition of these vulgar and trite, mindless phrases, which entered our language in the years of the war against the Anointed of God!
The Sovereign did not fear the bloody threats of his enemies, nor the pathetic vulgarities of the world around him. Unwaveringly did he, in the words of Pushkin about the other Tsar Nicholas (I) "honestly rule us."

And how lonely he was! In this is also the profound Christliness of his struggle.
In the years before the revolution, the Tsar could truly say to his people as did the Lord: "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19, 42:44)

He bore his cross of his royal service until the end, until all around him rose up against him in a base, treacherous rebellion, and his subsequent royal cross-bearing lost its meaning, for if one can destroy against the will of those to be doomed, one cannot save against the will of those to be saved.

In those horrible, mean days, alone but with grandeur, he glanced around him and with immeasurable suffering uttered:
"Around are betrayal, cowardice and treason." With these words he descended from his throne. These words are in essence his final words as Tsar to his people.

And these words fall upon all of us with onerous judgment. Oh, if we find the words to speak in our defense when again we hear them--these words, to be repeated on the Day of Judgment!

The blood of the White Army's struggle, the immeasurable suffering of the Russian people, which, without a doubt, exceeded that of any other nation on Earth, in this is our justification, our cleansing in the face of the horrifying accusation of the last words of the Tsar.
But we, who survived, who escaped suffering and death, who remained in this world, writhing in pain without our Restrainer, what will we bring in our defense, for our atonement?

There is precious little. But we will endure this. We will bring our prayers for our Tsar-Martyr, so that the Lord will truly grant him repose among the saints. We will bring in our heart the firm promise never to let our lips or mind repeat those vicious lies brought against our Tsar and his work, his service, the banal falsities still repeated the world over. More importantly, let us make an oath to the Sovereign, to his eternal soul, which is even now maybe among us. To this prayer for him and his family we add that, no matter what happens to us, we will not make peace with the Satanic forces that killed our Tsar and enslaving our Homeland.

You and I together, in this small church, have a joyful and yet terrifying advantage of being the closest geographically to our imprisoned Homeland. Over us more than any other part of the free world hangs the danger of enslavement. That is why this oath of an uncompromising stand against the externally victorious but internally cowardly has a special meaning here.

4/17 July 1961
Church of the Protection of the Mother of God


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