Russian Orthodox Spirituality & Sainthood
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Tsaritsa Alexandra, Olga, Tatiana, Marie, Anastasia, and Alexei are saints of the Orthodox Church. Their designation as saints however varies, with them being called new martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and passion bearers elsewhere in the Russian Orthodox Church.
The family, with the alleged exception of one female child, were killed in July 1918 at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia by mercenary soldiers acting on behalf of the Ekaterinburg Soviet; the site of their execution is now beneath the altar of the The Church on Blood, built on the site of the old Ipatiev House.
The family was initially canonized in 1981 as new martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Alexandra's sister, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, murdered on 18th July 1918, was canonized as New-Martyr Elizabeth by the Moscow Patriarchate (the Orthodox Church inside Russia) in 1992.
The Russian Orthodox Church refused to officiate at the burial of the bones of Nicholas, Alexandra and three of the children in 1998 as they did not wish to give sanction to believers to pray to relics that they did not consider to be genuine. The Church has yet to explain this stance.
Finally, in the year 2000, after much controversy, the Romanov family was canonized as passion bearers by the Moscow Patriarchate. Passion bearers are martyrs who, while bearing execution with faith and stoicism, do not explicitly die for their faith. The Orthodox Church inside Russia sees the Imperial Family in this light. The controversy comes from those in the Orthodox Church outside Russia who consider them to be full martyrs, dying to save the soul of Russia Herself, in full and complete confidence in the Faith.
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