Moscow, July 10, 2018
The Russian Orthodox Church is not planning to recognize the possible remains of the Royal Martyrs in time for their centenary celebration on July 17, the head of the Synodal Department for Relations with the Society and the Media Vladimir Legoida said in an interview published on Izvestia yesterday.
The Church representative stressed that the Church’s decision on the remains will not happen before the completion of all the examinations—genetic, historical, anthropological, and forensic. There are 34 examinations altogether.
“The decision will most likely be made at the level of the Council of Bishops, due to the importance of the question. It will not be timed to any date. As the patriarch has stressed many times, we have no right to make any mistake on this question,” Legoida continued.
Thus far it is known that the genetic examination of the skeleton found in Ekaterinburg confirmed that its DNA corresponds to the DNA of the remains of Emperor Alexander III, the father of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II. Russian criminologist Vyacheslav Popov has also made a strong case for the remains belonging to the Royal Martyrs.
A grave with nine bodies was found on Staraya Koptyakovskaya Road near Ekaterinburg in July 1991. The remains were identified as those of Emperor Nicholas II, his 46-year-old wife Alexandra Feodorovna, their daughters Olga, 22, Tatiana, 21, and Anastasia, 17, and their servants St. Eugene Botkin, 53, Anna Demidova, 40, Alexei Trupp, 62, and Ivan Kharitonov, 48.
Members of the imperial family were buried at a sepulcher of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, though the Russian Church did not officially recognize the authenticity of the remains.
The remains of two more people were discovered during archaeological excavation works 70 meters south of the first grave on July 26, 2007. The remains have still not been buried, but numerous expert analyses indicate that the remains were most likely those of Crown Prince Alexei and his sister Maria.
Investigators resumed an inquiry into the case of the deaths of the members of the House of Romanov in the fall of 2015. The Russian Investigative Committee has also allowed the Russian Orthodox Church to publish the investigation materials on the examinations that have already been completed.
The Church initially hoped to announce the results in the second quarter of 2017, though the timeline has been extended indefinitely.
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