Memorial altar to Royal Family in Ekaterinburg reconstructed in time for 100th anniversary of their martyrdom

Ekaterinburg, June 21, 2018

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The altar for the chapel in honor of the holy Royal Passion-Bearers in the Church on the Blood, built on the site of their martyrdom in Ekaterinburg, has been reconstructed in time for the celebrations surrounding the 100th anniversary of their brutal murders, reports the site of the Ekaterinburg Diocese.

The altar, known as the “Royal Room,” has its own architectural style.

“Today, the architecture of the altar has completely changed. Like the edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, one church stands inside another. Inside the Church on the Blood there is another small church, which has its own architectural form, its own vaulting, and its own structure,” explained Archpriest Maxim Minyailo, a senior cleric of the church.

“We must understand that this is the main sacred place of our city. And this room is the holy of holies in this church,” Fr. Maxim said. “This place inspires us today to move ahead and create such unique architectural and religious monuments, which attract our people, guests, and pilgrimages, because in creating such a variety of national architecture, we lay the foundation for future generations to be proud of our country, including our cultural, religious, and architectural heritage.”

Decorative elements in the altar were crafted by masters from Moscow and Belarus. The mosaics were made by specialists from the St. Elisabeth Convent in Minsk, and the work was supervised by nuns from the New Tikhvin Monastery in Ekaterinburg, renowned for their skills in the restoration and decoration of Orthodox churches.

The central part of the renovated altar is occupied by a mosaic panel depicting the members of the Royal Family and their entourage, including St. Eugene Botkin, who shared in their martyric deaths. The mosaic reflects the position of the Passion-Bearers at the moment of their deaths, standing with their faces to the west. Above them overlooks the Feodorovskaya Icon of the Mother of God—the Heavenly protectress of the House of Romanov.

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The western vault depicts the Reigning, or Enthroned Icon of the Mother of God, which miraculously appeared on the day that Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate the throne, and the saints glorified during the tsar’s reign: St. Theodosius of Chernigov, St. Seraphim of Sarov, Holy Princess Anna of Kashin, St. Joasaph of Belgorod, St. Hermogenes of Moscow, St. Pitirim of Tambov, and St. John of Tobolsk.

Nearly a year was spent on the icons in the altar.

The walls and floor around the altar table are lined with red onyx, symbolizing both royalty and the martyrs’ blood. “This color very well shows the podvig of the Royal Passion-Bearers, who in their royal grandeur and in humiliation showed a rare piety and extraordinary spiritual height.”

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Fragments of the Ipatiev House, where Tsar Nicholas and his family were martyred, will be kept in a special reliquary to the right of the altar.

The first Divine Liturgy after the completion of the renovation was celebrated on the night of June 15-16 by His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursky.

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