2022-01-24 10:00:00

Nothing hinders recognition of authenticity of royal family's remains - Russian Orthodox Church member

Moscow, January 24, Interfax - The conducted investigation has left no doubt in the authenticity of the remains of the family of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II found outside Yekaterinburg, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church said.

"In my opinion, nothing hinders the recognition of the authenticity of 'the Yekaterinburg remains', but a synodic decision of the Church is needed to recognize their authenticity," Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, said on the Church and the World program on Rossiya-24 television channel.

A report of a representative of the Investigative Committee who convincingly explained about all examinations was heard at a meeting of the Synod last June, he said. "I believe the members of the Synod should not have doubts about the authenticity of the remains. But this decision must be made at the level of senior leadership of the church, and the senior leadership is the Bishops' Council," the metropolitan said.

The recognition of the remains could have taken place in past November when the Bishops' Council was supposed to be held, he said. "We could have made such a decision at it, but the Bishops' Council has been postponed due to the epidemiological situation and, according to preliminary information, it is expected to take place in May. If it does take place, if arguments in favor of the authenticity of the found remains prevail, if the church agrees with it in full, the final decision will be made," he said.

He explained why a synodic decision is important in this case. "If we recognize 'the Yekaterinburg remains' as the remains of the royal family, it means they are holy relics, it means they need to be venerated appropriately," he said.

If the Bishop's Council recognizes the remains, it raises a question of how they would be stored, whether they are displayed to be worshipped by believers or placed under the gravestone, the metropolitan said.

"There are different situations. There are situations where relics are displayed openly and people can bow down and kiss the relics, and there are situations when the relics are guarded under the stone. We will need to make all those decisions at an upcoming Bishops' Council," he said.

Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family were shot and killed in Yekaterinburg in the early hours of July 17, 2018 in accordance with a decision made by the Bolshevik-led executive committee of the Urals region's council of workers, peasant and soldier deputies. In July 1991, the remains of nine people were found in a mass grave discovered on the Staraya Koptyakovskaya road near Yekaterinburg. The investigators believe they belonged to members of the tsar's family, Nicholas II, his wife, their daughters, as well as their doctor and servants. The remains of the imperial family were buried at a sepulcher of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg in 1998 after forensic tests.

The remains of another two people were found during archeological excavations conducted south of the first grave on July 29, 2007. Numerous expert evaluations indicate that the remains belong to the children of Nicholas II, Alexey and Maria.

Russian Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told Interfax in the summer of 2018 that the repeat comprehensive investigation confirmed the authenticity of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and his family executed 100 years ago in Yekaterinburg.