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Vladimir Moss, PhD






THE ABDICATION OF THE TSAR














    “Terrible and mysterious,” wrote Metropolitan Anastasy, second leader of the Russian Church Abroad, “is the dark visage of the revolution. Viewed from the vantage point of its inner essence, it is not contained within the framework of history and cannot be studied on the same level as other historical facts. In its deepest roots it transcends the boundaries of space and time, as was determined by Gustave le Bon, who considered it an irrational phenomenon in which certain mystical, supernatural powers were at work. But what before may have been considered dubious became completely obvious after the Russian Revolution. In it everyone sensed, as one contemporary writer expressed himself, the critical incarnation of absolute evil in the temper of man; in other words, the participation of the devil – that father of lies and ancient enemy of God, who tries to make man his obedient weapon against God – was clearly revealed.”

    The event that triggered the revolution was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas. “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work,” says St. Paul; “only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way” (II Thess. 2.7). Since “he who restrains”, according to the interpretation of St. John Chrysostom and the Holy Fathers, is lawful monarchical power, the removal of that power must usher in “the mystery of lawlessness”, the revolution.

    On February 21, a 14-year-old Kievan novice, Olga Zosimovna Boiko, fell into a deep trance which lasted for exactly forty days and during which many mysteries were revealed to her. One of these was the coming abdication of the Tsar. And she saw the following: “In blinding light on an indescribably wonderful throne sat the Saviour, and next to Him on His right hand – our sovereign, surrounded by angels. His Majesty was in full royal regalia: a radiant white robe, a crown, with a sceptre in his hand. And I heard the martyrs talking amongst themselves, rejoicing that the last times had come and that their number would be increased.

    “They said that they would be tormented for the name of Christ and for refusing to accept the seal [of the Antichrist], and that the churches and monasteries would soon be destroyed, and those living in the monasteries would be driven out, and that not only the clergy and monastics would be tortured, but also all those who did not want to receive ‘the seal’ and would stand for the name of Christ, for the Faith and the Church.” 2

    The abdication of Tsar Nicholas on March 2, 1917 (old style) was the single most important event in modern history; its consequences are still reverberating to the present day. And yet it remains in many ways shrouded in mystery. For there is no consensus on several critical questions raised by it, such as: Did the Tsar in fact abdicate? Did he have the right to abdicate? Was he right to abdicate?

    In the months leading up to the abdication, the Tsar was put under increasing pressure by the political and military leaders of Russia. They were convinced that his abdication in favour of a government “responsible to the people”, i.e. a constitutional monarchy or parliamentary democracy, would bring peace and prosperity to the country. But Nicholas, with his deeper knowledge of God’s ways and his country’s needs, was doubtful, repeatedly asking: "Are you confident that my abdication will save Russia from bloodshed?"

    They reassured him that it would. But the Tsar knew the quality of the men who were advising him. As he sadly wrote in his diary on the day of his abdication: "All around me I see cowardice, baseness and treason." And again, on the same day, while holding a bundle of telegrams from the Corps of Generals and even from his own uncle, he said: "What is left for me to do when everyone has betrayed me?"

    And indeed, there was very little he could do. He could probably continue to defy the will of the social and political élite, as he had done more than once in the past. But could he defy the will of his generals? 3 Perhaps he could count on the support of some military units. But the result would undoubtedly be a civil war, whose outcome was doubtful, but whose effect on the war with Germany could not be doubted: it would undoubtedly give the Germans a decisive advantage at a critical moment when Russia was just preparing for a spring offensive.

    It was probably this last factor that was decisive in the Tsar’s decision: he would not contemplate undermining the war effort for any reason. For the first duty of an Orthodox Tsar after the defence of the Orthodox faith is the defence of the country against external enemies – and in the case of the war with Germany the two duties coincided. And so, after an entire night spent in prayer, he laid aside the crown for his country’s sake. For, as he wrote: "I am ready to give up both throne and life if I should become a hindrance to the happiness of the homeland." And again: "There is no sacrifice that I would not make for the real benefit of Russia and for her salvation."

    What has been called “the Abdication Manifesto” was in fact a telegram to the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Alexeev: “During the days of the great struggle against the external foe which, in the space of almost three years, has been striving to enslave our Native Land, it has pleased the Lord God to send down upon Russia a new and difficult trial. The national disturbances that have begun within the country threaten to reflect disastrously upon the further conduct of the stubborn war. The fate of Russia, the honour of our heroic army, the well-being of the people, the entire future of our precious Fatherland demand that the war be carried out to a victorious conclusion, come what may. The cruel foe is exerting what remains of his strength, and nor far distant is the hour when our valiant army with our glorious allies will be able to break the foe completely. In these decisive days in the life of Russia, We have considered it a duty of conscience to make it easy for Our people to bring about a tight-knit union and cohesion of all our national strength, in order that victory might be the more quickly attained, and, in agreement with the State Duma We have concluded that it would be a good thing to abdicate the Throne of the Russian State and to remove Supreme Power from Ourselves. Not desiring to be separated from Our beloved Son, We transfer Our legacy to Our Brother Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, and bless Him to ascend the Throne of the Russian State. We command Our Brother to conduct State affairs fully and in inviolable unity with the representatives of those men who hold legislative office, upon those principles which they shall establish, swearing an inviolable oath to that effect. In the name of our ardently beloved Native Land We call upon all faithful sons of the Fatherland to fulfil their sacred duty before it, by submitting to the Tsar during the difficult moment of universal trials, and, aiding Him, together with the representatives of the people, to lead the Russian State out upon the path of victory, well-being and glory. May the Lord God help Russia. Pskov. 2 March, 15.00 hours. 1917. Nicholas.”

    It has been argued that the telegram was not an abdication, but a final coded appeal to the army to support him. But such a supposition cannot be reconciled with the plain meaning of the text. And since all agree on the crystal-clear sincerity of Nicholas’ character, there is no reason not to believe the plain meaning of the text. In any case, Grand Duke Michael’s refusal to take up the burden placed on him by his brother meant the effective end of the dynasty…

    It has also been argued that the “abdication”, if that is what it was, had no legal force because there was no provision for abdication in the Fundamental Laws. Thus, as Michael Nazarov points out, the Basic Laws of the Russian Empire, which had been drawn up by Tsar Paul I and which all members of the Royal Family swore to uphold, “do not foresee the abdication of a reigning Emperor (‘from a religious… point of view the abdication of the Monarch, the Anointed of God, is contrary to the act of His Sacred Coronation and Anointing; it would be possible only by means of monastic tonsure’ [N. Korevo]). Still less did his Majesty have the right to abdicate for his son in favour of his brother; while his brother Michael Alexandrovich had the right neither to ascend the Throne during the lifetime of the adolescent Tsarevich Alexis, nor be crowned, since he was married to a divorced woman, nor to transfer power to the Provisional government, or refer the resolution of the question of the fate of the monarchy to the future Constituent Assembly.

    “Even if the monarch had been installed by the will of such an Assembly, ‘this would have been the abolition of the Orthodox legitimating principle of the Basic Laws’, so that these acts would have been ‘juridically non-existent’, says Zyzykin (in this Korevo agrees with him). ‘Great Prince Michael Alexandrovich… performed only an act in which he expressed his personal opinions and abdication, which had an obligatory force for nobody. Thereby he estranged himself from the succession in accordance with the Basic Laws, which juridically in his eyes did not exist, in spite of the fact that he had earlier, in his capacity as Great Prince on the day of his coming of age, sworn allegiance to the decrees of the Basic Laws on the inheritance of the Throne and the order of the Family Institution’.

    “It goes without saying that his Majesty did not expect such a step from his brother, a step which placed the very monarchical order under question…”4

    On the other hand, Archpriest John Vostorgov considered the transfer of power lawful, in spite of its incompatibility with the Basic Laws of the Empire: “Our former Emperor, who has abdicated from the throne, transferred power in a lawful manner to his brother. In his turn the brother of the Emperor, having abdicated from power until the final decision of the Constituent Assembly, in the same lawful manner transferred power to the Provisional Government, and to that permanent government that which be given to Russia by the Constituent Assembly. And so we now have a completely lawful Provisional Government which is the powers that be, as the Word of God calls it. To this power, which is now the One Supreme and All-Russian power, we are obliged to submit in accordance with the duty of religious conscience; we are obliged to pray for it; we are obliged also to obey the local authorities established by it. In this obedience, after the abdication of the former Emperor and his brother, and after their indications that the Provisional Government is lawful, there can be no betrayal of the former oath, but in it consists our direct duty.” 5

    And yet confusion and searching of consciences continued, as can be seen in a letter of some Orthodox Christians to the Holy Synod dated July 24, 1917: “We Orthodox Christians most ardently beseech you to explain to us in the newspaper Russkoe Slovo [Russian Word] what... the oath given to us to be faithful to the Tsar, Nicholas Alexandrovich, means. People are saying in our area that if this oath is worth nothing, then the new oath to the new Tsar [the Provisional Government?] will be worth nothing. Which oath must be more pleasing to God. The first or the second? Because the Tsar is not dead, but is alive and in prison…”6

    M.A. Babkin points out that Great Prince Michael’s statement contained the sentences: “I made the firm decision to accept supreme power only if that would be the will of our great people, to whom it belongs in the Constituent Assembly to establish the form of government and the new basic laws of the Russian State. Therefore I ask all citizens of the Russian Realm to submit to the Provisional Government until the Constituent Assembly by its decision on the form of government shall express the will of the people”. “We can see,” writes Babkin, “that the talk was not about the Great Prince’s abdication from the throne, but about the impossibility of his occupying the royal throne without the clearly expressed acceptance of this by the whole people of Russia. Michael Alexandrovich presented the choice of the form of State government (in the first place – between people power and the monarchy) to the Constituent Assembly. Until the convening of the Constituent Assembly he entrusted the administration of the country to the Provisional Government ‘which arose on the initiative of the State Duma’.” 7

    Since Great Prince Michael had presented the choice of the form of State government to the Constituent Assembly, many firm opponents of the revolution – for example, Hieromartyr Andronicus, Archbishop of Perm – were prepared to accept the Provisional Government on the grounds that it was just that – provisional. They were not to know that the Constituent Assembly would hardly be convened before it would be dissolved by the Bolsheviks, and therefore that the monarchical order had come to an end. So the results of the Tsar’s abdication for Russia were different from what he had hoped and believed. Instead of an orderly transfer of power from one member of the royal family to another, Great-Prince Michael also abdicated, the Constituent Assembly was not convened, and the whole dynasty and autocratic order collapsed. And instead of preventing civil war for the sake of victory in the world war, the abdication was followed by defeat in the world war and the bloodiest civil war in history, followed by unprecedented sufferings and persecutions of the faith for generations. Indeed, in retrospect we can see that this act brought to an end the 1600-year period of the Orthodox Christian Empire that began with the coming to power of St. Constantine the Great. “He who restrains” the coming of the Antichrist, the Orthodox Christian Emperor, “was removed from the midst” (II Thessalonians 2.7) – and very soon “the collective Antichrist”, Soviet power, began its savage torture of the Body of Holy Russia. St. John of Kronstadt had said that Russia without the Tsar would no longer even bear the name of Russia, and would be “a stinking corpse”. And so it proved to be…

    So was the Tsar right to abdicate, if there was no provision for such an act in law and if the results of his decision were so catastrophic for Russia?

    The saints were ambiguous in their utterances. The great eldress Paraskeva (Pasha) of Sarov (+1915), who had foretold his destiny at the glorification of St. Seraphim of Sarov in 1903, is reported to have said: “Your Majesty, descend from the throne yourself”8. But Blessed Duniushka of Ussuruisk, who was martyred in 1918, said: “The Tsar will leave the nation, which shouldn’t be, but this has been foretold to him from Above. This is his destiny. There is no way that he can evade it.”9 And another great eldress, Blessed Matrona of Moscow (+1952), said: ”In vain did Emperor Nicholas renounce the throne, he shouldn’t have done that. They forced him to do it. He was sorry for the people, and paid the price himself, knowing his path beforehand.”10

    “He shouldn’t have done it”? Or was it “his destiny” in the sense that it was the will of God, which he neither could nor should have avoided?

    One might have expected the Church authorities to throw light on this question by coming out for or against the abdication. However, the Synod showed itself to be at a loss at this critical moment. At its session of February 26 (old style), it refused the request of the Assistant Procurator, Prince N.D. Zhevakhov, that the creators of disturbances should be threatened with ecclesiastical punishments.11 Then, on February 27, it refused the request of the Over-Procurator, N.P. Raev, that it publicly support the monarchy. Ironically, therefore, that much-criticised creation of Peter the Great, the office of Over-Procurator, proved more faithful to the Anointed of God at this critical moment than the Church leadership itself…

    “On March 2,” writes M.A. Babkin, “the Synodal hierarchs gathered in the residence of the Metropolitan of Moscow. They listened to a report given by Metropolitan Pitirim of St. Petersburg asking that he be retired (this request was agreed to on March 6 – M.B.). The administration of the capital’s diocese was temporarily laid upon Bishop Benjamin of Gdov. But then the members of the Synod recognized that it was necessary immediately to enter into relations with the Executive committee of the State Duma. On the basis of which we can assert that the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church recognized the Provisional Government even before the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne. (The next meeting of the members of the Synod took place on March 3 in the residence of the Metropolitan of Kiev. On that same day the new government was told of the resolutions of the Synod.)

    “The first triumphantly official session of the Holy Synod after the coup d’état took place on March 4. Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev presided and the new Synodal over-procurator, V.N. Lvov, who had been appointed by the Provisional government the previous day, was present. Metropolitan Vladimir and the members of the Synod (with the exception of Metropolitan Pitirim, who was absent – M.B.) expressed their sincere joy at the coming of a new era in the life of the Orthodox Church. And then at the initiative of the over-procurator the royal chair… was removed into the archives… One of the Church hierarchs helped him. It was decided to put the chair into a museum.

    “The next day, March 5, the Synod ordered that in all the churches of the Petrograd diocese the Many Years to the Royal House ‘should no longer be proclaimed’. In our opinion, these actions of the Synod had a symbolical character and witnessed to the desire of its members ‘to put into a museum’ not only the chair of the Tsar, but also ‘to despatch to the archives’ of history royal power itself.

    “The Synod reacted neutrally to the ‘Act on the abdication of Nicholas II from the Throne of the State of Russia for himself and his son in favour of Great Prince Michael Alexandrovich’ of March 2, 1917 and to the ‘Act on the refusal of Great Prince Michael Alexandrovich to accept supreme power’ of March 3. On March 6 it resolved to accept these acts ‘for information and execution’, and that in all the churches of the empire molebens should be served with a Many Years ‘to the God-preserved Russian Realm and the Right-believing Provisional Government’.”12

    But was the new government, whose leading members were Masons13, really “right-believing”? The foreign minister of the new government, Paul Milyukov, when asked who had elected his government, had replied: “The Russian revolution elected us” 14. But the revolution cannot be lawful, being the incarnation of lawlessness. How, then, could the Church allow her members to vote for Masonic or social-democratic delegates to the Constituent Assembly? After all, that Assembly would determine the future form of government of the Russian land. Why had the Church so quickly renounced Tsarism, which had formed one of the pillars of Russian identity for nearly 1000 years?

    The hierarch who took perhaps the most uncompromising stand on this question was the future Hieromartyr, Archbishop Andronicus of Perm. On March 4, in an address “To All Russian Orthodox Christians”, he called the present situation an “interregnum”. Calling on all to obey the Provisional Government, he said: “We shall beseech the All-Generous One that He Himself establish authority and peace on our land, that He not abandon us for long without a Tsar, as children without a mother. May He help us, as three hundred years ago He helped our ancestors, that we may unanimously and with inspiration receive a native Tsar from His All-Good Providence.”

   The new over-procurator wrote to Andronicus demanding an explanation for his actions in support of the old regime, which “aimed at the setting up of the clergy against the new order”. The correspondence between them culminated on April 16 with a detailed letter from Archbishop Andronicus, in which he said: “The act on the refusal of Michael Alexandrovich which legitimises the Provisional Government declared that after the Constituent Assembly we could have a monarchical government, or any other, depending on how the Constituent Assembly will pronounce on this. I have submitted to the Provisional Government, I will also submit to a republic if it will be established by the Constituent Assembly. But until then not one citizen is deprived of the freedom of expressing himself on the form of government for Russia; otherwise a Constituent Assembly would be superfluous if someone could irrevocably predetermine the question on the form of government in Russia. As I have already said many times, I have submitted to the Provisional Government, I submit now and I call on all to submit. I am perplexed on what basis you find it necessary to accuse me ‘of inciting the people not only against the Provisional Government, but also against the spiritual authorities generally’”.15

    A similar position was taken by Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kharkov, who on March 5, at the end of the liturgy, declared: “When we received news of the abdication from the throne of His Most Pious Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich, we prepared, in accordance with his instructions, to commemorate His Most Pious Emperor Michael Alexandrovich. But now he too has abdicated, and commanded that we should obey the Provisional Government, and for that reason, and only for that reason, we are commemorating the Provisional Government. Otherwise no power could force us to cease the commemoration of the Tsar and the Royal Family…

    “… We must do this, first, in fulfilment of the oath given by us to His Majesty Nicholas II, who handed over power to Prince Michael Alexandrovich, who handed this power over to the Provisional Government until the Constituent Assembly. Secondly, we must do this so as to avoid complete anarchy, larceny, fighting and sacrilege against the holy things. Only in one must we listen to nobody, neither now nor in the past, neither tsars nor rulers nor the mob: if they demand that we renounce the faith, or defile the holy things, or in general carry out clearly lawless and sinful acts.” 16

    However, with the exception of a very few such as these, the Church could not be said to have been on the Tsar’s side. Thus on March 7 the “conservative” Archbishop Seraphim (Chichagov) of Tver and Kashin appeared to welcome the change of regime: “By the mercy of God, the popular uprising against the old, wretched order in the State, which led Russia to the edge of destruction in the harsh years of world war, has taken place without many victims, and Russia has easily passed to the new State order, thanks to the firm decision of the State Duma, which formed the Provisional Government, and the Soviet of workers’ deputies. The Russian revolution has turned out to be almost the shortest and most bloodless of all revolutions that history has known…”17

    On March 9, the Holy Synod addressed all the children of the Orthodox Russian Church. The Address began with the fateful words: “The will of God has been accomplished. Russia has entered on the path of a new State life. May God bless our great Homeland with happiness and glory on its new path. Trust the Provisional Government. All together and everyone individually, apply all your efforts to the end that by your labours, exploits, prayer and obedience you may help it in its great work of introducing new principles of State life…”

    Now it is understandable that the Synod would not want to risk a civil war by displaying opposition to the new government. But was it true that “the will of God has been accomplished”? Was it not rather that God had allowed the will of Satan to be accomplished, as a punishment for the sins of the Russian people? And if so, how could the path be called a “great work”?

    Babkin writes: “This epistle was characterised by B.V. Titlinov, professor of the Petrograd Theological Academy, as ‘an epistle blessing a new and free Russia’, and by General A.I. Denikin as ‘sanctioning the coup d’état that has taken place’. To the epistle were affixed the signatures of the bishops of the ‘tsarist’ composition of the Synod, even those who had the reputation of being monarchists and ‘black hundredists’, for example, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow. This witnessed to the ‘loyal’ feelings of the Synodal hierarchs…”18

    Other hierarchs echoed the words of the Address in still more revolutionary tones. Thus Bishop Andrew of Ufa wrote: “The abdication from the throne of Nicholas II frees his former subjects from their oath to him. But besides this, every Orthodox Christian must remember the words of one Church song, that ‘if thou hast sworn, but not for the good, it is better for thee to break thine oath’ than to do evil (from the service on the day of the Beheading of John the Forerunner). I wrote about this in Thoughts on February 9, 1916, when I pointed to the great church-civil exploit of Metropolitan Philip of Moscow, who found in his conscience support for his rebuking the iniquities of the Terrible one. And so the question of the oath for those who have been disturbed and are weak in conscience completely falls away.

    “… The Autocracy of the Russian tsars degenerated first into absolutism [samovlastie] and then into despotism [svoevlastie] exceeding all probability… And lo! their power has collapsed – the power that turned away from the Church. The will of God has been accomplished… The Catholic Church of Christ has been delivered from the oppression of the State.”19

    The Council of the Petrograd religious-philosophical society went still further, demanding the removal not only of the Tsar, but also of the very concept of Sacred Monarchy. Thus in its sessions of March 11 and 12, the Council resolved that the Synod’s acceptance of the Tsar’s abdication “does not correspond to the enormous religious importance of the act, by which the Church recognized the Tsar in the rite of the coronation of the anointed of God. It is necessary, for the liberation of the people’s conscience and to avoid the possibility of a restoration, that a corresponding act be issued in the name of the Church hierarchy abolishing the power of the Sacrament of Royal Anointing, by analogy with the church acts abolishing the power of the Sacraments of Marriage and the Priesthood.”20

    If the Church hierarchy, traditionally the main support of the Autocracy, faltered, it is not surprising that the people as a whole faltered, too… The Tsar was alone. And since the leadership of a Christian State must be dual – through a partnership or “symphony” of Church and State – he could not continue to rule as an Orthodox Christian tsar. Just as it takes two to make a marriage, so it takes two powers to make a Christian state. The bridegroom in this case was willing and worthy, but the bride was not. In Deuteronomy 17.14 the Lord had laid it down as one of the conditions of the creation of a God-pleasing monarchy that the people should want a God-pleasing king.21 The Russian people did not want their pious Tsar. And so the Scripture was fulfilled: “We have no king, because we feared not the Lord” (Hosea 10.3).

    As P.S. Lopukhin wrote: “At the moment of his abdication his Majesty felt himself to be profoundly alone, and around him was ‘cowardice, baseness and treason’. And to the question how he could have abdicated from his tsarist service, it is necessary to reply: he did this because we abdicated from his tsarist service, from his sacred and sanctified authority…”22

    And yet in a real sense the Tsar saved the monarchy for the future by his abdication. For in abdicating he resisted the temptation to apply force and start a civil war in a cause that was just from a purely juridical point of view, but which could not be justified from a deeper, eschatological point of view. (Compare the words of the Prophet Shemaiah to King Rehoboam and the house of Judah as they prepared to face the house of Israel: “Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren, the children of Israel. Return every man to his house…” (I Kings 12.24)).

    The Tsar-Martyr resisted the temptation to act like a Western absolutist ruler, thereby refuting those in both East and West who looked on his rule as just that – a form of absolutism. He showed that the Orthodox Autocracy was not a form of absolutism, but something completely sui generis – the external aspect of the self-government of the Orthodox Church and people on earth. He refused to treat his power as if it were independent of the Church and people, but showed that it was a form of service to the Church and the people from within the Church and the people, in accordance with the word: “I have raised up one chosen out of My people… with My holy oil have I anointed him” (Psalm 88.18,19). So not “government by the people and for the people” in a democratic sense, but “government by one chosen out of the people of God for the people of God and responsible to God alone”.

    In demonstrating this in the whole manner of his self-sacrificial life, the Tsar actually preserved the ideal of the Orthodox Autocracy, handing it over “for safe-keeping”, as it were, to God and His Most Holy Mother. For on that very day the Mother of God appeared to the peasant woman Eudocia Adrianovna and said to her: “Go to the village of Kolomenskoe; there you will find a big, black icon. Take it and make it beautiful, and let people pray in front of it.” Eudocia found the icon at 3 o’clock, the precise hour of the abdication. Miraculously it renewed itself, and showed itself to be the “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God, the same that had led the Russian armies into war with Napoleon. On it she was depicted bearing the orb and sceptre of the Orthodox Tsars, as if to show that the sceptre of rule of the Russian land had passed from earthly rulers to the Queen of Heaven…








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1 Metropolitan Anastasius, Besedy so svoim sobstvennym serdtsem (Conversations with my own Heart), Jordanville, 1948, p. 123 ®; translated in Living Orthodoxy, № 101, vol. XVII, September-October, 1996, p. 9.

2 Letter of Sergius Nilus to Hierodeacon Zosimas, 6 August, 1917; in Vladimir Gubanov, Tsar’ Nikolai II-ij i Novie Mucheniki (Tsar Nicholas II and the New Martyrs), St. Petersburg, 2000, p. 121 ®.

3 E.E. Alferev writes: “Factually speaking, in view of the position taken by [Generals] Ruzsky and Alexeev, the possibility of resistance was excluded. Being cut off from the external world, the Sovereign was as it were in captivity. His orders were not carried out, the telegrams of those who remained faithful to their oath of allegiance were not communicated to him. The Empress, who had never trusted Ruzsky, on learning that the Tsar’s train had been help up at Pskov, immediately understood the danger. On March 2 she wrote to his Majesty: ‘But you are alone, you don’t have the army with you, you are caught like a mouse in a trap. What can you do?’ (Imperator Nikolaj II kak chelovek sil’noj voli (Emperor Nicholas II as a Man of Strong Will), Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1983, 2004, p. 121 ®).

4 Nazarov, Kto naslednik rossijskogo prestola? (Who is the Heir of the Russian Throne?), Moscow: “Russkaia Idea”, 1996, p. 68 (in Russian)). In defence of Great Prince Michael, it should be pointed out that he, too, acted under duress. As Nazarov points out, “Great Prince Mikhail Alexandrovich also acted under duress, under the pressure of the plotters who came to his house. Kerensky admitted that this had been their aim: ‘We decided to surround the act of abdication of Mikhail Alexandrovich with every guarantee, but in such a way as to give the abdication a voluntary character’” (p. 69).

5 Quoted in Tamara Groyan, Tsariu Nebesnomu i Zemnomu Vernij (Faithful to the Heavenly and Earthly Tsar), Moscow: Palomnik, 1996, p. 128 ®.

6 Groyan, op. cit., pp. 122, 123.

7 Babkin, “Sviatejshij Sinod Pravoslavnoj Rossijskoj Tserkvi i Revoliutsionnie Sobytia Fevralia-Marta 1917 g.” (“The Most Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Revolutionary Events of February-March, 1917”), http://www.monarhist-spb.narod.ru/D-ST/Babkin-1, p. 3 ®.

8 Gubanov, op. cit., p. 70.

9 http://www.geocities.com/kitezhgrad/prophets/duniushka.html ®.

10 In Gubanov, op. cit., p. 62.

11 A.D. Stepanov, “Mezhdu mirom i monastyrem” (“Between the World and the Monastery”), in Tajna Bezzakonia (The Mystery of Iniquity), St. Petersburg, 2002, p. 491 ®.

12 Babkin, op. cit., pp. 2, 3.

13 Tsuyoshi Hasegawa writes: “Five members, Kerensky, N.V. Nekrasov, A.I. Konovalov, M.I. Tereshchenko and I.N. Efremov are known to have belonged to the secret political Masonic organization” (“The February Revolution”, in Edward Acton, Vladimir Cherniaev, William Rosenberg (eds.), Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution 1914-1921, Bloomington and Indianopolis: Indiana University Press, 1997, p.59).

14 Quoted in G.M. Katkov, Fevral’skaia Revoliutsia (The February Revolution), Paris: YMCA Press, 1984, p. 370 ®.

15 Babkin, op. cit., p. 8.

16 Archbishop Anthony, Pastyr’ i Pastva (Pastor and Flock), 1917, № 10, pp. 280-281; Pis’ma Blazhenneishago Mitropolita Antonia (Khrapovitskago) (The Letters of his Beatitude Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Jordanville, 1988, p. 57; Monk Benjamin (Gomareteli), Letopis’ tserkovnykh sobytij Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi nachinaia s 1917 goda (Chronicle of Church Events, beginning from 1917), www.zlatoust.ws/letopis.htm, pp. 2-3 ®. Cf. Victor Antonov, “1917 god: Arkhiepiskop Antonij i Fevralisty” (1917: Archbishop Anthony and the Februarists), Vozvrashchenie (Return), № 2 (6), 1994, p. 25 ®.

17 Archbishop Seraphim, Tverskie Eparkhial’nie Vedomosti (Tver Diocesan Gazette), 1917, № 9-10, pp. 75-76; in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 4.

18 Babkin, op. cit., pp. 3-4. The epistle also said: (quoted by Oleg Lebedev, “Mezhdu Fevraliem i Oktiabrem” (“Between February and October), Nezavisimaia Gazeta (The Independent Newspaper), 13 November, 1996, p. 5 (in Russian)).

19 Archbishop Andrew, Ufimskie Vedomosti (Ufa Gazette), 1917, № 5-6, pp. 138-139; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 6-7 ®.

20 Groyan, op. cit., p. 142. Italics mine (V.M.).

21 As Lev Tikhomirov writes: "Without establishing a kingdom, Moses foresaw it and pointed it out in advance to Israel... It was precisely Moses who pointed out in advance the two conditions for the emergence of monarchical power: it was necessary, first, that the people itself should recognize its necessity, and secondly, that the people itself should not elect the king over itself, but should present this to the Lord. Moreover, Moses indicated a leadership for the king himself: 'when he shall sit upon the throne of his kingdom, he must… fulfil all the words of this law'." (Monarkhicheskaia Gosudarstvennost (Monarchical Statehood), Buenos Aires, 1968, pp. 127-129 ®).

22 Lopukhin, “Tsar’ i Patriarkh” (Tsar and Patriarch), Pravoslavnij Put’ (The Orthodox Way), 1951, pp. 103-104 ®.

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