Author Topic: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....  (Read 18087 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« on: September 04, 2007, 07:18:31 PM »
... that the remains found in Ekaterinburg are authentic?

We started discussing this topic on another thread, but I think it deserves a thread of its own (I don't think there is one, is there?). To me it's very strange that ROC would rather believe questionable sources instead of reliable scientific data. I understand that they can't just blindly accept something, nor should anyone, but it has been scientifically proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the remains buried in St Peter and Paul Cathedral are authentic. I understand that the members of ROC are not scientists, but there must be someone among ROC who has the common sense to understand this and explain it to the rest of them... Does anyone have any theories as to why they are being so closed minded about this?

Offline Foxglove

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2007, 08:37:08 PM »
There are various reasons as to why the ROC does not believe. According to one article (BBC News), the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II believes that it is an "incontrovertible fact that Bolshevik executors of the Romanovs completely destroyed the remains. The Church experts trusted the results of the 1918 investigation by the Sokolov group which said the bodies of Nicholas II and his family members had been dissected and destroyed with sulphuric acid." This is one opinion held by the ROC.

Second, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (in exile during the Soviet rule), had relics of what were reported to be Romanov bones. Acknowledging that the remains interred in St Petersburg are indeed that of the Royal family would mean that their own relics were fakes. (It should be noted that if the bones were said to have been completely destroyed, according to the 1918 investigation, just what remains did the ROC Abroad have in their possession?)

Moreover, some believe that the Royal family was never murdered in the first place. During Nicholas' reign, he was regarded as the head of the ROC church, and believed to have been placed specifically by God in his position. Some of his loyal subjects regarded him almost as a demi-god. The idea that the Tsar and his family were slaughtered did not sit well with some believers, as God would not have placed Nicholas II in the position of Tsar only to be murdered. If Nicholas died, it was assumed his death was not by the hands of the Bolsheviks. This belief was only fuelled by rumours early on when contradicting reports were released stating that the Tsar was killed, but Alexandra and the children were alive, or that the entire family was safely removed to a secret location.


(Source: BBC NEWS, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/not_in_website/syndication/monitoring/media_reports/2134727.stm)

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 09:08:22 PM »
The ROCOR had what was reported to be the finger of GD Ella, whose body, along with others that died with her were recovered.  There seems to be some dispute though, they may actually have the finger of  Sister Barbara, her companion.
 IMO, it was more a matter of politics and the attempts at reconciliation between the 2 Russian Orthodox churches. [eventually achieved]
 See: The Many Deaths of Tsar Nicholas II by Wendy Slater.
 The Sokolov  "relic" consisted of "one well manicured finger"  which was probably loped off to get at a ring the body was wearing. This seems to be either buried in some family vault or behind a brick wall in some Belgian church. Take you pick.
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Offline RichC

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 09:19:49 PM »
Some of the reasons for the lack of recognition are covered in Wendy Slater's book, The Many Deaths of Tsar Nicholas II.  I have not read that book, but I have read the journal article it is based on, Relics, Remains, and Revisionism: Narratives of Nicholas II in Contemporary Russia, published in Rethinking History, Vol. 9 #1, March 2005.  I can email you the PDF of the article if you like, as it is within fair use guidelines.

Offline lexi4

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2007, 09:23:43 PM »
... that the remains found in Ekaterinburg are authentic?

We started discussing this topic on another thread, but I think it deserves a thread of its own (I don't think there is one, is there?). To me it's very strange that ROC would rather believe questionable sources instead of reliable scientific data. I understand that they can't just blindly accept something, nor should anyone, but it has been scientifically proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the remains buried in St Peter and Paul Cathedral are authentic. I understand that the members of ROC are not scientists, but there must be someone among ROC who has the common sense to understand this and explain it to the rest of them... Does anyone have any theories as to why they are being so closed minded about this?

Helen,
Here is a quote from a New York Times article publshed on Jan. 18, 1008.

"The possibility of canonization is the reason why the church is dealing with the issue of authenticity very attentively," said the Rev. Vsevolod Chaplin, secretary for church and society at the Moscow Patriarchate. "If someone is canonized, then their remains are venerated as relics. And there can be no doubt about the authenticity of a holy relic."

Lexi
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow ---- What a ride!!!"

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2007, 11:31:36 PM »
The whole canonisation issue is fairly contentious in itself.  Whereas the IF were declared Passion Bearers, they were after all, prisoners and had no choice in the matter of their deaths.  Whilst the attendants went volunatraily and were excluded from the the recognition.
 I think the relics bit is just a smokescreen to appease the ultra nationalists who believe in all sorts of  scenarios about the deaths, from outright survival to decapitation  [the heads are sealed in the Kremlin vaults]. Those very same ultras are major supporters of   both factions of the Church.
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Offline Belochka

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2007, 12:53:08 AM »
One August, 28 the Russian TV news service on NTV offered this optimistic view:

[my translation]

Русская православная церковь может изменить отношение к вопросу о подлинности царских останков. С таким знаковым заявлением выступил член комиссии по канонизации святых протоирей Георгий Митрофанов.

"The Russian Orthodox Church can change its attitude towards the question of authenticity of Tsarist remains. A member of the Canonization of Saints Commission archpriest Georgii Mitrofanov came forward with this symbolic declaration."

The Moscow Church will require 100% concurrence from all kinds of experts before they will re-consider their position.

The difficult burden that the present Moscow Patriarch has to face is that he publicly declared his doubts about the authenticity of the 1991 remains. Thus it will be rather difficult to turn around and declare that an error of judgement was made before his parishoners.

Furthermore it will be a burden to acknowledge that the 1991 remains should have been accorded full recognition and be named at the time of their re-burial in 1998.

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Offline dmitri

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2007, 03:08:40 AM »
I found the whole situation reeking of politics. It was quite disgusting how the names of the deceased were not mentioned at their funeral. It was very un-Christian and uncaring. Where was the "God is Love" in all of this I ask you?

Offline ChristineM

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2007, 03:53:34 AM »
The Russian Orthodox Church is precisely that - ORTHODOX.

In my opinion, there is much to be admired about adhering  closely to the 'Word' and, personally, I consider it my spiritual home.   However, like life, religion is a compromise - and man-made.   There are aspects of the Orthodox Church which I neither like nor agree with - but this applies to every Christian denomination.   For a start, I do not appreciate its attitude towards women in general.   

I agree, the decisions made over the last Imperial funeral were shot through with politics.   One must pray that, given the DNA findings of the remains confirm they are indeed Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Marie/Anastasia, this will give the Church authorities the opportunity to review their attitude - and come out of the entire unseemly situation with some Grace and Love.

tsaria
« Last Edit: September 05, 2007, 03:56:19 AM by tsaria »

Offline azrael7171918

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2007, 04:49:14 AM »
 I came to the conclusion that the reason the Russian Church changed their minds was political.

 In the beginning they were all excited that the remains had been found

I noticed that things changed once the Communist Party got seats back in the Duma. You have to remember that the present church in Moscow was set up by Stalin.  I think they are more worried about the Party then doing what's right for the Family and Russial.       

IF you can't beat em might as well control em.

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Offline ChristineM

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2007, 05:40:23 AM »
I might not like what President Putin is doing in Russia right now, but I know that he is a practising Russian Orthodox Christian - and its not just for 'show'.

tsaria

Offline Lemur

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2007, 09:27:37 AM »
There are various reasons as to why the ROC does not believe. According to one article (BBC News), the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II believes that it is an "incontrovertible fact that Bolshevik executors of the Romanovs completely destroyed the remains. The Church experts trusted the results of the 1918 investigation by the Sokolov group which said the bodies of Nicholas II and his family members had been dissected and destroyed with sulphuric acid." This is one opinion held by the ROC.

Second, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (in exile during the Soviet rule), had relics of what were reported to be Romanov bones. Acknowledging that the remains interred in St Petersburg are indeed that of the Royal family would mean that their own relics were fakes. (It should be noted that if the bones were said to have been completely destroyed, according to the 1918 investigation, just what remains did the ROC Abroad have in their possession?)

Moreover, some believe that the Royal family was never murdered in the first place. During Nicholas' reign, he was regarded as the head of the ROC church, and believed to have been placed specifically by God in his position. Some of his loyal subjects regarded him almost as a demi-god. The idea that the Tsar and his family were slaughtered did not sit well with some believers, as God would not have placed Nicholas II in the position of Tsar only to be murdered. If Nicholas died, it was assumed his death was not by the hands of the Bolsheviks. This belief was only fuelled by rumours early on when contradicting reports were released stating that the Tsar was killed, but Alexandra and the children were alive, or that the entire family was safely removed to a secret location.


(Source: BBC NEWS, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/not_in_website/syndication/monitoring/media_reports/2134727.stm)

After reading this, it reminds me of other times that people refused to change their religious views because of science. I don't know a lot about the ROC in particular so I cannot state for sure, so forgive me if I'm wrong. There are still some churches who deny that science has proven the world to be over 6,000 years old. I have personally spoken to individuals with this strong belief, and the same people will argue to the death that carbon dating is false and means nothing. The Shroud of Turin test was wrong or even rigged. And don't forget Galileo who suffered because he tried to tell the church the universe didn't revolve around the earth.

I can understand and respect religious beliefs, but as with anything else, once something has been proven differently, it borders on the irrational to continue to believe the old way and not accept the scientific evidence. Humans are learing all the time, and therefore our views and long-held beliefs may be forced to change as new information becomes available. This is no offense to anyone or their religion, but when some of these beliefs were professed, they didn't know any better and now we do. That must be taken into consideration. This goes not only for science, but what we have found out about history due to new information. At one time it was said the bodies were dissolved, but now we know they were not. It makes no sense to cling to the old story that has now been proven incorrect. To continue to deny the validity of the bones as proven by science puts one much in the same category of the claimant supporters who refuse to allow science to change what they choose to believe, and will say anything to leave it in doubt that doesn't really exist.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2007, 10:08:39 AM »
After reading this, it reminds me of other times that people refused to change their religious views because of science. There are still some churches who deny that science has proven the world to be over 6,000 years old. I have personally spoken to individuals with this strong belief, and the same people will argue to the death that carbon dating is false and means nothing. The Shroud of Turin test was wrong or even rigged. And don't forget Galileo who suffered because he tried to tell the church the universe didn't revolve around the earth.

I can understand and respect religious beliefs, but as with anything else, once something has been proven differently, it borders on the irrational to continue to believe the old way and not accept the scientific evidence. Humans are learing all the time, and therefore our views and long-held beliefs may be forced to change as new information becomes available. This is no offense to anyone or their religion, but when some of these beliefs were professed, they didn't know any better and now we do. That must be taken into consideration. This goes not only for science, but what we have found out about history due to new information. At one time it was said the bodies were dissolved, but now we know they were not. It makes no sense to cling to the old story that has now been proven incorrect. To continue to deny the validity of the bones as proven by science puts one much in the same category of the claimant supporters who refuse to allow science to change what they choose to believe, and will say anything to leave it in doubt that doesn't really exist.

Lemur, this is exactly the kind of feeling I get as well, when it comes to this... In this day and age it's hard to accept, but there it is. I think that it is political only partially, but that a lot of it is for the reasons above... I'll be honest: I think I can accept the political reasons easier (not to say that it makes it ok) than I can accept the above... When will we finally all get out of the dark ages?

Offline Tania+

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2007, 10:48:38 AM »
Dear Tsria,

Very well said. I think it how many wish the chapter of these prescious lives to close off with. Thanks always for your wise and heart felt statements. It's a pleasure to read your learned statements. You go so often to Russia, I know you know Russia and Russians very well. Always glad to hear your direct understandings of a given issue ! God Bless !

"this will give the Church authorities the opportunity to review their attitude - and come out of the entire unseemly situation with some Grace and Love"

Tatiana+

TatianaA


Offline ChristineM

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Re: Why does the Russian Orthodox Church chooses not to believe....
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2007, 01:09:09 PM »
There is one simple word which answers your questions - FAITH.   You either have or you do not have faith.   Neither is better nor worse than the other because - even scientists will admit - no one on the face of the earth knows the answer.

The Russian Orthodox Church, like all religious groupings  is 'man-made'.   Inevitably politics and personalities play their part - the greatest upheaval in the Russian Orthodox Church was during the time of Patriarch Nikhon.   Elements that broke apart then, remain splintered.   Anyone wanting to learn the extent and reasons for this schism should endeavour to see Rimsky Korsakov's Khovanshina.    This 5-Act opera spells that entire episode in Russian history with a remarkable brilliance.   There was the split in the Roman Catholic Church which gave birth to Lutheranism and the founding of the Anglican Communion.   My native church - the Church of Scotland - of the Presbyterian tradition, has been riven with breakaway groups, now reunited.   Islam is no different - Shiites. Sunnis, Suffis and Ahmadiyya - again ALL man made.   Buddhism isn't without its different denominations - Theravada, Mahayana and etc.   Judaism also has its different sects.   Each believe their way is the right way.   

However, there is one common denominator amongst all the billions of people who follow an array of religions..... FAITH.   Something which has no connection whatsoever with intelligence or education.   Faith transcends all boundaries, all colour, all creeds.   It defies description.   Those who have it should be tolerant of those who don't.   Those who don't, should be tolerant of those who do.   It is life's ultimate question.

tsaria-