Author Topic: The Remains in Brussels  (Read 13443 times)

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Offline BobAtchison

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The Remains in Brussels
« on: April 07, 2004, 11:27:51 AM »
Letter from Metropolitan Vitaly
to the Vice-President of the Russian Federation
Concerning the Murder of the Russian Royal Family

In 1996 Yury Feodorovitch Yarov, Vice-President of the government of the Russian Federation, asked Metropolitan Vitaly a number of questions, mostly concerning the murder of the Russian Royal Family. The following is the Metropolitan's reply to Mr. Yarov, which gives a clear view of the events currently taking place in Russia.

Dear Yury Feodorovitch,

The consul of the Russian Federal government in New York has delivered your letter to me. It covers three points to which I consider it my duty to reply as Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

You write of your government's concern to clarify who was historically responsible for this terrible tragedy - the murder of the Royal Family, and you correctly evaluate this evil deed as a criminal act. Now there is definitely a responsibility, not just towards the Russian people, but towards people all over the world, to resolve this. To this end it is necessary to go back to the chronology of events in 1917 and 1918, and consider on what new laws the new Soviet Bolshevik government was based after the fall of the monarchy and what laws formed the basis of its activities. It is immediately obvious to any unbiased historian that Lenin himself was beyond any doubt the one who issued the orders, provided the inspiration and had complete control of all its activities. It is utterly inconceivable that in that evil and terrible time anyone could dare to do anything at variance with the hypnotic will of Lenin, who had unofficially become the dictator of the whole Bolshevik party. Consequently Lenin was the real murderer of the whole Royal Family and of those who voluntarily shared their fate.

This should be declared throughout the land of Russia, and his unfortunate remains should be buried in the place where he himself asked his terrible henchmen to bury him in his will (Editor's note:next to his mother!) . His corpse has been kept quite long enough as a disgrace to the whole of Russia in the Red Square of our ancient capital.

The second question is concerning our view of the "supposed" remains of the Royal Family. More than forty years ago we held a very solemn funeral in absentia for all the Royal Martyrs in the church built as a memorial to them in Brussels. Later we glorified them as saints together with all the New Martyrs of Russia. So for us, historically speaking, one more very terrible page in the history of our country has irrevocably been turned. Spiritually, the Royal Martyrs are always alive for us, and we ask for their holy prayers before the throne of God both for us, who are still living in this vale of tears, and for our harrowed, defiled and unhappy country. Only from the Lord do we await, if it should be His holy will, that He will miraculously reveal to us their holy relics, or whatever is left of them. We do not expect anything at all from anyone else.

Finally, the small reliquary containing a few fragments of the Royal relics, which were given to us by Sokoloff's commission of investigation, is kept in the Memorial Church in Brussels as a sacred object and so we cannot, and would not dare to, hand it over to any commission.

Please be assured, Yury Feodorovitch, of our very best wishes for the historical investigation which you have undertaken.

[Signed]


Metropolitan Vitaly

****************************************

Interview with Metropolitan Vitaly

Concerning the Relics of the Russian Royal Family

Interview first appeared in the Moscow journal "Radonezh" (1998 No. 1) and was reprinted in "Pravoslavnaya Rus" ("Orthodox Russia") 1998 No.3.

Vladika, we would like to ask you about the holy objects in the church of St. Job the Much Suffering in Belgium. It is said that they include a fragment of relics of the Holy Royal Martyrs, which was brought out of Russia in the past by N.A. Sokoloff, who conducted the investigation into their deaths. Is this correct?


"As I recall, there was a little finger which was attributed to the Empress. Then there were a few more small fragments, but everything was sealed into the walls of the church. So they are not on the altar table and you cannot venerate them. They were all sealed in when the foundation of the church was laid. There are icons and other things that belonged to the Tsar, but the relics themselves, such as they were (there were extremely small amounts) were all embedded into the walls. We cannot demolish the walls and start looking for them. That would be out of the question! I was present at the consecration of the church. At first these relics were kept in Brussels, in a small house church, but we kept them secretly, because there were still relatives of the Romanoff family alive who could have laid claim to them. But when they had all died and there was no direct lawful heir to the throne left, then we embedded these relics in the wall of the church."

************

I found this on the web and am posting it here.

Bob


Offline Arleen

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2004, 01:43:50 PM »
The most interesting part is that the Metropolitan states that there is no direct lawful heir!  But I still don't understand why that church does not recognize the bones from Ekaterinburg, Bob, can you explain it to me.  But at least we "seem" to know for sure where the fragments are, and that is wonderful.    ..Arleen

Offline Nick_Nicholson

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2004, 01:55:33 PM »
The Russian Orthodox Church in Exile does not recognize the claim of Maria Vladimirovna as the Moscow Patriarchate does.  It is still a bone of contention barring reconciliation.

Nick
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Offline BobAtchison

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2004, 02:18:42 PM »
In the early 90's when I was travelling to Russia a lot I used to hear more than I do these days.  The whole issue about the church and the remains is hugely complicated.

When the Russian church was debating the remains and the canonisation of the last Tsar I had a number of conversations with people who were close to the Patriarch and the hierarchy.  I was told that there was tremendous opposition to the canonisation of Nicholas from some of the hierarchs - one powerful man in particular.  This hierarch said he would never permit the canonisation of Nicholas.  I was told there was opposition among the Bishops as well.

These church leaders had been raised and promoted by the Soviet government to be loyal citizens of the Soviet Union as well as clerics.  They had been taught the Soviet line on Nicholas - which really didn't amount to much in fact - since he was hardly known to people in the Soviet Union.  Nicholas was presented as a inept weak ruler who was dominated by Rasputin and a crazy foreign convert wife.  He was held personally responsible for the collapse of the old order and all that followed.

Soviet Church leaders cannot be faulted if they had an social/cultural bias against Nicholas because they didn't know him except for his failings and his politics.  After glasnost more became known about Nicholas in Russia, there were more books, movies, TV shows, articles, etc..  In particular I was told the Patriarch's attitude toward Nicholas and Alexandra changed when he read the Letters of the Imperial Family from Captivity for the first time.

Bob

Offline _Rodger_

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2004, 08:03:55 PM »
Thanks Bob for that explanation.  I always wondered what it was that affected the Patriarch as his early statements were much less than kind.

As far as the 'remains' in Brussels are concerned, several labs have attempted to test samples from them, but because of the severely degraded condition of the sample, none have been able to get any results, a very common problem with old DNA.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by _Rodger_ »
WARNING!!!!  This post may be hazardous to one's sense of things.  Read with caution.

Offline Greg_King

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2004, 12:46:47 AM »
I've never been sure what to make of these letters, and all of the negotiations that went on in early 1998 about the alleged remains in Brussels.  As I posted elsewhere, to the very best of my knowledge, any human remains were long ago retrieved and given to Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, confirmed by his daughter and by correspondence and a complete inventory list and photographic inventory.  I suppose it's possible that Metropolitan Vitali was speaking in generalities-hence, he doesn't say they have the finger-just that "as I recall" Sokolov brought out a finger and other items-and so one wonders if he is referring to these "other items"-icons, charred buttons, corset stays, etc., that I know ARE there, whereas the human remains are, as I believe, gone.

And, Rodger: There has been no DNA testing of any of the alleged remains brought back by Sokolov that I am aware of.  The Church of St. Ioann has never handed anything over, and certainly neither has Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna.

Greg King

Offline _Rodger_

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2004, 12:54:39 AM »
The Russian Expert Commission Abroad obtained samples to test, and sent the samples to several labs, none of which obtained enough DNA for a valid test.

As the labs were unable to obtain valid results, the tests can't be published.  

Again, this is actually more of the rule than the exception with degraded DNA.  The published results for Louis XVII, for example, made it clear that they were only able to obtain enough valid sample from the inner chamber of his heart to allow identification.

WARNING!!!!  This post may be hazardous to one's sense of things.  Read with caution.

Offline Greg_King

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2004, 05:51:35 AM »
Quote
The Russian Expert Commission Abroad obtained samples to test, and sent the samples to several labs, none of which obtained enough DNA for a valid test.

As the labs were unable to obtain valid results, the tests can't be published.  

Again, this is actually more of the rule than the exception with degraded DNA.  The published results for Louis XVII, for example, made it clear that they were only able to obtain enough valid sample from the inner chamber of his heart to allow identification.

 


Given that this is at complete variance with every statement from Metropolitan Vitali, from the Russian Government Commission's final report in 1998, from the inventory and letters Penny and myself have read and see, and from the information from Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna, I have to ask: What is the source?  Obviously I've an interest, and if you would rather not post feel free to email me privately.  But after reviewing all the evidence, it is my firm belief that St. Ioann's does not have, and has not had, any human remains for decades, not to mention their firm opposition to breaking into the walls of the church to retrieve the box placed there.  So I wonder if this is something you have heard, and from whom, or that you have firsthand knowledge of?  Again, respecting your privacy, please feel free to answer privately.

The extensive article quoted regarding the DNA discrepancies makes no mention of any such tests.

Thanks in advance,

Greg King

Offline Greg_King

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2004, 06:08:02 AM »
I've had to snip for length to address some points herein, so have indicated the original quote with " in case I've messed the process up:

[quote author=_Rodger_
"1)      How exactly, based on what exact words, where and by whom, was the burial site discovered?"

This has been adequately addressed, I think.  In "Fate of the Romanovs" we DO show that Ryabov was certainly working, if not at the bequest of the Government, then as their dupe.  But that doesn't alter the essentials.

"2)      What exactly was found?  Who prepared the “chain of custody” document? Was it ever prepared?"

Again, a complete inventory of the grave exhumation, bone fragment by bone fragment, exists-I've read it.  I think it was even published in 1994 in Ekaterinburg, so one wonders why they include this as a question?

"3)      Were the bones intact in skeletons or disjointed, lying “helter-skelter”?"

Ditto

"5)      If the burial site was allegedly found on the basis of the “Yurovsky Note,” what was its provenance and who was its author? When was it written? Why was it unsigned? Who is the author of the handwritten portions on some copies? How do you explain the stylistical discrepancies between the Note and the language of the day?"

Yurovsky wrote it in 1920 at the request of Michael Pokrovsky, who himself wrote the handwritten directions at the bottom-again, information known for nearly a decade.

"6)      How do you explain the significant differences of fact stated in the Sokolov Report of 1919-1925 and the “Yurovsky Note?”

This seems to plague them, but they are trying to reconcile one erroneous version (Sokolov's report of the disposal of the bodies) with what are now the known facts.  They cannot deny the validity of the grave and remains based on what we know to have been an erroneous accounting.

"Nowhere does Nicholas Sokolov, the principal 1919 investigator of the murder for the “Whites”, say that after the killing and before their transportation, “the bodies were stripped”. Nowhere does he state that the destination of the bodies had been a “mine-shaft”. Nowhere does he say, as is claimed by the authors, ”that the truck developed mechanical fault during the journey”. Nowhere does he say that “a truck was driven backwards and forwards over the site to flatten the area”. Assertions made to that effect are plainly wrong."

No, they're not.  Sokolov didn't know of this.  Why do they bring it up as a basis to discredit the Koptyaki remains?  Basing everything on Sokolov's findings is ridiculous.

"Evidently the factual side of the article is based on the “Yurovsky Note”, allegedly a recently “discovered” narration of “Commissar Yakov Yurovsky”, the illiterate head of the execution squad, some four pages in length, unsigned, prepared at an unknown time, purportedly dealing with the murder, transportation and burial of the Romanovs. It is variously attributed to 1920, 1922 and 1934. It is full of inconsistencies with the quasi-official Sokolov Reports, published in Paris in 1924-1925 and their fuller version edited by Nicholas Ross in Frankfurt a/M in 1980. Yet the article asserts that the events, as described, agree with the Sokolov Reports. In reality, they do not agree on a number of key points."

1.  Yurovsky was not illiterate-they've got their facts wrong.
2.  They confuse his 1920 Note with his 1922 Private Memoir and his 1934 speech at Ekaterinburg.  They are 3 different sets of memoirs.
3.  Of course it is at variance with Sokolov because Sokolov spoke to no one who actually participated in events in the Koptyaki Forest.
4.  And their assertion that Ross's book is somehow complete is laughable-he included only a fragment of materials in the Sokolov Dossiers of 11 volumes; worse still, he edited statements from guards at the IH to remove inconsistent statements.

These are just a few of their assertions which can be shown up to be hollow, based on lack of research, or just plain stubborn determination that Sokolov said A, so any variation from A must be a lie.

Greg King

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2004, 07:20:37 AM »
Greg
Out of curiosity, just where are the 11 dossiers of Sokolov? I mean the originals. Are they intact or scattered? I had just assumed they were at the Hoover, then someone told me they were partly in Yale [or Harvard] now a friend tells me they are  somewhere in Paris.
Personally, I have never persued the matter, just curious
Cheers,
Robert
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Offline BobAtchison

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2004, 10:22:23 AM »
The Sokolov documents that were said to be in the Janin family vault in Paris were taken by the German army at Hitler's orders.  They were found in Hitler's private papers in Berlin by the Russian Army.  The dossier was then given to Stalin, who personally kept (and read it) in his own private files.  In continued to pass down into the files of each successive Soviet leader.  Finally Boris Yeltsin turned the file over Soloviev and the Russian committee.  He showed them to me and I had about an hour and a half to look at at.

Bob

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2004, 03:50:31 PM »
Fascinating to say the least ! So,  where do all these transaltions come from?
What a provenance- Hitler-Stalin, etc. I wonder what their personal obsession with the Romanovs was?
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Offline Greg_King

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2004, 03:36:17 AM »
Quote
Fascinating to say the least ! So,  where do all these transaltions come from?
What a provenance- Hitler-Stalin, etc. I wonder what their personal obsession with the Romanovs was?


There is one incomplete set of the Sokolov Dossiers at Harvard University; another set is in Dearborn, Michigan, at the Henry Ford Archives (given to Ford by Sokolov when he visited).  The Ford version is more complete than that at Harvard.  One copy was stolen and taken to Russia in 1920, I think, and then there were four others-one that belonged to Gibbes (at at least portions-I looked through it in 1989 right before his son George got rid of it), one to Bulygin, and two to Sokolov.  One of the latter three was sold and went to the Royal Family of Liechtenstein, another went to Prince Orlov (later sold), and the third-which I believe is Bulygin's copy-remains in private hands in Europe.

Greg King

Offline Adele

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2004, 04:12:04 PM »
Quote
    Also a team of scientists, comprising Alec Knight, Lev Zhivotovsky, David Kass. Daryl Litwin et al, from Stanford University, CA, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM, has analyzed a relic of St. Elizaveta Feodorovna, a sister of Empress Alexandra, and found that her mtDNA does not match the DNA obtained for the putative Alexandra in the burial, which is very significant as sisters should have the same DNA. Thus the DNAs of both the “Emperor” and the “Empress” have cast an appreciable doubt on their announced identities.

 

     It is interesting to note that the author of an editorial in Nature Genetics, «Romanovs find closure in DNA», vol.12, no.4 (April, 1996), p.340, stated that Dr. Gill's and Ivanov's findings hitherto «have never been challenged, in print or orally, by another DNA scientist».

 

     Equally interesting is why at the end of the same article on the manipulations with the alleged bones of Grand Duke Georgii Aleksandrovich and Nicholas II, “Mitochondrial DNA sequence heteroplasmy in the Grand Duke of Russia Georgij Romanov establishes the authenticity of the remains of Tsar Nicholas II”, made at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, MD, by Ivanov, Wadhams, Weedn et al, and published in the same issue of Nature Genetics, there is a disclaimer that “the opinions and assertions contained herein are solely those of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as views of the U.S. Department of Defense or as U.S. Department of the Army”, p. 420?

 

     Let us hope that the present challenge will find its mark.

 

 



How sure are we that St. Elizaveta's relic is really hers?  

---adele

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: The Remains in Brussels
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2004, 09:49:36 PM »
Rodger, are you suggesting that the remains at the  convent in Jerusalem are not hers?
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