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Messages - holynewmartyr

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Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna / Re: Books on Grand Duchess Elizabeth
« on: October 30, 2020, 10:12:49 PM »
I learned just yesterday of this book:  Крестный путь преподобномученицы Великой княгини Елисаветы Феодоровны на Алапаевскую Голгофу / The Way of the Cross of the Holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna to the Alapaevsk Golgotha

Presentation in Russian of the book by the author, Ludmila Kulikova:

Article in English about the book:

It looks and sounds very interesting.

Although the Russian Orthodox Church has not recognized officially the "Yekaterinburg remains" as those of the royal family, I have found online three Russian Orthodox communities in the USA that have obtained bone fragments and have enshrined them as holy relics in their churches:

Hermitage of the Holy Cross Russian Orthodox Monastery (ROCOR) in West Virginia, USA:

Saint George Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Howell, New Jersey, USA:


Saint Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral (OCA) in Washington, D.C., USA:

Audio explanation of icon and relics:

The Final Chapter / Re: One Hundred Years On
« on: July 09, 2018, 07:49:50 PM »
July 17th/18th this year will, as all of us realise, be the Centenary of the dreadful and pointless massacre of the Russian Imperial Family.

Does anyone know of any special commemorations that are being made?

Also, does anyone know of any Films or TV Documentaries that are being prepared? My own preference would be for strongly factual material based on historical and scientific research.

Here is what is being planned by the Russian Orthodox Church:

This  Interfax article provides a few details:

Grave of Emperor Alexander III may have been opened before - Russian Orthodox Church

Moscow, November 13, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church does not rule out that the grave of Alexander III in St. Petersburg's Petropavlovskaya Fortress could have been opened before.

"We are not alleging anything, we are not alleging that the grave was invaded, although we believe it could have happened. The only thing we are alleging now is that the headstone was disassembled and then assembled again," Bishop Tikhon of Yegoryevsk, secretary of the Patriarch's Council on Culture, told a press conference in Moscow on Friday.

"It is possible that the tsar's remains were disturbed, there could have been looting and they are in an inappropriate condition," the bishop said.

The bishop said a possible opening of the grave is indicated by the absence of metal belts holding the marble covers of the headstones, which was discovered by experts who worked in the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral.

The bishop also said garbage, traces of asbestos and plaster and broken stones had been found under the headstone cover.

Experts now have to lift the stone under the headstone, he said, reiterating that all actions are recorded on video and photographed.

Bishop Tikhon said graves in the Petropavlovskaya Fortress have been opened before, possibly multiple times. He said there is evidence of the opening of tsars' graves, including Peter I and Alexander I, adding that the remains of the latter were not found, the grave was empty and that evidence can become "a weighty argument" to the Russian Orthodox Church. "We are not brushing any evidence aside, we are trying to check it," he said.

The grave of Alexander II is being opened as part of the forensic evaluation of the remains of the family of Russia's last tsar.

Update on case re-opening:   "Russian Orthodox Church is still not ready to make a final conclusion on the question on the authenticity of the remains of the Romanov family."

I hope that the Russian Church's desire for further testing will lead to a sample from St. Elizabeth's body in Jerusalem. One cannot consider the testing complete without doing a comparative DNA analysis of the remains between sisters Alexandra and Elizabeth.

Here is what Hugo Mayer writes in his biography, Elizabeth: Grand Duchess of Russia about the condition of Ella’s body after it was recovered:

Father Seraphim also told Lady Athlone that the body of the grand duchess,“strange to say was not decomposed at all.” Lady Milford Haven seemingly confirms this, in a passage already quoted in the Epilogue, that later on when he opened her coffin at the convent in Irkutsk, “our Ella’s body was not decayed only dried up.” (Hessian Grand Duchal Archives). Prince Nicholas Kudashev, the last envoy of imperial Russia to China, also happened to see her body at Harbin, where Father Seraphim stopped en route to Beijing. “The Grand Duchess,” he wrote, “lay as if alive, completely unchanged since the day that I met her in Moscow on the way to Beijing, except that on one side of her face was a large bruise from a blow sustained in the fall into the mineshaft.” (Materialy k zhitiyu…, p. 152). General Smolin tells us that her fingers “were stiffened in the sign of the cross.”

Perhaps a DNA sample should also be taken from the body that was identified as Varvara Yakovleva, if her burial place is known, on the off-chance that she was really the Grand Duchess, Elizabeth Feodorovna.

Good idea.

The tomb identified as St. Barbara's is on the other side of the iconostasis from the tomb identified as St. Elizabeth's.

     St. Elizabeth            St. Barbara

If they were intact, why did they have to be identified by an icon? I don't know if you ever saw a photo of Elizabeth's body, but believe me, it was pretty hard to recognize and would have been very easy to confuse with another woman's body...

Yes, I have seen the photo of Ella from the Sokolov report, but I have never seen the photo for Barbara--which means the bodies were identifiable when they were recovered.

According to this English translation of the report , it states:

On the breast of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna was an icon of the Saviour with precious stones. To my knowledge, the Emperor prayed before this icon before his abdication, and gave it afterwards to Elizabeth Feodorovna. On the reverse is the inscription 'Palm [Sunday] 13th April 1891'.

It doesn't specifically say that she was identified by the icon, but rather that it was found on her person.

Later on, the report states:

The bodies were displayed to the public and were recognized.

The body of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna: In the cranial cavity, on dissection of the skin, bruises were exposed; in the forehead area [a bruise] the size of a child's palm, and in the region of the left parietal bone [a bruise] the size of an adult's palm. There are bruises in the cellular tissue, the muscles and on the surface of the cranium. The skull bones are intact. A bruise is visible in the aura mater of the parietal area.'

The body of Varvara Yakovleva: 'On dissection of the skin of the head a bruise was found in the region of the right temple, and a second bruise in the occipital and parietal regions. The bones of the skull are intact. There is blood in the sutures. On removal of the cranium a bruise was found under the aura mater in the occipital region . On dissection of the skin a bruise [was foundl in the region of the sternum.

So, if the bodies were mistakenly switched, then it would have to have happened sometime when the bodies were being transported. The bodies must have undergone further corruption to render them indistinguishable.

The best way to clear up all these doubts is to obtain a new DNA sample from the body that rests in the tomb that is identified as that of Saint Elizabeth the New Martyr in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem.

Considering that approval was given for a sample from Alexander III, a sample from Jerusalem should be only a matter of time.

What an embarrassment it would be for the Russian Orthodox Church, if it turns out that it's not Saint Elizabeth. 

This message and photos are from Penny Wilson, who asked me to post them...

Someone asked if there was a photo of Barbara Yakovleva's recovered body.  I have a full set of these photos, but the only ones that never seem to get "air time" anywhere are the ones of Barbara and Feodor Remez.  So here they are... even though they aren't of terribly good quality.  I think at least they complete the "set," and Barbara's DOES show in contrast to Ella's:

Is it possible to repost the photo of Barbara's recovered body? I have never seen it before and would like to see how it compares to the one of Ella's.


1) "And our Ella's body was not decayed, only dried up".
2) Nun Varvara's coffin is the same as Ella's "...only smaller. For you remember she was a tiny person".

I think her body was pretty corrupt if by all reports it had to be identified by the icon on her neck.. They did not say anything about the size or anything else for identification, they only mentioned that they identified her by that icon... Which leads me to believe it was pretty hard to tell which one was which. When contaminationhappens, the results are non-conclusive, and you can definitely tell that it's contamination, it just looks very odd, vs getting a specific DNA sequence. In this case they got a specific result - of someone else's DNA... I am like 99% sure that they had the bodies mixed up and the finger is actually Varvara's, but again, short of comparing the DNA from the finger to a known relative of Varvara, there is no way to prove that. I just hope they had the bodies sorted out in Jerusalem, so that we don't come upon the same issue again!

Here is what Lubov Millar wrote about the opening of the coffins in 1981 in preparation for the glorification:

"The remains of the two Martyrs were partially incorrupt. Saint Elizabeth's legs and feet were intact, and so was her brain within the skull. The head of Saint Barbara was well preserved. Both were clad in black monastic habit, and Saint Elizabeth's face was covered by a veil. A large cross-paraman-was on her chest. Her hand held a prayer rope, and a simple metal cross was around her neck. A few metal icons were also in the coffin."

I am hesitant to believe that the bodies were switched. I would presume that since the bodies were partially incorrupt they must have been identifiable, especially since as it states that St. Barbara's head was well preserved.

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna / Re: Books on Grand Duchess Elizabeth
« on: October 25, 2015, 07:39:11 PM »
I am a year behind in learning about this but Christopher Warwick's Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr has been published in paperback under a revised title, The Life and Death of Ella Grand Duchess of Russia: A Romanov Tragedy.

Examination of Romanov's remnants is expected to be accomplished in February

*** First results are expected in a few days

Moscow, October 16, Interfax - Russian government expect that all research works on royal remnants and restoration of their tombs will be accomplished early in February 2016, a source in the Cabinet of Ministries said.

"Early in February we expect to accomplish the analysis, all procedures, preparation for the report of the working group and even restoration of the original look of Alexander III sarcophagus," he told the journalists on Friday.

The first results of the expertise can be issued in a few days, he said.

"Investigation successfully develops and we hope that the first results will come out in the coming days," the source said.

He also said that all archive documents on the murder of the royal family and further events were opened for the investigation.

"No dark spots are left. Full information on the murder and the following events was investigated without exception, neither historians nor the Orthodox Church have any questions," he said.


I don't have any proof, but my theory is that they mixed up the bodies of Ella and Varvara...

At first, I thought that may be a possibility, but then I consulted my copy of Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia: New Martyr of the Communist Yoke, 6th Edition by Lubov Millar.

Victoria's letter of January 27, 1921 to her brother Ernie is published in the book and says the following:

1) "And our Ella's body was not decayed, only dried up".
2) Nun Varvara's coffin is the same as Ella's "...only smaller. For you remember she was a tiny person".

Considering that the coffins were of different sizes and Ella's body was to some degree incorrupt and therefore identifiable, I find it difficult to believe that the bodies were switched.

In light of Inok Nikolai's post, I'm now inclined to believe the finger is actually that of Ella's but experienced contamination.


For our part, we have known the Grabbes for decades. Fr. George Grabbe, subsequently Bishop Gregory, was the Chancellor / Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad for many, many years.
His son, Archimandrite Anthony, subsequently Bishop Anthony (the one in question here), was Head of the ROCA's Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem for many years and responsible for the convent where St. Elizabeth's remains were kept.
He personally opened the coffins of her and Sister Barbara at the time of their glorification, when their relics were transferred from the crypt to the main church. It was he who removed the finger, and other relics, and brought them to NYC.
So the "chain of custody" is pretty straightforward in this case. We ourselves saw her finger in his care in NY not long before he died.

It's also important to remember that long before DNA studies were even heard of, people had no idea that they were somehow 'contaminating' a specimen, or compromising it for a future, still uninvented scientific process.

That is one reason why the Otsu kerchief did not yield any useful results -- too much handling by too many people in the course of many years.

Thank you for your post. This clears up some uncertainties I had.

Remains of Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna may be included in royal family inquiry - Russian Investigative Committee

Moscow, September 28, Interfax - The Russian Investigative Committee does not rule out that samples of the remains of Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna may be delivered from Israel to Moscow for a new examination within the royal family inquiry but a final decision has yet to be made.

"We are holding negotiations with the Russian Orthodox Church. This is a very complicated matter: international relations and the delivery from a foreign country. A final decision has yet to be made," senior investigator of the Russian Investigative Committee main criminal investigation department Vladimir Solovyov told Interfax.

Future Great Duchess Elizabeth, the one of British Queen Victoria's favorite granddaughters, was born in Germany and spent her early years in England. She was a sister of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and a daughter of Grand Duke of Giessen Darmstadt. She was brought up in Christian spirit and compassion.

She was a Protestant, but during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land she adopted Orthodoxy and after her husband Moscow general-governor Sergey Alexandrovich Romanov had been killed by the terrorist, she founded famous Sts Martha and Mary Convent in 1909 where nuns combined prayer with active social ministry, helping the sick and wounded, especially during World War I. People called Grand Duchess Elizabeth the White Angel of Russia.

She refused to leave Russia during revolutionary days and was arrested in spring of 1918 and martyred in a duffer Novay Selimskaya not far from Alapayevsk, the Yekaterinburg Region. Elizaveta Feodorovna was canonized as saint by the Russian Orthodox Church.


I do hope that samples are obtained. This would resolve the confusion caused by the Stanford testing in 2004 of a finger allegedly belonging to Ella that didn't match the DNA of Alexandra.

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