Orthodox believers defy government to honor royal saints


Credo.Press, 17 July 2021


Several thousand pilgrims made their way in the night of 17 July for a procession of the cross in memory of the death of the Holy Tsar Nicholas II, scheduled for the 103rd anniversary of the shooting of the royal family. The procession, which was forbidden by the authorities because of the coronavirus pandemic, began after the liturgy conducted by hierarchs of the RPTsMP in the Church-on-the-Blood. Members of the tsar’s family and their servants were shot be the Bolsheviks in the home of the engineer Ipatiev in Ekaterinburg in the night of 17-18 July 1918. Now the Church-on-the-Blood has been erected on this spot, Kommersant recalls.


According to various estimates, from 2 to 4 thousand persons participated in the procession of the cross. The pilgrims walked the traditional route from the Church-on-the-Blood to Ganina Yama. At the start of the unsanctioned procession, volunteers from the “Double-Headed Eagle” movement of Konstantin Malofeev carried an icon with a representation of Nicholas II. Volunteers directing the movement of pilgrims to Ganina Yama asked the people not to walk in the roadway, but many still walked out onto the road.


Despite the fact that the procession of the cross was officially prohibited and there is a ban on conducting mass events in the region with more than 500 participants, traffic police officers accompanied the pilgrims and law enforcement agencies did not make any effort to break up the “unsanctioned action,” as they do, for example, with respect to supporters of Aleksei Navalny. At several regulated pedestrian crosswalks, a green light shone for several minutes while the participants in the forbidden march crossed the road. At several points on the way the police permitted the participants to walk on the roadway.


The participants themselves and the diocese of the RPTsMP are avoiding the wording “procession of the cross.” As the diocese reported, “at the behest of the heart, many believers, after communion with the holy sacrament of Christ, made their way to the cloister dedicated to the Holy Tsarist Passion-bearers along the route by which, 103 years ago, the bodies of the slain members of the most august family and their faithful servants were taken.”


Last year, in violation of all sanitation rules, around 10,000 persons came out for the “Tsar’s procession of the cross,” after which, according to Governor Evgeny Kuibashev, an increase in coronavirus infections was observed. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 July 2021)

Background article:
Direct clash between metropolitan and governor in Ekaterinburg over tsarist pilgrimage
July 10, 2021

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