Return to Home Page

The Remains Of The Royal Martyrs,
Tsarevich Alexei And Tsarevna Maria, May Have Been Found.

Ninety years after the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, archaeologists have found human remains in a burned area of the ground near Ekaterinburg. This is the city where Tsar Nicholas II, the Tsarina Alexandra and their five children were held prisoner and murdered in 1918.

The remains belong to a boy and a young woman, roughly the ages of the Tsarevich Alexei and a daughter, Maria, whose remains have also never been found. An anthropologist has determined that the remains belong to two young people - a male apparently aged 10-13 and a young woman aged 18-23. (The Tsarevich was aged 13 at the time and the Grand Duchess was 19). Along with the remains of the two bodies, archaeologists found shards of a ceramic container of sulphuric acid, nails, metal strips from a wooden box and various bullets. They found the remains in a week-long search, using metal detectors and metal rods as probes, not by digging.

It is now nine years since human remains, presumed by some to be those of the martyred Tsar Nicholas, the Tsarina and three of their daughters, were reburied in St Petersburg, a reburial made possible only by the collapse of atheistic Communism. However, that event was overshadowed by doubts about authenticity. Nevertheless, the location of the present remains seems to correspond to a site described by Yakov Yurovsky, the leader of the Imperial Family’s murderers.

We know that Communist guards shot Tsar Nicholas, his wife, Tsarina Alexandra, their five children and four attendants in a small basement room in a nobleman’s house in Ekaterinburg. The bodies were loaded onto a truck and disposed of first in a mine shaft. A 1934 report, based on Yurovsky’s words, indicated that the bodies of nine victims were then doused with sulphuric acid and buried along a road, while those of Alexei and a sister were burned and left in a pit nearby. The Bolsheviks who murdered them, then mutilated and hid the bodies, because they did not want the remains of the family - especially those of the heir Alexei - to be venerated or to trigger opposition to their regime.

Edward Radzinsky, the author of a book about Nicholas II, has commented that if the remains are confirmed to be those of Tsarevich Alexei and his sister, this would prove the authenticity of the earlier find, providing documentary affirmation of Yurovsky’s notes. On the one hand, given the controversy over the remains presumed by some to be those of the Tsar and other members of the Imperial Family, these new findings should be treated very cautiously. On the other hand, if these remains are authentic and the other remains which were so respectfully reinterred in St Petersburg almost ten years ago, are also authentic, then the consequences are considerable. The relics would have to be enshrined in some great and historic ceremony of repentance and devotion, led by the Church and involving the State.

Fr Andrew

12/25 August 2007


  to top of page