Royal Martyrs, Passion-bearer Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his Family
Commemorated on July 17
The meeting of the Tsar Nicholas II with the Blessed Pasha (Parasceva) the Fool-for-Christ
They arrived in Sarov on the seventeenth or eighteenth of July (I do not know exactly). The Grand Princes went immediately to Diveyevo to Blessed Prascovia Ivanovna. They brought her a silk scarf and bonnet, which they immediately put on her.
There were four daughters already in the Royal family at that time, but the boy Heir had not yet been born. They went to the Saint to pray for an heir. Prascovia Ivanovna had a custom of showing everything with dolls, and now she had prepared beforehand a little boy doll, made him a fluffy, tall bed out of scarves and laid him there: ”Quiet, Quiet, he’s sleeping.…” She asked that he be shown to them, saying, ”This is yours.” The Grand Princesses ecstatically picked up the blessed one and rocked her in their arms, while Blessed Prascovia only laughed.
Everything she said was repeated to the Tsar over the telephone, but the Tsar himself came to Sarov only on July 20. Eudocia Ivanovna told us that Prascovia Ivanovna’s cell attendant, Mother Seraphima, was preparing to go to Sarov for the uncovering, but she suddenly broke her leg. Prascovia Ivanovna healed her. It was announced to them that the Tsar would be received in the Abbatial building and they would give him a spiritual concert. He would seat his retinue to breakfast, and then go himself to Prascovia Ivanovna’s.
Mother Seraphima and Dunya returned from the reception, and Prascovia Ivanovna would not let them tidy anything. On the table was a frying pan with potatoes and a cold samovar. While they were arguing with her, they heard a voice at the door:
”Lord Jesus Christ our God have mercy on us.” It was the Tsar and Tsaritsa.
They were already there when the cell attendants spread out the carpet, cleaned the table, and brought a hot samovar. Everyone left so that they could be alone, but the Royal couple could not understand what the blessed one was saying, and soon Emperor came out and said:
”Would the oldest please come in.”
When they began to bid farewell, Archimandrite Seraphim Chichagov came in with the cell attendants.
Prascovia Ivanovna opened the cupboard. She took out a new tablecloth, spread it on the table and began to place some gifts on it: a piece of linen canvas she had made herself (she spun thread), a partial lump of sugar, colored eggs, and some more pieces of sugar. She tied all of this up tightly in several knots, even having to sit down from the exertion, then gave the bundle to the Tsar.
”Tsar, carry it yourself,” she said, then stretching out her hand said, ”and give us some money—we need to built a hut (the new cathedral).
The Emperor had no money with him, so he immediately sent for some. They brought it, and he gave her a purse full of gold. This purse was given to the Abbess right away.
They said good-bye and kissed each others’ hands. The Tsar and Tsaritsa promised to return soon to uncover the relics of Mother Alexandra, for she had appeared in the Court and worked a miracle there.
When the Tsar left, he said that Prascovia Ivanovna was the only true slave of God. Everywhere he was received like a Tsar, but she alone received him as a simple man.
They left her cell pale and shaken but resolute – they would accept with faith whatever God had prepared for them, esteeming the incorruptible crown of martyrdom higher than corruptible earthly crowns; electing to accept the cup of suffering offered to them by God Almighty, that by drinking of it they might offer themselves up as a sacrifice for their people…
There was no tsar in whose reign more saints were glorified (canonized) than than of Nicholas. His love of Orthodoxy and the Church’s holy ones knew no bounds; and he himself often pressured the Holy Synod to speedily accord fitting reverence to many of God’s saints. Among those glorified during his reign were: St. Theodosius of Chernigov (glorified in 1896), St. Isidore of Yuriev (1897), St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (1909), St. Anna of Kashin (1910), St. Joasaph of Belgorod (1911), St. Hermogenes of Moscow (1913), St. Pitirim of Tambov (1914), St. John (Maximovich) of Tobolsk (1916) and St. Paul of Tobolsk (1917).
In addition, one of the most revered of Russia’s saints, Seraphim of Sarov, was glorified by the Church during the reign of this pious Tsar in 1903, at his insistence. At this time, Nicholas was made aware of the future apostasy and downfall of the Russian nation and Church through a prophetic letter written by St. Seraphim himself. The saint had, shortly before his death in 1833, written this letter, sealed it with five wax seals and addressed it “to the Tsar in whose reign I shall be glorified”. He then gave it to Elena Motovilov, the young wife of N.I. Motovilov, who is now well-known for recording his conversation with the saint about the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. She kept that letter for seventy years and gave it to the Tsar at the glorification ceremony. While the exact contents are today unknown, it is nevertheless certain that St. Seraphim prepared Nicholas for the coming tribulations. Furthermore, on the return trip from Sarov, the Royal Family visited St. Seraphim’s Diveyevo Convent where Blessed Pasha (Parasceva) the Fool-for-Christ spoke to them several hours; it is said that she foretold to them their own martyrdom as well as that of Holy Russia. http://www.orthodox.net/russiannm/nicholas-ii-tsar-martyr-and-his-family.html
Troparion Royal Martyrs, Passion-bearer Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his Family— Tone 1
Most noble and sublime was your life and death, O Sovereigns; Wise Nicholas and blest Alexandra, we praise you, Acclaiming your piety, meekness, faith, and humility, Whereby you attained to crowns of glory in Christ our God, With your five renowned and godly children of blessed fame. O passion-bearers decked in purple, intercede for us.