St. Tsar Martyr Nicholas II of Russia And His Family, his wife Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Grand Duke Tsarevich Alexei
Commemorated on July 17
Saints Grand Duchess Elizabeth, Nun-Martyr Barbara and the other New Martyrs of Alapayevsk
Commemorated on July 18
Christ found thee a lily among thorns and chose thee to adorn His garden of Holy Orthodoxy, O venerable one: for he Who alone knoweth the hearts of men perceived from on high thy great love for thy neighbor, and bestowed upon thee a wealth of spiritual gifts, that we might come to understand the mystery of God’s great mercy, enabling us to take part with thee therein and to join chorus with thee in chanting unto Him: Alleluia!
Holy Martyr Grand Princess Elizaveta of Russia used to say, “These days it is hard to find truthfulness on earth engulfed by waves of sinfulness more and more; in order not to be disappointed in life we have to seek truth in heaven where it went leaving us here.“
God granted her the ability of spiritual wisdom and prophecy. Father Mitrophan Serebrianskii told that, not long before the revolution, he had had a vivid and obviously prophetic dream, but he did not know how to interpret it. There were four scenes unfolding before him one after another and they were colored. The first: there is a beautiful church which all of a sudden large flames appear around it and engulf it in a huge fire. It was an imposing and frightful spectacle. The second: a picture of the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna in a black frame; suddenly there are shoots growing out of the edges of the frame. The buds of the shoots open and white lilies came out of them growing bigger and finally covering the image of the empress. The third: Archangel Michael is holding a fiery sword in his hand. The fourth: Holy Seraphim of Sarov is on his knees with his hands lifted up in prayer.
The dream made Father Mitrophan anxious, and he told it to the Grand Duchess in the morning before the Liturgy started. Elizaveta Fyodorovna said that the dream was clear to her. The first scene meant that soon there would be a revolution in Russia, and that The Russian Church would be persecuted as punishment for our sins and disbelief, that the lack of faith would bring our country to the edge of the abyss. The second one meant that Elizaveta Fyodorovna’s sister and the entire Royal Family would die a death of martyrs. The third scene showed that even after all that, Russia would face great calamities. The fourth one meant that through the prayers of St. Seraphim, other saints of Russia and through the protection of the Holy Mother of God our people and country would be granted forgiveness.
In April 1918, on the third day after Easter, (which was the day of veneration of the Iverskaya icon of the Mother of God), Elizaveta Fyodorovna was arrested…
One of the nuns of the monastery wrote in her memoirs: “…So she was taken away. The nuns were running behind the car for as long as they could. Some just fell on the road… She was taken to Ekaterinburg with some convoying person and sister Varvara. So they did not part… Then she sent letters to Father and each one of us. A hundred and five messages (There were 105 nuns at the monastery by the year 1918) were enclosed, each according to our individual character. There were quotations from the Gospel and the Holy Bible and her own words too. She knew all her nuns, all her children …”
Elizaveta Fyodorovna and the nuns accompanying her were taken to Perm by train. On her way to exile she wrote a letter to the nuns of her monastery. Below are quotes from it:
Bless the Lord and may the Holy Christ’s Resurrection console and strengthen you… May St. Sergei, prelate Dmitrii and St. Evphrosinia Polotzkaya preserve us all… I keep recalling the past day, all of your faces so dear to me. O, Lord, how much suffering there was on those faces, how my heart ached! You are dearer to me with every passing minute. How shall I leave you, how can I comfort and strengthen you? Remember, my dearest ones, what I had told you. Be always not only my children, but also good learners. Unite and be like one soul — everything for God’s sake. Repeat after John Chrysostom, “Thank God for everything!” Senior nuns, unite your sisters. Ask Patriarch Tikhon to take you under his protection. Accommodate him in my middle room. My cell should be converted into a confession room, the larger one — into a reception hall. For God’s sake, do not grow despondent. The Mother of God knows why Her Holy Son has sent us this trial on the day of Her veneration… Only do not despair and do not give up your good intentions, and then the Lord, Who separated us temporarily, will strengthen your spirit. Pray for me a sinner, so that I can return to you my dear children and improve myself for your sake, so that we could think of how to prepare ourselves for the eternal life.
Do you remember how I was afraid that you found perseverance for life relying too much on my support and I said, “You should turn to God more ardently. The Lord says, “My Son, give Me your heart and let your eyes follow My ways.” You can be sure that everything is given to God, if you give Him your heart, that is yourself.
Now we go through the same things with you and it is only with Him that we involuntarily find consolation in bearing our common cross of separation. The Lord deemed it was time for us to bear His cross. Let us try to be worthy of this joy. I thought that we would be too weak and small to carry a big cross. “The Lord giveth, and He taketh …” Everything happened according to His will. Let the Lord’s name be glorified forever.
What a wonderful example to follow we have when we think of St. Job who was so humble and patient in his sorrows. Then the Lord granted him joy for that. So many examples of such sorrows that the Holy Fathers had to undergo in their monastic life, but afterwards there was joy. Prepare yourselves for the joy of reunion. Let us be patient and humble. Let us not complain, but thank God for everything.
Ever praying for you and loving you, your mother in Christ.
An excerpt from the book “Holy Martyr of Russia, Grand Princess Elizaveta Fyodorovna” written by Liubov Miller in Australia. Translated from Russian by Irina Nabatova-Barrett
The intercessory prayers of the New Martyrs.
This vision was seen by the sailor Silaev of the cruiser “Almaz.” It is related in Archimandrite Panteleimon’s book, The Life, Podvigs, Miracles and Prophesies of Our Holy Righteous Father John, the Wonderworker of Kronstadt.
“On the night after receiving Holy Communion, I had a terrifying dream. I was walking out into a huge clearing, which had neither end nor boundary; from above, a light brighter than the sun poured down, which I was unable to look upon. But this light did not reach the earth and was as if enshrouded in something that was neither mist nor smoke. Suddenly singing rang out in the heavens, so harmonious, so full of compunction: ‘Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!’ It was repeated several times, and now the whole clearing was filled with people dressed in some kind of special garb. In front of everyone was our Tsar-Martyr in royal purple and a crown, holding a cup filled to the brim with blood. Beside him on the right was a handsome youth — the Tsarevich — in a dress uniform, also with a cup of blood in his hands. Behind them, on their knees, was the whole martyred Royal Family in white garments, and each of them held a cup of blood in their hands. In front of the Emperor and the Heir, on his knees, with his hands lifted up to the heavenly light and praying fervently, was Fr. John of Kronstadt. He was appealing to the Lord God as to a living Being — as if he saw Him — for Russia, which was wallowing in uncleanness. This prayer threw me into a sweat, ‘O All-holy Master, look upon this innocent blood, hear the groaning of Thy faithful children, who have not lost Thy talent; and by Thy great mercy distribute it now to Thy fallen chosen nation! Do not deprive them of Thy sacred chosenness; raise up in them the knowledge of salvation, stolen from them by the wise of this age because of their simplicity. May they be lifted up from the depth of their fall and soar on spiritual wings to heaven, and glorify Thy most holy Name in all the inhabited earth. The faithful martyrs implore Thee, offering their blood as a sacrifice to Thee. Receive it for the cleansing of the voluntary and involuntary transgressions of Thy people; forgive and have mercy on them.’
After this the Tsar lifted up his cup of blood and said, ‘O Master, King of kings and Lord of lords! Receive my blood and that of my family for the purification of all the voluntary and involuntary sins of my people, entrusted to me by Thee, and lead them up from the depth of their present fall. Thy justice is for all, but boundless is the mercy of Thy compassion. Forgive and graciously have mercy on all, and save Russia.’
Behind him, holding up his cup, the pure young Tsarevich with his child’s voice began to speak, ‘O God, look down upon Thy people who are perishing and extend to them the hand of deliverance. O All-merciful God, accept also my pure blood for the salvation of blameless children, who are being corrupted and destroyed, and accept my tears for them.’ And the boy began to sob, spilling his blood from the cup onto the earth. Suddenly the entire multitude of people, dropping to their knees and raising their cups heavenward, with one voice began to pray, ‘O God, righteous Judge, but good, merciful Father; receive our blood as an ablution for all the defilement that is being committed in our land, both rationally and irrationally, for how can a rational man do that which is irrational! And by the prayers of Thy saints who have shone forth in our land by Thy mercy, restore to Thy chosen people, who have fallen into the nets of Satan, the knowledge of salvation, that they might tear these destructive nets to pieces. Do not turn away from them to the end, and do not deprive them of Thy great chosenness; and may they rise from the depth of their fall and glorify Thy magnificent Name throughout all the inhabited earth and faithfully serve Thee unto the end of the ages.’
And again in the heavens, more touchingly than before, there resounded the hymn, ‘Holy God.’ I felt chills going up and down my spine, but I could not wake up. And finally I heard, sweeping across the heavens, the solemn hymn, ‘Gloriously hath He been glorified,’ continuously rolling from one end of heaven to the other. The clearing emptied in an instant, and it was as if it had become a completely different place. I saw a multitude of churches, and such a beautiful ringing of bells spread forth that my soul was filled with joy. Fr. John of Kronstadt came up to me and said, ‘God’s sun has risen over Russia once again. See how it dances and rejoices! Now there is a great Pascha in Russia; Christ has risen there. Now all the Powers of heaven rejoice, and you, after your repentance, have labored from the ninth hour and will receive your reward from God.’ “
Glory… Both Now…
O Mother of God, unwedded and most pure, who without seed gavest birth to the Master of all, do thou together with the Holy Elizabeth and Barbara beseech Him to deliver me from all perplexity, and to give my soul sweetness and light, and purification from offenses; for thou alone art a quick defender.
Holy Saints Elizabeth and Barbara, Pray to God for us!
When thou camest to the Russian land, O Elizabeth, thy comely soul was inflamed with love for her peoples; from thy noble heart didst thou pour forth abundant charity for all. Do thou take us also into thy heart, O righteous mother.
Holy Saints Elizabeth and Barbara, Pray to God for us!
When thy earthly eyes beheld the beauty of the Holy Orthodox Faith, O Elizabeth, thy spiritual eyes were opened to the beauty of Him Whom thou desired. Of thine own free will didst thou embrace Christ, who was thy heart’s true love.
In the midst of worldliness, thy mournful heart dwelt in heaven; in barbaric godlessness, thy valiant soul was not troubled. Thou didst long to meet thy Bridegroom as a confessor, and He found thee worthy of thy martyric purpose. O Elizabeth, with Barbara thy brave companion, pray to thy Bridegroom for us.
Grant my soul, humiliated by many temptations and beset by grievous infirmities, thy healing power, O righteous Elizabeth and Barbara; stretch forth thy hands through prayer, O thou who didst stretch forth thy hands to the sick. Thou didst not disdain any upon earth that beseeched thine assistance; do not disdain me in my unworthiness, but speedily grant me healing
Hiermos On Mount Sinai Moses saw thee in the bush unconsumed…
O most Holy Martyrs and brides of Christ, Elizabeth and Barbara, accept this our unworthy supplication. Pray for the peace of the world, and for all pious and Orthodox Christians. Beseech thy heavenly Bridegroom that our souls may be saved.
Having beheld a sight strange to all-the fall of an empire once dedicated to God, the desecration of all that is holy, and the public ridicule of the martyred Emperor Nicholas,-thou didst shed endless streams of tears for all the tribulations which had befallen thine adopted homeland. Yet trusting in God, and believing this to be His holy will, thou didst never cease to cry out to Him: Alleluia! (Akathist hymn to the Holy Martyred Nun Elizabeth & the other New Martyrs of Alapayevsk)
Holy Royal Martyr
Grand Duchess Elizabeth,
Pray Unto God For Us!
Holy New Martyr Barbara
And All New Martyrs Of Russia,
Pray Unto God For Us!