Martyred Romanovs ?

I read somewhere that Tsar Nicholas II and his family, murdered by the Bolsheviks, have been made martyrs by the Russian orthodox church. I know little about orthodox. Did I understand that correctly? Is a martyr the same as a saint? How does it differ if so ?

I get very emotional about the late Tsar and his family. :o

The Russian Orthodox Church has canonized the Tsar and
his family but, as I understand it, not exactly as martyrs
but as “passion-bearers” like Sts. Boris and Gleb (sons
of St. Vladimir the Great). This is not a category known to
the Western Church. It basically refers to people who refuse
to defend their lives by the use of force, although their lives
are not being taken because of their faith, but for some other
reason. Boris and Gleb were murdered at the instance of
one of their half-brothers for political reasons and refused to
allow their servants to defend them. The Romanovs were not
murdered by the Communists specifically because they were Christians, but because they were a potential threat to the


Bingo! You beat me to it. When I heard that the Imperial family had been canonized, I originally scoffed. But I did some reading on the subject and came to admire them greatly for their fortitude and patience.

The Tsarina’s diary entry for the last day of their imprisonment records that the family had been reading from Scripture: How the mighty are brought low!

Many Orthodox Christians are pushing for their Canonization, as they are seen as being symbols of the Orthodox Church. This is mainly because I believe Tsar Nicholas II was the Ecumenical Emperor, who had the power to call a Council. I may be wrong, however I don’t know for sure. I believe that both the Russian Orthodox Church and Orthodox Church in America are pushing (or hoping) for this Canonization. I don’t think that it would concern Eastern Catholics, however because the Romanovs were not Catholics.

It’s a done deal.

It is? The OCA website must be out of date.

Canonization of the Romanovs

Probably, though I cannot imagine why that would be the case, it’s an easy fix.

Perhaps there is still some issue over whether they are martyrs or passion bearers.

Its not the mainstream RO church that has canonized the Romanovs, its the ROCOR/ROCA offshoot that has (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia/Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.)

ROCOR canonized them (I think as martyrs) in 1981, the Moscow Patriarchate canonized them as Passion Bearers much more recently, less than ten years ago.

Now they are both components of one church.


thanks for the explanation. i was confused too when i saw the canonization article. i have always been fascinated by the romanovs.

Thanks for that info, I didn’t know the Moscow Patriarchate also canonized them!

I actually have an ikon of the Romanovs, which was given to me by a RO friend (its made by the ROCOR monastery in Jordanville, NY).

I wanted one because I feel grateful to the Romanovs for making life in Russia unbearable for my father’s family, which forced them to leave in 1903 and come to America, thereby saving them from Hitler.

Besides which, although I realize the Tsar did a lot that was wrong in Russia, there was no reason for his innocent children to be murdered the way they were.

Yes I was under the impression that ROCOR and the Russian Orthodox Church were the same church under the same Patriarch.

I think the economic and political system in old Russia was deplorable. Apparently the last Czars were much more enlightened, but could only move the old beast so fast…

The suffering under prejudice was reprehensible, wherever it happened and to whomever it happened. Especially of the Jews, there is no excuse for it.

God does have his ways though, and they are not our ways. I can’t say anything more, people make this world what it is through freedom of will.

I am Polish, and Jews did not fare well there either, I am sorry.

I suppose my ancestors had no love for Russians, nor Ukrainians if they were what I think of as typical Poles in times past, but I cannot do anything about that. I have joined a church that could represent to them something quite dreadful, being the church of Russians and Ukrainians! I am hoping that from their newfound perspective in the afterlife, they will understand.


It sounds crazy to many Jews until I explain my sentiment, but I truly am very thankful for the Tsar and the situation the monarchist government created for Jews there at that time.

My grandfather used to complain about it, but I often pointed out to him that if the Tsar’s policies had not driven many Jews out of Russia, they would have died in Hitler’s concentration camps!

God works in mysterious ways, I always said. :slight_smile:

Ok new question. Eastern Catholics would you consider them saints?

Yup, sounds more than pretty crazy.

Had Nicholas been any use whatsoever, European history would have been different and we’d have had neither Stalin nor Hitler.

Eastern Catholics wouldn’t consider them as saints since they are not Catholics. Greek Orthodox don’t see them as saints as well, AFAIK.

It seems to me that if the French republic had not been salivating for war, if the american republic had not stuck its nose in european affairs - which George washington strongly cautioned them never to do - If the British republic had not been so jealous and paranoid of Germany , if Nicholas had not sided with the republics , then maybe there would have been no stalin or Hitler ?

Granted, I never met the man, but so far anyone I have consulted who did know him , all say uniformly that Nicholas was an ernestly well-meaning, deeply religious, man of spotless character. - or as close to spotless as humans ever get.

Would a ruthless, fanatic, unprincipled brute have been better? :confused:

Why not. The Orthodox Church is one Church, would not the saints from one be transferred to others? If the Russian Orthodox Church and the OCA accept them, why would not all the churches?


You must remember as stupid as it sounded Great Britain had previously signed a treaty insuring the neutrality of Belgium. They thus used this as a catalyst to help their ally France.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit