ST.PETERSBURG, November 3 /TASS/. Russian experts started examining the tomb of Russian Emperor Alexander III in the Peter and Paul Cathedral located in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, Vladimir Solovyov, senior forensic investigator of the main criminal investigation department of the Russian Investigation Committee, told journalists.
"We have started examining the emperor’s grave," Solovyov told journalists adding it was too early to name the exact date of exhumation of the remains of Alexander III, the father of last Russian Emperor Nicholas II.
Bishop of Kronstadt Nazariy, the vicar of the Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra, had served a litiya before the works began.
In autumn 2015, investigators resumed a probe into the death of Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family who were executed in July 1918 as part of criminal proceedings initiated in 1993 when a common grave was found in the outskirts of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s Urals region.
The remains of Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna were exhumed late in September 2015. Forensic experts also took blood samples from the clothes of Emperor Alexander II.
In October this year, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill asked the Russian government for permission to carry out a comparative genetic analysis of the remains of Nicholas II and his father Emperor Alexander III. According to the Russian Orthodox Church, positive results of that examination will give clear evidence to the authenticity of the remains of Nicholas II and his family.
A working group set up to deal with this matter will soon publish the results of the genetic study of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, including a skull fragment examined as part of additional forensic study, and his wife Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna.
The last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family were shot dead in Yekaterinburg in the summer of 1918. The remains of almost the entire family except for the emperor’s two youngest children - Crown Prince Alexey and Princess Maria - were found in July 1991 and were buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg in the summer of 1998.
In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church canonized Nicholas II and his family as martyrs who took a sacrificial death. The bone fragments of Tsesarevich (crown prince) Alexey and Princess Maria were found in 2007 and have been kept at Russia’s State Archives since then. The authorities are planning to bury them in the Peter and Paul Cathedral.