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Russian Church indignant over accusations of anti-Semitism — bishop

December 01, 0:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"The Church is a guarantor of inter-ethnic peace in Russia," a high-rank Church official said

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MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. Russian Orthodox Church is indignant over the accusations of anti-Semitism that have sprung up after the supposition about a ritualistic killing emerged among the versions of the murder of Czar Nicholas II and members of his family in the summer of 1918, a high-rank Church official said on Thursday.

"The Russian Orthodox Church is outraged by the accusations of anti-Semitism," said bishop Tikhon, the secretary of Moscow Patriarchate’s commission for scrutiny of the results of forensic studies of the Imperial Family members’ remains.

"We haven’t said anything of this kind [anti-Semitic] because the Church is a guarantor of inter-ethnic peace in Russia," he said. "We sum this [charges with anti-Semitism] up as a disgusting and treacherous provocation."

The Most Reverend Tikhon recalled that none of the Church representatives had ever mentioned "either ethnic identity or religious affiliation of murderers [of the Czarist family]."

"As for today, we discern a definitive ritualistic element in what the Bolsheviks did," he said. "Even after abdication the Czar remained a sacral figure and his murder was perceived from an emblematic and sacral point of view.

Although the Bolsheviks were atheists, the situation involved newly emerging Bolshevist rituals, the bishop said. "And isn’t Lenin’s tomb [on Red Square] part of a ritual?" he asked somewhat rhetorically.

Czar Nicholas II, Czarina Alexandra, Crown Prince Alexis, and the Grand Princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia were executed in Yekaterinburg in the Urals on the night from July 16 to July 17, 1918. Executed alongside with them were the family doctor Eugene Botkin, the Czarina’s room-maid Anna Demidova, court chef Ivan Kharitonov, and the Czar’s personal attendant Alexei [Aloiz] Trupp.

Investigator Nikolai Sokolov who worked for the White Guard anti-Bolshevik counterrevolutionaries and who investigated the murder of the Imperial Family from 1919 through 1922 drew a conclusion that all the bodies.

In 1979, a team of investigators found the site of a presumable burial of the remains of Nicholas II’s family in the vicinity of an old road leading to the township of Koptyaki but the official breakup the of the grave took place only in 1991. The investigators found the remains of nine people there and Russia’s Office of the Prosecutor General instituted a case in 1993 over the death of the Czarist Family.

After several major genetic studies done in the UK, the U.S., and Russia, a specialized State Commission said the fragments found were those of the bodies of Nicholas’s family members with a big degree of probability. But the remains of Crown Prince Alexis and Grand Princess Anastasia were not identified among the initially found fragments.

Entombment of the relics of Czar Nicholas, Czarina Alexandra, and Grand Princess Olga, Tatiana, and Anastasia was held in the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg in 1998. The organizers of the action took account of the historical tradition and buried Nicholas II separately from other Russian Emperors, as he had abdicated the throne of his own free will.

The Russian Orthodox Church, however, voiced strong enough doubts over the identity of the remains found near Yekaterinburg and refused to take part the burial ceremony.

The Church canonized Nicholas II and all members of his family in 2000 when it undertook a sweeping canonization action, which embraced hundreds of clerics and the lay who had to go through ordeals and repressions in the first half of the 20th century because of their commitment to faith and commandments of Christianity.

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