Thursday, July 16, 2009
Remember the First Victims of the Bolshevik Revolution
The Royal PAssion-Bearers, The Right Victorious Nicholas, Emperor of All the Russias, The Empress, the Right Victorious Alexandra, and the Royal PRinces: Tsarevich Alexei, the Princesses Maria, Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia: Orate pro nobis!
From The Young Fogey:
Lovely people, but an incompetent emperor, not particularly bright, getting the country mired in an immoral war, World War I, owing to nationalism and misplaced loyalties, causing (as Rasputin predicted) his own downfall - and death. The war destroyed so much of Catholic Europe, east (in this case) and west (the soon-to-be beatified Emperor Charles of Austria-Hungary abdicated and his empire was carved up). Besides a basic monarchist inclination - a sacramentally crowned king is profoundly Catholic - what turned me in favour of the Russian royals was reading Robert Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra back in 1996. This American historian (writing about 40 years ago) with no bias either way (royalist or Communist) convinced me that personally they are saints. (As for politics, saints are fallible in their prudential judgement.) In a society littered with loveless dynastic marriages (like the late Diana in recent years) the tsar was a country gentleman who truly loved his wife.
This is something I'm asked often: If the Emperor Nicholas was such a saint, why was he an incompetent ruler? My answer: Who says saints have to be competent rulers? He did the best he could under the circumstances, but made some mistaken judgments. saints are fallible, after all. What makes a saint a saint is humility, and a thorough recognition of his own weakness and his need for God.
A film produced recently in Russia brings this out very well. Here's a clip:
Warning: The scene where they are murdered in the end is quite graphic, and the Tsarevich Alexei covering his eyes is heart-wrenching. You have been warned!