The Piety of the last of the Romanov’s
This past Friday (July 4th/17th) the Royal Passion-bearers, Tsar Nicholas and family were commemorated. For a sermon I made use of a few excerpts from “The Life of the Royal Passion-bearers of Russia” compiled by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.* This contains a final instruction or “testament” of Tsar Alexander Alexandrovich which he gave to his son and heir, Nicholas, shortly before his repose. The prayer which Tsar Nicholas offered to God as he was crowned is also found in the aforementioned publication. It is these that I now wish to share with my readers.
So before the Lord took him, Tsar Alexander Alexandrovich bequeathed his son with the following instructions:
You shall have to take from my shoulders the heavy burden of national authority and bear it to the grave, as I and our ancestors have done. I give you the kingdom entrusted to me by God. I received it thirteen years ago from my bleeding father…. From the height of the throne of your grandfather carried out many important reforms, directed to the good of the Russian people. As a reward for this, he received a bomb and death from Russian revolutionaries…. On the tragic day the question stood before me: which path was I to follow? Was it the one toward which I was being urged by so-called progressive society, infected with the liberal ideas of the West, or was it the one recommended by my own convictions, by my highest, sacred duty as sovereign, by my own conscious? I chose my path. The liberals called it reactionary. I was interested only in the good of my people, and the greatness of Russia. I strove to give it internal and external peace, that the state might freely and calmly develop, becoming strong, rich and prosperous in an orderly way. Autocracy has created Russia’s historical individuality. If autocracy falls, God forbid, Russia will collapse with it. The fall of the time-honored Russian government will inaugurate as era of civil strife and bloody internecine wars. I adjure you to love everything that serves the good, the honor, and the dignity of Russia. Guard autocracy, remembering at the same time that you bear the responsibility for the fate of your subjects before the throne of the Most High. May faith in God and in the sanctity of your royal duty be the foundation of your life. Be firm and courageous, and never show any weakness. Listen to everyone—there is nothing shameful in that—but hearken only to yourself and to your own conscience. In foreign policy, preserve an independent position. Remember—Russia has no friends. They fear our vastness. Avoid war. In domestic policy, first and foremost protect the Church. She has often saved Russian in times of misfortune. Strengthen the family, for it is the foundation of any state. (The royal Passion-bearers, p.7)
And now the prayer of Tsar Nicholas at his crowning. Kneeling he prayed aloud:
Lord God of our fathers, and King of Kings, Who created all things by Thy word, and by Thy wisdom has made man, that he should walk uprightly and rule righteously over Thy world; Thou hast chosen me as Tsar and judge over Thy people. I acknowledge Thine unsearchable purpose towards me, and bow in thankfulness before Thy Majesty. Do Thou, my Lord and Governor, make me fit for the work to which Thou hast sent me; teach me and guide me in this great service. May there be with me wisdom that belongs to Thy throne; send it from Thy holy Heaven, that I may know what is well-pleasing in Thy sight, and what is right according to Thy commandments. May my heart be in Thy hand, to accomplish all that is to the profit of the people committed to my charge, and to Thy glory, so that in the day of Thy Judgment I may give Thee account of my stewardship without blame; through the grace and mercy of Thy Son, Who was once crucified for us, to Whom be all honor and glory with Thee and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, forever and ever. Amen. (ibid. p.9)
May God grant to us such Orthodox and God-fearing rulers through the prayers of our Lady Theotokos, the Royal Passion-bearers of Russia, and all His saints. Amen.
*This is contained in the booklet, “The Royal Passion-bearers of Russia, Their Life and Service”, published by St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. I high recommend this for anyone who has a veneration for the Royal Passion-bearers.