September 11, 2015
The Russian government recently offered to bury the alleged remains of Sts. Alexei and Maria Romanov, the Crown Prince and Grand Duchess of the last royal family of Russia. The remains are currently housed at the Russian State Archives, but could be buried on October 18 in Catherine’s aisle of the Peter and Paul Cathedral at the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, reports Interfax. Members of the Romanov family have been invited to the ceremony.
In July 1991 a grave with nine bodies was found near Ekaterinburg, with the remains being identified as the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and the Tsaritsa Alexandra, along with their children, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, and Anastasia, and their servants Evgeny Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexey Trupp, and Ivan Kharitonov. Two more remains were discovered in a grave seventy kilometers south on July 26, 2007 which many analysts believe to be the remains of Sts. Alexei and Maria.
The Russian Orthodox Church has not recognized the remains in the Peter and Paul Cathedral as those of Tsar Nicholas and his family, nor has it accepted the identification of the newer remains with Sts. Alexei and Maria.
The Russian Investigative Committee, the Forensic Medical Center of the Russian Health Ministry, and the Vavilov Genetics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences are prepared to offer additional research at the request of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church has remained cautious about the identification of the remains, as the true remains of Tsar Nicholas and his family would constitute holy relics to be venerated, as the entire family has been canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.