For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious

Monday, 16 July 2018

The House of Special Purpose

On account of the date, I was reading tonight about the last days of the Romanovs, and came across a few odd coincidences.

The last imprisonment of the family as Ekaterinburg was at Ipatiev House, designated "The House of Special Purpose" by the Soviets. Ipatiev (the Wonderworker) - Saint Hypatios in English - was a Bishop of Gangra in Galatia, in the north of Asia Minor, martyred in 326 on his way home from the First Council of Nicaea where he had sided with Athanasius against the Arian heresy.

The Romanov dynastic rule began at the monastery of Ipatiev (by Kostroma, close to the Volga) in the seventeenth century when Mikhail, staying there at the time, was chosen as the Tsar by the Russian parliament, the Zemsky Sobor. Mikhail was a nephew of the last Rurik Tsar, Feodor I, a dynasty that had founded Rus in the ninth century; therefore Tsar Nicholas had been heir to 1000 years of royal rule.

The brutal murder of the Romanovs, 405 years after the election of Mikhail at Ipatiev monastery, was in the basement of Ipatiev House. I wonder if anyone has written anything of these curious coincidences; are there any Russian poems or works that draw out the poignancy of this juxtaposition?

And another couple of questions: why doesn't the Orthodox church in Russia recognise the authenticity of the last two Romanov bodies? Is it just a matter of time before further tests are completed, or are there other complicating factors? And is there the remotest interest in Russia or outside it among emigres in re-establishing a Romanov dynasty?

1 comment:

  1. Dr Graham, I don't know enough myself to comment but it wouldn't surprise me if Lenin, who was himself a kind of religious nut (Bertrand Russell, who met him in person, said so), saw the significance. Perhaps there was a demonic undertow, and that the place was chosen as a swipe at the pure doctrine of the Church? Unfortunately, there is as yet nothing sympathetic (to my knowledge) in the English language. However, that will change in 2019. There is to be a translation of a recently-published Greek book on the Romanovs by the Monastery of St. John the Forerunner in Mesa Potamos, Cyprus, published by St Vladimir's Press.


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