An Open Letter
Tell everyone that the evil that is in the world will grow even stronger, but that it is not evil that will triumph, but love’,
Tsar Nicholas II
After several years of delay caused by planning difficulties, news has reached us in this New Year that the foundation stone of the new Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris is to be laid in spring 2014. It is in this connection that we wish to make a plea to the External Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow and also hope that a petition might even be drawn up in support of this letter. This plea concerns the dedication of the future Cathedral with the seminary and spiritual and cultural complex attached to it.
Let us recall that the new Cathedral is to be built in the heart of Paris, the cultural capital of Western Europe, and not far from the most beautiful bridge in Paris which was constructed and named in honour of Tsar Alexander III. Let us recall that Paris is at the heart of the historic Russian emigration in Western Europe and if the complex is to be built with its seminary, there is every reason to think that it will become the centre of the future Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe (ROME), even if the remaining churches of the ‘Paris Jurisdiction’ do not wish to return to the Mother-Church and the Tradition of Holy Russia. Thus, such a new Metropolia will be based on the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, with churches in Cannes, Menton, Geneva, Lausanne, Brussels, London and in western Germany, as well as churches still dependent on the Church inside Russia, in Nice, Madrid, eastern Germany and elsewhere.
But who will this Cathedral be dedicated to? There are already dedications in Paris to such obvious saints as St Alexander Nevsky and St Sergius of Radonezh. Some may think of St Seraphim of Sarov, a better known saint internationally and preacher of repentance. But he too already has a church dedicated to him in Paris. Perhaps a side chapel in the new Cathedral could be dedicated to him. Others may think of the foremost saints of Paris, St Denis or St Genevieve of Paris, who in the 5th century corresponded with St Simeon the Stylite. However, these both lived long ago; although they are great saints, they are not contemporary – perhaps the chapel of the seminary could be dedicated to them.
It is our suggestion that the Cathedral is such an important project that it should be dedicated to more than one figure of Russian Orthodox holiness. Moreover, these figures should be not only locally venerated, but of international and universal significance and veneration. Finally, we suggest that the new Cathedral should be dedicated to saints who lived in recent times, most obviously figures from the greatest wave of persecution in history, which brought forth the New Martyrs and Confessors. It seems to us that the most obvious, indeed only obvious, figures are the Royal Martyrs. Only they meet all the above criteria. Tsar Nicholas, the son of Tsar Alexander III, already commemorated in Paris, was a highly international figure, speaking Russian, English, French, German and Danish, with a double education in both military affairs and law and Tsarina Alexandra was a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria and brought up in Hesse in Germany.
How appropriate that the Cathedral at the centre of the Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe might be crowned with a Cathedral dedicated to a family to whom Non-Orthodox Western Europe, allied with the Tsar’s Russia or not, showed only ‘treachery, cowardice and deceit’. And in the almost totally deChristianised Western Europe that resulted from treachery, cowardice and deceit, surely a family of seven who prayed together, stayed together and so became saints together, is the ideal example, a literal family icon, that we need today. Moreover, it is highly likely that by the time the new Cathedral is built, it will be the centenary of their heroic and sacrificial martyrdom of 1918. After all, it was their example that inspired their English tutor to join the Russian Orthodox Church and become Fr Nicholas Gibbes and their French tutor, Pierre Gilliard, to write of them:
‘The Tsar and the Tsarina thought that they were dying for Russia. In fact, they died for all mankind’.
To dedicate the new Cathedral to the Royal Martyrs would be a call to Western Europe to repent and renounce all the lies of the twentieth century and to turn back from the present fatal course which it has undertaken in the twenty-first century.