In my article of 9 July on the authenticity of the remains disinterred near Ekaterinburg in 1991 and 2007 and said to belong to the Russian Royal Family and their servants, I suggested that a great Cathedral be built on the site of the martyrdom of the seven members of the Imperial Family and their four faithful servants. I have been asked how I see this. Not in any way responsible for this and with no influence with the powers that be, I can only make humble suggestions, like anyone of the 164 million strong flock of the Russian Orthodox Church. Here they are:
Firstly, all four of the Imperial servants, the cook Ivan Kharitonov, the footman Alexei Trupp, the shy parlour-maid Anna Demidova, as well as the distinguished and learned Dr Evgeny Botkin, must be canonized by the whole Russian Orthodox Church, and not just the New Martyr Evgeny. Although canonized long ago by the Church Outside Russia in 1981, three of them still await canonization by the whole Church. Of them Alexei Trupp, a Roman Catholic, was considered by the Synod of Bishops of the Church Outside Russia, as explained to me by the late Archbishop Antony of Los Angeles, to have been baptised in his own blood (as so many of the early martyrs of the Church and those of the Old Testament). All four were faithful to the end to the Imperial Family, preferring to be martyred together with them than to run away. It seems strange to canonize one and not the three others.
Secondly, special geological and engineering surveys would have to be carried out before any building could begin. The area is marshy and mining has been carried out. Piles would have to be driven and other preparations made in order to avoid possible subsidence.
Thirdly, the Ekaterinburg area would have to be renamed and all other traces of Soviet-period commemoration of the monsters who carried out the martyrdom removed, through renaming and removal of statues.
Fourthly, in collaboration between Church and State, the State and local authorities would have to provide appropriate infrastructure, in particular roads to the site.
Given this, we can imagine a Cathedral with a central cupola for the Saviour, seven others around it for each of the five women and two males of the Imperial Family, and then a further ring of four cupolas symbolizing the faithful servants. That for Alexei Trupp would represent that part of the Western world which in penitence also bows before the feat of martyrdom of the Imperial Family. That for Anna Demidova would represent faithful womankind. That for Ivan Kharitonov would represent the faithfulness of those who labour with their hands. That for Evgeny Botkin would represent the faithfulness of those who labour with their minds. This Cathedral would be built on the contributions of the Orthodox faithful from all over the world and of all nationalities. It would be a ‘Universal’ Cathedral (Вселенский Собор), welcoming the penitent and pilgrims from all over the world. And alongside the Cathedral would grow up a pilgrimage centre, a monastery and a convent.