August 9, 2013
Moscow, August 9, Interfax – The head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has said that the Russian Orthodox Church still has doubts regarding secular experts’ conclusions that the human remains found near the city of Yekaterinburg belonged to the Russian Imperial Family members.
“In my opinion, a very wide range of competent experts, not necessarily just Orthodox experts, should be allowed to study the discovered remains,” Father Vsevolod said.
It is important both to compare the DNA of some individual fragment with the DNA of the remains of other Imperial Family members, assess the wholeness of the skeletons, establish whether or not all of the found human remains have the same DNA and confirm the presence of former injuries, for example the injury that was sustained by Tsar Nicholas II during his trip to Japan when he was the heir to the Russian throne, the archpriest said.
There is also a need to compare different theories describing how the bodies were disposed of and buried, he said.
Eleven people, including members of the Russian Imperial Family and people from their entourage, were shot at the Urals regional council presidium’s order in the early hours of July 17, 1918.
A grave with nine bodies was found on Staraya Koptyakovskaya Road near Yekaterinburg in July 1991. The remains were identified as those of Emperor Nicholas II, his 46-year-old wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, their daughters Olga, 22, Tatyana, 21, and Anastasia, 17, and their servants Yevgeny Botkin, 53, Anna Demidova, 40, Aloizy Trupp, 62, and Ivan Kharitonov, 48.
The remains of two more people were discovered during archaeological excavation works 70 kilometers south of the first grave on July 26, 2007. The remains have still not been buried, but numerous expert analyses indicate that the remains were most likely those of Crown Prince Alexey and his sister Maria.
The Investigative Committee said in January 2011 that it had completed an investigation into the death of Nicholas II, his family members and entourage and closed the criminal case.
The Russian Orthodox Church has still not recognized the remains interred in Peter and Paul Cathedral as those of Nicholas II and his family members and entourage, claiming that it was not convinced by the proof of their authenticity that was presented.
The House of Romanov head, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, will recognize the remains buried at the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg as those of the royal family, if the Russian Orthodox Church says they are authentic, the House of Romanov spokesman Alexander Zakatov told Interfax.