Author Topic: Tsar as a religious figure  (Read 1405 times)

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Offline doubtingthomas

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Tsar as a religious figure
« on: December 09, 2011, 09:38:36 PM »
Reading more about Orthodoxy and its history, I can see how the Empire of Russia became very important in preserving Orthodoxy after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. I am unclear still however why/how the Tsar of Russia became a religious figure and sort of controlled churches' affairs throughout the empire and why Nicholas and his family in particular are saints when they seemed to meddle so much in the affairs of bishops and monasteries before their murder.

Why were/are the Tsars important in Orthodoxy (especially Russian)?

Why are Nicholas Romanov and his family saints?
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 09:39:47 PM by doubtingthomas »
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Offline biro

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2011, 10:53:29 PM »
I think part of the reason they are regarded as saints is that they were executed by the atheist Communists- in other words, the royal family died for their faith, or were martyred.

As for meddling in others' affairs, it can also be argued that the Tsar was doing his job... the country could have done worse, as it found out when the Communists finally did take over.

Offline Antonis

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 12:22:40 AM »
The Russian Monarchy took things to a level, though, that I wouldn't be comfortable with, even disregarding the blatant Caesaropapism. The fact that the Tsar was allowed to go through the royal doors to recieve the eucharist, for example, is something that makes me twitch. I could be confused though, as the doors separating the Narthex from the Nave are also called the "royal doors." Issues with translation and misnomers between Greek and Russian.

And I'm a monarchist.

I would, of course, be willing to hear further arguments in favor or against it.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 12:26:30 AM by Antonis »
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 12:28:28 AM »
Why are Nicholas Romanov and his family saints?

The Romanovs were devout Orthodox Christians who were murdered in part, for their faith.

Remember, just because a person is a saint doesn't mean he/she is a "perfect" or "sinless" human being.
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 12:31:54 AM »
The Russian Monarchy took things to a level, though, that I wouldn't be comfortable with, even disregarding the blatant Caesaropapism. The fact that the Tsar was allowed to go through the royal doors to recieve the eucharist, for example, is something that makes me twitch. I could be confused though, as the doors separating the Narthex from the Nave are also called the "royal doors." Issues with translation and misnomers between Greek and Russian.

And I'm a monarchist.

I would, of course, be willing to hear further arguments in favor or against it.

The Tsar had taken the place (with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople) of the Emperor after Constantinople fell to the Muslims - from whence Moscow became the "Third Rome". The Tsar was doing nothing different that the Emperor had done as the defender of Orthodoxy (including using the "Royal Doors" - that's where the adjective "royal" came from to start with).
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Offline doubtingthomas

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2011, 12:43:46 AM »
The Russian Monarchy took things to a level, though, that I wouldn't be comfortable with, even disregarding the blatant Caesaropapism. The fact that the Tsar was allowed to go through the royal doors to recieve the eucharist, for example, is something that makes me twitch. I could be confused though, as the doors separating the Narthex from the Nave are also called the "royal doors." Issues with translation and misnomers between Greek and Russian.

And I'm a monarchist.

I would, of course, be willing to hear further arguments in favor or against it.

The Tsar had taken the place (with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople) of the Emperor after Constantinople fell to the Muslims - from whence Moscow became the "Third Rome". The Tsar was doing nothing different that the Emperor had done as the defender of Orthodoxy (including using the "Royal Doors" - that's where the adjective "royal" came from to start with).

Oh! This must be why their heraldry involved the Byzantine eagle?

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Offline biro

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2011, 01:22:07 AM »
I thought the name 'Royal' for the central doorway of the altar was a reference to Christ, Who comes to us in the Eucharist, since the Eucharist is consecrated and then brought out through the central doors by the priest.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2011, 01:50:38 AM »
The Russian Monarchy took things to a level, though, that I wouldn't be comfortable with, even disregarding the blatant Caesaropapism. The fact that the Tsar was allowed to go through the royal doors to recieve the eucharist, for example, is something that makes me twitch. I could be confused though, as the doors separating the Narthex from the Nave are also called the "royal doors." Issues with translation and misnomers between Greek and Russian.

And I'm a monarchist.

I would, of course, be willing to hear further arguments in favor or against it.

The Tsar had taken the place (with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople) of the Emperor after Constantinople fell to the Muslims - from whence Moscow became the "Third Rome". The Tsar was doing nothing different that the Emperor had done as the defender of Orthodoxy (including using the "Royal Doors" - that's where the adjective "royal" came from to start with).

Oh! This must be why their heraldry involved the Byzantine eagle?



Yes, exactly so.
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Offline jckstraw72

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2011, 02:24:17 AM »
the emperor of Byzantium also communed in the altar. heck, even the empress sometimes -- Nestorius got himself in trouble for refusing to commune the empress Pulcheria in the altar.

and the Romanovs are martyrs!
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 02:24:38 AM by jckstraw72 »

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2011, 02:50:57 AM »
the Romanovs are martyrs!
Passion-bearers, not martyrs, according to the ROC.
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Offline Antonis

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2011, 03:02:59 PM »
the emperor of Byzantium also communed in the altar. heck, even the empress sometimes -- Nestorius got himself in trouble for refusing to commune the empress Pulcheria in the altar.
Really now? Huh, I'd never heard of it. Just goes to show how ignorant I am, more reading! Thank you very much.

Not sure if this has been posted before, for anyone interested:
http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/273/must-an-orthodox-christian-be-a-monarchist/
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 03:10:32 PM by Antonis »
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Offline mike

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2011, 04:31:04 PM »
the Romanovs are martyrs!
Passion-bearers, not martyrs, according to the ROC.

According to the ROCOR they are Martyrs.
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Offline jckstraw72

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2011, 09:42:59 PM »
the Romanovs are martyrs!
Passion-bearers, not martyrs, according to the ROC.

According to the ROCOR they are Martyrs.

and in my experience, the two terms are often used interchangably in the hymns anyways ... martyrs called passion-bearers, and vice versa.

Offline Cognomen

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2011, 10:48:56 PM »
I'll admit that I struggle to understand certain decisions, but on matters such as this, I must defer to the wisdom of the Church; It (She/we?) knows better than I do.
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2011, 10:59:18 PM »
According to Orthodox Wiki:

A passion-bearer is one who faces his death in a Christ-like manner. Unlike martyrs, passion-bearers are not explicitly killed for their Orthodox faith, though they hold to that faith with piety and true love of God.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Passion-bearer

Saint Tsar Nicholas II and his family are recognized as passion-bearers by the Russian Orthodox Church.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Nicholas_II_of_Russia

However, ROCOR (which is now part of the ROC) designates the Romanoffs as Royal Martyrs or New Martyrs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonization_of_the_Romanovs

Offline jckstraw72

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2011, 11:16:44 PM »
i think its pretty clear that the Communists were just as much enemies of the Church as they were of the Royal government, and at that time in Russia the Tsar was the secular head of the Church. The Tsar was crowned by the Church and understood as a Church position. I think its pretty hard to make an argument that the Romanovs were killed only because of government.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2011, 11:22:33 PM »
i think its pretty clear that the Communists were just as much enemies of the Church as they were of the Royal government, and at that time in Russia the Tsar was the secular head of the Church. The Tsar was crowned by the Church and understood as a Church position. I think its pretty hard to make an argument that the Romanovs were killed only because of government.
Makes sense to me. They didn't offer to become atheists in a last ditch effort to save their skins.

Offline Cognomen

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2011, 11:39:28 PM »
i think its pretty clear that the Communists were just as much enemies of the Church as they were of the Royal government, and at that time in Russia the Tsar was the secular head of the Church. The Tsar was crowned by the Church and understood as a Church position. I think its pretty hard to make an argument that the Romanovs were killed only because of government.
Makes sense to me. They didn't offer to become atheists in a last ditch effort to save their skins.

Sure, but I don't think it was exactly posed in that manner.  If they were murdered primarily for their association with the Church, why wouldn't they have been murdered immediately as part of severing this? The political side, in the context of an increasingly serious civil war, makes more sense in this case.

I'm not saying their faith definitely wasn't a factor, but I'm not aware of anything indicating that it was part of the calculations.

I could be wrong though; it's happened 7 times before.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Tsar as a religious figure
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2011, 11:54:41 PM »
i think its pretty clear that the Communists were just as much enemies of the Church as they were of the Royal government, and at that time in Russia the Tsar was the secular head of the Church. The Tsar was crowned by the Church and understood as a Church position. I think its pretty hard to make an argument that the Romanovs were killed only because of government.
Makes sense to me. They didn't offer to become atheists in a last ditch effort to save their skins.

Sure, but I don't think it was exactly posed in that manner.  If they were murdered primarily for their association with the Church, why wouldn't they have been murdered immediately as part of severing this? The political side, in the context of an increasingly serious civil war, makes more sense in this case.

I'm not saying their faith definitely wasn't a factor, but I'm not aware of anything indicating that it was part of the calculations.

I could be wrong though; it's happened 7 times before.
True, but given the character of Revolutionary rhetoric, it was probably always kind of hovering in the background. If Nicholas had offered to give up all title and privilege, I have a feeling the Bolsheviks would not have accepted that apart from a renunciation of the Church as well.