Electronic Telegraph                      Friday 9 February 1996
   [Home News] 
Church prevents Tsar's reburial
THE reburial of the remains of Tsar Nicholas II has been 
postponed because the Russian Orthodox Church does not accept 
scientific findings that the bones are genuine.
DNA tests on the remains found in a mass grave outside the Urals 
city of Yekaterinburg in 1991 convinced scientists last year that 
the bodies were those of the last Tsar and his family, shot by 
the Bolsheviks in 1918.
Russian judicial authorities closed the case and a provisional 
burial date of Absolution Sunday, which this year falls on Feb 
25, was chosen by the mayor of St Petersburg. But the Russian 
Orthodox Church opposes the reburial, saying that it is not 
convinced the remains are genuine.
This has forced the Russian government, which had endorsed the 
identification, to continue its investigations, although it is 
hard to imagine what firmer scientific proof could be found.
"This year is clearly not possible for the reburial. Next year on 
Absolution Sunday perhaps, but it depends on the Church," said 
Andrei Sebentsov, of the government commission on identification 
of the remains of the imperial family.
Mr Sebentsov said he was convinced by the DNA tests, made at the 
Home Office Forensic Science Service, in Aldermaston with blood 
donated by Prince Philip, a kinsman of the Tsar, and separately 
in Washington. "But the whole world has to be convinced, too."
The Russian government believes the church is stalling for 
internal political reasons, the main one being whether the Tsar 
should be canonised as a saint and martyr, as desired by some 
churchmen. Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitskoye and Kolomna 
acknowledged it would be a "big scandal" if the Tsar was 
canonised, only for it to emerge that the remains were not 
The church's case for not accepting the DNA test results rests in 
part on reports that the bodies were destroyed by fire and acid.
Although no one cares to say it, a vision or a miracle would do 
more than a thousand scientific tests to convince the deeply 
traditional Orthodox Church of the authenticity of the remains.
 +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +
For related info, see CN 4.17, CN 4.21, CN 4.25, CN 4.26
Archived at:  pub/users/bigred