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J Kendrick 07-26-2012 06:46 PM

The "Sokolov Box": may or may not contain Imperial remains
 
From Today's Interfax:

2012 July 26 16:54:00
New proof will hopefully end dispute over royal remains authenticity - House of Romanov (updated)

Moscow, July 26, Interfax - The House of Romanov will be guided by the Russian Orthodox Church's position on the authenticity of the remains of the family of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II.

The House of Romanov head, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, will recognize the remains buried at the Sts 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 on Thursday.

The Russian Orthodox Church and the House of Romanov have not recognized yet that the remains are authentic, citing the absence of sufficient evidence.

It emerged on Thursday that the Moscow Patriarchate may change its position on the "Yekaterinburg remains."

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia told the Holy Synod in Kiev on Thursday that important information has arrived from New York, where the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is headquartered, connected with circumstances of the death of the imperial family. "I hope these circumstances will help shape our position, including on the so-called 'Yekaterinburg remains,'" the Russian Patriarch said.

"We have learnt that material evidence - a report by investigator Nikolay Sokolov, [who probed the execution of the royal family in 1919 on commission from Admiral Alexander Kolchak] - was discovered in Brussels some time ago, when the church built in commemoration of the martyr-tsar was being restored," Zakatov said.

"Perhaps these materials and additional tests will throw light on some aspects of the situation. It would be premature to speculate on radical change, but Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna has been informed of the latest developments by Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia," he said.

"We hope a new investigation will lead us to more objective results than those obtained by a commission in 1998," he added.

"The Russian Orthodox Church's refusal to recognize the Yekaterinburg remains as authentic were due to serious doubts. If these doubts are dispelled, the church will probably change its position. And in this case the head of the House of Romanov will join the church in recognizing the remains as authentic," Zakatov said.

He said that lead containers were found when a wall of the church was being restored in Brussels, and one carried a letter about the history of this material evidence, he said.

"Investigator Sokolov handed the material evidence to Prince Shirinsky-Shikhmatov at one time. Then the prince's son handed it over to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. It was initially kept at an Orthodox church in Paris and was then passed to the church under construction in Brussels," Zakatov said.

"The lead containers carried glass jars filled with soil from the Ganina Yama site where the bodies of the royal family and their domestic servants were burned," he said.

"The glass jars are filled with soil and clay mixed with tissues that remained after the bodies were burned. This provides certain genetic matter for further tests," 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 Alexei and his sister Maria.

The Presidium of the Russian Supreme Court ruled to rehabilitate Nicholas II and his family members on October 1, 2008.

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.

-30-

So... basically... The Church first wants to see a match with the relics that are said to have been collected by Nicholas Sokolov in 1919 at Ganina Yama and hidden in the walls of the Orthodox Church in Brussels... if they are to accept the identification.

scooter 07-27-2012 04:02 PM

Was there not a DNA test done some time ago? I seem to recall that the Duke of Edinburgh was asked to give a dna swab as he was the closest genetic relative. Am I having a senior moment?

J Kendrick 07-28-2012 03:00 AM

That's what started all this in the first place... 20 years ago now.

Now it appears the Church wants to see a DNA comparison with the contents of the so-called "Sokolov Box" that has been hidden for decades in the walls of the Orthodox Church in Belgium. Until now, the Church Abroad has not been willing to make the contents of the box available for forensic testing.

Isn't anyone even the least bit curious why both the Patriarchate and the ROCOR ... after refusing to allow any testing of the contents of the "Sokolov Box" for so many years ... should suddenly change their tune?

Is it at all possible that someone high up in the Orthodox Church might actually be betting that the one DNA sample in the "Sokolov Box"... long believed to be Alexandra's ring finger... is not going to match with the mtDNA of Body No.7 of the Ekaterinburg remains.... thereby confirming the Orthodox Church's long-held position against the identification of the remains?

... remembering that an earlier set of mtDNA tests done on the relic from Jerusalem said to be a finger from the Grand Duchess Ella (Elisabeth) had, in fact, failed to match with Body No.7 (Ella's sister Alexandra)...

... and if, on the off chance, the mtDNA from the "Sokolov Box" actually does fail to match with the mtDNA of Body No.7.... then what?

COUNTESS 08-15-2012 08:23 PM

Who cares. It is, almost, 100 years ago and other than distress, what did they do for anyone, except themselves? They are martyrs, because they were murdered, not because they were giving.

J Kendrick 08-15-2012 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daria_S (Post 1452364)
Indeed. The idea of anyone surviving that blood bath was always preposterous to me. No one, outside of a superhuman could have walked (or crawled) out of that basement.

Survival stories are not the issue with the Church's sudden decision to suggest testing of the finger in the Sokolov Box to prove its case ... after the Church had so adamantly refused to allow the mtDNA testing of those very same samples for all those many years.

The issue is this:
If that same finger in the "Sokolov Box" that is said to have belonged to Empress Alexandra does not now match with the mtDNA of Body No. 7 of the Ekaterinburg remains... then the Orthodox Church is going to dig in its heels even deeper in its position against accepting the identification... and the chances of having another burial service any time soon will then become even more unlikely...

Mariel 08-15-2012 11:52 PM

Why objection on the grounds of monetary cost to the reburial? I assume this would not be a state funeral, because Russia does not have a state church, or is that information false? The church would have to pay for the funeral, if the remaining Romanovs could not do so, or refused to accept identification of the final two remains. The belief of Christians is that the souls of the departed are in Heaven and that they will have newly resurrected bodies at some time when Christ returns, so there should not be endless rangling about burial. why not give them burial in some Orthodox plot, any Orthodox plot, then if they are identified (by DNA saved from the burial) they could be reburied with the family.
It is often hard to be certain from DNA evidence however. It apparently is not the sure-fire method of ID, especially when bones are old as these. The DNA done on the bodies of Queen Victoria's daughter Vicky and on Vicky's descendants, to establish a medical supposition of a Porphyria diagnosis, were not totally conclusive. There are several steps to DNA identification, and some may be positive and some inconclusive. in other words, there IS room for consideration, but the spiritual side is what should be most considered. In my opinion, which might not be the same as the Orthodox church.

Warren 08-16-2012 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scooter
Was there not a DNA test done some time ago?

Yes. There have been two investigations:
Nine skeletons identified [Imperial Family (two children missing) and retainers] - Gill, 1994
Two further remains identified [Alexei and Maria] - Coble, 2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by J Kendrick (Post 1445369)
...So... basically... The Church first wants to see a match with the relics that are said to have been collected by Nicholas Sokolov in 1919 at Ganina Yama and hidden in the walls of the Orthodox Church in Brussels... if they are to accept the identification.

The logical approach would be the other way round: If there is a match the Church accepts that the contents of the Sokolov Box are genuine..
If there's no match it only proves that a box found in a Brussels church wall doesn't contain Imperial remains.
.

Ceallach 08-16-2012 12:25 PM

Who say logic is neccessarily going to be suddenly used. :ermm:

There could be two motivations here.

They may have reason to believe they do not match, such as pretesting, and want to make an issue. But, that implies either Philip and co's results were faked or that somewhere in his matrilineal line, and all others tested, someone got switched at birth (and always with the same family) and their real biological common dead relatives happened to be the ones discovered. Pretty far fetched. :eek:

More likely, they are using this Sokolov box as a backdoor excuse to finally get with the program. :whistling:

BeatrixFan 08-16-2012 04:26 PM

If this were the UK and not Russia, that box would now be considered vital evidence in a murder enquiry (however old) and church or no church, it'd be investigated. Being Russia however, there's always a rule you'd never expect that stops the truth coming to light.

kell 08-17-2012 10:07 AM

Interfax-Religion
ROCOR not to hand over lately-found tsar remains for research


Brussels, August 17, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) has categorically refused to hand over the recently-found fragments of the remains of the tsar family for laboratory research.

The remains were found not long ago during restoration at the St. Job's Russian Church in Brussels.

"The remains must on no account be subject to any manipulation. They are only for reverential prayers by the faithful," ROCOR, the Western European diocese of Russian Orthodox Church, said in a statement that reached Interfax-Religion.

During a session of the Holy Synod in Kiev in late July, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said that important news had come from New York, ROCOR's spiritual center, which had to do with the circumstances surrounding the death of the tsar family.

"These circumstances will, I believe, help us define our position on the issue of the so-called 'Yekaterinburg remains'", the Patriarch said.

Later, Alexander Zakatov, Director of the Chancellery of the House of Romanov, announced that lead cylinders containing earth from the Ganina Yama pit, where the bodies of the tsar and his family had been burnt, mixed with lipids excreted during the burning. There was an explanatory note in one of the cylinders.

"This is genetic material for new research," Zakatov said.

ROCOR said that the above remains, a small part of those discovered immediately after the beastly execution in Yekaterinburg, had been handed over by investigator Nikolay Sokolov to Prince Shirinsky-Shikhmatov in 1920. Two decades later, they were solemnly handed over to ROCOR head Metropolitan Serafim and in 1950 were transferred to St. Job's Church.

"We declare with all our responsibility that the document found during the restoration work is not new to us. There is a photo copy of it in the church's archives. Our church hierarchs have long been familiar with it Its contents have repeatedly been published," ROCOR said.

The cylinders, intact, were re-immured in the church along with the note which was enclosed into a new glass tube

Warren 08-17-2012 02:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kell (Post 1452694)
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) has categorically refused to hand over the recently-found fragments of the remains of the tsar family for laboratory research.

So that's the end of that?
I made a new thread for the Sokolov Box for nothing? :biggrin:

Artemisia 08-17-2012 03:04 PM

:previous:
All the effort - and such abrupt ending! :biggrin:

But seriously, I cannot agree with ROCOR's position: if this solved a long-standing issue (at least, for the Orthodox Church) of identification of the remains, why create obstacles?

kell 08-17-2012 07:40 PM

not my flaut warren
as for the roc umm people do relieze the money they make just keeping this thing going thats why in my belief the obstacles

J Kendrick 08-20-2012 10:10 AM

Investigator Solovyov's response:

From Today's Interfax... August 20th 2012
14:14:00
Materials on Romanov family execution found in Brussels can be studied without resuming official investigation - Investigations Committee

Moscow, August 20, Interfax - The Russian Investigations Committee currently does not see any good reasons to resume the investigation into the killing of Nicholas II in connection with the materials by White Guard investigator Nikolay Sokolov in a Brussels church.

"There will probably be no initiatives from us to resume the criminal case. If the church files a request, we will decide what to do," Vladimir Solovyov, senior investigator with the Main Criminalistics Department of the Investigations Committee who investigated the case involving the killing of the tsar's family, told Interfax on Monday.

"We don't know for sure yet what has been found in Brussels," Solovyov said.

"We have no position that a criminal case will not be opened. Everything depends on what has been found. However, it's no longer 1992, when he did not have ay evidence. Now that a lot of tests have been performed another proof of that the remains are those of the tsar's family are unlikely to give us anything new," Solovyov said.

"We have no doubt that the remains are those of the tsar's family. As to the materials found in Brussels, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia have not asked the Investigations Committee to perform additional studies. Such studies can be performed without opening a criminal case," Solovyov said.

According to earlier reports, materials by investigator Sokolov, who investigated the killing of Russia's last Tsar Nicholas II and his family on the orders of Admiral Kolchak in 1919, were found during the reconstruction of the Church of Job the Long-Suffering in Brussels.

Representatives of the Romanov family said a study of the Brussels materials is likely to yield evidence on the issue of the authenticity of the tsar's family remains.

In January 2011, the Investigations Committee completed the investigation into the criminal case involving the killing of Nicholas II's family, recognizing the remains found near Yekaterinburg as those of the tsar's family.

The Russian Orthodox Church and the Romanov family have not recognized the remains as those of the tsar's family.

In late July 2012, it became known that the Moscow patriarchate may reconsider its stance on the "Yekaterinburg remains." Patriarch Krill told the Holy Synod in Kyiv that important information on the circumstances of the death of the tsar's family had been received from New York, where the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is located.

The Romanov family said it will accept the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the issue of the remains of Russia's last emperor.

-30-

See: Interfax-Religion

NGalitzine 08-20-2012 10:19 AM

By Romanov family they of course mean only Maria, since other family members more closely related to the late Tsar were in attendance at the reburial of the former Imperial Families remains.

kell 08-20-2012 01:09 PM

auctually warren there were 3 invesgations into the russian royal familys death an inquirry was held in russia in the 1960s as well with testimony from the remanining excuniers and documentations are still proably being witheheld from that

AristoCat 02-25-2013 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kell (Post 1452822)
not my flaut warren
as for the roc umm people do relieze the money they make just keeping this thing going thats why in my belief the obstacles

Quote:

All the effort - and such abrupt ending! :biggrin:

But seriously, I cannot agree with ROCOR's position: if this solved a long-standing issue (at least, for the Orthodox Church) of identification of the remains, why create obstacles?
Maybe they are paranoid that the artifacts might end up either:

1) Destroyed
2) Or the remains will be studied, but in fact this will result in manipulation of the facts and then the remains will be eliminated.

There are a lot of ex-reds that still hate the Romanovs and others do not want to fathom the idea of a mistake now that the IF is supposedly buried.

Warren 03-02-2013 07:31 PM

The church only needs to provide some bone fragments, the rest of the finger can go back in the box. In the wall. For safety.

The diligence or competence of the DNA laboratories which identified the remains of Alexei and Maria in the 2009 Coble Report hasn't been seriously questioned. They can do the same again.

AristoCat 03-10-2013 09:45 PM

I swear, nothing involving the Romanov family is ever straightforward.

scooter 03-11-2013 05:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Warren (Post 1522560)
The church only needs to provide some bone fragments, the rest of the finger can go back in the box. In the wall. For safety.

The diligence or competence of the DNA laboratories which identified the remains of Alexei and Maria in the 2009 Coble Report hasn't been seriously questioned. They can do the same again.

I saw a documentary the other day on identifying King Tut's mother thru DNA testing. All they did was take a thing that looked like a tiny apple corer and take a few small samples. The same technique could be used here, with minimal disruption to the bone.


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