Were the Romanov family a Christian family, persecuted by the evil Communist revolutionaries and ultimately martyrs to their (Orthodox) faith?
“Alix (Alexandra) . . . spent hours a day on her knees in prayer.” (p.28)
“God’s will must always be accepted without complaint. After all, everything that happened in life was the result of God’s will, so it was pointless to question the meaning of events. ‘God knows what is good for us,’ Nicholas often reminded himself. ‘We must bow down our heads and repeat the sacred words, ‘Thy will be done.”” (p.43)
“Typically Nicholas believed Alexei’s illness was God’s will, and so he accepted it passively. ‘My own fate and that of my family are in the hands of Almighty God.'” (p.55)
“Alexandra believed Rasputin’s healing powers were a gift from God, the answer to all her long hours of prayer.” (p.87)
“Alexandra wanted to do more. So she enrolled in nursing courses, and she took nineteen-year-old Olga and seventeen-year-old Tatiana with her. . . Working in the wards, the students washed, cleaned, and bandaged maimed bodies, mangled faces, blinded eyes.” (p.138)
“‘It is necessary to look more calmly on everything,’ she (Alexandra) said three months after her husband’s abdication. ‘What is to be done? God has sent us trials, evidently he thinks we are prepared for it. It is a sort of examination—to prove we are ready for His grace.'” (p.185)
“Their mornings began and evenings ended with prayers.” “Marie offered to read aloud from the family’s favorite collection of sermons.” (p.228)
Or was Nicholas an evil, violent man and was Alexandra blinded by her near-idolatry for Rasputin and for her icons to which she turned in faith that they would make her son well?
“They (the police) shared Nicholas’s view that ‘the Yids,’ as he derisively called his Jewish subjects, ‘must be kept in their place.'” (p.69)
“Nicholas decided to crack down on all of his subjects. Now, he declared, they would ‘feel the whip.’ Perhaps then they would think twice before rebelling.” (p.79)
“Their work (the pogroms) delighted Nicholas. Once, after reading a particularly gruesome report of hangings and beatings, he turned to an aide. ‘This really tickles me,’ he said. ‘It really does.'” (p.80)
“Alexandra firmly believed Rasputin was God’s messenger, sent to guide them through the war. ‘I fully trust in Our Friend’s wisdom endowed by God to counsel what is right for you and our country,’ she wrote Nicholas.” (p.148-9)
Both, I think, however contradictory that may be. The book is certainly a warning to those of us who are Christians: we may be blinded by our own prejudices and those of our culture into believing things that are contrary to the gospel of Christ and into acting upon those erroneous beliefs. We must always compare our actions and beliefs with the yardstick of Scripture and ask for specific guidance from the Holy Spirit. I believe that if Nicholas and Alexandra had done so in regard to the Jews and to Rasputin, that guidance would have been granted to them.
Ms. Fleming does a good job of presenting a balanced and intriguing picture of the Romanovs, and I recommend the book.