The French astrologer and religious and political thinker Charles Ridoux (who I wrote about here in 2016) has just published a 64 page essay commemorating the massacre of Tsar Nicholas II and his family by the Bolsheviks in Ekaterinburg one hundred years ago on July 17th. It can be read (in French) here.
The martyrdom of the Romanovs formed the third and most devastating part of a trilogy, which began with the regicide of Charles I of England in 1649 and continued with the execution of the French king Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette in 1793. Each of these murders marks a step on the way in the dechristianisation of Europe, a process which appears very near to completion today.
Ridoux argues that this slaughter would not have occurred had Britain not reneged on a promise to welcome the Tsar and his children as exiles. Permission was denied, not by the UK government - as previously thought - but by George V himself, the Tsar's own cousin. Ridoux quotes the Romanian esotericist Jean Parvulesco (1929-2010), who in his 2005 book Vladimir Poutine et l'Eurasie, claimed that the King's refusal leaves the British monarchy open to what he calls a 'choc en retour', in the same way as many in France came to see the death of Louis XVI as payback for the burning at the stake of the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay at Philip IV's command in 1314.
One is reminded, reflecting on this exile that wasn't, of Dr. Dimble's reflection in C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, on the battle for England's soul between the holy realm of Logres (or Albion) and the mercantile, rapacious global power known as Britain:
'But in every way they (the Pendragons) and the little Logres which gathered round them have been the fingers which gave the tiny shove or the almost imperceptible pull, to push England out of the drunken sleep or to draw her back from the final outrage into which Britain tempted her.'
It would appear that on this occasion, unfortunately, Britain was too strong for Logres.
That Hideous Strength springs to mind again in Parvulesco's description of Lenin as a shell of a man, a walking zombie, wholly under the influence of malign occult powers: 'He became something increasingly inhuman, a being with a centre of gravity in a reality outside this world, totally subservient to and dependent on his non-human masters.'
This is exactly what happens to Wither, Frost and Straik in Lewis's novel, as the Bent Eldils subsume their personalities, leaving them desiccated automatons of the evil they chose to embrace when they were still capable of human responses like choice.
Even in the direst of situations, however, God will find a way for good to flourish, and the murder of the Tsar and his children is no exception. The life of Father Nicholas Gibbes (1876-1963) stands as a wonderful witness of the Divine capacity to respond creatively to evil and defy conventional expectations. Gibbes, the son of a Rotherham banker, was a spiritual seeker of seriousness and depth, who, after much wandering, found himself at the Imperial court in Russia, where he taught English to the Tsar's children. He became a close friend of the Royal Family and was deeply marked by his years in their presence, seeing them as exemplars of holiness, sacrifice and right living.
After 1918, Gibbes travelled widely throughout the East, praying and reflecting on the meaning of his encounter with the Tsar and his family, until in 1934, at the age of 58, he joined the Russian Orthodox Church, becoming successively monk, deacon and priest. He returned to England in 1937, and became the first English priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the founder of the first Orthodox church in Oxford. Many were struck by his piety and prayerfulness, and before he died in March 1963, an icon given him by the Imperial family was miraculously renewed and began to shine. So maybe Logres - in that mysterious, unpredictable fashion so suggestive of God's hidden hand - proved stronger than Britain in the end!
Archpriest Andrew Phillips has written beautifully on the life of Fr. Nicholas Gibbes on his Orthodox England site here. I would urge as many of us as possible to read and reflect on this essay today, as an act of reparation, first and foremost, for the part played by this country in the death of the Romanovs, and also as a spiritual riposte to the dark powers who engineered that act of infamy and remain so active in our world, capturing and enslaving hearts and minds at an increasingly rapid rate. Without a Tsar on the Russian throne, as a living symbol of Christ the Universal King, their task becomes so much easier.
Holy martyrs of Russia, pray for us. May you rest in peace and rise in glory.