A ROW is breaking out in the Soviet Union over a chapel to be built on the site where the last tsar and his family were murdered in 1917, and which is already attracting visits from Russian newly-weds just as the local memorial to Lenin has done until now.
In a move highlighting the Soviet people's current disenchantment with the communist system and their
economic misfortune, the authorities in the southern Urals town of Sverdlovsk have handed over land at the site for a religious memorial.
But the Moscow patriarchate's plan to erect a chapel in honour of Tsar Nicholas II and his children, has been criticised by the Russian church in exile, which accused the official Orthodox church of failing to hOnour the royal martyrs with a full-scale church.
The Russian Orthodox church has "tied itself closely to Godhating totalitarianism, borne false witness about the new martyrs and in renouncing them, discredited the name of the church," said German-based Bishop Mark of the Russian Orthodox church in exile.
But the Sverdlovsk city soviet said that the town's decision to
offer the site to the Moscow patriarchy, and not to any other religious body, had been made on the grounds that the Orthodox church had the greatest number of parishioners in the area.
Patriarch Aleksi II of Moscow and all Russia admitted that the manner of Tsar Nicholas' death made him a confessor of the faith in the eyes of the Orthodox church.