The Church History Committee
From the very restoration of the Novo-Tikhvinsky monastery in 1994, the work of collecting the documents about the neomartyrs and athletes of piety of the Ekaterinburg diocese began. Sisters would make trips to various towns and villages of the Sverdlovsk region, meet with the old-timers, search for materials at the local and centralized archives and libraries. Soon, the monastery's father-confessor schema-archimandrite Avraam was appointed the president of the Committee on the canonization of saints of the Ekaterinburg diocese. All of the sisters who had an obedience in the church history committee, had also become the members of the diocesan Committee on the canonization.
Altogether, in the past years, 54 saints in our diocese were canonized. It is remarkable that two of the neomartyrs were carrying their ministry in the Merkushino village, where now the metochion of our monastery is located. This is hieromartyr Konstantin Bogoyavlensky (his relics are in Merkushino) and hieromartyr Sergiy Uvitsky who died in 1932 in confinement in a correctional labor camp.
So, what are the criteria for the canonization of one or another righteous person among the saints?
With regard to the neomartyrs and confessors, the basis for canonization are the constant proclaiming of the word of God; martyrdom or the life of proclamation of Christ; zealous ministry or pastoral service; righteous life; impeccable Orthodoxy. One of the main stages in the selection of those who are worthy of being numbered among the saints, is the clarification of the defendant's position at the interrogation; whether the person has consented with the false accusations posed before them or not; whether they have slandered themselves or their neighbors, or, on the contrary, demonstrated courage and valor, standing up for truth.
The main direction of the Committee's members' work on the canonization of saints, is the search for and the study of authentic historical documents about the persecutions against clergy. Archival-investigative files that are presently kept at the Government archives, are the chief and oftentimes the only sources of documentation about the clergy in the period of persecutions, especially if one takes into account the fact that the church archives of that time period have not been preserved in many dioceses. Every archival-investigative file contains the prisoners' profiles, the protocols of the defendants' and their witnesses' interrogations, a statement of accusation, the sentence, etc.. In addition, these files contain the so-called creative materials: the texts of the sermons, photographs, articles, books, and various official documents.
With regard to the holy and righteous, the grounds for canonization are righteous life of these athletes of piety, impeccable Orthodoxy and, especially, miracles and the veneration by the common folk during their lifetime and post mortem. Therefore, in order to glorify someone among the saints, it is necessary to collect documents, both printed and oral testimonies about his life and deeds; to restore their biography as fully as possible; to collect testimonies about his post mortem veneration and miracles. After this, a hagiography of the righteous is composed, and a package of documents for the synodal Committee on the canonization of saints is prepared for mailing.
The second direction of the work of the Church Historical Committee is the collection of information about the Novo-Tikhvin monastery's history: its inner and outer order, the abbesses, sisters, various obediences and workshops. It is known that over the years 27 sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin monastery were arrested; some of them got under arrest 2 or 3 times. Four of them were sentenced to execution by shooting; seven sisters were sentenced to a ten-year confinement in the camp, and at least three of them perished there. In the present time, the work of collecting the materials about the monastery is far from completion; the search for new information is being constantly conducted.
Presently the sisters are also conducting the search for the information about the loyal attendants of the Tsar's family who died together with the Royal Passion-bearers. These are the servants who perished in the Ipatyev house: cook Ivan Kharitonov; the Empress' chambermaid Anna Demidov, and footman Aleksey Trupp; also those who suffered for the faithfulness to the Royal Family, count Vasily Dolgorukov; general Ilya Tatishchev; the Empress' personal lady in waiting countess Anastasia Gendrikova; personal chief reader Ekaterina Shneider; the Prince's tutor Klimentiy Nagorny.
The sisters are also collecting the materials about the Alapayevsky martyrs who perished together with the holy martyr Elisaveta Feodorovna – the imperial-blood counts Ioann, Konstantin, and Igor Konstantinoviches. The sisters would gratefully accept all kinds of help in the searching of the information about their life and martyrdom, as well as about the instances of their veneration and miraculous help granted through their intercessory prayers. Of great value, too, would be all sorts of further clarifications, even the insignificant ones; obscure documents, photographs, etc. If you have any such information, we ask you to share it with us via email on our website.