Local

BLOOD LIBEL: Russian Church Probing If Czar’s 1918 Killing Was ‘Jewish Ritual Murder’

The head of a Russian Orthodox Church panel looking into the 1918 killing of Russia’s last czar and his family said it is investigating whether it was a ‘ritual murder’ — a statement that has angered Jewish groups.

Father Tikhon Shevkunov, the Orthodox bishop heading the panel, said after Monday’s session that “a large share of the church commission members have no doubts that the murder was ritual.”

A representative of the Investigative Committee, Russia’s top state investigative agency, also said that it will conduct its own probe into the theory.

Boruch Gorin, a spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities, Russia’s largest Jewish group, expressed a strong concern Tuesday about the claims that he described as a “throwback to the darkest ages.”

Some Christians in medieval Europe believed that Jews murdered Christians to use their blood for ritual purposes, something which historians say has no basis in Jewish religious law or historical fact and instead reflected rabid Anti-Semitism in Christian Europe.

Nicholas II, his wife and their five children were executed by a Bolshevik firing squad on July 17, 1918, in a basement room of a merchant’s house where they were held in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg. The Russian Orthodox Church made them saints in 2000.

The speculation that the czar and his family were killed by the Jews for ritual purposes long has been promoted by fringe anti-Semitic groups.

Gorin said his group was shocked and angered by the statements from both the bishop and the Investigative Committee, which he said sounded like a revival of the century-old “anti-Semitic myth” about the killing of the imperial family.

Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill attended Monday’s meeting of the church panel investigating the killing of the czar and his family. He didn’t address the issue of whether the killing was ritual, but emphasized that the church needs to find answers to all outstanding questions and “doesn’t have the right for mistakes.”

Bishop Tikhon’s words carried particular weight given his reported close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and influence within the church.

The bishop elaborated on his statement Tuesday, telling the state RIA Novosti news agency that the “Bolsheviks and their allies engaged in the most unexpected and diverse ritual symbolism.” He claimed that “quite a few people involved in the execution — in Moscow or Yekaterinburg — saw the killing of the deposed Russian emperor as a special ritual of revenge” and added that Yakov Yurovsky, the organizer of the execution who was Jewish, later boasted about his “sacral historic mission.”

The conspiracy theories blaming the Jews for spearheading the Bolshevik revolution were popular among the post-revolution Russian emigres and the Russian Orthodox Church abroad, and were later picked up by some hard-line nationalists after the Soviet collapse.

While Tikhon steered clear of singling out Jews as those responsible for the killing, Gorin said that the use of the term coined by anti-Semites of all stripes was “extremely alarming.”

“Bishop Tikhon’s invectives undoubtedly cast a shadow over the Russian Orthodox Church,” he said. “And a representative of the Investigative Committee talking about the same theory yesterday casts a shadow on the government as a whole.”

Gorin said he expects both the church leadership and Russian government officials to provide explanation.

Lyudmila Narusova, a member of the Russian upper house of parliament and the widow of St. Petersburg’s mayor, Anatoly Sobchak, also criticized the panel’s talk about the ritual murder of the czar’s family, saying that it was fomenting ethnic strife, according to the Interfax news agency.

Putin, who served as Sobchak’s deputy in the 1990s and maintained contacts with his family, is set to attend a meeting of top Russian Orthodox Church’s hierarchs later this week.

Under Putin’s rule, Russia’s Jewish community has enjoyed a revival after a wave of emigration to Israel and other countries before and after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

(AP)

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Local

More in Local

3ba436bdbddca9240c62e4ef39b9e9bf.jpg

WATCH: Palestinian Soon-To-Be US Congress Member Says She Will ‘Absolutely’ Vote Against US Aid to Israel

adminAugust 16, 2018
83854565621d0dc0e3723e42fcaa0308.jpg

Activists Look To Ban BALLOONS After Success With Plastic Straws

adminAugust 16, 2018
cba1063a4fc1cf01beb9a61638570d7f.jpg

Ex-Trump Campaign Manager Says Bloomberg is a 2020 Threat to Trump

adminAugust 16, 2018
6b8e07a3138827ba4c9c7e83b80711c9.jpg

TRAGEDY: A Grandfather Drowns While Toiveling At Netanya Beach Shortly Before Grandson’s Bris

adminAugust 16, 2018
f4683415638aa0551a5f0ca84ad7a91e.jpg

Four Israeli Tourists Beaten By Police In Romania

adminAugust 14, 2018
d656d31649603fcc4eb8ee5cac468595.jpg

Man Struck By Car After Beating Man To Death In Road Rage On California Highway

adminAugust 14, 2018
880f2e91cf8b1577143bb7ced5ab5101.jpg

Trump Warns NY Gov. Cuomo: Anybody Who Runs Against Me ‘Suffers’

adminAugust 14, 2018
48c66d0ef815db7a1041d0d780f893db.jpg

West Virginia Impeaches All 4 Of It’s Supreme Court Justices

adminAugust 14, 2018
ed1121f6a005b1c8e7bd79cdd09ccc0d.jpg

DID YOU KNOW THIS? Google Tracks Your Movements – Even If You Use Privacy Settings

adminAugust 13, 2018