The Czar-Martyr Emperor Paul I, protector saint of russian brothers of our Order

«Mercy and truth preserve the king, And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.» (Proverbs 20:28).

«… His Majesty who has gone to the Lord… Emperor Paul Petrovich so loved the Holy Church, so venerated Her sacred statutes and did so much for the Her benefit that few of the Russian Czars served God’s Church as much as he…» (Saint Seraphim of Sarov).

For many years the name of Emperor Paul Petrovich had been defamed shamelessly through the efforts of the Masons and atheists. Only recently did we come to know the truth about him, which reveals the image of a genuinely devout and wise monarch who devoted his life to the good of the Orthodox Church and Russia.

His Majesty Paul Petrovich was born on September 20 (old style), 1754 in St. Petersburg. His royal parents were Emperor Peter III Feodorovich (born in 1728 and assassinated in 1762; ruled Russia from 1761 to 1762) and Empress Catherine II Alexeyevna (born in 1729, died in 1796; ruled from 1762 to 1796).

Empress Elizaveta Petrovna (1709-1761) who was noted for her love of the Church, assumed patronage of Prince Paul from the first hours of his life. His early childhood was spent in the company of nursemaids, who were the first to establish in him faith and love for the Church. Paul’s tutor, S. A. Poroshin, was also a deeply devout person, who taught him to love everything Russian. Count N. I. Panin oversaw the Heir’s education. Divinity was taught to the young prince by the hieromonk Platon (Levshin, who later became Metropolitan of Moscow). Having appealed to God for assistance, Fr. Platon started teaching Paul on August 30, 1763, explaining in his preamble the great value of his teaching and urging his princely student «to be very attentive and diligent» (Glinski, B.B. The Imperial Children and Their Tutors. Saint Petersburg, 1912). Hieromonk Platon visited his pupil very often and succeeded in developing a deep and lifelong sense of religiousness in him. The course of studies with the Grand Prince and the relations between teacher and student were described by Metropolitan Platon as follows: «As for the teaching of Divinity,» he recounts, «I was to instruct the Grand Prince for an hour three times a week, and on Sundays and holidays before the Liturgy, I was to read Scripture with explanations for as long as time allowed.» (N. Talberg, The History of the Russian Church, Jordanville, 1969). Metropolitan Platon wrote, «Fortunately, the princely pupil was always inclined to piety, and it always pleased him when a conversation or discussion pertained to God and the Faith. We should note that this was instilled into him by the late empress Elizaveta Petrovna, who loved him dearly and entrusted his upbringing to very pious ladies.» (N. Talberg, The History of the Russian Church, Jordanville, 1969). Poroshin recollected that on the day of the Assumption of the Mother of God, «Paul dressed and started reading the Holy Scripture with Fr. Platon. Then we analyzed a book containing the service for the Feast of that day and sang the Kontakion: ‘Nature’s laws are overcome, the pure Virgin’ etc. » The young prince was present at a conversation during which it was asserted that sea battles are more cruel, as a sinking ship takes everyone to the bottom. At the end of the conversation, 10-year-old Paul said, «What are misfortunes, even if one goes to the bottom? After all, there’s more fear than harm in death, especially for a virtuous man, for whom it will be better in the next world than in this one.»

The lessons taught by the devout pastor were fruitful. Deep faith in God helped Emperor Paul to endure the many misfortunes with which his life was filled: the early death of his father, Emperor Peter III, who was overthrown and then killed; estrangement from his mother, Empress Catherine II, who did not trust her son and prevented his participation in state matters; the long, almost reclusive period he spent in Gatchina; and the death of his first wife, the Grand Princess Natalya Alekseyevna, in childbirth. It is known that a palace coup in Paul’s favor, while preserving Catherine’s life, was proposed to him. The noble prince refused, and a day later he was given a strong poison, as the conspirators feared he would disclose everything to his mother. Although the doctors saved the Prince, the effects of that poisoning told on him for the rest of his life. He suffered excruciating suffocation fits and became disposed to nervousness.

Prelate Ioann Maximovich writes, «Having spent his childhood at the court of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, where his mother could not influence him directly, Prince Paul Petrovich differed greatly from empress Catherine, both in character and convictions. For this reason, Catherine II considered disinheriting her son Paul and making her elder grandson, Alexander Pavlovich, her successor… The resolution of that issue was constantly being postponed. By the end of 1796, Catherine II made it her final decision to pass Paul over and appoint Alexander as her heir, but she unexpectedly and suddenly died. So the throne was inherited by the heir, Prince Paul Petrovich. (Ioann, Bishop of Shanghai. The Origin of the Law of Succession in Russia, Shanghai, 1936).

The Prince was well aware of the threat posed to Europe by revolutionary France. In that respect he showed great foresight and clarity of mind. He made the task of saving Russia and even Europe from the revolutionary contagion his main objective. The struggle against revolution was a religious matter for him; he was fighting for the Christian faith and divinely appointed monarchial authority.

Emperor Paul’s coronation took place in Moscow on the first day of Holy Easter Week, April 5, 1797. It was remarkable in that, for this sacred procedure, Paul, before putting on the imperial purple robe, ordered to be clad in a dalmatic, one of the imperial garments of the Byzantine emperors, similar to a bishop’s sakkos. Emperor Paul was anointed and blessed to rule Russia by Metropolitan Gabriel, a preeminent member of the Holy Synod.

After the coronation, the emperor read a law he had written about the succession to the throne. Upon announcing it from his throne at the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Czar went through the royal gates to the altar and put the scroll into a silver shrine on the credence table, to be preserved there forever. Prelate Ioann of Shanghai writes the following about the Law of Succession of 1797: «Paul succeeded in issuing a decree representing a system based on principles introduced by the Moscow consolidators of Rus’ and which have taken root in the Russian soul… (Ioann, Bishop of Shanghai. The Origin of the Law of Succession in Russia, Shanghai, 1936). Further he writes: «On the day of the Sacred Coronation, Paul I himself, not limiting his royal power, put the decree he had written on the credence table of the Cathedral of the Assumption, thereby giving a vow to God to maintain forever the order that he considered just and necessary, (Ioann, Bishop of Shanghai. The Origin of the Law of Succession in Russia, Shanghai, 1936). Paul Petrovich’s successors made some changes and amendments to the law, but according to Bishop Ioann (Maximovich), «the Law of Succession remained and still remains essentially the same decree that was established and proclaimed by the Emperor Paul I on the day of his sacred coronation.» Despite the tragic events of 1917, the law remained in effect. To this day the inheritance of the rights to the throne of Russia proceeds according to that law.

Abiding strictly by the Commandments of the Lord, His Majesty Paul I took good care of his subjects. On the very day of his coronation he published a manifesto on serfs of landlords, which was a starting point for limiting serfdom. The manifesto read, «The Law of God given to us in the Ten Commandments teaches us to devote the seventh day to God; that is why on this day, which has been glorified by a celebration of the Faith and on which we were honored to receive sacred anointing and imperial coronation to our ancestral throne, we deem it our duty before our Creator and the Giver of all blessings to confirm the exact and unfailing fulfillment of this law in the whole of our empire, commanding everyone to observe it, that no one would in any way dare to make peasants work on Sundays…» (N. Talberg. The History of the Russian Church, Jordanville, 1969).

For the first time in the history of Russia, peasants were sworn in as witnesses[?]. A special peasantry department was set up, the state peasants received plots of land, and all peasants were granted the right to appeal court decisions.

For that century, it was truly the imperial «golden document[?]» that the people had long been dreaming of. Essentially, the foundation for half of the reform of 1861, which liberated the peasantry, was laid by Paul Petrovich. Had he remained alive, might he not have become a Czar-Liberator?

It is known that once the Czar defended peasants that a landlord was planning to sell separately without their families and land in order to make use of the peasants’ property. The peasants refused to obey, and the landlord reported a revolt to the governor. The governor turned out to be a responsible officer and quickly found out the true cause of the matter.

Having received a report from the governor, Emperor Paul declared the deal invalid and ordered that the peasants be left in their homes and that the landlord be reprimanded most strictly on his behalf. The landlord’s conscience began to trouble him. He convened all his serfs and asked for their forgiveness. Then he went to St. Petersburg and asked for an audience with His Majesty. «So did you settle the matter with your peasants, my dear sir? What did they say?» the emperor asked the culprit. «They said, Your Majesty, that God will forgive me…» «Well, since God and they have forgiven you, I forgive you as well. Remember in the future that they are not your slaves; they are my subjects just as you are. They are only entrusted to your care, and you are responsible for them before me as I am accountable for Russia before God,» he concluded. (Shabelski-Bork, P.N., «Paul’s Tapestry» from the book Two Monarchs, Moscow 1992). After that incident a special decree was issued prohibiting the separate sale of serfs from the same family. It was also during Paul’s reign that the corvée (the peasants’ obligation to work for their landlord) was reduced to three days a week.

The emperor gave special attention to soldiers. They were provided with warmer winter uniforms, better food and better salary. Prior to Paul’s reign, discipline was lacking in the army. The civil administration was no better than the military in terms of embezzlement and abuses. Strict measures were in order, and they were taken by the emperor. After the dissipation of Catherine’s time, this discipline seemed harsh to many people, but in fact it was not. Noblemen were no longer relieved of legal responsibility for their crimes. Paul forbade army officers to come to military exercises in their six- or four-horse driven carriages and wrap their hands in fur muffs. He also forbade the practice of enrolling infants into the army for «seniority.»

His love for justice and his concern about the common people were also seen in the fact that he granted his subjects direct access to him by placing a famous box outside the Winter Palace, the key to which was in his personal possession and into which anyone — from the highest dignitaries to the lowliest commoner — could place requests for direct royal protection or mercy. The Czar himself took the requests out of the box every day and read them, and not one of them remained unresolved.

Even before dawn, at 5 o’clock in the morning the emperor was already on his feet. And he made everyone work according to his example. He would appear everywhere unexpectedly, no matter how bad or frosty the weather was, forging the military power of the Russian army. He mercilessly fired negligent officers, and in a short time the Russian army achieved that high level of military expertise that covered Russian arms with legendary glory.

There were reforms carried out in civil management too: the number of administrative regions was reduced, and the administrative staff was improved. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the reign of Emperor Paul I pushed Russia fifty years ahead, and all of his measures were continued in subsequent years by reigning monarchs.

There probably was no sphere in state affairs that was not influenced by the industrious emperor. For instance, to combat devaluation of the currency, the minting of silver rubles was ordered. The Czar himself sacrificed part of the palace silver for this important cause. He said that he would eat his meals with tin plates and cutlery «until the ruble reaches its proper conversion rate.» And the law on medical establishments developed by Paul I could be used in Russia even in our time.

Emperor Paul I was solicitous toward the Orthodox clergy. His goal was for the clergy to have «an appearance and condition appropriate to the importance of their office.» As a result, under Paul I measures were taken to improve the living conditions of the secular clergy: the pay scale of those on established salaries was raised, and where there were no established salaries, parishioners were required to work on church lands, which was later replaced by a corresponding contribution of grain or money. Decorations were established to motivate the clergy to more zealous service. Clergymen received awards, and on the personal initiative of the Czar, the awarding of a special pectoral cross was once again instituted. The Synod Cross bore the letter «P», the initial of the emperor Paul Petrovich, on its reverse side until the revolution. His Majesty was also zealous about the enlightenment of the clergy. Under his rule several seminaries were established, as well as religious academies in St. Petersburg and Kazan.

Under His Majesty Paul Petrovich the foundation for unity of faith was laid. Thousands of former schismatics, «Old Believers,» left their sects, submitted to the lawful Orthodox clergy, and gained the hope of saving their souls. At the same time, under Emperor Paul the sects that did not acknowledge imperial authority or practiced tortures were persecuted.

But for us it is more important to have an insight into the inner world of the Most Righteous Czar, who was righteous not only by title, but also by his life.

A contemporary of the Czar, N. A. Sablukov, who thanks to his service at the imperial court was fortunate to know the emperor personally, remembered him as «a deeply religious person, full of true devoutness and fear of God.» «He was a magnanimous person, ready to forgive offenses and to admit his own mistakes,» Sablukov writes in his memoirs. «He highly valued truthfulness, hated deception and falsehood, was concerned about justice, and mercilessly punished abuses, especially bribery and corruption» («The Assassination of 1801», Essays of N. A. Sablukov, Saint Petersburg, 1907).

A well-known expert on Paul’s life, Shabelski-Bork, wrote, «When Paul was still Crown Prince, he often spent the entire night in prayer. The small rug on which he prayed, which has been preserved in Gatchina, was worn through by his knees» (Shabelski-Bork, P.N., «Paul’s Tapestry», from the book Two Monarchs, Moscow 1992). The above-mentioned N. A. Sablukov corroborates this: «Even to this day they point out the places where Paul habitually kneeled, immersed in prayer and often in tears. The parquet is definitely worn in these places. The officers’ guard room where I would sit when on duty in Gatchina was adjacent to Paul’s private study, and I often heard the emperor’s sighs when he knelt in prayer.» («The Assassination of 1801», Essays of N. A. Sablukov, Saint Petersburg,1907).

Historical notes of those years have preserved a description of the following event. «A guard at the Summer Palace had a strange and awesome vision… Suddenly the Archangel Michael appeared before the guard in the light of heavenly glory, and the guard was left stunned and trembling by the vision… And the Archangel ordered that a temple be built there in his name and that Emperor Paul be informed of this without fail. This unusual event was made known to the superiors, of course, and they report everything to Paul Petrovich. And he replied, ‘I already know;’ it appeared that all was known to him beforehand, and the guard’s vision was, as it were, a repetition.» («Life Eternal,» Moscow, July 1996). From this story we can draw the conclusion that His Majesty Paul was found worthy of revelations from the heavenly world.

In our troubled times, with their lack of censorship, a shameful slander has been spread on a wide scale: some reckless zealots have had the idea of counting even the Orthodox monarchs themselves among the enemies of the Church. Their arguments that during the Synodal period the Russian Autocrats supposedly oppressed the Church are shocking in their absurdity. Such arguments have been brought to a logical conclusion: the heretical «Renovationists» have declared that only under Soviet power did the Russian Orthodox Church gain complete freedom…

The memory of the Czar-martyr Paul was denigrated not only by Masons and liberals of various kinds, but also by representatives of the opposing camp. Thus a devoted «monarchist» N. E. Markov, in his otherwise good book on the history of anti-Christianity, was overzealous in his revelation of «dark forces» and managed to suspect Czar Paul Petrovich of being involved in Masonry. «It has not been established for certain whether Paul I was a Mason himself,» writes Markov, «At any rate he was Grand Master of the Maltese Order, an ambiguous and enigmatic organization.» (N. E. Markov, Wars of the Dark Forces, Moscow 1993, p.81)

The Maltese Order itself sought the emperor’s patronage in the interests of self-preservation. On October 12, 1799 the sacred relics of the Order were ceremonially brought to Gatchina: the right hand of John the Baptist, a piece of the Lord’s Cross, and the Filerma(?) Icon of the Mother of God Odigitria(?). Only someone who is spiritually blind would not see the Lord’s Providence in the fact that His Majesty became the Grand Master of the Maltese Order. The Church established October 12 as a holiday, and a special service was composed to celebrate that event.

We should also note that later Emperor Alexander III (1875) and the Holy Martyr Emperor Nikolai II (1891), as well as the Holy Martyr Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the Martyr Grand Prince Sergei Alexandrovich, became holders of the Great Cross of the Maltese Order. From this we can conclude that whatever the Maltese Order was in reality, being a member of that organization does not mean being a Mason. Otherwise we would have to count all the above-mentioned emperors as Masons, including those glorified by the Church.

Markov continues later in his work: «Contact with the Masons did not go without consequences. It is known that the villainous assassination of Paul I was prepared and realized with the active participation of Masons, both Russian and British» (N. E. Markov, Wars of the Dark Forces,»Moscow 1993, p.81).

According to Markov’s thinking, the fact that Masons killed emperor Paul I should somehow testify to His Majesty’s being a Mason himself. But if we adopt such absurd logic, then all the monarchs who suffered at the hands of revolutionaries must be considered advocates of revolution, and the Martyr-Czar Nikolai Alexandrovich, following the same logic, must be accused of conspiring with the Bolsheviks! The absurdity of such conclusions is self-evident.

In fact, the participation of Masons in the assassinations of monarchs is quite understandable and testifies to nothing but their hatred toward divinely established imperial power and their burning desire to destroy lawful monarchs. It would even be surprising if the Masons had not been involved in the plot against Paul I. Prelate Ioann of Shanghai explains the nature of the Masons’ determination to eliminate the Czars in the following way: «Before the Antichrist comes into the world, his appearance is being prepared for. The mystery is under way, and the forces preparing for his advent struggle primarily against monarchial power. (Prelate Ioann Maximovich, Words. San-Francisco, 1994). The accomplices of the Antichrist struggle against the Czar, but behind this is hidden a struggle against God. «Such is the essence of the struggle against the Czar and Russia, against the foundation of her life and historical development. Such is the meaning and aim of that struggle…» testifies Prelate Ioann Maximovich. «Everything low and unclean and sinful that can be found in the human soul was brought up to oppose the Czar and Russia. All of this rose up with all its power in a struggle against the Imperial Crown, which is decorated with a cross, for the service of the Czar is the bearing of a cross.» (Prelate Ioann Maximovich, Words. San-Francisco, 1994).

The 18th century was a time when free-thinkers and atheists were rising up to push European nations into the abyss of bloody revolutions. The main obstacle blocking their way was Orthodox and autocratic Russia, headed by truly devout monarchs.

The French revolution, which gave free rein to atheism and all kinds of immorality, contaminated the minds of many people in Russian high society. His Majesty Paul Petrovich was deeply aware of the danger of revolutionary ideas to the children of the Orthodox Church, so he relentlessly tried to root out the shoots of freethinking. Certain Masons were made to promise not to open new Masonic lodges, which curbed the expansion of Masonry in Russia considerably.

Emperor Paul loved his people and wanted Russia to develop in its own way. He started reforms that revoked privileges obtained by the aristocracy under previous czars. He cared more about the good of the peasantry and common people. The highest circles of His Majesty’s government saw that their privileges were in danger and began to prepare a plot for his removal. Those traitors had strong economic ties with England, whose interests were more important to them than the interests of Russia.

Paul I was distinguished by a noble character and a truly Christian soul. He dreamed of bringing peace to Europe and restoring thrones and altars ruined by revolution. But he turned out to be alone against his secret enemies; he was surrounded by treachery, betrayal and deceit… The dark forces were afraid of the influence of God’s Anointed on the fates of the nations. A plot was formed, headed by high government officials and embittered military officers dreaming of unrestricted freedom. They began to distort the Emperor’s orders beyond recognition. The conspirators used all sorts of tricks to turn public opinion in the capitol against the Czar. The salon of Mrs. Zherebtzova, the sister of the three Zubovy brothers, who would later become assassins, became the headquarters of the plot, and behind her stood a «friend,» English ambassador Sir Charles Whitworth. Lopukhin testifies that Zherebtzova distributed 2 million gold pounds to the participants of the assassination. A treaty with Napoleon for a campaign in India, which would have undermined Britain’s position of power, served as the Czar’s death warrant. The traitors did not conceal that England’s interests were dearer to them than the interests of Russia.

By March 1801 the hard-heartedness of the conspirators had reached its highest point, and they decided to assassinate the Czar. In the early hours of March 12 (old style) His Majesty Paul Petrovich was brutally martyred.

The main villain of the conspiracy, Palen, kept his distance during the assassination. If the plot failed, he planned to arrest all the conspirators and represent himself to the Czar as a savior. The emperor, who had a premonition of something terrible, called his faithful friends General Arakcheyev and Count Rostopchin, but Palen didn’t let them in, having tricked His Majesty. Palen persuaded the heir, Alexander, of the necessity of his replacing his father on the throne, but guaranteed him that Paul Petrovich’s life was not in danger. All the conspirators were gotten drunk. Former favorites of Catherine II, including the Zubov brothers, also took part. After dinner, the Czar went to his rooms, of which there were five. All the doors were locked, including the one leading to the Empress’ chambers. The Emperor’s two personal valets remained at their posts. An officer of the Preobrazhensky regiment opened the gates to the conspirators. Eighteen officers set off toward the Emperor’s bedroom. They seized the valets and tied them up, then broke down the door to the bedroom. Benigsen saw the Czar hiding behind a screen; he shouted that Paul was no longer Emperor, and the drunken officers threw themselves on His Majesty. Paul started to call for help, but Nikolai Zubov hit him on the temple with a heavy snuffbox, and the Emperor fell. They started to smother him, and he soon was still. This happened around one o’clock in the morning on March 12 according to the old style, March 24 new style, 1801, exactly 200 years ago.

Alexander did not expect such an outcome; when he saw his father dead, he fainted. His conscience tormented him for the rest of his life. He was not guilty of his father’s death, but he was guilty of conspiring against his father. And God did not give him an heir.

Napoleon’s comment on that event was: «England would have been finished, had it not been for the death of Czar Paul.»

The prophecy of the clairvoyant monk Abel, which he had told the emperor in person, came completely true: «Your reign will be short and I, a sinner, see your cruel end. On the day of St. Sophronius of Jerusalem you shall receive a martyr’s end at the hands of unfaithful servants. Scoundrels whom you now warm at your royal breast will suffocate you in your bedchamber… You will be buried on Great Saturday… These scoundrels, trying to justify their great sin of regicide, will proclaim you to be insane, and they will defame your good name.» (Life Eternal, Moscow, July 1996). The main conspirator and murderer of His Majesty, Palen, had Father Abel incarcerated in the prison of the Peter and Paul fortress, allegedly for disturbing His Majesty’s peace. His Majesty never learned about this.

The end of the regicides was horrible. Before death, practically all of them suffered physical and psychological torment. One of them died from eating too many oysters. The three who were chiefly responsible for starting the rumors of the Czar’s insanity went mad themselves. And the leader of the regicides, Palen, went insane and ate his own feces. Thus the Lord punished those myrmidons of Antichrist who dared to shed the blood of God’s Anointed.

Fr. Abel’s prophecy ended with the following words: «But the Russian people, with its sensitive soul, will understand and appreciate you, and will bring all its sorrows to your grave, asking for your intercession and for the softening of the hearts of the unrighteous and cruel» (Life Eternal, Moscow, July 1996). This part of Fr. Abel’s prophecy also came true. Prelate Ioann of Shanghai writes: «When Paul I was murdered, the people did not even know about it. When they found out, they came to the emperor’s grave for years, bringing their sympathy and prayers to him» (Prelate Ioann Maximovich, Words. San-Francisco, 1994).

After Paul I’s death, the people indeed did not forget their imperial benefactor; candles were always burning on his grave, fresh flowers were brought, and the common people would bring their petitions to him, asking for heavenly intercession. A church was built in the Mikhailovski palace on the site of the Czar’s bedchamber, where he was martyred, with the sacred altar set on the place where the regicide itself was committed.

Incidentally, the monk Abel foretold to Paul the future fate of Russia and her last emperor. On Emperor Paul’s request the monk wrote that prophecy down, and His Majesty, having sealed the envelope, wrote under the seal: «To be opened by our Descendant on the one hundredth anniversary of my death.»

In fulfillment of this request, on March 11, 1901, after the Liturgy in Gatchina, Czar Nicholas II opened the envelope and read the predictions about his own fate and that of Russia. He never said anything about this letter, but he began to fear the year 1918, and said that it would be a fateful year, both for himself and for the entire dynasty.

Prince N. D. Zhevakhov wrote in his memoirs: «The relationship of Emperor Paul I to the Church was such that only the revolution of 1917 interrupted the work toward his canonization. However, in the mind of the Russian people Emperor Paul has been counted among the saints for a long time already. The wondrous signs, showing God’s favor toward the Righteous One, which were worked by the Lord’s Providence at his grave in the last few years before the revolution not only attracted crowds of the faithful to the SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, but also prompted the parish clergy to publish an entire book of the signs and divine wonders that were poured out onto the faithful through the intercessions of the righteous emperor Paul I» (Prince N. D. Zhevakhov, Reminiscences, Moscow 1993, V.2, p.273).

P. N. Shabelski-Bork testifies: «The Triestenskaya library preserves as the apple of its eye a now most rare and unique booklet, published at the time by the clergy of the SS. Peter and Paul cathedral, about the miracles which occurred at the grave of Emperor Paul the First, of which over three hundred have been attested.» (Shabelski-Bork P.N., «Paul’s Tapestry» from the book Two Monarchs, Moscow 1992).

Metropolitan of St. Petersburg Isidor Nikolski describes one of these miracles in his diary. Metropolitan Isidor made the following note on November 16, 1882: «People believe in St. Petersburg that those who wish to be relived of military duties should order a requiem service for Paul I. The Potiomkins were hosting a young man who was very troubled about his upcoming compulsory military service. Somebody advised him to order a requiem service for Paul I. He went to the SS. Peter and Paul cathedral and did so. That evening he unexpectedly received notice from the ministry that he was exempt from the conscription. The event became known at court, and someone was sent to the Potiomkins to ask about it. It is remarkable that at the cathedral they ask the names of those who order the requiem service for Paul and record them in a book.» (The Unknown Nilus, Moscow 1996. v.1, p.394). If turning to the Czar-martyr Paul in prayer helped to avoid military service even before the revolution, how much more necessary is prayer for such help nowadays, when young men are made to serve not the Czar and Orthodox fatherland, but who knows whom… The more so since in our times there have also been cases of people being exempted from military service through the prayers of the imperial martyr.

In our days, when few people have the ability to reason objectively and sober-mindedly, it is useful to write an impartial essay on the character and activity of the untimely deceased monarch. The Church should appraise the life and work of the righteous emperor Paul Petrovich appropriately by acknowledging his sanctity and completing the process of his canonization as one of the martyrs glorified in Russia, which was interrupted by the anti-religious revolution. According to one writer of the beginning of the 19th century, Emperor Paul, in the short period of his reign, «taught the fear of God to all Russia.» And now the bright image of this Anointed One of God, depicted on icons, should undoubtedly dissipate the darkness that wraps the souls of the Russian people and help them understand the meaning of the Holy Russia we have lost.

Through the prayers of this imperial martyr, have mercy on us, O merciful Lord!



Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of Thy murdered servant, Emperor Paul the First, and by his prayers bestow upon us in these deceitful and fearful days wisdom in our deeds, meekness in our sufferings, and Thy salvation for our souls.

Look, O Lord, upon Thy faithful intercessor for orphans, the wretched, and the destitute, Emperor Paul, and through his holy prayers grant, O Lord, rapid and faithful help to those who ask it of Thee through him, O our God. Amen.


The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. The cathedral houses the remains of almost all the Russian emperors and empresses from Peter I to Nicholas II. Tomb of the Emperor Paul I.

The Church of the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul

St. Petersburg. The St Michael’s Castle. The Church of the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul was arranged in the former Bedroom of Emperor Paul I in 1857–1858, on the place of his tragic death. The church has preserved its original interior design almost completely. Like the church, currently not functioning.