The Russian Orthodox Church, which has not officially recognized the “Ekaterinburg remains,” is already in discussions with the local government in staking a claim over the place where their remains were discovered in the 1970s at the Pigs Meadow (Porosyonkov Log). Situated on the north-western outskirts of Ekaterinburg, the site was added to the national cultural heritage list in June 2014.
A high ranking delegation from the Ekaterinburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye met in February with First Deputy Prime Minister of the Sverdlovsk government Vladimir Vlasov.
The February 19th meeting was attended by First Deputy Prime Minister Vlasov, and provincial ministers: Culture – Paul Krekov, Natural Resources – Alex Kuznetsov, and State Property Management – Aleksey Pyankov. In addition was the director of the Department of Forestry in the region Oleg Sandakov and Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye.
The Ministry of Culture of the Sverdlovsk Region notes that if the ROC recognizes the remains as authentic, then the transfer of the cultural heritage site (3.7 hectares) would be designated as sacred land and transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, where a memorial museum complex, similar to that at Ganina Yama would be constructed.
According to Archpriest Alexei Cullberg, the Church Commission, established in September 2015 at the request of Patriarch Kirill to address the issue of recognition of the royal remains found in Ekaterinburg, came to an unequivocal conclusion: “More research is needed, and, apparently, [new archaeological] excavations in Porosyonkov Log (previous digs were carried out in three previous years: 1979, 1991 and 2007)”. Patriarch Kirill noted that “with this in mind the definition of the ROC of its position on this matter may take several years.”
The Pigs Meadow (Porosyonkov Log) which is located about four and a half miles from Ganina Yama, was discovered in the late 1970s through clandestine research but kept secret until the political climate changed in 1989. In 1995, the remains found at the Pigs Meadow were identified as those of Emperor Nicholas II, his wife, three of their five children and four faithful retainers. A second, smaller pit was located about 70m away at the Porosenkov Ravine in 2007 containing the remains of the remaining two Romanov children missing from the larger grave.
It is important to note that should the ROC recognize the Ekaterinburg remains as those of the last Russian Imperial family, that their remains currently interred in St. Catherine’s Chapel of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg would most likely be transferred and reburied with great pomp and ceremony in another church, where their holy relics may be venerated by believers.