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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

02/22/1997

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Bishops Boost Tsar's Sainthood Bid

Proposals to canonize the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family as saints took a big step forward Friday, winning the approval of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church. While the council said the royal family did not deserve sainthood for anything they had done before Nicholas's abdication in February 1917, the bishops ruled that the humble Christian way in which the royal family faced their imprisonment and death by firing squad in 1918 qualified them as saints. The bishops gave their assent to a report by the church's canonization commission that said the royal family comes under the scope of a special Orthodox Church category of sainthood known as passion sufferers. Nicholas II abdicated as the last Romanov tsar after driving Russia into the disastrous World War I. He was taken prisoner and shot by Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg in July 1918.

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