St. Alexandra, Passion-Bearer
Commemorated on July 4
St. Alexandra was born in 1872 as Princess Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt, a small Germany principality. Her mother, also named Princess Alice, was the daughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. At the age of six, Alexandra’s mother and youngest sister died from typhus, and her father, in his grief, sent the young princess and her siblings to live with their grandmother.
Princess Alice was raised in the ways of an English princess in the Protestant faith. Her older sister, Elizabeth, entered into marriage with Grand Duke Serge of Russia, and it was during their courtship that Princess Alice met the young Tsarevich of Russia, Nicholas.
Nicholas proposed, but the celebration of their engagement was cut short with the news that Nicholas’ father, Tsar Alexander III, was dying. Nicholas and his fiancée traveled back to Russia where they witnessed his father’s last breaths after receiving confession from St. John of Kronstadt.
The next day, Princess Alice of Hesse married Tsar Nicholas II, converted to Orthodoxy and received the name Alexandra.
Nicholas and Alexandra reigned Holy Orthodox Russia from 1894 to 1917. They had five children: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and the Tsarevich, Alexis.
Nicholas was forced to abdicate the throne in March 1917 during the Russian Revolution, and he and his family were subjected to house arrest.
The family was ultimately transferred to the Siberian town of Ekaterinburg in the summer of 1918 where they all were shot by Soviet executioners.
Troparion (Tone 1) –
Most noble and sublime was your life and death, O Sovereigns;
Wise Nicholas and blest Alexandra, we praise you,
Acclaiming your piety, meekness, faith, and humility,
Whereby you attained to crowns of glory in Christ our God,
With your five renowned and godly children of blessed fame.
O passion-bearers decked in purple, intercede for us.
Kontakion (Tone 2) –
Royalty and martyrdom were joined together, O blessed ones,
In your death for righteousness and right belief, O wise Sovereigns,
Nicholas and Alexandra, with your five children.
Hence, Christ our God counted you worthy of thrones in Heaven;
And with twofold crowns of glory,
You reign forever, adorned with grace divine.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)