The lady known also as “Evgenia Smetisko/Eugenia Smith/Eugenie Smetisko and Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicolaievna Romanov” is buried in a humble grave located at the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR-Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) Monastery and Seminary in Herkimer County, Upstate New York, New York-USA.
Although her claims to have been the surviving youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra are explicitly rejected by ROCOR, a glaring incongruity is immediately evident to anyone who finds the grave toward the back of the main cemetery across the road from the Old Cemetery and the New Cemetery; the woman with the rejected claim that she was Anastasia Romanov has been granted a noble honor-she has been buried with the date of birth of Anastasia Romanov (18 June 1901).
It seems a fitting place for a Romanov Grand Duchess to choose to be entombed. When she first visited the monastery in 1981 to discuss her plans to leave them a sizable annuity in perpetuity to subsidize a museum of Russian History, to which she was to bequeath numerous Romanov objects in her possession, a young monk reportedly asked one of the executors of her estate who ” the little lady was.” The answer was swift and firm, “Why, that is GRAND DUCHESS ANASTASIA NICHOLAIEVNA ROMANOV!”
This in itself was a conundrum as Anastasia and her family had been canonized as saints that year in ROCOR. The assumption was that they had ALL DIED together in the night of July 16/17 1918 in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Pious belief may or may not be objectively verifiable truth.
Cracks in the official narrative became evident in 1998 when the American forensics team examining the purported Romanov remains was in disagreement with the Russian team. The late William Maple who led the American team told his Russia counterparts that the skeletal remains identified as “Anastasia” could not be hers. The bone growth and other forensic details were not correct for a girl of Anastasia’s age. It must be “MARIA,” Maple insisted. When the Russian team rejected his findings the collaboration supposedly terminated. Using 2D visual face technology developed by Mr. Bob Schmitt (www.visualfacerecognition.com) Tsarizm investigator and author, John (Johannes) Froebel-Parker, found that Maple was correct. The “Anastasia Skull” did not match the youngest grand duchess at all, but did match perfectly the skull and face reconstruction of her older sister Maria. These images are included in Froebel-Parker’s Anastasia Again: the Hidden Secret of the Romanovs (IceBox Publishing, 2018).
Recently, other researchers underscore that there are alternate versions of what happened the night of the supposed massacre. Coryne Hall in her 2018 book
To Free the Romanovs: Royal Kinship and Betrayal in Europe 1917-1919 does justice to history by mentioning eye witness reports of an airplane circling above the Ipatiev House the day before the supposed massacre, while other eye witnesses reported that they had seen a train with the curtains closed heading towards the city of Perm. In September, according to author Peter Kurth in his Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson (1983, p.43) Princess Yelena of Russia (Helena of Serbia), wife of Prince Ioann Konstantinovich, was in a Perm prison in September 1918 at which time the Bolsheviks presented a girl to her who they purported was Anastasia. When asked to identify her, Yelena denied that the girl was Anastasia. Was this a savvy denial which allowed Anastasia, reported to have escaped from Perm according to researcher, Marie Stravlo, to make her way through Romania and eventually to the USA? Although aka “Evgenia Smetisko” does not mention this incident in her 1963 memoirs included in Froebel-Parker’s book, she does attribute any memories of the moments leading up to the execution to information gradually shared with her by her rescuer, Alexander. If the Perm incident is pivotal, it may have been cleverly avoided to protect any participants still alive in 1963. As one Romanov descendant shared with this author, ” In those days one never knew if someone would jump out of the bushes with a poison tip umbrella.”
Stravlo’s investigation, to be revealed at a future date in its entirety, delves into a story that involves the rest of the Romanov family, but also concludes that Anastasia did survive and escape. She still promotes that Anna Manahan Anderson was the real Anastasia, that the original DNA analysis was faulty, with the promise that more substantiation will be revealed. Froebel-Parker submits that aka “Evgenia Smetisko” was the real Anastasia, buried with a royal date of birth, perhaps begrudgingly, by the Church which rejects her claim but acknowledges before God via her grave marker that she may eventually be proven to be veritably Anastasia Romanov. In contrast to Anna Anderson who was cremated which is anathema in the Orthodox Christian faith, aka Evgenia was buried in the traditional Christian manner at the monastery. Exhumation would always be possible with the goal of DNA extraction. However, one recent visitor to the monastery reports that in a private conversation with a monastery representative, the point was made that aka Evgenia had also left a DNA sample “for the day that she would be need to be identified.”
While various Romanovs in exile did recognize diverse claimants as the verifiable Anastasia, Olga, Alexei, etc, there were also Romanovs who rejected them. Yelena of Russia, when asked to affirm Anna Anderson as Anastasia, immediately refused. Conversely, aka “Evgenia Smetisko” visited former imperial tutor, Charles “Sydney” Gibbes, then an Orthodox monk named Father Nicholai, on a number of occasions in England. Her trips back and forth to Great Britain are chronicled in records viewable on Ancestry.com. Did Father Nicholai affirm that she was indeed Anastasia? To date, no concrete documentation to the fact has been found, however, at his death all of his Romanov objects, those given to him by the Tsar, Tsaritsa and the children as well as those he retrieved from the Ipatiev House after the Cheka forces had fled, were bequeathed to aka “Evgenia.” Most of these are now in the gem of a museum located on monastery grounds. The importance of the upstate New York museum was reported on by Eve Kahn for the The New York Times in 2014 in which “Smetisko/Smith” is mentioned.
The recent proclamations by Patriarch Kirill in Moscow that there is NO HURRY to make any definitive declaration about the supposed “Romanov Remains” in Russia may be a message to the world that the upper echelons of Orthodoxy know that the “official narrative” of the Romanov tragedy may diverge from objective truth.
Perhaps the survival of one or more Romanov members has been a state secret since the days of the Revolution. Perhaps our own US government also knows the truth. Indeed, in 1963 aka “Evgenia Smetisko” submitted to a 30 hour polygraph lie detection analysis by Mr. Grover “Cleve” Backster, the founder of the CIA polygraph lie detection unit. His techniques are still in use today. When aka “Evgenia” denied she was Anastasia, she failed the exam. Backster asked her then to answer the questions from the perspective of her being the true Anastasia Romanov. When she did, she passed and Backster declared her to be telling the truth.
Any survivors, including Anastasia, will need to be redefined in theological terms. While the family are “saints” in the ROCOR, they are “Passion-Bearers” in the Russian Orthodox Church, people who face death in a Christian matter. That is an assertion that could be applied to them all for the entire time they were in detention from Tsarskoe Selo to Tobolsk to Ekaterinburg. All reports substantiate that they had forgiveness for their captors, held daily devotions, and took comfort in the Holy Eucharist whenever Divine Liturgy could be celebrated.
The author will be presenting his research and answering questions at a meeting of the Ravena-Coeymans Historical Society, Village Hall, Mountain Road, Ravena, New York on Sunday 10 March 2019 at 2PM. The public is welcome. A formal portrait of HSH Princess Ekaterina Ioanova Konstantinova Romanova, the daughter of Princess Yelena of Russia and Prince Ioan Konstantinovich, by artist Barbara Kur Green, will be unveiled.
Tsarizm will be revealing events and details as they emerge.