Nicholas and his family were the Royal Family of Orthodox Russia before the 1917 Communist Revolution. He saw himself as the father of his people, and was trusting, loyal, compassionate, family-loving, modest, ascetic, and an extremely humble man. This was very hard to achieve while living for so many years as the autocrat of the largest nation on earth. His wife, Alexandria, and his children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and the Tsarevich Alexei followed his good example and were pious, modest, ascetic, and faithful, serving the people as they could.
When modern Western ideas began to transform Russia, revolutionaries rose up against their anointed Tsar. In 1914 Russia came to their allies’ aid, putting their nation in peril because their army was poorly armed and supplied. Their losses from Germany’s superior forces were staggering. When St. Nicholas came back from the front in 1917, he abdicated his throne to his brother upon pressure from Moscow. He was taken prisoner with his family, and later executed by the Bolsheviks on July 4/17, 1918. These Holy Royal Martyrs are called Passion-Bearers, like SS Boris and Gleb.