On July 17, 1918, Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family (including his five children) were killed by the Bolsheviks. The late tsar is known as Saint-Nicholas the Passion Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church, a Passion Bearer being a person who faces his (or her) death while holding to his faith – different from a martyr, who is actually killed because of his faith. Whether or not Nicholas II is deserving of sainthood is up for debate. Some say he destroyed Imperial Russia, and some call him Bloody Nicholas for his role in pogroms and Bloody Sunday. Greatness is really up for debate, and often depends on which side you find more sympathetic. Me, I prefer the St. Nick we speak of at Christmas, who provides presents rather than bloodshed, and if someone misspells Nicholas II’s sainthood to make it a little harder to find in the library catalogue, well, I can’t really blame them.
(Image of Manizer's painting of Nicholas II courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)