RUSSIAN Orthodox Patriarch Kiriil on one last Tuesday led some 100,000 people in a nighttime  procession marking 100 years since the Bolsheviks shot dead  Tsar Nicholas II and his family after he abdicated, authorities said on Tuesday.

The powerful  church leader  led the  procession  that began in the early  hours of Tuesday  from the murder site to a  monastery  commemorating  the victims  outside the city of Yekaterinburg  just east of the  Ural  mountains.

Another  20,000   people  joined the  commemorations when the procession arrived at the monastery in Ganina Yama  after covering the distance  of  21 kilometres [ 13 miles ].

The  monastery was built  to honor the site  where  the burnt bodies  of the last  Russian tsar  and his family were thrown after their execution  in the  aftermath of  1917  Bolshevik Revolution, regional authorities  said.

The  Bolsheviks shot the  abdicated tsar, his   German-born  wife and their five children along with their servants and doctor on the night from  July 16  to  July 17, 1918  as they were  living under guard in the Ural city of  Sverdlovsk,  now  Yekaterinburg.

Addressing the pilgrims,  Patriarch  Kirill  said  Russia  should draw  lessons  " from this difficult and bitter experience . "

"We truly should have lasting immunity  against any ideas  and any leaders who call on us to embrace some new,  unknown happy future through the destruction of our life, our traditions, and our faith, " he said in a thinly veiled dig at the opposition to President Vladamir Putin.

The state planned no official commemoration.

But the regional authorities said the popularity of the  annual event  has grown steadily  over the past years,  adding that just  2,000  people  took part in a  similar procession in 2002.


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