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Nicholas and his family were canonized by the [[Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia]] in 1981 but this was a hotly debated decision. Both within and outside of Russia there were those who claimed that Nicholas' reign was weak and prone to extravagence and indifference to the plight of Russia's needy. On the other hand, there was widespread popular devotion to Tsar Nicholas among those who claimed that he was called of God to lead his people at a difficult time in history and did so to the best of his abilities. The religious devotion and piety of the family is well documented and not seriously contested.
In 2000, after some 8 years of study, the council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church voted unanimously to recognize Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children as saints.