Bishop Job (Smakouz): "Our people defeated the enemy with prayer and faith"

Victory Banner over the Reichstg. Berlin, May 7, 1945

On the eve of the bright Victory Day, the UOJ addressed the Rector of the Pochaev Theological Seminary, Bishop Job (Smakouz) with a request to answer a few questions.

This year marks 74 years since the Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War. The word “Patriotic” refers not only to the Motherland, the land of our ancestors but also to the Heavenly Father, who gave it to us in mortal life. In this land we are called to glorify His Name, to protect the land given to us by God, to love and defend it. On the eve of this national holiday, the UOJ addressed the Rector of the Pochaev Theological Seminary, Bishop Job (Smakouz) with a request to answer a few questions.

What does this Day mean in the history of our people? How to connect it with the feat of the defenders of the Russian land in other times and centuries? What was the spiritual significance of the Victory in the atheistic Soviet Union? How and what to pray for on this day?

Bishop Job (Smakouz)

Victory Day is, first of all, a personal holiday of millions of our compatriots. It cannot just be forgotten or deleted in some way from our lives, from our calendar. It is impossible to change the festive color of this date. All the people – from the elderly to very young children – took part in that terrible war on the side of truth and, with God's help, defeated a fierce foe.

Victory Day is the day of memory of millions of fallen soldiers and civilians. For Orthodox Christians, this is the day of prayer commemoration of the murdered relatives – grandparents and parents, all those who died from wounds, diseases, captivity, and exhaustion from hard labor. Every family has relatives who didn’t spare themselves for the sake of our peaceful and prosperous life. That war to some extent touched us all with its deadly breath!

On Victory Day, the Orthodox also pray and honor the memory of all the soldiers who defended our land, beginning with the Old Russian soldiers of the era of St. Vladimir, the warriors who stood to death during the invasion of the Mongol-Tatars, the Cossacks of the times of Bogdan Khmelnitsky – the liberators from the Polish yoke and the Crimean raids, of those who defended their homes and families during the First World War, which inevitably had to end with the Victory in May 1945.

In 1945, Easter fell on May 6 – the day of memory of the Holy Martyr George the Victorious. I believe that the Victory in the Great War took place, including through the prayers of St. George the Victorious, who prayed for the people who suffered greatly from their sins, who had walked through the 20th century the terrible paths of civil revolutions and wars.

At the end of the war, many straight from the front in soldier’s shirts came to monasteries and seminaries to become monks and priests.

When the new war broke out like thunder, in the blink of an eye the Orthodox faith was resurrected in the hearts of the people. Many soldiers stood to death or went on the attack with the name of God. In the soldier’s shirts, the prayer “May God rise ...” and the 90th psalm were carefully sewn up by mothers, wives, and sisters.

Our people defeated the enemy with prayer and faith. Its sacrifices and prayers were accepted by the Lord. The invisible St. George the Victorious, on his white horse, along with our army, brought peaceful times and a happy end to the war. At the end of the war, many straight from the front in soldier’s shirts came to monasteries and seminaries to become monks and priests. Let us recall at least the brethren of the Pskov-Caves Monastery, where many former war-veterans led by a former tankman, the monastery abbot Archimandrite Alipiy (Voronov), called the Great abbot for his sincere faith and firmness of character, labored as monastics.

Greetings to all on Easter holidays – the Resurrection of Christ and Victory Day. The spiritual weapon of our people – sacrifice, spirituality, and the Orthodox faith – turned out to be stronger than the then best machines and army, which conquered all the countries of Europe.

Our prayer participation in the Day of Remembrance is the fulfillment of the 5th commandment of the Law of Moses on the veneration of parents. All participants of the war are dear to us, because thanks to them we today have life and all the benefits that we have. Honoring their memory, we keep peace and receive from God prosperity, many years ahead and blessings!

On this day we will also pray that the Lord will never leave our Homeland and our militant, that our people will spiritually ascend from strength to strength, first of all enhancing our spirit in the true Church and growing in the faith of Christ! And along with this, we will also strengthen materially in order to protect our freedom and our independence!

God grant that we always have a peaceful blue sky above our head!

Christ is truly risen!

Recorded by Deacon Sergey Geruk

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