Russian military glory reached its peak through the feat of arms and endless labour of our people in the years of the Great Patriotic war. Centuries earlier our warriors also showed the true heroism, courage and valour: under the leadership of Saint Dukes Alexander Nevsky and Dimitry Donskoy, citizen Minin and Duke Pozharsky, great Commanders Suvorov and Kutuzov, Saint Blessed warrior Feodor Ushakov and Admiral of the Fleet Nakhimov Russian warriors defeated powerful enemies that seemed unconquerable. However the war of 1941-1945 turned out to be an unprecedented ordeal.
The whole country stood up to defend the borders of our Motherland. The war was not only at the fronts – it came into every house, every family through grief and losses, ‘killed in battle’ notices and bitter sufferings. The victory was won at the cost of enormous efforts and sacrifices. It was achieved not only by spirited military accomplishments of Commanders and warriors, who took up arms to defend their Motherland, but also due to the exploits of those who, showered by bullets and missiles, took the wounded away from the battlefields and nursed them back to health in the frontline and base hospitals; who, working at factories 24/7 brought the Victory closer with their labour; who worked on the land, scorched by the war, so that to provide warriors, and their wives and children with food. In the days of hardships, having united into one family, casting off national, religious and ideological differences, the peoples of our country showed the remarkable unity of the spirit and will.
Our warriors were joined by one lofty goal. They defended not only their Fatherland, their families and homes, they defended the whole world from the deadly threat. A strong and cruel enemy, armed by the anti-Christian ideology of Nazism, waged war for world dominance. In the bloody war for the salvation of mankind from total subjugation we suffered the most severe and numerous losses. We bow our heads in memory of those who fell in battles of the Great Patriotic war at the fronts and in the enemy’s rear, those who died of wounds and hunger, died in the siege and were tortured to death or killed as captives.
The Russian Orthodox Church firmly believed in the coming Victory and from the first day blessed the Army and all the people to defend their Motherland. Our warriors were guarded not only by the prayers of the wives and mothers, but also by everyday church prayers about the Victory. Summoned by the Church millions of believers took part in collecting donations for creating a tank unit “Dimitry Donskoy” and air squadron “Alexander Nevsky”.
Many people found or strengthened their faith in the fiery hardships. A few warriors, having done their military duty for the Motherland, started serving God and the country as clergymen after the war.
My friends!...One past unites us, and we must be worthy of the selfless exploits of our fathers and grandfathers in the years of the war. We must not forget what the cost of our Great Victory was, and that we won it fighting shoulder to shoulder, so that our children and grandchildren lived in peace and friendship. New generations must keep the fraternity that was passed to us, sealed with blood shed on battlefields. No matter how many years pass from that distant past, the memory must live in the people’s heart, so that the continuity of times would not be broken. I appeal to our young people to be worthy of the memory of their fathers and grandfathers and learn courage and loyalty from those who stood through all the war hardships and trials and won the peace for the whole world.
On this great day I address those, who lived and fought in those violent years with special feelings. Dear veterans! You showed a heroic example of the selfless service to the Fatherland and your own people. Let the Lord give you many more years in strength and good health, to make your family and all of us happy. We all with gratitude honour your labours and feats.
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA