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Honouring Victory Day: A Sacred Remembrance

Sisters of Saint Elisabeth Convent about Victory Day

Abbess Euphrosyne Laptik

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Christ is Risen! I extend my congratulations to everyone on Victory Day. We are grateful to all those who laid down their lives so that we could live in peace. Let us not forget to honour and appreciate their sacrifice. Eternal memory to all who secured this Victory for us. Truly, Christ is Risen!

Nun Tamara Ignatovich

Christ is Risen! Happy Victory Day, dear Brothers and Sisters! My grandfather Stepan also fought for this glorious day. You see, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Hence, Victory Day is a day of love, a day to exemplify this Gospel commandment. So, to all of you on this cherished and significant day!

Nun Vera Gordienko

My grandfather Alexey Ignatievich Bezverkhiy, a Soviet military pilot and a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, fought from the first day to the last. He held the rank of senior lieutenant in the Guards and was honoured with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. He served in the same squadron as the Hero of the Soviet Union, Alexei Pokryshkin, and took part in the Victory Parade of 1945 on Red Square in Moscow.

I am immensely proud of my grandfather. Thank you, grandfather, for securing the Victory! I wish all of us, the Russian people, the same unity of spirit that aided our grandfathers and great-grandfathers in achieving this great victory and overcoming the greatest enemy of humanity — Nazism.

Nun Glykeria Khmyzova

My grandmother was very young when the Nazi Germans were already in retreat. The family lived in the Kherson region of Ukraine.

Being still a very little, foolish girl, she saw an icon at her mother’s. In those times, icons were still hidden, but she saw her mother praying. She fell to her knees and prayed so sincerely, with her whole soul and heart, that the Mother of God protected their house, and the Germans passed them by. Thanks to this, I can say that I am alive.

And so, I am here to congratulate everyone on Victory Day and wish everyone, even in the most seemingly hopeless situations, to always rely on God and the protection of the Mother of God.

Nun Taisia Yakovleva

My grandfather, Philip served on the front lines until Victory Day in 1945. Here he even has a medal to prove it. Another grandfather, Vasily Filipovich, fought his way from the Orenburg region in Russia all the way to Urechye near Minsk.

And here we have Fedor Turaev, who died in battle in Podolsk near Moscow in July 1941 and was buried in a mass grave. This final picture is of a partisan, my grandmother’s mother. She was shot in 1943 near Kursk in the village of Soldatskoye in the forest for helping partisans.

On this holiday, I want to wish everyone goodness, peace, and joy. Christ is Risen!

Nun Vasilisa Sidorovich

I wish your families, relatives, and loved ones more peace, more kindness within your families and amongst your colleagues. May you always support each other, joyfully seeking happiness together!

Nun Antonina Semenova

Greetings to everyone on Victory Day! My grandfather, Yuri Yankovsky, was born on February 14th, 1921, in Ostroshitsky Gorodok. At the young age of twenty, he answered the call to serve and went to the front. After graduating from the Vinnytsia Infantry School in Ukraine, he fought bravely in the infantry near Stalingrad. Unfortunately, he was captured and taken to Germany, but thankfully, he returned home when Germany was liberated.

Nun Sevastiana Uskokovich

Happy Victory Day! Christ is Risen! My Montenegrin grandfather, Dushan Petrov Uskokovich, also fought in the Second World War. Look, he has a St George's Ribbon, too! Saint George is our family’s spiritual protector, and through his prayers, we continue to feel the greatness of the Victory.

Nun Magdalina Tikhonyuk

To all present, I offer my congratulations on this glorious day, the Feast of Christ’s Resurrection, and Victory Day. I come from Poland, and I was raised in an Orthodox family. My grandmother recounted the story of two of her brothers who perished in the war, defending our homeland.

They were barely twenty years old. Their names are Ivan and Nikolai Adamyuk. Nikolai, a volunteer, was missed in action. Ivan, called to duty, met his death near Grunwald, a place now within the borders of Poland. They fought alongside the Soviet Army, for the sake of our freedom. To all, I express my deepest gratitude. Glory and honour be theirs, for the victory they secured, and the sacrifice they made.

Nun Olga Velikaya

A joyous Victory Day to everyone assembled! Above all, however, I wish you victory over yourselves. This, perhaps, is the most arduous conquest of all. Allow me to share a tale of my great-grandfather. A man of devout faith, he clung to his beliefs even through the harshest trials of war and Soviet rule. I believe it was through his prayers that I found my path to the monastery. His name is Ivan.

Nun Agapia Knotko

My warmest congratulations to all on this momentous occasion, Victory Day — a day that celebrates the triumph of our nation’s spirit. In these challenging times we currently face, I offer the wish that we all find the strength to persevere. Let us never forget the sacrifices made by our grandparents, who endured hardship and even death, so that we might today enjoy the precious gift of peace.

Nun Minodora Gvozd

We can never forget the extraordinary deeds of our grandparents. There is a deep well of gratitude, I am sure, for their sacrifices in our hearts, even in our generation. My grandfathers, grandmothers, great-grandfathers, and great-grandmothers also fought in this war.

Take my grandfather, Philip, my mother’s father, Serbun Philip Nikitich. Before the war, he was a tractor driver. But when the war came, he was drafted and became a tankman. He was wounded near Krakow, but he recovered and went all the way to Berlin in his tank. He was a decorated soldier, receiving the Medal "For Courage" amongst other honours.


On my father’s side, both of his parents, my grandmother Vera and grandfather Anton, spent the entire war in German concentration camps. My grandmother Vera endured the horrors of Dachau. Five times they selected her for the gas chamber, but each time, by God’s miracle, she was spared. These were young girls, barely twenty years old when they arrived at the camps. They cut off their braids. She kept hers, a thick braid she would show us later. Everyone who returned from those camps came back with hair turned white from the ordeal.

My grandfather Anton, my father’s father, was just a teenager when the war imprisoned him in those concentration camps. After the war, he fought with the Banderites in the Lvov (Lviv) Region of Ukraine. They wounded him there, a bullet to the temple.

Nun Anastasia Lashuk

Christ is Risen! I offer my congratulations to everyone on this Victory Day. May these days be a time to remember the incredible feats of our loved ones, a time that unites us and strengthens us in our spiritual fight for joy.

My grandfather, Ivan Vikentiyevich Lashuk, was a soldier. He fought bravely, earning medals for courage and the capture of Berlin. He was even captured himself, but he escaped. Even after Belarus was liberated, he continued the fight.

Nun Olga Antanovich

My grandfather was born in 1924, in the village of Mostishche, in the Novogrudok district. He was a partisan. Even today, in the village of Chereshlya, you can see the dugouts and trenches left behind from the battles of the war. He reached Germany as a private. He has medals for courage and military merit. He was wounded, and a fragment of the shrapnel remained with him for the rest of his life.

Nun Agrippina Chizhik

My grandfather, Alexander Kirillovich Chizhik, fought in the war and had combat medals. He reached the German capital and received a medal for the capture of Berlin. We are so blessed to have had such ancestors in our family. When we remember the past, it fills us with hope for the future.

Nun Valentina Galtseva

My paternal grandfather had a brother, Vasily Vasilievich Goncharuk. During the war, he supported the partisans working as a village elder. But in 1944, he was betrayed and seized. He was a young man of only twenty-six then. He was tortured. Even decades later, in the late eighties, a survivor emerged — someone who had been held with Vasily during that ordeal. This person managed to escape, but Vasily wasn’t so fortunate — his captors had broken his hands. He attempted to flee through a window, but they caught him and dragged him back. He died, and his final resting place remains unknown. We remember him and keep him in our prayers.

Nun Galina Sorokina

My grandfather, Mikhail Georgievich Lazeev, was a lieutenant in the Guards. He commanded a rifle platoon in the 21st Guards Rifle Regiment, part of the 5th Guards Rifle Division which was part of the 11th Army of the First Baltic Front. He left for the war in 1941, a twenty-eight-year-old man from his home in the Tula region in Russia. Let me share a fragment of a letter he wrote at the very beginning of the war:

“Hello, my dearest ones, all of you. I send my warmest greetings and hope life continues peacefully for you, a normal day-to-day existence. I can’t quite explain it, my friends, but for the past three days, a terrible anxiety has gripped me, a feeling I can’t express properly. Perhaps my heart senses some change for you there? Did something happen to Mother? Is she unwell, or worse? Or maybe it’s the other way around — you miss me terribly, and somehow, I feel it here. If that’s the case, I beg you, don’t grieve for me. We made a pact, remember? You won’t miss me. That’s all. Why all this sadness? I’m not alone here. We are all united, preparing to drive out the enemy, to utterly destroy this fascist scourge, to cleanse our sacred homeland from all its traces.”

My grandfather died near Vitebsk on 3 February 1944, from battle wounds.

Nun Mstislava Gorodnychuk

Christ is Risen! May I take this opportunity to offer my congratulations to everyone on this glorious and holy day, the Ninth of May. A day when we remember our beloved kin who fought so valiantly to secure peace on earth. Their courage is an inspiration, a reminder to follow the path of Christ with unwavering resolve.

Nun Fevronia Maksimenko

My father, Vladimir Ivanovich Maksimenko, was a fighter in a Belarusian partisan unit, and he assisted in the formation of a resistance group. These brave souls gathered weapons, ammunition, and explosives. My father remained in the village, collecting intelligence on the enemy’s movements, stirring the spirit of resistance amongst the people, and delivering provisions to the partisans in the woods.

Once by pure chance, he avoided a police ambush when he was transporting food to the forest on a cart. Faced with the threat of exposure, he joined the partisans himself and became their courier. And it was with his participation that a train carrying enemy munitions was destroyed in the Orsha-Krichev region.

The Ninth of May has always held a special place in our family. It wasn’t just because my father was born on the eve of Victory, the eighth of May. My mother, Nina Sergeyevna Maksimenko, was also a combat veteran. For us, their children and grandchildren, it was a day filled with pride for our country and the spirit of joy stemming from our parents. And there was always sunshine, bright and warm sunshine. A grand celebration indeed. Christ is Risen!

Nun Nymphodora Karpovich

Today, I wish to say from the heart: “Thank God for peace.” I bow low to all in deep gratitude to all the veterans and the fallen soldiers of both the Second and the First World Wars. This day inevitably stirs deep emotions as we remember our beloved ancestors — grandfathers, grandmothers, great-grandfathers — who fought relentlessly, day after day, to bring victory closer.

I am proud that my family tree, too, is adorned with such heroes, whom I hold in my memory and prayers. On my mother’s side, I have a great-grandfather who fought on the Leningrad Front. He was one of the fortunate few to return from those brutal battles.

Another great-grandfather, my mother’s grandfather Yakov, was a partisan here, in Belarus. They lived in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, a family united in resistance against the German forces in the forest. The war’s cruelty didn’t spare those of my kin who remained in the villages. My grandfather’s brother, his entire family — his wife, even his daughter-in-law who cradled a newborn baby in her arms — were all murdered.

My grandfather was a Hero of the Great Patriotic War, he fought on the Ukrainian front, reaching Prague. He suffered severe wounds multiple times. Once, while defending a communication line in the forests, he, a machine gunner, was struck by a powerful concussion. Presumed dead, he was left by his comrades-in-arms beside his machine gun. But by some miracle, he regained consciousness and opened fire on the Germans once more. Alerted by the sudden burst of gunfire, his comrades returned and successfully secured the communication line.

Nun Alexandra Markova

I want to share the story of my mother, Vera Yakovlevna Kudevich. For two long years, she was in Auschwitz as a political prisoner, serving as a secret agent all the while. She had served as an intelligence officer. It took her twenty years to begin to narrate the true depths of her ordeal: the horrors she lived through have been such that one would try to bury them deep in their memory. But what truly struck me, what resonated with me as a believer, was the unwavering faith of these young women, these Komsomol members raised in the Soviet spirit.

As the German forces retreated and victory loomed, they herded the prisoners from the concentration camp to hangars on the airport grounds where planes were landing. They were locked inside in the expectation that our pilots, our planes, would bomb them to death. For two horrific days, the bombs rained down. They landed on the runway close by, yet, miraculously, the hangar held. Those two days were a chilling silence punctuated by explosions. The first day of May passed, then the second. It was on that very day, 2 May, that the Soviet troops finally arrived and liberated them. From that moment on, for those who survived within that hangar, 2 May became their birthday.

Our mothers and fathers instilled in us an unwavering sense of patriotism, a willingness to sacrifice for our Motherland. It is this same spirit, these same noble qualities possessed by our fathers and mothers that I wish to pass on to my children and grandchildren.

Nun Maria Derzhanovich

Brothers and Sisters, I offer my heartfelt congratulations on this glorious day of Victory. May the memory of our ancestors, who fought for this triumph, forever reside within our hearts.

My grandfather, Ivan Markovich Derzhanovich, served from the very beginning of the war until its final day. He reached Berlin, bearing the scars of several wounds. He was decorated with multiple awards — the Medal for the Capture of Berlin, the Order of Glory, the Order of the Red Star, the Medal for Courage, the Medal for the Liberation of Ukraine, the Medal for the Capture of Königsberg, and the Order of the Patriotic War, Second Class.

Before he departed for the front, my grandmother, Olga, blessed him with a small icon — a metal image of the Mother of God. Throughout the war, Grandfather Ivan carried this icon close to his heart, tucked safely within his left breast pocket. And thanks to this icon, the last wound was not fatal because the bullet struck the icon, deflecting its path. As a result, my grandfather survived the war. The icon remained a revered relic, forever holding a place of honour in his home.

Nun Mitrodora Sasina

My grandfather, too, fought on the frontlines, all the way to Berlin. He earned a medal for the capture of Warsaw, and another for Berlin itself. Today, it is vital that we remember these people, the ones who secured our victory. Because of them, we can celebrate spring freely, because of them, life goes on.

Nun Nymphodora Karpovich

To all the veterans, and all the brothers and sisters listening today, I want to extend the most heartfelt congratulations on this glorious Victory Day. We are so very proud of you, and you will always hold a special place in our hearts. All these years, seventy-nine of them since Victory Day, we have lived cherishing these memories. Without them, without their sacrifice, none of us would be here.

In Bygone Days Some Heroes Fade

(Song Lyrics)

In bygone days, some heroes fade, just names upon the breeze
Those warriors bold, now earth and grass, now lie beneath the trees.
Yet in our hearts, their valour burns, a flame that will not die,
A legacy passed down to us, a beacon held on high.

Look at these fighters, etched in time, their faces wrought in stone,
A battalion frozen in their prime, where old friends stand alone.
Their youth they left behind them far, a rugged path they knew,
These were the ones who rose as one, with bayonets sharp and true.

They stormed the gates of Berlin's heart, their sacrifice untold
No Russian home without a name, a hero brave and bold.
From faded photographs, they gaze, young eyes that pierce the years,
A silent judgment on this age, for boys who shed their tears.
Let truth be their compass, no more lies, no path to lead them wrong,
For these, the heroes of the past, to them their songs belong.

(Music by Rafael Khozak to the lyrics of Evgeny Agranovich, translated by Alexander Piskounov)

May 08, 2024
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