Moscow, May 11, 2021
Every year, the world celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II on May 8 and 9. Victory Day is perhaps especially celebrated in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, which lost millions of men in the battle against Hitler.
On Friday, May 7, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia laid a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin wall in honor of all the soldiers who laid down their lives. The ceremony was also attended by 9 other hierarchs of the Russian Church and local clergy and monastics, reports the press service of the Russian Orthodox Church.
A minute of silence was also offered in memory of the victims, and the hierarchs and clergy all proclaimed, “Memory eternal!” and sang “Christ is Risen!”
“Since the war scorched nearly every family, Victory Day has truly become our national holiday. It is remarkable that it usually falls on the Paschal days, and Pascha is a celebration of the victory of life over death, just as Victory Day is a celebration of the victory over death and destruction,” His Holiness noted.
On Victory Day itself, May 9, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, together with other hierarchs and clergy of the Ukrainian Church, served a panikhida for all the fallen soldiers at the Eternal Flame in Kiev’s Eternal Glory Park, reports the Information Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The beloved Ukrainian primate asked that the Lord might grant rest to the souls of the fallen, and His blessing to those still living.
“Today we honor those of our leaders and soldiers who laid down their lives on the battlefield, who gave their lives so that we could live on Earth today,” His Beatitude said. He also greeted all with the great feast of Holy Pascha.
Memorial services were also held in churches, monasteries, and at monuments throughout Ukraine.
In Belarus, His Eminence Metropolitan Benjamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, took part in a solemn ceremony of laying wreaths at the Victory Monument on Mink’s Victory Square on Victory Day, reports the press service of the Belarusian Church.
The ceremony was led by President Alexander Lukashenko. Wreaths and flowers were also laid by other clergy and state and public figures.