Victory Day in South Africa
On 9 May, the parish of St Sergius of Radonezh in Johannesburg, RSA, the only Russian parish in subequatorial Africa, commemorated Victory Day to celebrate the 65th year since the end of the Second World War.
After the liturgy, the parish rector Fr Daniel Lugovoi performed a thanksgiving moleben to the Lord our God for granting victory in World War II, as well as a memorial service for the departed souls of those soldiers who gave their lives on the battle fields and in prisoner of war camps, all innocent people who were tortured and killed, as well as all others who contributed towards Victory.
After the services, a Victory Day photo exhibition showing photos belonging to the Russian embassy in SA was held in the parish centre. The photos expressed all stages of the war: both the inexpressible joy of Victory, as well as the terrible suffering during the war.
Pupils of the Russian embassy school and the St Sergius parish Sunday School also treated parishioners and visitors to a celebration concert, in which they recited poems about the war and performed wartime songs and dances.
On behalf of all attendees, Fr Daniel congratulated the only surviving St Sergius parish veteran of World War II, Valentin Pavlovich Arinin on Victory Day, who in turn related to both adults and children his difficult life history and his contribution to the common cause of Victory.
Afterwards everybody joined the reception lunch during which all sang war songs together and listened to Valenin Pavlovich’s further reminiscences on the hardships of the war years.
For the younger generation of parishioners, growing up far from their homeland, the remembrance of this historical and great day was an invaluable educational and cultural experience.
The celebrations were also attended by the Russian ambassador A.A. Makarov, the Ukrainian ambassador V.N. Grebenjuk, the temporary Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Belarus A.V. Lesnoy as well as diplomatic representatives from the embassies and consulates of Slavic countries here in South Africa.