A Prayer For The Russian People by Bishop Nikolai
< O All-wise God, Whose judgments are beyond questioning and Whose ways are inscrutable, do Thou mercifully attend to and hear our prayer for Thy Russian Orthodox people! < Thou hast permitted Thy most faithful servant to be subjected to intense torments, in like manner as Thou didst allow Thy first apostles, prophets and righteous ones to be distress'd. Bereft of garments and cover'd-o'er with wounds is Thine servant -- and tossed upon a dung-heap, as once had been the righteous Iov, -- a laughing-stock for satan and an object of derision for his neighbours. Fearsome are the torments, and man is weak: O Lord, help! Lift up Thine servant and heal his wounds. < We know, O Lord our God, that according to Thine all-wise providence, Thou dost permit Thy chosen ones to suffer, so that, like gold which is tried by fire, they too might be cleansed of earthly dross and gleam forth ever the more brightly. But, O God of mercy and love, do not allow satan long to mock, nor hypocrites long to jeer at Thy cross-bearing Russian nation. < We know that Thou permittest misfortunes to befall even the most radiant of souls for their greater glory and to bring fear and trembling upon the unrighteous and the wicked. We know that Thy glorious Resurrection, O Christ, also transpired after Thou wast mock'd, didst suffer torments upon a cross, and didst die. Wherefore we, in the light of Thy suff'ring, accept the dark gloom of the Russian [nation's] agony and await the glory of its resurrection. As the paralytic at Bethesda had none to help him until Thou camest, so also, today, the great Russian nation hath not a person in the world that could aid it without Thee, our God and our Saviour. < Do not delay Thy succour, O good Lord, Thou Who art quick to help. Do not put it off and do not refuse it, but do Thou, as did the merciful Samaritan, turn to the Russian nation which hath fallen victim to attack from brigands and hath been beaten severely; extend to it Thine hand and heal its wounds; and return it to health and to the gleam of glory, so that Thy most-faithful servant might glorify Thee in the future even more that he glorified Thee in the past -- Thee, his Saviour, with the Father and the Holy Spirit unto the ages of ages. Amen. < [This prayer was composed by the Serbian bishop Nikolai (Velimirovich) of Zhicha in April 1935. By that time, the bol'sheviks had already been fully destroying Orthodox churches in Russia for almost two decades. Among those who carried out these orders, the ignominious majority consisted of those who, in the past, had been "persons of the Orthodox creed" -- the establishment of the Russian Empire's populace. But the bishop prayed for "the great Russian nation." _Vladyka_ knew well what had transpired in Russia. But the sublime greatness of the fallen nation consisted of those of its "cross-bearing" representatives who had not betrayed Christ. They are the surety that the Lord will have mercy upon the spiritually ailing nation and will bring it to a new glory through repentance. Bishop Nikolai believed in this and bore witness to his belief by undergoing tortures while spending time in the Nazi camp of Dachau. ("Vera-Eskom," No. 3, 1997)] <
Translated into English by G. Spruksts from the Russian text of _"Molitva o russkom narodye Episkopa Nikolaya"_, appearing in the July 1999 issue of _"Pravoslavnaya zhizn'"_ [(the Russian edition of) "Orthodox Life"], Vol. 49, No. 7 (595), pp. 25 - 26. English-language translation copyright (c) 2000 by The Saint Stefan Of Perm' Guild, The Russian Cultural Heritage Society, and the Translator. All rights reserved.