A MOTHER'S PRAYER
- A MOTHER'S PRAYER
by Fr. Boris Kizenko
We often hear that a family is a little church. And indeed, if a person
grows up in such a family, he acquires a shield that will guard him against
the many darts and arrows of life. I would like to share what my family
experienced during the Second World War.
In February, 1943, the Red Army recaptured from the Germans the Russian
city of Kharkov, where I lived with my family -- my parents, my older
sister Katia, and my little brother Dimitri. All of us who had stayed in
our homes under the German occupation after the Reds retreated in 1941,
were regarded with great suspicion by the Soviets. Because of our exposure
to non-Communist rule, it was felt that we might be disloyal. This
suspicion showed itself in many ways. For example, our men were sent to the
front in civilian clothing. After all, supplying someone with a uniform and
ammunition shows a certain concern; sending them away in civilian clothing
means writing them off. Seeing our father leave in this way was a hard
blow: it was as if he were being sent to his death.
But my mother, Evgenia Dimitrievna, was a woman of strong faith, and this
faith kept us from despair. I remember that together we began to read the
Akathist for the Protection of the Mother of God. Mother would read the
verses, and we children would sing the refrain: "Rejoice, our Joy, protect
us from all evil with thy omophorion [protecting veil]." After reading the
Akathist and praying fervently, we firmly believed that Father would come
There were other things that strengthened our faith. One day in February,
my three-year-old brother Dimitri and I went outside for a walk. In the sky
I saw several German dive-bombers heading straight towards us. We had to
hide somewhere, and quickly. I threw Dirna down below the house next to us
and covered him with my own body. A bomb exploded next to us. When we got
to our feet, I collected several pieces of shrapnel, still hot. God had
Soon afterwards the Germans recaptured Kharkov. God answered our prayers.
Father came home from the front. His hair had turned grey and he was all
stooped, but he had not been wounded. Thank God!
Not all readers of The Orthodox Family have lived in difficult wartime
conditions, but every family undergoes many temptations and trials. When,
during these trials, a child sees the fervent faith of his or her parents,
and when the family prays together to God for help, then the feeling of
faith and God's love warm him and give him strength for all his life.
Thanks to my mother's faith, I understood that God holds us in His hands
and leads us in His ways. We need only to call to Him more often: Turn not
away Thy face away from Thy servant, for I am in trouble; hearken unto my
soul and deliver it (Ps. 68; Great Prokimenon, Forgiveness Sunday Vespers).
May God have mercy on all of us and save us, and may the Mother of God
cover us with her omophorion.
taken from Orthodox America