Accompanied by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Vladimir Putin toured the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in honour of the Resurrection of Christ, the Main Cathedral of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said a short prayer in the cathedral.
The cathedral was built on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and is dedicated to the feats of arms of the defenders of the Fatherland, the participants in all the battles for the country's freedom and independence.
The central altar of the upper cathedral is named after the main Christian Holy Day – the Resurrection of Christ – and each of its four side chapels – in honour of the heavenly patrons of the army branches and services: patron saint of the Ground Forces St Alexander Nevsky, patron saint of Aerospace and Airborne Forces Holy Prophet Elijah, patron saint of the Navy St Andrew the Apostle, and patroness saint of the Strategic Missile Forces Holy Great Martyr Barbara. The crypt of the complex was consecrated in the name of St Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, the Baptizer of Rus.
The President and Patriarch Kirill addressed the military personnel on the square outside the cathedral.
Then, the President toured the Road of Memory museum complex, which is a gallery of immersive halls taking visitors on a tour of the key Great Patriotic War events. A historical multimedia project, which brought together unique exhibits of the war period, was implemented in the Patriot Park outside the Main Cathedral of the Armed Forces.
The Time River photo gallery is the most important part of the Road of Memory complex featuring information about front-line soldiers, partisans, residents of besieged Leningrad, home front workers and many others who defended the Motherland, over 30 million names in all. Virtual archives of the Great Patriotic War participants are updated on a daily basis.
Vladimir Putin, Sergei Shoigu and Patriarch Kirill also laid flowers at the Mothers of the Victors monument.
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Address to military service members on the Day of Memory and Sorrow
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia: President of the Russian Federation and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin,
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu,
I am addressing you on this solemn day with a very strong feeling. The Day of Memory and Sorrow marks the day when 79 years ago our enemy, armed to the teeth, revelling in and taking great pride in its complete superiority over our country, violated the sacred borders of our Motherland being fully confident in the fact that it will sweep and crush our strong country in no time at all.
We are well aware of the hardships of the first months and even years of this war. We know about the sacrifices and the lives given for our Fatherland. But as a country and a nation, we survived that terrifying and life-changing time; we preserved our independence and freedom from external influences. That Victory determined our country’s further consistent development.
But thousands and thousands of lives were sacrificed for the Victory. Celebrating this Victory, we must never forget about our people’s sacrifice and heroism. This sacrifice is sacred; it is the greatest heroic act in the entire thousand-year-old history of Russia.
Today we live in peace. This peaceful time is a result of our state’s wise foreign policy and our Armed Forces’ formidable weapons. Thanks to these two components, we have an opportunity to live in peace and build the future of our Fatherland.
But for our historical development to be consistent, we must be prepared to defend our country at any one moment. Our Armed Forces must always be at the top of their ability. In addition to the military equipment, it is important that our soldiers have strong and indestructible morale, and anybody who takes the oath realises in their hearts and minds the necessity of giving their life for their country. Only this determination, courage and loyalty, multiplied by modern technical capabilities and powerful sophisticated weapons, will guarantee our country’s security for many years ahead.
Mr President, please accept my heartfelt greetings as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces and allow me to thank you for your service. Everything that is happening in our country today is, to a great extent, dependent on the President’s decisions. Everything that is happening in the army depends on the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. We, believers, pray for your wellbeing and ask God to keep you strong and give you the spiritual and physical strength to continue your demanding service to our nation.
May God have mercy on our Fatherland, our nation and our Armed Forces.
Congratulations on this memorable, sorrowful and solemn date!
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness,
Today, on the Day of Memory and Sorrow, we remember one of the most bitter and tragic pages of our history: on June 22, 1941, the Great Patriotic War began. It was a terrible and massive tragedy that claimed millions of lives, leaving behind devastation and irreparable pain of loss, deep never-healing wounds.
The trials of the war time showed the incredible resilience and fortitude of our people, provided unfading examples of courage, true patriotism and devotion to the ideals of our ancestors to defend and protect our native land.
For us, the citizens of Russia, the memory of the Great Patriotic War, of all those who fought and perished, and brought Victory closer with every effort, is absolutely sacred. This memory is always with us, and continues to give us strength to serve our country, to stick by the moral vows we have no right to deviate from, and never will.
We have all gathered here at the Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces to commemorate the heroes of the past with deepest respect, to honour the immortal feat of our people and the military valour of all the defenders of the Fatherland, from Ancient Rus up to the present day, to bow our heads as a tribute to those who gave their lives for the freedom of their native land.
The new generation of soldiers and officers remains faithful to the traditions and honourably fulfils all the assigned tasks, and we can be quite sure that Russia’s defence capability and security are reliably protected.
The country’s Armed Forces are improving their skills, learning how to use new equipment, and their combat capabilities are growing. But courage, devotion to their duty, honour and boundless love for their homeland are still the main foundations of military service, and will remain so.
These unconditional defining values help the Russian army and navy keep their vigilant watch, as they did throughout the country’s thousand-year history, adhering to the inviolable precepts of the generation of victors, looking up to the dauntless and unshakable courage of the soldiers who accepted the first battle at dawn on June 22, 1941 and gave peace and a future to all of humanity on May 9, 1945.
Eternal memory to the fallen heroes! A low bow to the veterans! Glory to the Armed Forces of Russia!