«Was forced to eat the corpses», of whom pray in the Orenburg steppe

© RIA Novosti / Alexey Miheeva in the temple of the Kazan icon of the virgin in Orsk. Archival photo«Was forced to eat the corpses», of whom pray in the Orenburg steppe© RIA Novosti / Alexey Mikheev

On Thursday, the Russian Orthodox Church remembers the martyrs of one of the most terrible Nazi death camps — the Croatian Jasenovac. Experiments that put a Union Hitler Croats over Serbs, Jews and Gypsies, were horrified even the German command. In Europe today prefer not to talk about this tragedy. But they say in Russia, and in a very unexpected place.

Orsk is located on the border with Kazakhstan. Once a small merchant town, today it is a center of heavy industry. On the Eastern edge of a former shop — a temple in honor of the Kazan icon of the virgin. The local people know very well what for, and how died during the Second world war, Orthodox far away in the Balkans.

Stores in Soviet times was built a large place in the Church lot. Under the icons sits one of the local Pets — cats come to the temple regularly and remain permanently.

«I decided to become a priest not because of books or «eternal questions» — just love worship. Is no less a source of knowledge about God than all the theological works! And today when serving in the temple, feel that the whole universe was made by God, is near. The whole world, all the faith, all the martyrs and Confessors of the past and the present time — are all here. And I want to tell everyone about it,» — said the rector of the Kazan temple priest Maxim Brazhnikov.

By chance, he met people closely associated with the Serbian Orthodox Church. During its long history, including in the twentieth century, she has given the world martyrs and Confessors of faith in Christ no less than the Russian Church. «I began to study the past, the liturgical customs of the Serbian communities and monasteries, became acquainted with the history of the Church in the former Yugoslavia — Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. I was particularly interested in the fate of the Orthodox Serbs in the Second world war» — continues Maxim.

As you know, in the territory occupied by Germans of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was created, the Independent state of Croatia (NGKH), which pursued a policy of outright genocide of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. In Slavonia (a historical region in Eastern Croatia) Croatian Nazis-ustasha built several camps, known under the title «Jasenovac». It killed about 700 thousand people, almost all the Orthodox Serbs. Ustashe saw his task in the complete eradication of Christianity and the very concept of «Serbian» in Croatia.

In a small wooden Church of St. Elizabeth at the foot of the Ural mountains, where his father Maxim served before, he introduced the Serbian tradition of Slava in the making of this order, the priest raises baked special bread, and all the congregation lay hands on him, emphasizing their unity. And then the bread (the bread Slavske) handed out to people with the words «Christ is among us!».

«I saw this as exactly what is needed for our parishes so that people feel the Church is not alone, it is better understood that the Orthodox world is not confined within the borders of Russia. And I also introduced among the most revered holidays Day of the martyrs Yasinovatsky. Turns out some of our members even know about them!» — says the priest.

And he decided to go to Jasenovac.

Competition in the massacre

Slavonia region of Croatia between the Drava and the Danube, has experienced not only WWII, but also two devastating civil war. As a result of operations «Lightning» and «Storm» conducted by the Croatian army against the troops of the Republic of Serbian Krajina in the division of the Yugoslav Federation, from the territory of Slavonia were expelled almost all Serbs, thus missing at least three thousand people. In the mountains still lie unexploded mines, many of the houses have traces of bullets of large caliber.

Local Orthodox churches are no exception — the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Picrate shot at point blank range, images of saints mutilated by machine-gun fire.

And on the site of the concentration camp Jasenovac is a huge field and a monument in the form of a stone flower, supplied with the first and lifelong President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito. Incidentally, he tried to remember the atrocities of the Ustashi was minimized, because all the camp buildings, in contrast to the same Auschwitz, erased from the face of the earth.

«I heard that the commandant of the camp was a Franciscan friar Filipovic, personally participated in the daily murder. Near the former camp buildings is the village Melaka where there was a children’s ward at Jasenovac. In the swamps around the village — the remains of children who died only because they were born Serbs,» says the priest Maxim.

Another devout Catholic, one of the guards of the Jasenovac Petar Brzica, the dispute was stabbed in one day 1360 prisoners and received a generous reward.

«Was forced to eat the corpses», of whom pray in the Orenburg steppe© RIA Novosti / Igor Maslowprice in banks»How to live today, Peter and Fevronia»: the Church decides the family questionyou Jasenovac is the female monastery of John the Baptist. Ustashe destroyed it and made the main temple their headquarters. The Cathedral was restored in the 1980s, and before that people used to come secretly performed service in a small garage nearby. Now here they study the history of martyrs, restoring the memory of them. The relics of Serbian martyrs, found in a huge field on the site of the former camp, the local Bishop gave to Orsk.

© RIA Novosti / Alexey Miheikin cutting Slavske colace, widespread in the Balkan countries, in the temple of the Kazan icon of the virgin in Orsk «Was forced to eat the corpses», of whom pray in the Orenburg steppe© RIA Novosti / Alexey Miheikin cutting Slavske colace, widespread in the Balkan countries, in the temple of the Kazan icon of the virgin in Orsk
«They were the same as we are»

Father Maxim placed the relics in a special ark, and in almost every sermon talks about the terrible prisoners of the camp. In Orsk decided to build a new Church in which a chapel was devoted to the Holy yasinovatskiy.

«Was forced to eat the corpses», of whom pray in the Orenburg steppe© Photo : Alexander Egortsev»went right on to devils» that stopped work on the Kola well»Parishioners often ask me, «what can we ask Yasinovatsky martyrs?» And I thought, why, about anything. They were the same as we are, with our everyday problems, as well managed a household, had children, raised grandchildren And now they are with God. Perhaps they can help us to understand that the land around us is our responsibility before God and our life on this earth is of great value in His eyes. Our history was not in vain, not was dud, there was nothing accidental, and to honor those who witnessed it of blood, it means little to join this fullness of being. God forbid that we in the Urals, it was understood,» he concludes.