Heading to heaven. About Saint Alexander Schmorel
Alexander Schmorel (just Shurik for friends) is a man whose spiritual growth took place in German dungeons. His path is the path of a man who is not broken by suffering, a saint of our days, without gloss and a pious raid.
The ascetics of the twentieth century are close to us in time, this has its own joys and difficulties. On the one hand, letters, diaries, and memoirs have been preserved, which allow us to study in detail what they were, how they lived and died. On the other hand, we have to admit that the martyrs of the last century were ordinary people, in many ways similar to us. They lived like we did, dressed like us, and not in the ancient robes depicted on the icons. This is both unusual and touching. You are surprised when you see photographs in which those to whom we are praying are simple, ordinary, funny, in a student setting and even with a pipe in their teeth. But reading memories, books, testimonies – you feel such a close touch to holiness that it is breathtaking.
Today we will tell about the martyr Alexander Shmorel, born on September 16, 1917 and died when he was not yet 26 years old.
Alexander Schmorel (September 16, 1917, Orenburg, Russia – July 13, 1943, Munich) – an Orthodox German with Russian roots, a medical student from Munich – founded the White Rose Christian circle with his friends and fought against the Hitler regime, telling the truth about him : writing and distributing flyers. The Kruzhkovites considered resistance to Nazism – as the creation of evil – a spiritual struggle and were ready for martyrdom. Alexander was executed in the summer of 1943, glorified as a saint in 2012.
How did it happen that an ordinary, cheerful young man decided to take a huge risk, and then sacrificed his life? What pushed him into a feat? What gave strength to him and his friends? They were the first in Germany to raise their voices against Hitler. They maintained a deep faith, devotion to their beliefs and cultural values of Germany, when Nazism consistently and brutally destroyed them.
Doctors go to the front (Alexander Shmorel, far right)
In a recently published book by Nikeya, Elena Perekrestova’s book, “The Holy Against the Reich,” describes in detail the feat of Alexander Schmorel and his path to martyrdom. The author believes that the most important days for the future saint was the time he spent in prison awaiting execution.
What were the long weeks he spent in prison for Alexander? Was he hoping the execution would be abolished? The lawyer Siegfried Dizinger visited Alexander in prison and was amazed at how calm and calm he was; it seemed that he was encouraged by a firm conviction that he was right. Dizinger wrote:
“Even in the last weeks of his life, Alex did not lose his composure and confidence that he had done the right thing. It was painful to see a talented young man in front of him, showing great promise, whom such a terrible fate awaited. I was horrified – but he remained calm and even cheerful. ”
In addition to the consciousness of his own righteousness, Alexander had another, deeper source of comfort. It can be assumed that Alexander plunged into himself, walked the path of spiritual perfection (or “secret inner maturation”, as Christoph Probst called spiritual growth a few years earlier), and “strengthened from weakness” (Heb 11:34).
In his extensive correspondence with family and friends, Alexander writes little about the spiritual. It seems that he is not inclined to talk about his spiritual experiences and experiences. Only in letters to relatives from prison (there are only seven) can we see his soul, imagine how he sought – and found – deep comfort in faith.
The first letter was written a week after Easter, May 1.
“My dear parents!
There is nothing new that I could write about. Here, one day is like another, and time flies very quickly. Dear dad, dear mother, if I have to die, if the request for clemency is rejected, you know, I'm not afraid of death, no! So do not worry. I know that a better life awaits us, and in it we will meet again. But it’s hard for me to think that I should part with all of you whom I loved so much and who loved me so much. Only now, when we were separated, when I have to lose you, I realized how much I loved you. Try to overcome the pain of loss, do not forget that such is fate, it took me a short life, and, therefore, everything should have turned out like this. Nothing happens contrary to God's will. Say hello to everyone, everyone from me. Hug and kiss you many, many times. Your Shurik. "
In the following weeks, while Alexander was languishing in prison, a sense of inner peace grew in him. This arrangement was very different from the mood of letters written in the winter before the arrest. In them, Schmorel complained: “despondency and sadness became my constant companions,” “terrible anxiety overcomes me.” And now, after four months of imprisonment, while on death row, he writes to his sister:
"July 2, 1943
Dear, dear Natasha!
You probably read the letters that I wrote to my parents, so you can roughly imagine my situation. You will probably be surprised that I am getting calmer every day, even happier, that my mood here is often much better than before when I was free! Where is it from? I will explain now. All this terrible “misfortune” was necessary in order to direct me on the true path, and therefore this, in fact, was not “misfortune” at all. First of all, I am happy and thank the Lord that He made me understand this sign of God and follow in the right direction. What did I know before about faith, about real sincere faith, about truth, the only and ultimate Divine truth?
So little! Now, however, I have matured to the point that, even in my present situation, I am cheerful, calm, and confident that whatever happens. I hope that you also walked a similar path of development, and with me, after the deep pain of separation, you came to a state where you thanked the Lord for everything.
All this trouble was necessary to open my eyes. No, not only to me, to all of us, to all those whom she touched, including our family. I hope you also correctly understood this divine sign.
Say hello to everyone, special greetings from your Shurik. ”
While Natasha was in the Gestapo prison, she was almost blind in one eye due to retinal detachment. Upon learning of this, Alexander asked that he be allowed to write an extraordinary letter home (they were supposed to be sent no more than once every few weeks). July 11, he writes a short note. With his usual care, Alexander begs his parents to provide his sister with the best therapy. He does not advise contacting a clinic at the university: “I know how they work there,” but he gives the names of eye doctors who should be consulted. And he asks Natasha to follow all the instructions exactly.
Alexander did not know that a few days earlier, on July 8, the senior prosecutor of Munich notified the chief prosecutor of the people's tribunal in Berlin that the execution of Schmorell and Professor Huber was scheduled for Tuesday, July 13.
Early in the morning of July 13, Alexander received an official order for the execution of the sentence. The execution was scheduled for five in the afternoon. Schmorel will be executed first, then Professor Huber.
And so, for the last time, Alexander takes up a pen to write to his relatives:
“My dear dad and mom!
So, all the same, nothing else was destined, and today, according to God's will, I have to end my earthly life in order to go to another, which will never end and in which we will all meet again. May this meeting be your comfort and your hope. Unfortunately, this blow is harder for you than for me, because I am leaving with the consciousness that served my deepest beliefs and truth. All this allows me to expect a death hour with a clear conscience.
Think of the millions of young people parting with life there on the battlefield. Their fate is my fate. Huge heartfelt greetings to all my dear ones! In particular, Natasha, Erich, Nanny, Aunt Tone, Maria, Alyonushka and Andrei.
In a few hours I will find myself in a different, better world, with my mother. I will not forget you, and I will pray to the Lord for your comfort and peace.
I'll be waiting for you! I especially ask about one thing: do not forget God !!!
Professor Huber will leave with me, from whom I convey my heartfelt greetings! ”
At noon, Father Alexander (Lovchiy) arrived, who was urgently summoned by Siegfried Dizinger. He accepted Shmorel's confession and communed it. Soon after, the lawyer went to visit Alexander for the last time.
“There, on death row, I met a man who, shortly before that, had taken the last comforting parting words of his faith and far cast aside everything earthly,” recalls Dizinger. “I will never forget those words that he said almost joyfully:“ You will be surprised that I am so calm – at such a moment. But I assure you that even if you just announced to me that someone else – for example, a prison guard – would go to be executed instead of me, I would still rather die. I am sure that my life should end now – even if it seems that it is too early – because I completed the task of my life and have no idea what else I could do in this world if I were released now. ”
The time has come for the lawyer to leave the prisoner's cell. The hour of execution was approaching, the last preparations began. “Firmly and courageously, he said goodbye to me and conveyed his last greetings to his family,” says Dizinger. “I clearly felt that deep love – filial and fraternal – with which he was fulfilled.”
At the last moment, the execution was unexpectedly delayed. Shortly before five o’clock, three SS officers arrived in Stadelheim. They presented papers saying that they were allowed to be present during the execution (although outsiders were usually not allowed). Visitors wanted to see the hanging to understand how long the agony lasted and whether it could be accelerated or slowed down if desired. The fact that a guillotining is scheduled for this day greatly upset them. Nevertheless, they asked how the guillotine works, they were shown the mechanism and told about it.
According to Dizinger, this terrifying episode clearly reflected the contrast between Alexander and the hideous abomination of the world. “On one side was an idealist, a moral young man, ready to die for his beliefs. On the other – "subhuman" with their perverted desire to look at the death of a defenseless victim. "
A slight delay, however, did not shake Alexander's composure. With dignity, he walked through the prison yard to a small hut, where the guillotine was located, cut off the life of his friends and now waiting for him. His “Yes” sounded loudly and firmly in a darkened room when the prosecutor on duty asked if he was Alexander Shmorel. After a few seconds, his soul set off for that very “new life, glorious and eternal,” about which he so passionately wrote in his last letters, which he “saw and rejoiced from afar,” feeling that he was “a wanderer and an alien on earth” (Heb. 11:13).
A few minutes later, Professor Huber's life ended.
Icon of St. mch. Alexandra (work of a priest
It was July 13, on the feast of the Council of the glorious and all-encompassing twelve apostles, most of whom were martyred.
The funeral took place the following evening in the Perlacher-Forst cemetery. The funeral service for Shmorel was Father Alexander (Stalker). Only the closest family members were allowed to attend. Alexander was buried near the graves of Hans, Sophie and Christoph. Nikolai Gamasaspyan watched from afar. On the way to the cemetery, he saw a poster announcing the execution of "traitors – Professor Huber and Alexander Schmorel." Above in bold letters it was written: "Their spirit is alive!".
The material is taken from the book of Helen Perekrestova "Saint against the Reich. Alexander Schmorel – Orthodox saint of the German Resistance. "
M .: Nikea, 2019
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