ST. PETERSBURG, November 23 (Itar-Tass) — The Leningrad Region marks the 71st anniversary of opening the legendary Road of Life, which connected the besieged city on the Neva River with the non-occupied Soviet Union territory, the authorities in the Leningrad Region stated. A religious service on this memorable date was held at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God the Quick to Hearten in the Zaborye village on Friday.
The wooden church was built as a monument to a great “road of valour” and all its heroes at the place, where the motor convoys were formed in 1941. They were moving through the forests to the Ladoga Lake, then on the ice in the besieged city. “It is noteworthy that the Road of Life was opened on November 22 on the holiday of the Icon of the Mother of God the Quick to Hearten. The Mother of God heard the prayers for help from the residents of the besieged city and immediately replied to them,” Archpriest of the church Gennady Belovolov said. The icon was handed over from the Holy Athos Mount to the Alexander Nevsky Laura in 1878. After the shutdown of the monastery the icon was available for veneration at the St. Vladimir Church and became one of few available shrines in a starving city in which the believers found consolation in the wartimes.
Resident of the besieged Leningrad Maria Kharitonova, who marks the anniversary of opening the Road of Life each year, went with her mother as a little girl to pray to the icon of Our Lady in those horrible years. After the opening of the ice road the believers were praying so that the Mother of God will preserve the only route that was connecting the city with the rear. How could the German warplanes let the cars with foodstuffs going in the city? The power of the German aviation bombs was quite enough to turn the Ladoga Lake in many pieces of ice. “These things can be explained only by the miracle of the Mother of God,” the woman veteran of the Leningrad besiege said.
From the very start of the enemy’s besiege of Leningrad the military council of the front was searching for opportunities to create an ice route. Already in November 1941, the ice situation permitted to lay down the road. On November 19, despite the fog, reconnaissance flights were made over the Ladoga Lake. On November 20, the first sledded convoy with bread supplies arrived in Leningrad. On November 21, the reconnaissance convoy of ten vehicles went out from the city in the complete darkness, without lighting up the flashlights, at a distance of 200 metres from each other on November 21. First trucks were moving on the ice from the Osinovets Cape to the islands Maly and Bolshoi Zelentsy and further one to Kobona on November 22.
The Road of Life has supported the life in Leningrad until April 23, 1942. Despite the bombings and artillery shelling, the trucks delivered 6,000-7,000 tonnes of foodstuffs, weapons and fuel daily to the city. The trucks evacuated wounded people, ill people, elderly people, women and children from the city. About half a million people were evacuated from the city. Many poems and songs are dedicated to “the road of valour”.