This is an amazing story I recently heard from a war veteran from Petrozavodsk. His name is Dmitry Moskalev, he is 97 years old. I asked him to tell this story in detail. In response, he wrote it down himself, by hand.
Well, the war is going on, Kiev is liberated, the Korsun–Cherkassy Offensive to liquidate the surrounded German troops continues. All of a sudden, next to 21-year-old rifle regiment platoon commander Dmitry Moskalev…
“…A mine exploded near me in one night’s attack. It covered me with frozen ground and stunned me… I fainted and came round only when the sun started to shine. I couldn’t feel my legs.
I managed to get to a hut of an elderly local couple with their help. They could barely take my boots off. My legs were frostbitten. Medics arrived in the evening and took me to a field medical facility, and the next day they took me by car to Kiev.
I was in Kiev again. They wanted to amputate my legs up to the knees at the Kiev hospital. I did not give my consent for this operation. They loaded me on a sanitary train and sent me to Tambov.
I stayed in a ward for two months. They would just re-bandage my wounds and did not do anything else. My legs weren’t healing. The chief doctor of the hospital told me that there were former doctors in the city who helped the wounded a lot. In particular, there was an experienced former surgeon who had gone to serve in the cathedral. He used to consult and even operate on patients frequently. “If I invite him for a consultation, would you mind?” I, of course, gave my consent. Just spare my legs.
Literally the next day, I was taken to the O.R. A very old, short man with a beard and glasses in a white coat came in, and I noticed black church robe under his coat. He was a clergyman of the Diocese of Tambov, whom I had previously seen through a hospital window on his way to the cathedral for service. People greeted him joyfully, crossed themselves, and stretched out their hands to him.
He started examining me, touching and tingling my legs with something sharp, interrogating me and the doctors in detail. After that he said that there could be gangrene and that it was necessary to clean up the dead tissues. I gave my consent to this surgery.
The next day, he came again. Before the surgery, he explained to me that he would cut through dead tissue without anesthesia. “It’s going to hurt a lot, you’ll have to be patient. You can scream, but don’t swear: I’m a priest and I can’t stand it.” He crossed me and started the operation.
It was very painful, but at first I tolerated it with clenched teeth. Then I started screaming and passed out. I can’t remember anything else. I woke up in the ward on my bed.
After that, my legs began to heal quickly. New skin started growing, and they bandaged me more often. My mood improved. I tried to get up. I gave it a try, but fell immediately back onto the bed.
One day I was wondering, who was the doctor who performed the surgery on me? Why did he serve in the cathedral? They told me that he had been a famous surgeon, known especially for plastic surgeries. He had a dear wife who fell seriously ill and, despite all his efforts, he couldn’t save her. Then he renounced medicine and went to serve God and help people. He helped wounded soldiers during the Great Patriotic War.
I later learned that my savior was Saint Luke, also known as Valentin Felixovich Voino-Yasenetsky, a professor, a spiritual writer, and a political prisoner who had gone through jails, exile, torture; a famous doctor and a talented preacher who was sometimes torn between his two vocations…
They made paraffin baths and had me work out my joints on a “bicycle” and other fitness equipment. I started walking, first with crutches, then with a cane…”
Shortly afterwards Dmitry was declared unfit for military service. He was going to have years of rehabilitation ahead of him, which included skiing and cycling on a daily basis to restore the mobility of his joints. Today, at 97, he is able to move around on his feet.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds