A photo from an Athonite monastery. This is Saint Menas chasing Germans out in World War II. The date given for the expulsion by the wall fresco is 1942. I cannot tell for sure whether the angels are carrying swords or guns! Below is a quote from The Army News (Australia) dated 10 November 1942:
The main Axis army has been driven out of Egypt and the battle for Libya is beginning.Yesterday, all enemy troops at Mersa Matruh were taken prisoner, and forward units of the Eighth Army have reached Sidi Barrani.This news was contained in a communique from Cairo.It is estimated that up until yesterday, the Eighth, Army had captured 70,000 prisoners, with hundreds of prisoners pouring in every hour,1000 guns, and more than 500 tanks.The retreat of the German and Italian forces is being made a nightmare by the R.A.F. Our planes have concentrated on the bottleneck at Halfaya ("Hellfire") Pass, and have bombed the road continuously for 24 hours. At the pass, the coast road becomes narrow, steep, and difficult,and already it is becoming jammed with Axis transport blasted by our bombs.In one attack alone yesterday, 50 vehicles were blown to pieces or set on fire. It is now considered that it would be impossible for. Field Marshal Rommel to make a stand in this area. Britain has undisputed air superiority.
The same newspaper front page reported that Algiers had been captured by American forces after a heavy naval bombardment of the coastal areas and the dropping of over 200 bombs on Casablanca. My mind’s eye could just make out Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains (Captain Louis Renault) while my ear heard strains of Le Marseillaise in the background.
What I do like about this icon is the conviction that God is involved even in the most painful parts of our history as nations. It reminds me that it is he who is the one who decides which countries shall stand and which shall fall. And, it reminds me that the heavens are not as far away from the earthly as we sometimes imagine.
This Lent we should remember to pray fervently for our country, the President, those in public service, and our Armed Forces everywhere. And let us while we pray remember that God is not bound to support all our policies and all our endeavors as a nation. So, let us also pray that our policies be just, righteous, and merciful, lest God see fit to loose the saints and angels upon us. And let us seek his mercy for those times that we have failed to be faithful to what is true, right, honorable, and pure that he might forgive us, give us his grace overflowing, and pour his abundant mercy over us.