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The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Book VI, Chapter 3

And how suprised men would be if I were to say that from these meek monks, who yearn for solitary prayer, the salvation of Russia will come perhaps once more!

(...)

But God will save Russia as He has saved her many times.

Father Zossima seems to be referring to previous times when Russia was saved... What exactly is he referring to?

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What exactly is he referring to?

He's most probably referring to the events in Russian history when Russia was on a brink of ceasing to exist as a state. There were a number of grave moments throughout the centuries, to name a few:

  1. Mongol invasion of Kievan Rus (XIII-XV centuries)

  2. Смутное Время ("Time of Troubles", as Wiki puts it) (late XVI - early XVII)

  3. The Patriotic War of 1812, Napoleon's invasion - which is, obviously, the closest one to the time "The Brothers Karamazov" is set.

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