Saint Javelin: Patron Saint of the Ukrainian Military

Logan Spurrier ‘22

In the waking hours of February 24th, 2022, the soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces crossed checkpoints on the border between Russia and Ukraine. Since, the two countries have been locked in a bitter conflict. For Ukraine, this is a battle for survival. Russia has proven to be a brutal, ruthless opponent and shows no signs of stopping soon. In such dark, uncertain times, people need morale boosters to keep going. Enter, Saint Javelin.

Saint Javelin is as much an idea as she is a figure. Her roots start with Christian Borys, a Canadian journalist who commissioned his friend to create the image now known as Saint Javelin. This image depicts the Virgin Mary cradling an FGM-148 Javelin ATGM in her hands. She was originally created for Borys’ fundraising campaign to help those affected by the war in Ukraine. However, her image (and the idea surrounding her) has grown far beyond anything anyone could have expected.

Under threat from the thousands of tanks fielded by the Russian Army, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy requested civil and military aid from the West – including aid in the form of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM). Since, the West has gifted Ukraine over 7,000 Javelins, which makes up roughly half of the 14,000 anti-tank missiles (of all types) sent to the country. These systems have already been proven to be worth their weight in gold.

A plethora of images and videos have surfaced since the arrival of the Javelins that showcase the devastating effect such a system has on the oncoming Russian tanks. It is impossible currently to judge how many tanks have fallen to the system in Ukrainian hands, but a scan of photos depicting destroyed Russian tanks reveal that the Javelin has claimed a disproportionate amount. Such reliability and devastating firepower made the system iconic – holy, even.

It is upon that basis that Saint Javelin, and her idea, is structured upon.

As the title of a “patron saint” would imply, Saint Javelin is seen as the protector of Ukraine and her people. It is her doing that means Ukraine survives to see another sunrise. She is a symbol of Ukrainian defiance to what is seen as Russian imperialism, and she stands to give hope to a nation of people under constant threat. And, in some views, it is not the infrared seeker on the FGM-148 that guides the missiles when launched. Rather, it is believed to be Saint Javelin herself. As if, she “strikes down” Russian armor in protection of Ukrainians.

This spiritual presence has proven to be an astounding morale booster, for those in country and abroad. In a time when all seems lost, Ukrainians go to sleep knowing that those protecting them, are protected by a heavenly saint above.

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