MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - With unemployment in Russia rising sharply amid the global economic crisis, the Russian Orthodox Church is celebrating the day of St. Job, who lost everything but was ultimately rewarded for his faith.
Church services on May 19 commemorate Job, recalling how he lost his children and his wealth, then was smitten with boils, but remained true and pious.
Hundreds of thousands of Russians have lost their jobs since the economic crisis hit last year, with unemployment estimated at over 7 million, or 10% of the working population. Millions more are concerned for their livelihoods.
Job's life is thought by believers to be an exemplar of Christian patience and piety, an ideal for how people should treat all things that happen to them. Church services draw a parallel between Job and Jesus, as both suffered through no fault of their own.
Righteous Job the Long-Suffering is believed to have lived about 2,000-1,500 years before Christ in Arabia. Some believe he was a few generations descendant of Abraham.
"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil," says the Book of Job of the Old Testament.
Job had seven sons and three daughters and a great wealth, but God decided to test his righteousness and let Satan deprive Job of all he had. So Job lost his children and wealth but remained steadfast and said: "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
Then God let Satan smite Job with leprosy but told him to spare Job's life. Job suffered from boils but did not curse God in his heart and speeches. His wife advised him to "curse God and die," but Job answered: "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"
His friends also believed that Job must have sinned and that was why he was punished, but Job was steadfast and patient saying he had committed no sins and demanding an explanation from God.
And then God answered him, and Job realized that he could not know all of God's ways, and repented for demanding too much from God, and God restored his prosperity, giving him twice as much as he had before, and gave him children again.
The Book of Job is a vivid example for believers that misfortunes are not necessarily due to people's sins, but could be given to test people's faith and let them prove in deed that it is steadfast.