Easter During Wartime: Orthodox Parishioners Gather for Protection and Reflection

Tags: Currents Faith, Media, Russia, Ukraine, World News

Currents News Staff

As fighting rages on in the east of Ukraine, in Lviv, a city that has mostly been spared by Russia’s wrath, parishioners gathered for protection and reflection: a somber affair for many this year.

“It’s less festive this year but we want to keep up our traditions and we want our kids to understand that God is with us,” said resident Larysa Kovalyk, “He helps us. We will win and in this big day, the victory will be ours.”

Ignoring calls to stay home, young and old line up with their adorned food baskets for a blessing from above.  Around the corner, kindness is shared with strangers. It’s an opportunity too for many Ukrainians to support the troops on the frontline with food donations and prayers.

Others are still too scared to venture to church this Easter.

“I think I’ve never been this happy in my life,” said Anna Mariia Nykyforchyn, a Lviv resident.

Anna left Ukraine for Poland when the war started. She was alone and 9-months pregnant carrying a world of worry on her shoulders.

“When we were separated from each other, it put a huge burden psychologically on us,” said Anna. “We were constantly reading the news and the situation in Ukraine in general. We were very worried.”

Without her husband or family by her side, and while her own country was being ripped apart by suffering, the 25-year old was in her own agony. But she gave birth to their little miracle, baby Marharyta. The gushing father couldn’t be happier to have his girls by his side.

“I have realized that my wife is not just a woman, she is a hero,” said Nazar Nykyforchyn, “and that if I was in her shoes, I wouldn’t be able to… I would’ve broken down.”

The family is finally reunited and counting their blessings this Easter in the long and dark shadow of war.