Ukraine’s Easter Amidst Chaos: Celebrations Overshadowed by Escalating Clashes

Farrukh Saif

May 5, 2024

Easter

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News)— Ukrainian Greek Catholics and others are celebrated Easter Sunday amid reports of heavy fighting as Russian troops were further advancing in Eastern Ukraine. Sunday marked the third Easter in Ukraine since Russia invaded the nation in February 2022.

Worshipers in churches observing Easter according to the Julian calendar gathered across Ukraine to celebrate Christ’s resurrection amid destruction and death.

As the war against Russia enters its third year, people put their trust in the hope of the Gospel, including in Kyiv, where Orthodox believers were seen flocking to St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian soldiers received blessings before Easter, when many will be fighting on battlefields against advancing Russian troops.

St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv, many received blessings and prayed for peace after hundreds of thousands of people were killed and injured in the ongoing war.

Their sentiments are shared by the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, who also celebrate Easter this Sunday.

The head of Ukraine’s five million-strong Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, says that “each day probably 200 Ukrainians are killed.”

‘WHERE IS GOD?’

“When a young widow is crying on the tomb of her husband killed in the front line in this situation, [we may wonder] where is God? And that question is a very important and deep religious question,” he told Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

“But God is with us,” he noticed. “Jesus Christ today is [in a way] the crucified body of Ukraine. And He is with the wounds of the simple people,” the archbishop stressed.

And the church leader made clear that while Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ from death, the same Lord understands the suffering of people in war. “Very often when I am visiting hospitals, and I see those young soldiers, young civilians with amputations, we have 1,500 amputations right now in Ukraine, I had the feeling: ‘Lord, those wounds are yours’.”

And there were more injuries and amputations expected as Ukraine marked its third Easter at war, with Russia launching a barrage of drones in Ukraine’s east, wounding more than a dozen people.

Moscow also claimed that its troops had taken control of the village of Ocheretyne, the scene of heavy fighting.

Ukraine’s air force said that Russia had launched 24 Shahed drones overnight, of which 23 were shot down.

But in Kyiv, people expressed hope and prayed that the fighting would stop and peace would return to this wartorn, shaken nation.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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