For Ukrainian Orthodox in the United States, military news throws darkness on Easter

The rituals until Easter are the same. The solemn processions on Good Friday. Holy Saturday blessed the foods that were avoided during Lent. Liturgies accompanied by processions, bells and chants.

But while Easter is the holiest of holy days in the church calendar, marking the day Christians believe Jesus triumphed over death, many members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States find it difficult to rejoice in war.

According to the Ukrainian government, many are in regular contact with relatives or friends suffering in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which devastated cities and claimed thousands of civilian lives, according to the Ukrainian government.

“This is a very strange Easter for us,” said the Rev. Richard Gendras, a priest at Ukraine’s St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “It must be a joyous holiday, and it’s all about a new life, and yet here we face the harbingers of murder and murder, genocide and death.”


Many believers “walk like zombies,” he said. “We are currently going through the Easter initiatives because that is what we need to stick to.”

Orisia Germak, a member of Ukraine’s St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Cathedral in New York, said the news of the war evoked bad memories: she was born in an IDP camp after her mother fled Ukraine after World War II, she said.

“Easter is such a joyous occasion, but it emphasizes everything,” she said. “It’s surreal.”

Both cathedrals are part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States, whose parishes include many people with recent or ancestral ties to the old country.

Most Catholics and Protestants celebrated Easter last Sunday, but Eastern Orthodox celebrate it this Sunday. They usually do this later than the Western churches because they use a different method to calculate the date for the holy day, which they call Easter. Some Ukrainian Catholics, especially in Ukraine itself, are also celebrating this Sunday.


Easter will be celebrated on both sides of the battle lines. Eastern Orthodoxy is the predominant religion in Ukraine and Russia, as well as in several neighboring countries. A split among Ukrainian Orthodox – with one group advocating independence and the other historically loyal to the Moscow patriarch – has echoed around the world amid competing claims to legitimacy. But the two main Orthodox organizations in Ukraine vehemently opposed the Russian invasion.

In the United States, many people associated with Ukraine are closely watching the war and sending funds to individuals and aid groups there, said Andrew Fesak, chairman of the St. Petersburg Board of Trustees. Volodymyr.

“While Orthodox in America can celebrate freely,” our relatives and friends in Ukraine are under pressure from an invading army and are not as free to celebrate as they want, “Fesak said. “They may not be able to reach the churches. They may not be able to walk around the city the way they want. They may not be able to eat the traditional foods they may have at Easter.


And yet he grabs the force of the Ukrainian resistance.

“The Ukrainian population has shown that it is working hard to preserve Ukrainian independence,” he said. “It is at least a great consolation for us to see that there is such a strong civic pride and sense of patriotism.

Rev. John Harest of Ukraine’s St. Peter and St. Paul Orthodox Church in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, said it was important to perform historical rituals even in dark times – in part to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin, who started the war. while arguing that Ukraine has no historical legitimacy other than Russia. Ukrainians say they are a separate, albeit related, group of people with their own language and traditions.

Although believers in the United States may have a “sense of guilt for survivors,” they must continue traditions that are under such threat in Ukraine, Charest said.

“We need to be strong now and we need to celebrate this holiday,” he said. “If we do not celebrate our traditions, Putin wants just that.


Gendras said the holy day offers an eternal message: “We must look at evil before us and say no, good triumphs and will always triumph.


Religious coverage of the Associated Press is supported through AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.

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For Ukrainian Orthodox in the United States, military news throws darkness on Easter

Source link For Ukrainian Orthodox in the United States, military news throws darkness on Easter

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