Cake and Kalashnikovs: Ukraine marks grim Orthodox Easter

LYMAN, UKRAINE (AFP) – Ukrainians on Sunday (April 24) marked a sombre Orthodox Easter two months into Russia’s invasion, with some braving bombardment for blessings and most of the displaced clinging on to cherished traditions.

Under the rain at a navy place within the jap city of Lyman, on the frontline, troopers traded the same old patriotic salutation of “Glory to Ukraine!” for the ritual “Christ has risen!”

“Truly risen!” got here the reply.

In the city’s small Orthodox church, round 50 civilians had braved doable mortar hearth to assemble to wish from daybreak.

Ukrainian and Russian artillery hearth might be heard all through the singing of the psalms.

“If we make the wrong choices, then darkness will ruin us, as darkness is destroying us during this war,” the priest stated in his sermon.

“We are thankful for the humanitarian aid and the community taking care of the displaced,” he added.

Ten troopers and policemen in uniform, some in bulletproof vests, additionally attended the service within the pale blue church, their arms filled with Easter baskets, making the signal of the cross earlier than getting into.

Multi-coloured sugar beads

The warfare in Ukraine has killed 1000’s and compelled hundreds of thousands to flee their houses since Russia invaded on Feb 24.

In the relative security of the western metropolis of Lviv, a husband and spouse of their Sunday greatest stepped up right into a packed church, the latter holding the normal breakfast basket coated in an embroidered fabric for the priest’s blessing.

Outside the Bernardine Church, 27-year-old Yuliya listened to the service from the courtyard with a pal.

“It’s a holiday that unites family. We have war now, and it is especially important to follow our traditions,” she stated, wearing a protracted black coat.

Ukrainian authorities on Saturday urged these celebrating to observe spiritual companies on-line and to respect night-time curfews.

Across the huge nation, individuals made preparations, nonetheless modest.

On one other a part of the frontline, within the jap metropolis of Severodonetsk, Ukrainian troops had hidden their small inventory of provides below a bridge after they have been hit by Russian mortar rounds within the evening.

Along with water and Coke bottles, Kalashnikovs and cereal bars, three giant Easter breads coated in icing and sprinkled with multi-coloured sugar beads awaited them, after a supply from their commander.

In Slovyansk, to the west, worshippers on Saturday afternoon unexpectedly made their technique to the Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral with baskets full of adorned eggs and candy bread.

Paisiy, a 34-year-old priest, stated he had stayed within the metropolis to carry consolation to the various residents who had refused to depart.

“This is my job to stay. People are afraid and when they come here and see the priest, it brings them a feeling of security,” he stated.

Around him, individuals dropped in for a blessing with holy water, then hopped again on bikes and sped off.

No one stayed any longer than completely essential within the courtyard of the brick cathedral, because the growth of artillery hearth resounded within the distance.

‘Wish for victory’

In Lviv on Saturday afternoon, 51-year-old Yuliya had come for an Easter blessing, only a week after she and her mother and father fled Russian bombardment on her jap residence metropolis of Kharkiv.

“I was fed up with shivering when the missiles were flying over my house,” she stated, with out giving her second identify.

She carried two iced muffins she had baked the day earlier than coated in a fabric in a basket.

“They are not as beautiful as they used to be,” she stated, as she had not but grown accustomed to the oven in her new residence.

She stated Easter this 12 months was completely different – even in Lviv, the place she had spent the vacation a number of occasions earlier than the battle.

“I can see fewer people, and not so smiley faces. People are more concerned,” she stated.

Nearby, Ms Iryna Gapanovych, 38, stated she and her pal had spent greater than two hours in a bomb shelter on their technique to church, after the air raid siren rang out.

“My wish for Easter is victory for Ukraine,” she stated, clutching a basket of candy bread, painted eggs and cured meat.

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