Ukrainians have a good time Orthodox Christmas in Europe with a prayer to return residence | Popgen Tech


WARSAW/BERLIN, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Victoria, a Ukrainian refugee, celebrates Orthodox Christmas in Poland with a easy prayer – that she will likely be again residence subsequent 12 months.

The 40-year-old is likely one of the tens of millions of Ukrainians who fled the Russian invasion of their homeland and are celebrating the vacation with combined feelings – reduction that they’re secure however disappointment at being away from their households.

“The essential factor is that it is nonetheless a household vacation… We hope to have a good time subsequent Christmas with our household at residence,” stated Victoria.

At a Christmas Eve mass underneath the good domes of the cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene in Warsaw, priest Doroteusz Sawicki welcomes the brand new arrivals who’ve come to have a good time the start of Christ.

“Two or three years in the past we may marvel if somebody would knock on our door, now we all know that somebody is already there,” he informed Reuters.

“A lot of our brothers who discovered themselves in Poland due to the conflict can’t return to their homeland. They are going to have a good time with us.”

Many Orthodox Christians have a good time Christmas on January 7, however the Russian Orthodox Church’s assist for Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine has angered many Ukrainian Orthodox believers and cut up the worldwide Orthodox Church.

This 12 months, some Ukrainians selected to have a good time Christmas with Catholics on December 25 in protest in opposition to Russian aggression. However many stayed with the Orthodox custom.

For Victoria, who fled her residence city of Irpin together with her son in March final 12 months, that is her first Christmas away from residence.

“We lived within the basement for nearly two weeks, then we left when the bombings began, and elements of the town had been in ruins,” says Victoria, who didn’t need to give her full title.

In Poland, about two hours from Warsaw, she discovered shelter in a dormitory for refugees. Quickly after, she bought a job as a waitress not removed from her new residence.

Though she is secure together with her son, Christmas just isn’t the identical. In her shared lodging, she doesn’t have entry to a kitchen and can’t cook dinner conventional festive meals as she used to in Ukraine.

“What’s essential is the ambiance and temper. It could be good to have a kitchen, however that is secondary,” she stated.


On the Nathanael Orthodox church in southwest Berlin, the common congregation was joined by dozens of refugees who attended the ceremony, priest Oleg Polianko informed Reuters.

“After all we’re unhappy in regards to the conflict, however that is Christmas and a contented event. God is our protector and helps us,” Polianko stated.

Marta Akopian (25) from Donetsk attended the Mass to replicate and pray. “I prayed for the power and bravado for our military and naturally for myself and my household,” she stated.

For Helena, a 60-year-old grandmother from Lviv, spending Christmas within the German capital away from her household is tough, she stated. This time final 12 months, earlier than Russia’s invasion on February 24, she nonetheless hoped {that a} conflict could possibly be averted.

Again in Warsaw, Ukrainian Irina Dolganych (34) stated this Christmas feels completely different and uncomfortable, although she has lived in Poland for 5 years.

“We attempt as a result of we’ve youngsters and we do not need them to really feel this (pressure), you possibly can’t clarify it to them, for them it is a vacation. Similar to in my childhood I seemed ahead to Christmas, I believe it needs to be like that for them,” stated Irina.

Irina deliberate to cook dinner conventional dishes, one thing her mom within the Cherkasy area of central Ukraine can’t get pleasure from.

“My mom would not have a good time in any respect. I spoke to her half an hour in the past. She would not actually have a Christmas tree this 12 months.”

Victoria additionally managed to talk to a few of her relations with mobile phone reception.

“We will solely pray for peace and that we lastly get the chance to return residence,” she stated.

Reporting by Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska Enhancing by Ros Russell

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.


Supply hyperlink