News / Europe

Chicago's Ukrainian Community Prays for Peace in Ukraine

Chicago's Ukrainian Community Prays for Peace in Ukrainei
X
Kane Farabaugh
March 06, 2014 2:23 PM
As tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine in the wake of a military incursion on the Crimean peninsula, VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports that Chicago's large Ukrainian American community is observing the Christian season of Lent, and turning to their faith to ease anxieties about their home country.

Chicago's Ukrainian Community Prays for Peace in Ukraine

Kane Farabaugh
As Chicago's large Ukrainian American community begins to observe the Christian season of Lent, many are turning to their faith to overcome the anxiety of what Russia's next move could mean for the independence of their home country.

At the Ukrainian National Museum on Chicago's West Side, the pictures and artifacts on display bring the turmoil in Ukraine closer to home.
 
 "My brother went there first in December. He felt a deep connection with the people on the Maidan, the Maidan being the main square of Kyiv," explained retiree Oleh Sajewych.

His brother is George Sajewych, a former reporter for the Voice of America. On a second visit to Kyiv in February, he was attacked during the deadly crackdown on protests.
 
The first hint to Oleh that his brother survived was video footage and an interview with George in the hospital that was broadcast around the world.
 
"Just talked to my brother today. He's sore. He just got out of the hospital on Monday. His arm was operated on," Oleh Sajewych said.
 
While the news about his brother is a positive development, the Russian incursion into Crimea in the wake of the protests has created new concerns for the Sajewych family.
 
"My wife's cousin's husband is in a naval base in Odessa, and at this time he is in harm's way, because he is surrounded by Russian soldiers - this is Putin's soldiers, let's not play games, this is Putin's army. Ultimatums have been issued, and if there is fighting, he's going to be slaughtered," said Oleh Sajewych.
 
Almost anywhere you go in Chicago's Ukrainian Village, there are blue and yellow flags flying in a show of solidarity with the home country. This is a community founded on faith, displayed by the iconic onion-shaped domes that dot the skyline.
 
A blue and gold flag also flies below the domes of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, though not as high as others.
 
 "It's meaning that we are in sorrow, that we are praying for those hundred people who lost their lives for the freedom and salvation of Ukraine," explained Reverend Bohdan Nalysnyk, director of St. Nicholas. " It will be there for 40 days, out of tradition."
 
The unrest in Ukraine comes during the Christian holy period of Lent, a time of daily church services. As Nalysnyk leads his congregation in prayer and reflection, he admits his thoughts are sometimes with his family still living in western Ukraine.
 
They are thoughts shared by most members of this immigrant community that number in the tens of thousands. Many are only one or two generations removed from the country they left.
 
"The Ukrainians here support whatever efforts the Ukrainians in Ukraine are doing to keep that country free," St. Nicholas business manager Phyllis Muryn Zaparaniuk said, adding that backing from Chicago's Ukrainian community has come through donations of money, clothes for the protesters and medical supplies, though she wishes she could do more.

"There are times I wish I was there, but I know there's nothing I can do."
 
Zaparaniuk said that in times of helplessness, the community turns to Father Nalysnyk for guidance and wisdom.
 
Nalysnyk believes Ukraine's resurrection will come once Russian troops leave, and the Ukrainian people get the opportunity to vote on the future of their government.

"To give hope that everything will be OK. Like we say in church, after Friday comes Sunday, the resurrection," he said.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid