Dear brothers and sisters from St Andrew’s Zurich,
Season’s greetings from Kyiv in the war-torn Ukraine. In this Advent season, when weather is cold, and daylight is short, we recollect with great joy the Eastertide days that we spent in canton Zurich with the St. Andrew’s community. In this season of darkness and despair in Ukraine these memoirs comfort us and raise our spirits.
Despite frequent blackouts, disconnected internet, interruptions in heating and water supplies, today’s Kyiv remains defiant. Kyiv residents, volunteers and municipal authorities try hard to resist this attempt to impose coldness, darkness, and despair upon us. Instead of feeling humble and fearful, depressed or desperate, we leave bags with water, chargers and first-aid heart-medicines in lifts for those stuck in them during blackouts. We organize ‘points of resilience’, where people can charge their telephones and stay for a while to get warmed, – in schools and post offices. Small grocery stores and pharmacies have procured generators and offer food staff and medicines to people despite the blackouts. Big universities established open IT hubs and coworking spaces for those who need to study and work online. The theatres and museums continue to work, while municipal authorities try to provide them with power reserves to warm and cheer up the spectators and visitors. During this Advent we revealed many new and unexpected things both in ourselves and in our neighbours. This Advent season turned to be full of magic and miracles. Those small deeds of charity had become one huge manifestation of Advent and Christmas spirit, which we feel almost physically.
This Advent feeling is very much enforced and strengthened with the solidarity of all our brothers and sisters in Europe. Church communities from Basel, Switzerland, sent us parcel with chargers; many our friends across Anglican Diocese in Europe have sent us cheerful letters, and continue to offer all sorts of supplies.
It is such a pleasure to come together during online All-European Advent prayers on Wednesdays. Archbishop Justin and Bishop Robert, during a visit to Kyiv, Bucha and Irpin earlier this month, prayed together for recovery from wounds, reconciliation, and peace. This visit was and remains a huge support and encouragement to us.
This Sunday, December 18, we are going to have the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. Nobody can predict how many attendants we will have. Nevertheless we strongly believe that one more miracle will happen, and some unexpected brothers and sisters will show up in St.Catherine’s Church to celebrate with us the Third Sunday of Advent in Christmas spirit, and with hope for the future and strong faith in God, with whom all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)
With love from Ukraine,
Church Warden, Christ Church Kyiv
More information about the online All-European Advent prayers for Ukraine can be found by clicking here.
In her letter, Christina mentions the recent visit of Robert, Bishop in Europe and of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Subscribers to Search magazine will be able to read more about this visit in the next edition.