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Ukraine: crisis casts shadow over Orthodox Easter celebrations

Ukraine: crisis casts shadow over Orthodox Easter celebrations
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It is no ordinary Easter for Ukraine’s Orthodox Christians.

The country’s crisis is felt particularly at St Michael’s Cathedral in Kyiv, where pro-EU demonstrators were sheltered and given medical care during the revolution.

Celebrations for Christ rising from the dead after crucifixion combine with fears for the future and sadness for those killed in and around Independence Square.

“I’m praying for those shot dead,” said one worshipper. “Today I will go to Maidan and take a simnel cake and eggs for them. I wish all of you only happiness and health, as well as wishing for the welfare of Ukraine.”

“I love Ukraine so much!” she added.

Another elderly woman celebrating Easter told euronews: “I am asking the Lord for everything to turn out well so that all we asked for, standing in Maidan Square, all we fought for, will finally come true. I hope God will help us!”

The head of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church has condemned what he called Russian “aggression” and said “evil” will be defeated.

“Lord, help us resurrect Ukraine” Patriarch Filaret also said in his Easter message, as quoted by local media.

Our correspondent in Kyiv, Maria Korenyuk, said: “This year, on the day considered the biggest religious holiday, Ukrainians have been praying, not only for family harmony and their own welfare but notably for peace and the integrity of the entire state.”