Joy as the first Eucharist in 15 months celebrated at Christ Church, Kyiv
For the first time since war broke out over a year ago, a Eucharist was celebrated at Christ Church, Kyiv. Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel visited the church. As part of this visit he was able to return the silver Chalice and Paten which had been kept safely in Germany since the early days of the invasion.
On the outbreak of war, one congregation member who fled to Germany carried the silver with her for safekeeping, and it has been looked after at our chaplaincy in Leipzig ever since. It was a lovely opportunity to return them to their home, and for Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel to use them as part of celebrating the Eucharist in April.
Archdeacon Leslie describes his four-day visit to Kyiv:
“This visit was an eye-opener in many ways. It was intense in a volatile context, interspersed with anxious moments. The 16-hour overnight bus journey between Warsaw and Kyiv itself, with the tedious and thorough border checks, the broken-down military arsenal along the way once one had crossed the border, the destruction of bridges and the by-passes made necessary as a consequence, prepared one for the atmosphere of tension that pervades life in the capital city of Kyiv. Ukraine lives in constant fear of threat to life and existence.”
“However this has not suppressed the will, the courage, and the conviction of the Ukrainian people that they will succeed in repelling aggression. There was joy at being able to contribute towards a renewed strengthening of our chaplaincy Christ Church, joy at returning the silver to the chaplaincy - silver from 1831 that had made the journey to Germany during the early stages of the current war for protection - and at being able to use the silver once again during the Eucharist. On Sunday 16th April 2023, Easter Sunday in the Orthodox calendar, a Holy Communion service was celebrated for the first time in Christ Church since the outbreak of war over one year ago. There was joy at the number of people who attended the service, a record of 15 people. We were encouraged and thankful for the connections that are emerging with the NGO communities and are grateful for the discussions and sharing with so many ecumenical friends from the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations as well as the German Lutheran pastor.”
“For the congregation at Christ Church, it is now about building confidence and looking ahead to its future ministry and mission. We are now at a point when this task of mission and ministry can be pursued with vigour. People are looking for a spiritual home. Many are also looking for English-speaking communities and church services. We think that Christ Church will be able to offer a place of worship, care and Christian fellowship for many.”
Videos from the service can be found on the Diocese in Europe youtube channel: