Ukrainian Christians chant days before Russian invasion goes viral
following The Russian invasion of Ukraine early Thursday there were reports of casualties and destruction. But images and stories of Ukrainian Christians worshiping and praying have also surfaced. Church leaders in Ukraine say they intend to continue their ministry and urge Christians around the world to pray for them.
The attack, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, resulted in condemnations, punishments, and the first-ever activation of the NATO Response Force. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 137 soldiers and civilians from his country have already been killed. And refugee groups estimate that around 50,000 Ukrainians have fled to or crossed borders.
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Ukrainian Christians: “Please send us mercy”
At the start of the week, the Christian Emergency Alliance (CEA) shared on Twitter a video of a group of Ukrainian Christians singing at a train station in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. The song, translated as “Let My Prayer Flow,” is essentially asking God to “please send us mercy.” CEA writes: “They sing of forgiveness, salvation, mercy, joy, peace and the Ukrainian people. A biblical light in the darkness of a possible war.
Around 70% of the country’s population is Christian, with most adhering to Orthodox Christianity. A 2018 to divide between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church foreshadowed the political power struggle between the countries.
Although Ukraine is not on recent lists of countries known to persecute Christians, its people are no strangers to such attacks. Yarsolav “Slavik” Pyzh, president of the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary, says, “Historically, we had this experience before, under the Soviet Union. So the church hasn’t forgotten what it means to be persecuted, and I think we’re going to reorganize, reorganize, and keep doing what we always do: keep preaching. gospel music.”
Leaders of churches and seminaries in Ukraine echo this message, saying the war will not discourage their mission or service. Some Christian campuses are hosting refugees in dormitories, while others are buying vans to help with evacuations.
Ukraine: Pray for peace, calm and truth
For now, say Ukrainian church leaders, the most urgent need is pray. “Please pray for discipleship in the country, the safety of our people, and generosity in the midst of war,” says Vadym Kulynchenko of Our Legacy Ukraine. “And also for discernment, because there is a lot of fake news.”