Ukraine celebrates Orthodox Easter with prayers for those trapped

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“Hopefully I’ll just have to use the headset for that,” he said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a service elsewhere in Kyiv urged Ukrainians not to let anger against the war overwhelm them.

“We all think our sunrise is coming soon,” he said.

The spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians called for the opening of humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, saying a “human tragedy” was unfolding in the country.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I spoke Saturday evening in Istanbul during midnight mass. He is considered first among equals among the Eastern Orthodox patriarchs, giving him the prominence but not the power of a Catholic pope.

With the The Orthodox Church divided by tensions between Russia and Ukraine, some worshipers hoped the holy day could inspire peacemaking gestures. “The church can help,” said a man who gave only his first name, Serhii, as he visited a church in kyiv under the Moscow Patriarchate.

He and others brought baskets to be blessed by priests for Easter, with brushstrokes sprinkling holy water over offerings of home-dyed eggs, lit candles and even bottles of Jack Daniel’s.

Residents of war-torn rural villages approached the holiday with some defiance.

“We will celebrate Easter no matter what, no matter how horrible,” said Kateryna Lazarenko, 68, in the northern village of Ivanivka near Chernihiv, where wrecked Russian tanks still littered the roads.

“How am I feeling? Very nervous, everyone is nervous,” another resident, Olena Koptyl, said as she baked her Easter bread. “Easter holidays bring no joy. I cry a lot. not forget how we lived. She and 12 other people spent a month safe from Russian soldiers in the basement of her house before the soldiers retreated.

Ukraine geared up on Sunday for the first high-level US trip to Kyiv since before the war began on Feb. 24 after Zelenskyy announced he would meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Secretary of Defense. Lloyd Austin.

Zelenskyy at a Saturday night press conference gave few details but said he was expecting results – “not just gifts or some kind of cake, we are expecting specific things and specific weapons.”

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