As the crisis in Ukraine deepens, it has become a test of faith for Ukrainian Christians.
Many follow events in their ancestral homeland from the United States, where dozens of communities of both Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox believers have sprung up over decades.
As pastor at Washington’s Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family, Father Robert Hitchens has spent many Lenten seasons listening to the prayers and struggles of his flock as they seek forgiveness and repentance.
The predominant concern he’s now hearing regards the country’s ongoing strife and conflict, the events that make it hard for many of his parishioners to think about forgiveness.
“During this time of Lent, we’re on a journey of conversion,” Hitchens said. “The human side of us would like to hate people. But we’re called to rise above that. So we’re praying. But it’s hard.”
It’s happening in many churches that serve predominantly Ukrainian or Russian Christians worldwide.