Christ is risen indeed!
These words spoken in Russian are the very first expression of Easter joy we hear on Sunday, April 24, 2011 as folks gather at Birth of Christ Church in Kiev, Ukraine, preparing for the worship hour.
Here is the choir after rehearsal preparing to ascend the steps to the sanctuary for the Easter service.
At the invitation of ABCLife, Kathy Gould’s ministry to children and families, husband Cliff and I spent two weeks in Kiev (April 8 – 28, 2011) and surrounding towns performing art and music shows in public schools and churches. His final program entitled “He is Risen” is presented here at Birth of Christ Church on Easter weekend.
After the exchange of greetings, we worship by singing songs of the resurrection and then thrill to the experience of seeing the “He is risen!” presentation accompanied by exultant music and special lighting effects.
Before the service, early this Sunday morning, we see a couple, basket of Easter bread and eggs in hand, wending their way toward a Ukrainian Orthodox church farther down the road. Ukrainians walk every where possible as cars are very expensive here, and today the weather is cool and gorgeous. This couple graciously allow me to photograph their beautiful paschal offering.
Their special bread is frosted and coated with sprinkles. Here is a recipe for Ukrainian Easter Bread (Paska) from Extending the Table, a World Community Cookbook published by MennoMedia in a revised edition. In my older edition from 1991, the recipe is found on page 65.
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After completing 19 shows in a 12-day period, we are ready for a respite, which we enjoy in Crimea: the ornate Livadia Palace, site of the signing of the peace treaty between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin; the Church of Foros with its onion domes, where celebrities marry. Then in a park in the city of Yalta, a statue of Pushkin, the celebrated Russian poet and one of Chekhov’s “Lady with Her Dog” virtually come to life along the promenade bordering the Black Sea.
Sadly, the door is barred to Crimea now, once the accessible southern-most region of Ukraine. Since our visit, President Vladimir Putin has wrested this lovely coastal land from Ukrainian hands.
Pray for the people of Ukraine!
Cliff’s YouTube connection
Coming next: Enchanted April, Renewal and Possibilities