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 outreach 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, Vladimir Putin has wrested this lovely coastal land from Ukrainian hands. He has since invaded the mainland.
Pray for the people of Ukraine!
Cliff’s YouTube connection
Note: This post was first published April 4, 2015. You can find the original post here with comments.
To donate to families in the Kiev area, check out Kathy’s website: https://abclife.info/donations
Good morning, Marian! You must be very worried about your friends in Ukraine, as all the world watches in anguish since Putin decided to invade there.
Kathy is back in the United States advocating for her friends and sending relief there. She has informed us that her co-workers and friends have relocated to other countries or are in a safe place for now. I have not heard of any casualties, but I believe some property has been destroyed. The situation in unstable even though there are faint signs of some positive change.
By the way, you were one of the commenters in the original post, Merril. Thanks. . . for both! 😀
You’re very welcome, Marian! I’m glad Kathy and her friends are safe.
War is always terrible, but when you know the people who are suffering, it is even worse. I can only imagine what Easter will be like in Ukraine this year. Prayers for them through you. Thanks, Marian, for reminding us of the life that is being taken and threatened there. Life the headlines can only summarize.
You are right, Shirley. The suffering we get in new bytes is just the tip of the iceberg. I agree with our President who decries the whole assault expressing “moral outrage.” 😀
This is a beautiful tribute to the people of Ukraine, but at the same time, it’s heartbreaking. My prayers are with your friends and all of the people in Ukraine whose life has been ruined by this senseless invasion.
Heartbreaking and ruin are two words I would apply to the invasion as well. Now, I pray for withdrawal and restoration. Their leader Zelenskyy certainly has mobilized his country to defend the nation. God bless them in their efforts as good people from around the globe rally to help. Thanks, Jill.
What a beautiful experience and wonderful memories!
That’s true and it makes current events in Ukraine so very sad. Thanks, Colleen. Prayers for the end to the invasion with troops totally withdrawn from the country. 😀
Your photo essay is heartbreaking to read this morning. To think, these are the people Putin seeks to destroy, just good people going about their lives, celebrating their faith.
The invasion is unprovoked and indefensible. That’s why the good people on our planet are rising up to protest. . . and send aid. Thanks, Liz!
You’re welcome, Marian. I agree that the outpouring of love, support, and outrage toward Putin from around the world has been heartening. If only it could stop him.
Oh my word that really hits home, doesn’t it??? What a powerful reminder, Marian!!! Yes, prayers indeed!
When I was growing up, people in our community had colored glass mottos on their walls. One I remember, attached with a chain, read: Prayer changes things. And indeed it does. Thank you, L. Marie! 😀
I headed to YouTube to see Cliff work his magic with chalk. What an artist! I know we had someone like him come to our school. I doubt he ever came to Middlebury Ind.
On the wider topic of Ukraine, I read a long piece this morning about a journalist making the difficult decision to leave Moscow because as an American (even after 44 years there), she felt endangered and is now in another bordering country. At our church last night, there was special prayer for all of Ukraine and that area of the world. I have read/heard some hopeful signs but the interviews with people lamenting the deaths of innocent children are just heart rending.
God bless you Marian and Cliff as you continue to hold your special friends in Ukraine close to your heart. Thanks for taking us closer.
Thank you for your good wishes and sharing the story of the journalist reporting in Moscow, which I had not heard before.
Cliff may have come to your school. He has done over 5000 shows from New England to Florida and from the East Coast to Stanford, CA and the suburbs of San Francisco. I told Cliff of your comment, and he says he will check his database. If you know the name of the school and approximate date, it would be easier to give you an answer about the school in Indiana. Thanks for the blessing too, Melodie. It’s always good to hear from you 😀
What the search revealed: John Wood El Merrillville IN 10/12/1992
Merrillville Merrillville IN 10/12/1992
Salk School Merrillville IN 10/12/1992
Miller School Merrillville IN 10/13/1992
Iddings Schoo Merrillville IN 10/14/1992
Fieler School Merrilville IN 10/13/1992
St. Paul’s Lut Munster IN 3/9/2005
My elementary school was Middlebury Elementary. The time would have been 1957-1963.
Cliff was a college student during those years, so it must have been someone else. Interesting. . . . !
It’s amazing the many places that God has used you to minster. Its so sad what the people in ukraine are going through, the many lives lost on both sides by the action of one man. I pray this ends soon. Thank you for the visuals. May God continue to use both your gifts to bless us.
Thanks for the good wishes here, Gloria. Yes, I believe our prayers are effecting change, and I hope for the better. These vicious attacks are unprovoked and should never have happened at all. Now we can pray for a resolution, so Ukrainians can return to their homeland, rebuild, and live in peace. 😀
I recall this post from before. You were so lucky to have had a chance to visit this part of the world. My ancestors come from here. It is heartbreaking to see what is happening now. I’m glad your friends are safe. Prayer to the folks in Ukraine.
Yes, you were an early reader, Darlene–and commenters. I do recall your ancestry in Ukraine with many of your forebears emigrating to Canada during a different uprising.. Yes, if thoughts are prayers, many ascend for the dear people in Ukraine and those who have been displaced. Thanks for commenting again! 😀
Thank you for sharing these pictures. Yes, Easter is very special in the Ukraine and in all of Europe. We have taken in so far here in Germany around 300,000 refugees. Two Sundays ago, I had the opportunity to share with the wife of a Ukrainian Pastor. It was joyful talking with her. Our church has also sent about 1000 tons of clothing, food, and medical supplies to help support the Ukrainian coming over the border from the Rumanian side. I know it will be a sad Easter for many of the people there and I hurt because of that. They are a very joyous and thankful people. My hope is that God ends this war soon because the Ukrainians want to go back and rebuild their land.
Oh, I like Easter bread too. They make it in the bakeries here in Germany and it is simply delicious.
My heart leaps with joy at the good will your church is spreading and the refuge Germany has shown in taking in refugees. Two families I met in Ukraine have found safe haven in Germany because a son-in-law has relatives there. They are happy to be safe but, as you say, are longing to return to their motherland.
Thanks for checking in here with good news, Patricia! 😀
By the way, these families entertained us with a delicious dinner during our stay there. They are such a hospitable people and served us a chicken dish with dill. Ukrainians use dill in many of their dishes, and when I returned I adopted the habit for recipes. This is a reminder to get some fresh dill. Yum!
Thank you for this post, Marian, and the reminder to pray for the people of Ukraine!
You’re welcome, Luci. It seems as though people of all creeds these days recognize that we are our brothers’ (and sisters’) keeper. Thank you for tuning in! 😀
We went a year later, Marian, in 2012 and I remember the beautiful city of Kyiv with its golden domes. From there we took a train to Chortitza, the place of my birth! We had a wonderful tour guide and are still in contact with her. Love the picture of the couple carrying their Paska to church! I’ll be baking mine shortly!
Yes, indeed. Just yesterday I looked through a parcel of postcards we bought as souvenirs in Kiev. Just fabulous buildings! I especially like the Monument to Independence, the elegant opera house where we saw either a ballet or opera, not sure which, and golden domes everywhere. May the LORD intervene and spare this and other Ukrainian cities from more destruction.
I’m glad you are carrying on Ukrainian traditions which you, your children, and grandchildren will enjoy, including the wonderful bread. Blessings, Elfrieda! 😀
Sending love and prayers… 💞🙏🙏🙏
They are certainly needed–and appreciated. Thank you, Bette! 😀
Thank you for sharing your past trip to Ukraine Marian. What a rewarding journey and such a timely topic to revisit now. It makes me quite sad that in such a short time from your visit, the doors to Crimea and the cultural art and scenic beauty that is there closed for future visitors to enjoy. Happy (almost) Easter and I agree: Prayer changes things.
Melanie, there were rumblings of unrest even then in 2011.
One of the young men who helped Cliff set up remarked that he was planning to go defend the eastern border. That was eleven years ago, back in 2011. Also, when we visited Crimea, we noticed many Russian guards. Kathy instructed us not to speak when we passed by the entrance because if they detected English (aka Americans) there may be trouble. We were mute until we got further in, and enjoyed especially the promenade along the Black Sea. Thanks for commenting here, and–yes–prayer does change things! 😀
Wow. Thanks for adding to the story about seeing Russian guards and not speaking for your own safety. Scary.
Kathy coached us along the way, and told us in advance to be tight-lipped in Crimea because she already knew there was a Russian presence there. Thanks for the followup, Melanie. 😀
I hope everything will be resolved peacefully and soon.
I wish as well. My prayer too. Thank you, Valentina! 😀
What a wonderful thing to be able to make a tangible paschal donation that we can hope goes to feed the needy. We’ve donated to several causes to help the Ukrainian people, but are often left wondering how directly these dollars go.
Kathy makes sure that people with true needs receive the funds. She says she does not take a salary, so whatever is given in the “donation” column goes directly to Ukrainians. Thanks for reading–and for giving, if that is what you are led to do, Pete. 😀
It breaks my heart to see and hear of the terrible atrocities,indiscrimate bombings and loss of homes and lives..people torn apart in the name of what?…But I am also heartened by the support from around the world…A lovely post Marian a tribute to the kindness of the Ukrainians as they share their bread and eggs…
You are using the right words to denounce Putin’s hideous behavior. I don’t think the Russian people approve, but they probably fear their leader too much to push back. And I like your “But…” which highlights the kind acts globally since the attacks began. I’m glad you appreciated the post, Carol! 😀
I don’t think all the Russian people approve either and as Putin and his mob rule by fear it takes a brave person to stand up and be counted…times are changing though and I see the people fighting bravely putting fear aside and fighting back…
Russian people are smart, and by now many must know something is “off.” I understand key people in the tech industry have left the country. I believe they know the truth. Thanks for the follow-up, Carol.
A lovely post. We are praying.
Thank you, Arlene. It’s the best thing to do! 😀
I went back to your April 2015 post Marian and was pleased to see I responded then. My goodness, have we been blogging friends for 7 years already? 🙂 Different time, different place right now – our hearts are with all those in this highly conflicted arena. And so appreciative of the outpouring of good will by way of funds, goods etc. Wonderful that you were there in 2011.
I agree: It seems unbelievable that we have a 7 year blog friendship. Wouldn’t it be grand to see each other face to face sometime!
Yes, nothing can restore lives lost, and rebuilding will be quite a challenge. Yet, I too am heartened by the outpouring of good will worldwide. Thanks, Susan. 😀
The basket looked so lovely and tempting. It is wonderful to see such measures of faith in the midst of tragedy. What an inspiring story. Thank you, Marian.
You are a quick responder. Wow!
Thank you, Joylene, for being curious enough to check out my website AND then to read & leave a comment. 😀
A remarkable coincidence that you were in the Ukraine around this time of year a few years ago. Your observations and the bread recipe are so normal to read about. Yet the current war in the Ukraine is anything but. Thanks for the link about how to donate.
I know, it feels anachronistic. Such kind, gentle people with such a hostile neighbor–hostile being the understatement of the year. I’m glad this post hit a chord, Ally! 😀
Hi Marian, thank you for sharing this wonderful adventure and your lovely pictures. I really enjoyed learning about the Easter bread which is new to me. Thanks also for the link to the recipe.
Robbie, you are the first to mention the recipe specifically. The cookbook is very old, and I don’t think the link works, but if you are interested in baking the Easter bread, you can probably enlarge the page here. Huge thanks for your stopping by to comment. 😀
A beautiful tribute to the people of Ukraine Marian. What an experience that must have been. Loved the bread recipe too! 🙂
Oh, thank you, Debby! I hope you enjoy the bread recipe! 😍 🍞
Marian, these memories must be priceless for you. The atrocities of this war are beyond heartbreaking. I look at the picture of these young boys who would be young men now and my heart aches … Thank you for sharing happy times in Ukraine.
That was the point.
While I’l not glossing over the atrocities, one reason for posting this is to show the kind natures of the Ukrainians. They are also fighters, which we have seen from their president Zelenskyy and the populace. I believe they will overcome. Thanks, Lorrie! 😀
Last night, just before drifting off to sleep, I read your “Right Thing to Say…” entry in the latest “I Still Matter” book and was inspired to find your website first thing this morning (still in my pjs). With CNN in the background sharing stories of suffering, hope, disaster and heroism in Ukraine, I read this piece feeling even more and more connected to the people there. Wondering if the choir members are safe. Wondering what Easter will be like for the couple carrying their Easter Bread. Sometimes there are no words, so I breathe out…hard…as if I’m exhaling the grief. And I say another prayer for peace, for strength and healing.
Some of the best ideas arrive over my first cup of tea, so I have a request: May I have your permission to post the Easter Bread recipe and photos of the choir and couple on my Facebook page and mention your visit there 12 years ago?
Thank you for your inspiring post about Ukraine.
PS: I look forward to chatting someday, as we have connections to Lancaster, Anne Lamott and Jacksonville!
PPSS: My husband Robin Wright wrote “In Deep” in “I Still Matter” — it’s a hoot!
PPPSSS: Time to get dressed for the day! LOL!
Dawn, I am honored that you want to share this post and have taken the time to introduce yourself here.
I am certainly amenable to making this post available to others. You can “friend” me on Facebook. My link: https://www.facebook.com/marian.beaman/
When I accept, then you can share the post directly from my Facebook page to yours. (I noticed that there are several Dawn Wrights listed on Facebook, so I’m not sure which one is actually you.)
Also, I can make the connection from me to you on Facebook after I am sure I have the correct Dawn Wright. Ha!
We are on vacation now, and I don’t have access to the I Still Matter piece you are referring to though I certainly want to read it.
Again, thanks for reaching out. I can tell you have a compassionate heart, and I would like to get to know you better. 😀
Follow-up: I see you have already extended a friend request, which I have accepted.
Now you can freely share this entire blog post on your Facebook page. Let me know if you have questions. You can address them here on through FB Messenger. Huge thanks, Dawn!
So so lovely, and just 11 years ago – who would have guessed these good people would have to fight to survive in their own homeland from a brute like Putin? The thought was never in our minds ten years ago, or even one year ago. May Ukraine rise up with the help of the Spirit and their Will and with all of us who prayer for them and help in whatever way we can. Thanks for sharing these precious photos, Marian.
You’re right, Pam! However, when we were there, one of the crew who helped Cliff set up mentioned that he may need to go to the border (meaning Eastern Ukraine) to push back the invaders. I didn’t think much of it at the time. In retrospect, this invasion has been brewing for a long, long time. I am amazed at the fervor of the people to decry the invasion and their President Zelenskyy, who is adamant about Ukraine retaining its independence.They have Spirit and Will as you point out.
Thanks for adding to the outcry and for persevering with prayer for these good people. 😀
Thank you for sharing this article again, Marian, because it is so timely–and heart breaking. I can’t imagine how strong your feelings must be about what’s happening in Ukraine and to the people you know there. They’re in my first prayers in the morning and I think of what these people must be enduring throughout the day. It keeps life’s every-day difficulties in perspective and I wish I could do more than make small donations and sign petitions. Blessings to you and Cliff and the Eastern Orthodox people of Ukraine who celebrated Easter this weekend. (It breaks my heart even more that the Russian Orthodox Patriarch supports what the Russian army is doing to Ukrainians. I simply don’t understand war.)
In the beginning, I was beside myself when Putin invaded Ukraine. It’s all I could think about, know the people and the culture as I do. However, as far back as 2011, one of Kathy’s helpers told me he was going to the eastern border to help with the resistance. The war has been brewing for a very long time. Like you said, I simply don’t understand war. Not at all.
Thanks for reading and commenting again, Elaine. Yes, we hold these wonderful people in our prayers and contribute when we can. I wonder if the Russian Orthodox Patriarch support is motivated by implicit political coercion. Very sad. . . .