Ukrainian community marks Easter at Abu Dhabi cathedral

Prayers for war-torn homeland two months on from Russia's invasion

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Ukrainians in Abu Dhabi came together on Easter Sunday with the hope that the war in their country will soon come to an end.

A special Ukrainian language service was held at St Joseph's Cathedral to mark Easter Sunday. Father Liubomyr Fylypchak led the Greek Catholic Church service in prayer and in a traditional folk song.

Worshippers prayed for family who are in Ukraine, two months on from the Russian invasion.

The conflict is estimated to have left thousands dead, displaced millions and left Ukraine's economy in ruins.

Yevheniy Semenov, who lives in Abu Dhabi, said the community has pulled together to support family members at home.

“Everyone knows the men and women who are defending Ukraine, our relatives, our friends and we know they will do their best to bring this war to an end,” he told The National.

Ukrainian expats have taken in family members who have sought to escape.

“Many families have brought relatives out here, but of course its all ladies and kids. The men are still in Ukraine serving. Everybody believes we will win, the war will be finished.”

“We have a lady here who was lucky enough to escape Mariupol, which was almost 100 per cent destroyed as a city. She has told us of people making drinking water out of snow, no phone coverage, so they don't know what is happening.”

Mr Semenov said Ukrainians abroad yearn for the day they can safely visit their home cities and towns again.

“We all want to once again visit our country, to see its historic buildings, its beautiful streets,” he said.

“And not just to see the physical Ukraine but to return to the feeling of calm once again.”

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Updated: April 25, 2022, 1:40 PM