O Lord, Make Us Worthy - A Vespers Part by the Resurrection Lutheran Church Choir, Kyiv, Ukraine

Bless the Lord, o my soul (Psalm 103) by the Resurrection Lutheran Church Choir, Kyiv, Ukraine

December 9, 2013

Please Pray for Ukraine

What's going on in Ukraine?  Let me suggest you a brief summary of events: since elections of Viktor Yanukovych to be the President of Ukraine in 2010, he managed to change the Consitution of Ukraine by the Constitional Court and became the only man in the country who has all the power in his own hands.

After such an accumulation of power he began to throw his political opponents (who were not able to escape to the West or were willing to stay with their own nation in Ukraine) into prisons. His major political opponent, Mrs. Yulia Tymoshenko, is still in prison, ill and almost disabled due to lack of medical treatment.

The Rada, Ukrainian Parliament became obedient partially through bribes, partially through threats - all the MPs saw what was happening to the opponets of the current President and nobody wanted to be in prison for 5 years or a decade. At the same time new laws were introduced through the subjugated Parliament, restricting human and business freedoms of citizens. A few laws allow now to prosecute churches like in 1930-ies under Stalin.

About 3 million people lost their small businesses, many western banks and businesses began to leave Ukraine while the family of the President began to buy or raid businesses and became absolutely rich. The country of Ukraine certainly is becoming very poor.

There was a hope for Ukrainians in signing the Assocication with the European Union.  But the President neglected even that hope and chose to isolate Ukraine from the West instead. People began to protest. Instead of a dialogue with his own people he decided to use violence against peaceful protesters, mostly students. As observers report, there was so much tortured students' and journalists' blood in the Indepedence Square  that the local government decided to change cobble stones there instead of trying to wash the blood stains away.

That caused more protests and demands to arrest policemen who showed brutality to peaceful demonstraters and were torturing the detainees. The protesters on Sundays all over Ukraine demand signing Agreement with the EU and arrest the torturers.  In Kyiv number of protesters on Sundays comes as high as 1.6 million at a time. The President decided to arrest some protesters instead and organize a few of provocations with his paid instigators and provokers. Now these instigators and provokers hide some place in Russia.  The President decided to sign even more agreements with Russia and have some secret negotiations with Putin.

Why is such an inadequate reaction of the governemt? An illustration can explain it. A monument to Lenin, an infamous Communist torturer of Ukrainians, was destroyed by a crowd of people yesterday. Immediately came a unanimous condemnation by the government on all the levels.  There was no such an immediate condemnation of violance toward the peaceful protesters, only some very vague apologies under public pressure... I have an impression that for 20 + years we continue to deal with former Communists apparatchiks that changed their colors from red to blue and yellow but never changed their Communist hatred toward freedom, uncontrolled Christianity, and free enterprise, and their fear, and hiddent hatred to the West.

Ukraine is in a deadlock and on the edge of escalation of civil conflict up to the point of a civil war now. Ukrainians ask the western governments to use personal sanctions against Mr. Yanukovych and members of his family and his political-business clan and force them to negotiations with the Ukrainian society. Ukrainian churches ask to avoid violence on both sides. Please pray for Ukraine, for freedom-loving Ukrainian citizens, for Ukrainian Christians and for Ukrainian Lutherans in particular.

Video: Police torturing protesters in Kyiv.

October 7, 2013

Thanksgiving Day in Kam'yanets Podilskiy

Ocotber 6, 2013. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Kam'yanets-Podilskiy has celebrated the Tanksgiving Day in the city. Deacon Volodymyr Maskov has greeted citizens on this occasion with the Word of God.  Brother Victor Mrachkovski has cooked a good size copper of traditional Ukrainian Kulish (a kind of thick soup with millet and meat). All the participants of the city festivity could taste the Kulish as well as to receive the Good News Journal, and  Lutheran confessional books, published by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, and hear the Lutheran testimony about the Christian faith. Pictures by Oleksiy Kustlivi.


Martin Luther's Works in Ukrainian - Volume 1

 On September 22, 2013 the first volume of Luther's Works in Ukrainian was presented to the Ukrainian Lutheran Church.Volume number 1 includes Dr. Luther's sermons on the Gospel of John, chapters 1 thourgh 4. The presentation of the 1st volume took place at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Kyiv.  The event was dedicated to the 1025th anniversary of introduction of Christianity in Ukraine and took place right after the God's service.  Dr. Robert Rahn, Interim Executive Director of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation was the key presenter.  Every participant of the celebration could receive a signed copy of the 1st volume of Luther's Works.  The next volume of Luther's Works will be dedicated to Luther's wrtings on the Word and Sacrament. The book is available and being sent both to congregations and individuals.

May 6, 2013

Easter Celebrations in the Resurretion Lutheran Church in Kyiv

Confirmation of Mrs. Olena Prokopchuk, wife of Deacon Dmytro Prokopchuk

Holy Communion at the Easter Liturgy

Getting ready for the thanksgiving prayer

Easter play

The youngest group greetings

Holy Baptism of Daryna Zinchenko

April 23, 2013

Interview with Pastor Neal Schroeder

The interview with Pastor Neal Schroeder for the Eastern Ukrainian internet newspaper "Red&Black Alternative" can be read (in Ukrainian) at the following link: http://red-black.org.ua/?p=681#more-681

April 19, 2013

Visiting Congregations

From April 6 through April 17 (with small interruptions) I have been blessed with visits to different parishes of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church.  I had two companions on this trip: Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Pastor Neal Schroeder and Resurrection Lutheran Church Chairman, Brother Oleksandr Khyliuk. We have visited ULC congregations in Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Tokmak as well as we had a possibility to visit with pastors from Kherson, Bereznehuvate, Kyiv, Malyn, Radomyshl, Kremenets, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and other Ukrainian towns and villages. Pastor Neal Schroeder was a preacher in our churches in Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Tokmak and Kyiv.   His interesting and inspiring sermon was built on words from Exodus (16:1-17). We thank the Lord for all our brothers and sisters in faith, for their hospitality and commitment to the Gospel. It is joyful to see how the God’s Word is being fulfilled, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Picture:  After the worship service in Tokmak.

March 25, 2013

Pastoral Conference in Kyiv

March 23. Pastoral Conference of the Kyivan Eparchy (District) was held in Kyiv. Pastors from different congregations of  northern, central and eastern cities of Ukraine have gathered in Kyiv at the ULC Office. The Conference has begun with devotion of Pastor Vadym Kolesnyk, ULC Missionary to Cherkasy. Pastor of Malyn Lutheran Church has presented an essay Transplantation of Human Body Parts After Death: pros or contras?  After discussing the essay, pastors have decided to request ULC Doctrinal Committee to form a special statement on the issue of transplantology which is being discussed quite actively in the Ukranian society.   After that pastors have shared news from their parishes and their ministry experience. The Conference was closed late in the evening by prayer of Pastor Vadym Zinchenko, Head of the Kyivan Eparchy.

Picture: Pastor Dmytro Didkivski presenting his essay.

January 11, 2013

Murder Threats

Numerous murder threats were received by our parishioner from All Saints Lutheran Church in Kharkiv, Ms. Zhanna Tytarenko. Sister Zhanna is a journalist working for the "Spravzhnia Varta (True Watchmen)" internet newspaper in the eastern Ukraine. Recently she was making journalist investigations regarding secret dissapearence of people, possible tortures in Kharkiv police departments, and other violence crimes. More can be read here (in Ukrainian): http://varta.kharkov.ua/authors/titarenko/1091040.html
Please keep our sister in your prayers. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble".  God says, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me". (Psalms 46:1 and 50:15).