Various Russian ecclesiastical communities take into account the war in Ukraine

COLONY – Outside the church there may be a sign indicating Russian Orthodoxy, but inside the church the church is a melting pot of Eastern Europeans bound by religion, even if borders separate their homelands.

That’s why the war between Ukraine and Russia has upset parishioners, many of whom have friends and family in both countries and pray side by side here in the capital region.

Prayers were offered for Ukraine and peace during recent Sunday services at the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, said Reverend Alexis Duncan, Rector and Archpriest of parish.

“In our parish, we are very aware that we have many different groups,” Duncan said. “In our parish, people are very saddened that all of this is happening.”

Parishioners come from a multitude of backgrounds, Duncan said, listing Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union or its allies more than a century ago. generation.

“Obviously, history and world events are seen through the prism of the individual,” Duncan said of the war.

617 Sand Lake Road Parish is a community, Duncan said. “In the Eastern countries, everything is planned for the community and not for the individuality”, adding: “People are here in the United States for many reasons – work, education”.

Looking at Russia’s motives for invading Ukraine, Duncan said. “It all has to do with the history of NATO and the expansion of NATO.”

St. Nicholas of Cohoes Orthodox Church notes on its website that members of its congregation include immigrants from “Romania, Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Russia and our own community here in America. Our mission is to expand our Christian family by embracing all people who want to share a life in Christ and be home to people from all walks of life.

Members of the Albany-Tula Alliance, a voluntary citizen diplomacy group linking residents of the capital region with their counterparts in the city of Tula, located about 200 km south of Moscow, watched with dismay as the unfolding of the war.

“It’s all so hard to fathom,” said Mary Grondahl, who chairs the board of the Albany-Tula Alliance. The same is true in Tula, she said, where their counterparts are also trying to figure out what is going on.

Grondahl recalled the days of the Cold War when she was a foreign student in Russia in 1979 and 1980 when relations were closed and exchanges between countries difficult to achieve.

“You don’t want it to come back to that,” said Grondahl, who has friends in Russia.

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