As some of you - particularly my FB friends - know, my wife Lesya and I are in Ukraine till Aug. 1.
We had been staying in Lesya's hometown, Luts'k; then I went to my hometown, Kyiv, leaving Lesya for another week to stay with her relatives. She will join me here in Kyiv next week's Tuesday.
My biggest impression so far is a small Ukrainian Orthodox parish here in Kyiv, called Holy Archangel Gabriel parish. It has an unusual loction. They do not have a church building of their own, because the two priests, and the deacons, and some of the parishioners are working at a major Ukrainian TV channel, called "Glas" ("The Voice"), - the official television network of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. So, their parish is right inside the building where the Glas has its studios, cutting rooms, etc. It is a story of a huge, immense modernistic skyscraper in the Pechers'k district of Kyiv. The parish meets for services in the annex, which is equipped and decorated just like any Orthodox church in the world: it has icons, the iconostasis, murals, lampstands with lampads and candles, itc.
I was stunned by their choir. It's just four women and two men, but their singing was divine. It was powerful and nonetheless very tender and refined. They have a deep, rare culture of singing.
I took a lot of pictures of the churches and buildings and parks and of various funnyy scenes in the two Ukrainian cities I mentioned. Will be happy to share them with you soon.
(P.S. Yes, I am a Ukrainian nationalist, and yet I visited a UOC parish. UOC is, in a way, an "enemy territory" to me, because it is autonomous on paper only, being in fact a part of the Moscow Patriarchy, and sometimes backing up Russian chauvunism and imperialism. However, the priest of the Holy Arch. Gabriel parish is a very pleasant man and does not impress me as a Russian chauvinist at all. The service in the parish was mostly in Slavonic, only a small part of the Litany of Great supplication read in Ukrainian. The sermon was in Russian - alas.)