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Ukrainian churches pray for peace 'but at home we pray for victory'

by Glyn Jones
Ukraine soldiers walking.JPG - Banner image

Intercessions in Ukraine's churches are sometimes different from the prayers families pray at home.

Anatolii Babynskyi tells Premier, "In churches we always pray for peace. We pray for an end to the war."

But the Christian academic from the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv says when families, including his own, are at home they will also pay for victory. 

Dr Babynski defends praying for a Russian defeat. "You must understand what this means for us. For us victory is to defend ourselves. We don't want to occupy Russia- we are just defending our land."

He adds that in the west of Ukraine, church congregations have grown during the war - partly due to an influx of refugees from other areas of the country which have seen the worst of the fighting.

He explained, "Of course the sermons are different because priests have to try to explain why we are suffering now."

Dr Babynski has two children: 12 year old Luke and a daughter Justina who is five. He admits it's been hard to know what to tell them about the fighting.

"On the first day of the war they heard the sirens. They asked us what was happening. We tried to explain in very general terms."

Over the weeks, the children have continued to ask more questions and th family have sometimes used examples from stories and children's books.

"For example, through the Lord of the Rings. That there are some evil forces in the world and they broke the peace and are trying to occupy other countries - our county"

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