Halifax Orthodox Christian Community Expresses Support for Ukraine – Halifax

Support for the Ukrainian people in the wake of the Russian invasion continues to flow through the Orthodox Christian community in Halifax, where some Eastern European members have roots in both countries.

St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Church in Halifax has always provided a home for Orthodox Christians who immigrated to Nova Scotia from Eastern Europe – but lately the connection to space extends beyond of religion.

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Alina Kirsanova, a 20-year-old parishioner, is half Ukrainian and half Russian, “so everything really hits close to home.”

“We fought together in World War II, and now they are fighting,” she told Global News on Sunday.

Kirsanova immigrated to Nova Scotia from St. Petersburg a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Alina Kirsanova, who is half Ukrainian and half Russian, says she has a family member in Ukraine whom they have not been able to contact.

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She remembers Ukraine’s struggle for independence and doesn’t want to relive it — and her relatives in Russia don’t want that war either.

“We really want this to stop and we don’t want to lose any more innocent lives,” she said. “To see all these old towns bombarded by (the) Russian army, it’s really awful.”

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She has a sister in Saint Petersburg whom she was able to reach. However, his family could not contact his mother-in-law’s sister, who lives in Ukraine.

“It’s really concerning,” she said. “We hope for peace. We really hope for peace.

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“We did not learn”

Archimandrite David Edwards, the rector of the church, condemned the violence against Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian people have decided that they want to be independent, they want to be their own country,” he said. “Nobody has the right to take that away from them, and certainly nobody has the right to come in and start killing people.”

David Edwards says we haven’t learned anything from previous wars.

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Edwards was born around the start of World War II and lived through events like the bombings of Southampton, England, where he grew up.

“I didn’t think it would ever happen again in Europe,” he said.

“I just don’t understand. What worries me is that we have not learned, we are not learning.

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“The world hasn’t learned what this stuff does to people. It doesn’t make any sense to me. It really doesn’t.

His primary message to his parishioners is one of support. He said everyone is welcome to come to church, offer a candle and pray for loved ones.

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“People here, who have loved ones who are fighting, have to fight and are killed – may God protect them and their families,” he said.

It is a message of comfort for people like Kirsanova, whose thoughts are with their loved ones on the front lines of great uncertainty.

“I really hope that all world leaders can come together and stop this war,” she said.

— with files from Alexa MacLean

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