Ukraine residents add memorable stop to Rockford trip

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Several refugees built Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Rockford decades ago, including those from Poland and Ukraine. With residents from Brovary, Ukraine in town for the week, they hope the power of prayer shines a light on a dark time in Europe.

“All Ukraine it’s very painful and in Rockford, it’s very calmness for us,” says visitor Polina Tonkovyd.

Rockford residents pray for peace in Ukraine ever since the start of the conflict. Now some of them get to share a moment of healing with Ukrainian teens and their families.

“It’s people the help. And it’s almost like a fresh breath for us,” says visitor Vladyslava Vyzhga.

Visitors pray and try to enjoy the time they have in Rockford but their heart is with their family back home almost all of which have fathers fighting for their freedom.

“I asked one of them will grade they are. And it was mistranslated and they thought I asked how is your grade? What grade are you in and they responded, we’re in pain,” says Rev. Father Jonathan Bannon.

After the service, Father Bannon shares advice from church workers who experienced something similar during World War II. They say to be strong and take things one day at a time.

“It essentially was praying to the lord and knowing that he’s with you and never stopped and that there’s always hope. And this too will pass,” says Father Bannon.

Visitors express their gratitude for Rockford being their home away from home and for praying for a future of hope.

“I really like this city and I want to study here,” says Ivanna Nikitiuk, who wants to study English at Rockford University in the future.

“It’s really impressive how supportive people are here so we really appreciate it,” says Vyzhga.

Father Bannon also handed each of the visitors a prayer rope to ask the lord for help when it’s needed the most.

Even months after hundreds pray for Ukraine... Bannon adds the church won’t stop its initiative to help them out.

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