The Saint George Catholic Ukrainian Church held its mass service on March 2 to an unusually crowded audience.
The congregation was packed to capacity with parishioners praying for those in their homeland of Ukraine who are fleeing for safety or fighting off the invasion from Russia. People around the world were shocked when Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, invaded Ukraine on February 21. But for parishioners at this service, there was no room to be scared.
“I feel strong, I’m proud to be Ukrainian,” said Arthur Gurov, a doctor and political activist. “I’m proud to have the nation I do have, I’m proud to have the president. He’s more than a president, he’s a leader.” Since the invasion, Gurov has been organizing different rallies and protests to bring awareness to what is happening in his home country.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul attended the service, offering a prayer for peace. She condemned Putin’s actions and made it clear that Ukrainian refugees are welcomed in New York City, which has the largest population of Ukrainians living in the United States.