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Chinatown activists pray, pitch in for Ukraine

BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL | Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resulting in the indiscriminate bombings of schools, hospitals and civilian areas, has drawn international condemnation. Weeks after the war began, Russia mercilessly continues to attack Ukrainian cities, sending millions of the nation’s population fleeing their homes, some for other parts of the country and others to neighboring countries.

The prayer vigil begins inside Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on Broome Street. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)
People bow their heads in prayer at the service at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

At times of incomprehensible tragedy, many turn to religion. On Sunday afternoon a group of Chinatown activists, including Karlin Chan, former District Leader Jenny Low, political consultant Chung Seto and Leland Yu, organized a silent prayer vigil at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on Broome Street near Elizabeth Street.

“This is very important to me, watching the news every day,” Chan said. “It’s hard to believe that, in 2022, we have another madman putting the world on the brink of World War III.”

Reverend Bayer Lee of 21 Pell Baptist Church, left, joined the Very Reverend Todor Mazur, center, of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on Broome Street during the prayer service. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

Several dozen people filled the church’s cozy interior.

“Thirty thousand refugees are stranded in the United States,” noted the Very Reverend Todor Mazur, pointing out how the crisis is also directly affecting America. Mazur then read a prayer in both English and Ukrainian.

Andrij V. Dobriansky, the United Nations representative for the global Ukrainian diaspora, echoed what wall-to-wall news coverage has described over the past weeks.

Passing the basket for contributions at the prayer vigil at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

The war, he said, is “a major humanitarian disaster that should not have happened.”

Reverend Bayer Lee of the 21 Pell Baptist Church in Chinatown asked the audience to give Ukrainians “a sense of humanity, a sense of compassion.”

Volunteer Ludmilla Romamiuk with piles of boxes of donated goods in the church’s basement. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)
Chinatown activist Karlin Chan, one of the organizers of the prayer vigil, looks over donated supplies in the church’s basement. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

In the Little Italy church’s basement, contributions of food, clothing, blankets and other necessities have piled up in boxes over the past few weeks. Volunteer Ludmilla Romamiuk said that, early on in the war, shipping companies offered to send the vital supplies overseas for free. Now, she said, they are charging, which is why Chan passed the basket around after the vigil, to collect cash and checks.

Outside Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Little Italy. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)
Flowers, candles, a Ukrainian flag, a donation box and photos of the war in Ukraine outside Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on Broome Street. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

At this point, Romamiuk said, they don’t need any more clothing. Desperately needed now are medications, including aspirin and Tylenol, and canned food, plus, again, money to pay for shipping costs.

Reverend Mazur said anyone wishing to contribute can make a check out to “Holy Trinity” and mail it to the church at:

Very Reverend Todor Mazur

359 Broome St.

New York, NY 10013

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