We started our day off going to church with Oksana. The second we walked up to the church entrance, we heard people speaking English. American English. Woohoo.
Her church is huge. They have a Ukrainian service and a Russian service, plus English translations. We were a bit late, so we walked in during the worship part of the service, complete with brass instruments. We’ve been to Orthodox church services, which is what most people think of when they think of church in Eastern Europe. This church service could have been any non-denominational American church, minus the language difference.
Oksana wasn’t supposed to translate today, but the translator had gone home sick. She ran down to the translation spot and we had little FM radios to hear her voice.
Their church had special speaker today, Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko. He is part of a documentary which is being shown at many film festivals, about his work with drug addicted, orphaned children. The documentary is called Almost Holy. He is passionate about a “World Without Orphans”– you can read more about his ministry on his website.
My take away message: The war is so very real. The orphan crisis is so very real. But God is working through people like Gennadiy Mokhnenko.
After church, we grabbed some food quickly from a stand, and then hopped the metro to meet my Ukrainian teacher and her husband. They had proposed a visit to the botanical gardens.
She and her husband both speak English very well. They showed us the park. All over the park! At the end of the day, we had walked over ten and a half miles, and most of that was at the botanical gardens. Hence the title of this post, feet so tired.
The park was FULL of people. So busy, but I think everyone wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather in the great outdoors.
This is an ancient Scythian monument, now covered in graffiti.
The park has different sections dedicated to different regions. Most from within Ukraine, but they also have a Korean, Tibetan and French section.
Um, seriously? Could Kyiv be more beautiful? The tall building in the distance, just to the left of center is the bell tower at Pecherska Lavra and you can see the motherland statue on the right side.
After showing us a good chunk of the park, they suggested that we see the nearby monastery, Archangel Michael Zvirynetsky Monastery, which has catacombs.
This property is incredible… both my teacher and her husband clearly love Kyiv a lot and told us a lot about the history of various places. This one for example, was a Scythian/Pagan place before it was Christian. The symbols on the buildings are a mix of Pagan and Christian.
Unfortunately, the catacombs were closed for the day, but instead we briefly went into one of their special church services. We had gone into an Orthodox church service with our Tour Guide last Saturday at Pecherska Lavra, but this was entirely different [a video of Russian orthodox church service, and this is somewhat similar to the service we saw at Pecherska Lavra].
Today, it was a special service for a special holiday, unique to this monastery– something related to Reverend Fathers and Martyr Zverinetsky (Zverinetsky is the name of the caves). The room was dark, almost too dark to see. It wasn’t full of church goers or observers, instead this seemed to be some special event, not entirely open to the public. It was clear that this was a sacred space.
We had dinner with my teacher and her husband at Solo Pizza, another place that I can now recommend. We loved talking with them and getting to know them better.
Hamming it up on the metro escalator on the way home.