It was a celebration full of emotion. And of hope. Grateful to be able to celebrate Orthodox Easter and ask for peace, but with the pain of the cruelty that his country suffers.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the United Nations they had called for a truce in the war so they could celebrate Orthodox Easterbut Russia objected and bombardments and sieges continued.
Ukrainians housed in El Vendrell and Calafell they asked to be able to celebrate the Ukrainian Orthodox Easter in which after mass the priest blesses the meat, eggs and dairy products that families eat after the Lenten recollection.
The rector of El Vendrell did not object if an Orthodox priest was found. Ukrainians living in El Vendrell contacted an NGO and found a Crimean monk living in Barcelona who offered the service.
In the last two years in Ukraine they had not been able to celebrate Easter due to the pandemic and this year, in the country neither due to the shock of the war. That is why the Ukrainians of the Baix Penedès requested this celebration to ask for peace.
They were going to move to Tarragona, but the lack of transportation motivated them to look for a place in El Vendrell. The chapel of the railway colony of Sant Vicenç de Calders was raised that precisely in the last few days a group of Ukrainians have helped to paint.
That chapel was filled with emotion when the candles were lit. With a respectful silence and with minds thousands of miles away, where there is fear, death, suffering and pain.
The Ukrainians prepared the typical sweet of that celebration. Happy to recover some of their tradition, but with their soul in Ukraine. The beginning of the war took many of them in Barcelona for a few days and they could not return. Others are refugees who have had to leave the country leaving everything behind.
In 2018, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church became independent from the Russian Church to which it was subordinate in the Moscow Patriarchate three centuries ago. That schism was also a source of conflict.
The Ukrainians welcomed in the Baix Penedès raised the possibility of officiating a special celebration far from their country and in fear of the attacks on their cities and families. A hundred people followed the service. Fortunate to be able to celebrate it but with the anguish of the atrocities that Ukraine is suffering.