Ukrainians in Maritimes mark Orthodox Easter

For many Ukrainians, Orthodox Easter is the biggest holiday on the calendar.

“It is bigger than Christmas,” said Sergiy Pysarenko, a native of Kyiv, who is now living in Sydney where he works as a business professor at Cape Breton University.

Of course, for Pysarenko and all Ukrainians, this year’s Easter feels different.

“It’s definitely harder to fully celebrate and be happy knowing that many people are suffering,” Pysarenko said. “But it’s still a holiday.”

Today, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky released an Easter message to his people. Speaking from Saint Sofia Cathedral in Kyiv. He said this year’s holiday is a time for hope and said he is confident Ukrainians will prevail in the conflict.

In Halifax, people gathered at St. Vladimir Orthodox Church to mark the holy weekend and pray for Ukraine.

Back in Sydney, Pysarenko said he spent the weekend keeping in touch with family and friends back home, including people he knows who are fighting.

“We remember that there are people who can’t celebrate Easter now, there are people who are on the front line and cannot,” he said. “I hope that they can at least be safe today.”

Pysarenko doesn’t think the war in Ukraine will end anytime soon, but he echoed President Zelensky’s message that if Easter is a time to celebrate resurrection, they can hold out hope for it too.

“That Ukraine will, you know, rise again,” he said. “Like in Cape Breton, we say ‘We will rise again,’ we hope that Ukraine will rise again.”

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