Members of Ukrainian Church in East Village gather to pray, raise funds for soldiers in Ukraine

Thursday, March 3, 2022
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Hundreds gathered in St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in the East Village Wednesday night to sing and pray while war continues in Ukraine.

EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Hundreds gathered in St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in the East Village Wednesday night.

Parishioners came together to sing and to pray and to inspire one another while the war in Ukraine continues.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul was among the worshippers.

"Slava Ukraini," Hochul said. "We stand with Ukraine! God bless the people of Ukraine!"

One parishioner was on the verge of tears.

"I will cry home," Nataliya Yezesky said. "I will cry when I pray but not now because this is my battle I'm fighting. Everyone is threatened right now and I'm a soldier so that's not the place to cry. I'll cry later."

The church has become a focal point for the humanitarian effort by raising funds for everything from food and clothing to medical supplies

They've even helped raise money for body armor for medics in the warzone.

RELATED | How you can help local organizations support Ukrainians after Russia's attack

The fate of Ukraine is uncertain, but 5,000 miles away here in New York City, Ukrainians are keeping their faith.

And with faith there is hope and with hope there is strength. It is what's holding this community together.

Stefan Szkafarowsky is a singer at the Metropolitan Opera and came to show support for the Ukrainian community.

"Being here, I feel it brings everyone more together," Szkafarowsky said. "It gives a lot of hope, a lot of hope that Ukraine will be triumphant in this. It will, yes. I believe it. Seriously."

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