NYC prayer service in support of Ukraine hosts worshippers from all faiths

Members of the Greek and Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered in prayer Wednesday, calling for strength in the wake of war.

The service took place at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on the Upper West Side, hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros.

Worshippers from all faiths, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, prayed as images show the horrific devastation and destruction of Russia's unprovoked, unjust invasion.

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"My most powerful prayer is, this day, that this is finally the time that the world will wake up and keep this feeling of disgust and horror and will say, 'No more for Ukraine,'" His Eminence Metropolitan Antony said.

Members of the clergy are asking for donations to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Ukraine Relief Fund.

"It's not just those who have died that we have lost," Antony said. "We've lost their future descendants, those who would have built the nation to be even stronger."

Evidence of that strength plays out over and over again as Ukrainians stand firm against the power of the Russian military.

"Women grabbing weapons and going to the front line," Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Some taking their children to safety, but others saying, 'I will stand with the men and we'll fight back. Those are powerful images."

Another powerful image came Wednesday in the form of spiritual unity.

"Prayer also unites us," Cardinal Dolan said. "You just saw it. You just saw it, right? Where people come together and they think, where are all these divisions in the world? But now, we've got something to unite us and bring us together ."

Orthodox, Catholic and Jewish leaders stood side by side.

"We when come together, we reaffirm our love of God," New York Board of Rabbis Executive Director Rabbi Joseph Potasnik said. "But you don't love God fully until you love one another. So I think that was demonstrated today."

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Arthur Zgurov moved from Ukraine to New York two years ago, and he sees the sacrifice of his countrymen in a deadly fight for freedom.

"It is a high price, a bloody price, that Ukraine pays," he said. "But if it's a price for not only our victory, but for the victory of the whole world, then Ukrainian people are ready for that."

Church leaders expressed their deep appreciation to New Yorkers and Americans for what has become a powerful movement of love and support, one they say ends with good triumphing over evil.

New York City is home to more than 150,000 Ukrainians, the largest such community in the country, with pockets in Manhattan's East Village and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and scattered populations throughout the five boroughs.

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