On the first Sunday since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, churches in Edmonton filled up with people looking for mental and spiritual guidance.
At St. John’s Ukrainian Church, mass was a somber one.
The gathering came with a special message to support parishioners struggling with the devastation of the war in Ukraine.
“In response to the current war of aggression against our people, I invite and welcome all of you to our cathedral and other holy churches for prayer and comfort,” Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton said.
Since te war broke out, more people have been turning to the church for a place to grieve, gather and pray.
“They are experiencing health issues because of this, some of them on the verge of psychological, psychiatric collapse because it’s too much on people,” parishioner Valerii Polkovsky said.
People who attend St. John’s said they are doing whatever they can to try to heal and help.
‘We do feel that being here among fellow Ukrainians who are in the same situation, it is helping,” parishioner Sofia Terekhovska said.
“I just want to join everyone in their hearts to fight for it and with my prayer I think that’s what I can do being here,” parishioner Maryana Kravtsenyuk said.
Hundreds of people showed their support in others ways.
A large rally along Edmonton’s 109 Street was held Sunday.
“I feel terrible, I feel like I want to go there,” rally supporter Alex Surjev said.
“Its extremely serious what’s going on, even the whole civilized world is with Ukraine, god is with Ukraine, but much more needs to be done,” said Ed Dvornikv.
Whether at church or out on the street, as war continues, supporters of Ukraine said they will continue their efforts however they can.