Two years into the war in Ukraine: Prayers for peace and remembrance in Rochester

Prayers and solidarity, two years into Ukraine war

Prayers and solidarity, two years into Ukraine war

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, neighbors gathered at a local Ukrainian church to remember the lives lost.

Lighting candles and standing in solidarity with one another, neighbors came together at St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church to honor those who are fighting for their freedom.

It’s a sight that Father Philp Weiner said he was humbled to see.

“It’s wonderful to know that people can come out, Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians can come and pray for common cause for peace in Ukraine,” Weiner said.

With each pew filled and standing room only inside the sanctuary, Father Weiner thanked everyone for the support he’s seen come from every corner of Rochester.

“They have overwhelmingly been gracious in supporting humanitarian aid in Ukraine and also as we experienced tonight, the spiritual humanitarian aid, the spiritual side of it,” Weiner said.

Challenges lie ahead as Ukrainian soldiers who have managed to hold their ground are in need of additional ammunition, aid, and assistance to continue their fight.

That was a key takeaway of the documentary film “War in Ukraine: A View Inside,” which premiered at the Roc Academy of Medicine.

The film’s producer, Mikhail Gershteyn, spent time on the ground in Ukraine with soldiers in November of 2022.

“it’s a reminder to the American public that the war is not over. Many people think that the war is over just because it’s not covered as much in the news,” Gershteyn said.

Gershteyn said supporting Ukraine today is just as important as it was when the war began.

“After Russians didn’t conquer Ukraine in 3 days — 730 days, today 730 days later, Ukraine is still fighting,” Gershteyn said.

U.S. officials estimate that around 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died and more than 120,000 have been wounded since the war began.

The United Nations estimates that more than 10,000 innocent Ukraine civilians have also lost their lives.

It’s why Irene Grassman, who attended the service at St. Josaphat’s, said that she hopes Americans continue to support her home country.

“I understand we are such a good, good generous country, the United States, but we do have to help our brothers and sisters in other countries,” Grassman said.