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Indianapolis church plans Sunday service to pray for peace in Ukraine

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana like the rest of the world is following the developments in Ukraine. Many watching in fear, but also hopeful that the tide will turn, and the invasion ends. Some are looking to prayer to get it done.

There’s a lot up in the air right now but one thing that many people lean on is their faith. St. Athanasius Byzantine Church still follows a lot of Eastern European practices on which they were founded and leaders are watching the development hoping and praying that the chaos in Ukraine doesn’t escalate any further.

The Very Rev. Bryan Eyman is pastor of St. Anthanasius Byzantine Church, part of a branch of the Catholic Church founded by Ukrainians in the 1890s.

Eyman says it’s been hard to turn away from the constant flow of information and images coming out of Ukraine following Russia’s attack earlier this week. “My first trip to Ukraine was back in 1988 when it was still under the Soviet Union and the oppression of communism, and to see the Russians invade again brings back terrible terrible thoughts of that time.”

His friends in Ukraine said online service have been disrupted, so there’s been challenges getting through.

Eyman is calling on his faith and will have a special prayer service at 10 a.m. Sunday at the church at 1117 Blaine Ave. That’s on the near-southwest side just northwest of the intersection of West Morris and South Harding streets.

“The prayer is for deliverance during the time of invasion and war, and so our prayer is going to be that God prevail and that the invaders leave Ukraine at peace.”

Henry Peresie’s grandparents left the Ukraine in the early 1900s, but he grew up practicing the same faith. The attack worries him. “I’m watching it all the time. I’m extremely worried.”

He said there was hope in the 1990s when Ukraine gained its independence, and this attack could be a major step backward. “It’s just terrible. We’re saddened and pray and we just hope that NATO or the U.N. does something just to stop this aggression. It’s an aggression.”

Both agree it’s important that people with hopes and dreams of goodwill stand together in faith.

Peresie said, “We hope it’s resolved before we see any more bloodshed.”

In addition to praying for Ukraine, the congregation is also developing a plan to pull together resources to send them to Catholic agencies in Ukraine.