L’viv, the “city of lions,” is a city of over 725,000 people in the far western part of Ukraine, just a few hours from Poland and Hungary. Founded in 1256, L’viv was a major trade center for medieval Europe. From its founding to present day, the city has been under the power of many countries at different times, including Austria, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Germany, and others, and the architecture and culture reflects the diversity of its history.
Today L’viv is sometimes called the “capital of Ukrainian culture…and national identity.” Residents of this beautiful city are strongly patriotic, adhering to the Ukrainian language, often donning traditional Ukrainian folk clothing, and promoting their culture through many festivities year round. The religious atmosphere in L’viv is of dedicated Catholicism, which differs from much of central and eastern Ukraine, which follow the Orthodox Church. If you would like to learn more about L’viv (especially if you’re a history buff!), check out their city website here.
Ukraine in Crisis
In the winter, 2013, the Ukrainian people took to the streets to peacefully protest former President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision not to sign a trade agreement with the E.U., but to align closer ties with Russian trade. Over the course of several months, Yanukovich’s administration sent police, military and mercenaries to stir up violence among the protesters, culminating on February 21, 2014 with Bloody Thursday, when over 73 protesters were killed by snipers in the streets of Kiev, the nation’s capital. As a result of the growing tensions and violence, Yanukovivh was impeached, and the Parliament signed a series of changes into law that limited the powers of the presidential office and ensured more liberty for the Ukrainian people.
Since that time, conflict has continued, as Russian military seized a number of cities in the southeastern parts of the country and has periodically built up their troops along our borders. L’viv has remained far from the war and conflict, but we continue to pray for the nation, for peace, justice and salvation, both physically and spiritually. We also pray for opportunities to minister to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters during this time, and that many hearts would be open to the Gospel during this chaos. Please pray with us for the chaplains who serve our soldiers in the east, that God would protect them and bring fruit from their ministry.