The content and opinions expressed in this blog are mine. They do not represent the US Government or US Peace Corps - Jud Dolphin

Monday, April 13

Sights in Chernihiv

Here I am with Ksoosha. She is 23 years old and has studied tourism at the Institute. She has been fantastic in helping me since she knows how to speak a lot of English. One afternoon, she and Pavil (Paul) took me on a sightseeing excursion. After a life time of looking at pictures of the onion domed churches, I was walking towards them in the golden sun light.

We were welcomed to Ukraine in a traditional welcome ceremony. The bread was the most beautiful piece of culinary art that I have ever seen. It was a shame to eat it. But we all were invited to partake in a kind of welcoming communion. Ukrainians are warm and welcoming. They have a saying that it takes the eating of 16 kilos of salt between people to become friends. While I may not ingest so much salt, I look forward to new friendships. Here is a view from the ramparts that surround one of the churches. I believe it is the Dniper River. In the early Spring all is waking up and fresh.

Magnificent holy structures. On Palm Sunday, they have the blessing of the pussy willows and weeping willows at the churches. Bunches of willows are brought to the church. The Priest takes a bucket of holy water and drenches the willows and the people holding them. Believe me, I got wet like a Baptist! The willows are taken home and a ritual flogging is performed so that the pain of the life will leave this family during this holy week and stay away throughout the year.
I can only hope that the pain of this life will be bearable for all this year and maybe stay away...for many more to come. Bless the pussy willows and weeping willows. Bless us all.

This is a memorial to all the people of Chernivol. After all these many years, the melt down of the nuclear reactor still makes the area inhabitable. Although I read that the animal population is on the rebound. The animals may not live so long, but without a human population they have an opportunity to fill the ecological space.

I believe this is the oldest church in Chernihiv. It is caught in the middle of a struggle between the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches. Who will have this historic church under their control? I find it remarkably beautiful. What do you think?

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