Easter Hope


A citizen inspects a partially destroyed residential building after Russian shelling in the Saltivka district of Kharkiv on April 9, 2023. A prayer for Ukraine.


A Prayer, Photos and The Kiev Independent

The day of the Allied landings in France, June 6, 1944 FDR gave a prayer via radio for the country.

This six minute “devotion” is especially pertinent  on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as when it was first spoken in 1944.

Roosevelt talks of sacrifices and “pain, sorrow, faith and unity.”  He expresses everyone’s  longings and hopes for victory and peace. It is a prayer proper in any war and especially this day.


Why Ukraine Will Succeed

Love endures: Valentine’s Day 2023 Ukraine

The Next Generation Arrives: A Mother and Newborn in a Basement Maternity Room-Kiev

War’s Playground Today & for Tomorrow’s Peace

The Story of a New Journal: The Kiev Independent

This 29 minute video presents  the critical role this online English language startup has played in telling about events in Ukraine.  It includes reporters’ personal stories and presents videos of their on site coverage.  This is one of many new Ukrainian enterprises to support the country in this time of trial.



Practicing Faith at Christmas

Two days ago (January 15), the Orthodox Christian Church celebrated Christmas.

In the early hours of that same day, Russia launched ballistic missiles on Ukraine.  One strike hit an apartment complex in Dnipro killing over 40 civilian residents.

Some 12 hours later that Sunday afternoon, the Kiev Symphony Orchestra Chorus offered their annual Christmas concert, in a live broadcast on YouTube.

The program included dozens of familiar chorales but in very different musical arrangements.  Some had jazz rhythms; many had an almost martial beat with drums and other instruments asserting a very determined pace.

The church is full, fresh greens and wreaths are on the pillars, a snow covered house decorates the front of the stage. The audience all wear coats.  The 60 plus person choir appears young: mostly in their 30’s and 40’s. Men are in tuxes with red bow ties and women in beautiful holiday dresses.

The concert is sung in both Ukrainian and English with an Ukrainian narrator.  There are bell choir arrangements. It lasts one hour and 19 minutes.

You may want to scroll over to the 1:08 time in the program for the Chorus’ finale.  You will recognize this familiar excerpt from Handel.  The words are Ukrainian.  Their spirit will lift yours on this sacred day of celebration and human tragedy.

Courage, worship and hope in wartime.


Note: The KSOC was founded almost three decades ago by Music Mission Kiev following Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union.

The Most Powerful New Year’s Message-for Generations to Come

This 17-minute message from President Volodymyr Zelensky to his people and the world, is one of the most powerful speeches of my lifetime.

Listen, watch, and learn what transforms ordinary people into one common purpose.


How Three Generations in a Family Cope with War in Kyiv (3 minutes)


Today, we are all Ukrainians.

A New Christmas Carol-An Age Old Dream

“Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.”   The phrase captures not just  the message angels sang, but mankind’s eternal hope.   Every religious tradition makes peace a central theme.

The Sabaton “Carol”

There is Swedish heavy metal band SabatonFrom their website: “They are best known for their electrifying live concerts combining accomplished musical performances and a finely crafted stage show-including their full-sized tank drum-riser-with energy and laugher.  The band has headlined as far afield as North, America, Australia and Japan, and regularly fills arenas and takes top-billed also at festivals across Europe.”   

I had not heard of the group. 

One year ago they released a musical video, Christmas Truce, from their albumA War to End All WarsTheir music in  a 6-minute video is set in a very realistic reenactment  of the trench warfare that characterized the front in France.


The song honors December 24, 1914, when an unofficial Christmas truce was created on the Western Front. An act of trust and harmony, British and German soldiers mingled and played games together in the midst of one of the most atrocious events of the 20th century – World War I.

The background why the musical video was made and historical context are in this 25 minute video of a unique Christmas-inspired moment of peace in 1914.

This event was also portrayed in a movie, Joyeux Noël (”Merry Christmas”).   The 2005 film showed the drama of this day, depicted through the eyes of French, British, and German soldiers.

Sabaton’s musical video was released just  months before Russia invaded Ukraine February 2022.  Was it meant to be a harbinger, a foreboding, or just coincidence?  Lest we forget?

The Words

“Christmas Truce”

Oh, I remember the silence
On a cold winter day
After many months on the battlefield
And we were used to the violence
Then all the cannons went silent
And the snow fell
Voices sang to me from no man’s land

We are all, we are all, we are all, we are all friends

And today we’re all brothers, tonight we’re all friends
A moment of peace in a war that never ends
Today we’re all brothers, we drink and unite
Now Christmas has arrived and the snow turns the ground white
Hear carols from the trenches, we sing O Holy Night
Our guns laid to rest among snowflakes
A Christmas in the trenches, a Christmas on the front far from home

Madness (Madness)
Oh I remember the sadness (Sadness)
We were hiding our tears (Hiding our tears)
In a foreign land where we faced our fears (Faced our fears)
We were soldiers (Soldiers)
Carried the war on our shoulders (Shoulders)
For our nations (Nations)
Is that why we bury our friends? (Bury our friends)

We were all, we were all, we were all, we were all friends
(We’re friends)

And today we’re all brothers, tonight we’re all friends
A moment of peace in a war that never ends
Today we’re all brothers, we drink and unite
Now Christmas has arrived and the snow turns the ground white
Hear carols from the trenches, we sing O Holy Night
Our guns laid to rest among snowflakes
A Christmas in the trenches, a Christmas on the front far from home

We were all, we were all, we were all, we were all friends
(We’re friends)

And today we’re all brothers, tonight we’re all friends
A moment of peace in a war that never ends
Today we’re all brothers, we drink and unite
Now Christmas has arrived and the snow turns the ground white
A Christmas on the frontline, we walk among our friends
We don’t think about tomorrow, the battle will commence
When we celebrated Christmas we thought about our friends
Those who never made it home when the battle had commenced

A New Battlefield This Christmas

The center of Kiev in 1943

Today’s war in Kiev

Blankets and warm clothing given to Kiev residents

A soldier and a sleigh

The beauty of the season

On Veteran’s Day from Ukraine

“On behalf of all Ukrainians, Happy Veterans Day and thank you for your service.

“For almost 250 years the men and women of the United States armed forces have prevailed against tyranny, often against great odds. ​Your example inspires Ukrainians today to fight back against Russian tyranny. Special thanks to the many American veterans who have volunteered to fight in Ukraine, and to the American people for the amazing support you have given Ukraine. With your help, we have stunned the world and are pushing Russian forces back. Victory will be ours. God bless America and Slava Ukraini.”

Volodymyr Zelensky

Prayer for Ukraine

After six months of fighting for freedom.


The hope for peace.


Ukraine’s National Independence Day

Today is the 31 anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Russia.  Their example reminds us that democracy is never free.

To follow the events first hand, anyone can subscribe to this online daily newspaper, the Kyiv Independent.

The photos and donation suggestions are from today’s edition.

Donations options from Kyiv Independent:

Another way to honor Ukraine on its 31st Independence Day is to donate directly to causes that support the Ukrainian army as it literally defends the country’s independence, and the Ukrainian population, as it has been facing tremendous challenges.

Here’s the list of organizations and charity funds that the Kyiv Independent responsibly recommends to those who want to support Ukraine in its darkest hour.


President Volodymyr Zelensky has launched platform UNITED24 as the one-stop shop for donating to Ukraine. The raised money are transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank and spent to cover the most pressing needs.

You can choose to donate to the military, to provide medical aid, or the future reconstruction of the Ukrainian settlements and infrastructure, damaged or destroyed by Russian shells and missiles.

Come Back Alive

Come Back Alive (Povernys Zhyvym) is the largest foundation for the Ukrainian military. It was born following the Russian invasion of the Donbas and the illegal occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Over the years, this organization, headquartered in Kyiv, has proven to be trustworthy and among the most effective charities.

The fund provides frontline fighters with auxiliary equipment, various vehicles, thermal imaging equipment, specialized software, drones, personal body protection, as well as training.


Hospitallers is a volunteer medical battalion that has participated in the war in Donbas since 2014, providing first aid, medical care, and evacuation of injured Ukrainian soldiers from the front lines.


Tabletochki is the most prominent Ukrainian charity that helps children with cancer. The organization funds medicines for children, arranges treatment overseas if unavailable in Ukraine, and helps pediatric oncology units by purchasing medical equipment and reagents for hospitals. Russia’s invasion made it more difficult for Ukrainians with cancer to access treatment, especially in the occupied territories, where there is practically no access to essential medicines.

Shelter (Prykhystok)

Prykhystok is a non-profit communication platform that connects people who offer free housing and Ukrainians fleeing war in search of it. The website lists options of various housing either in Ukraine or abroad. In addition to participating in the project by offering your housing to refugees, you can also donate in crypto or regular currency to help cover their operations.


ZooPatrol is a volunteer organization saving cats and dogs abandoned during the war. Volunteers feed animals on the streets and and bring them to vet clinics if they need treatment. The organization reports about its activity on Facebook and Instagram.