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How an Eastern Orthodox Church in Evansville is Dealing with the Russia-Ukraine War

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St. Ananias
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Church on Bellemeade has members from both countries

The war in Ukraine is taking place nearly 6,000 miles away from southern Indiana. But WNIN’s Sarah Kuper spoke with an eastern Orthodox priest who explains why this conflict is so heartbreaking to the local church:

Father Daniel Hackney at St. Ananias Church on Bellemeade Avenue says the church is diverse but ultimately and especially now, they are unified:

“Ukrainian, Russian, Georgian, we have people from Georgia. It isn’t uncommon at our fellowship time to hear different languages spoken at different tables. But we are all orthodox Christians first. Some have family in Ukraine and Russia. Our hearts are broken.”

Father Hackney says the way conflict has broken out between people who have so much history reminds him of another scar on world history:

“When you called me I was trying to think what I can liken it to and the American Civil War. There are similarities many of these people have a common history that goes back a thousand year, I’m not saying like Putin is justifying it, but they all do have a common history out of Kiev seen as mother of Russian and Ukrainian orthodoxy. Families on both sides of the border. That’s what’s hard.”

He says Ukrainian and Russian members of his congregation are not ready to talk about what is happening in their home countries. But they are ready to help:

“Lent is coming up on Sundays in lent we take up a door offering one of the Sundays we will send to international orthodox Christian charity they have money you can earmark toward Ukraine.”

As for how the public can help, Hackney says pray and be kind:

Hackney says he hopes people understand that it is nations that are at war – not the everyday people.