On the anniversary of the Ukrainian War, Coventry is united

Ukrainian anthem

On a night of reflection, solidarity, and hope in Coventry, candles flickered softly as Ukrainian prayers and music filled the air in the evening.

Coventry, dubbed a "city of peace and reconciliation," held a special vigil on Friday night in the ruins of the city's cathedral to commemorate the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Before the service, there was a procession from the Lower Precinct in the heart of the city to the cathedral ruins.

The city's Ukrainian Catholic Church held a special service earlier on Friday.

Traditional Ukrainian clothes
At the occasion in Coventry, attendees wore traditional Ukrainian attire.
Ukrainian flag
The city center shopping area was traversed while the Ukrainian flag was flown.
Coventry's Ukrainian community
Shoppers observed the Ukrainian community of Coventry as they passed through Broadgate in silence.
Cathedral ruins in yellow and blue
The ruins of the cathedral were illuminated in the Ukrainian flag's colors of blue and yellow.
Ukrainian flag
Coventry, 1,600 miles (2,600 km) from Kiev, is a city that displays national pride.
Cathedral congregation
On the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, the congregation listened to prayers, speeches, and musical performances.
United flag
One man from Coventry sent a single flag and a single message to Ukraine.

It was an honor for us to come together with the Ukrainian community in Coventry to commemorate the invasion's first anniversary, according to Canon Mary Gregory.

"The vigil gave us a chance to acknowledge the terrible suffering and loss of the previous year, to pay tribute to the deceased, and to offer prayers for those who are in danger.

It also gave us the opportunity to hope for a better, more tranquil future. ".

Mario Kosmirak
Earlier on Friday, Mario Kosmirak went to a unique church service in Coventry.

"It's with sadness that we remember the victims, but with hope that we expect one day this will come to an end and Ukraine will still be a sovereign state - and one day people will be able to return to their country," said Mario Kosmirak, chairman of Coventry's Ukrainian community. ".

"We didn't know what to expect a year ago; what we heard was just devastating," he continued.

"We are extremely grateful to the western and British governments for providing support, humanitarian aid, and military aid for Ukraine to defend itself. We are very proud that the Ukrainian army has fought bravely.

"However, at the end of the day, people are still dying, and Ukraine needs more assistance. ".

Very Rev David Senyk
On Friday, the Very Reverend David Senyk participated in both religious services.

Father Taras Dovbeniuk, a member of the Ukrainian Church, and the Very Rev. David Senyk, whose father was born in Ukraine, presided over the morning service.

The Very Reverend John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry, attended the evening event with both men.

Very Rev. Senyk said, "Here I am in the West, and a year ago I heard about the war over the radio, just like everyone else.".

"Back then, it worried me. I obviously knew about the horrors of the Second World War from my father, but will it be another one?

Keeping it together today was really all that was required because it was such a significant and private event. And it affects each person in this room personally. ".

Candles in the cathedral ruins
Some people were able to light candles in support of Ukrainians despite the wind.

To commemorate the anniversary, activities were held all over the West Midlands. There were services in Wolverhampton and Birmingham in addition to lighting up the Dudley Council House and the bell tower in Evesham, Worcestershire.

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