Category Archives: Mostly Tourism

Krystos Voskres

Tomorrow is Orthodox (and Greek Catholic) Easter. Everywhere in Lviv there are families, old people, and young couples walking around with Easter baskets.

It seems most of Lviv’s many churches are working around the clock, blessing everybody’s Easter baskets.

Happy New Year!

Last night, we drove to Kyiv with the kids, ate at one of our favorite restaurants, located in the chic central mall, Tsum. Then walked up to the Christmas tree by Saint Sofia’s, and on the way home, stopped at another mall which has a huge play area with carnival rides and a trampoline room.

It was a pretty good New Year’s Eve.

Stunningly Beautiful Pedestrian Bridge in Kyiv

We made it into Kyiv recently, and visited the pedestrian bridge recently opened by Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko.

It is stunningly beautiful and inspirational. It fills you with hope and excitement.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko has taken part in the opening of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge connecting the Volodymyr Hill with the People’s Friendship Arch, according to an Ukrinform corresponde


Later in the day, there was a freakishly strong 20 minute downpour which briefly turned Veliki Val street into a river.

A light in the Sky

To celebrate the return of fresh air, Yulia and I went for a walk. It turned out to be during that magical hour immediately after sun set. That mysterious transitional time between day and night, good and evil, when the light makes everything crisp and beautiful.

The cherry blossoms still scented the air. There were also apple trees blossoming, but they gave no scent.

We saw both ducks and bats in the sky. The ducks flying straight with that frantic beating of wings, the bats chaotically chasing insects in the air.

We saw a part of the woods near the river ravaged by some disease. A few hundred trees stood bare, and at least a dozen had fallen, their roots seemingly withered away.

An old man was grazing cows, and we passed very close to them. I know they are gentle, but I’m cautious around such heavy animals.

We say satellites in the sky. Surprisingly, there was one after the next. A steady flow of minuscule white specs in the dark blue sky. As we were watching, and one of them seemed to turn HUGE. It was probably five time as bright as the brightest star. Then it got small again. I think probably the satellite caught some reflection from the sun at just the right angle.

When we returned home, the day was gone. Night had settled in.

ps – during my morning job, the apple trees were buzzing with honey bees.

Fresh Air

Today there was fresh air and blue skies. A lovely day in small town Ukraine. We smelled the blossoming cherry trees.

For the past couple of weeks, much of central Ukraine was covered in smoke. Apparently, there were fires burning in the woods around Chernobyl. Though some of it may have been from seasonal burns of brush that farmers, big and small, do this time of year to fortify their fields. The Chernobyl fires may in fact have been caused by such burning.

So we had two reasons to stay indoors. One, the Corona Virus, and two, the Chernobyl fires, which were serious enough to have caused an official health warning for poor air quality.

The Native Ukrainian National Faith

The Native Ukrainian National Faith (Ukrainian: Рі́дна Украї́нська Націона́льна Ві́ра, Rídna Ukrayíns’ka Natsionál’na Víra; widely known by the acronym РУНВі́ра, RUNVira) or Sylenkoism is a branch of the Slavic Native Faith (Rodnovery) specifically linked to Ukraine that was founded in the 1960s by Lev Sylenko (born 1921) among the Ukrainian diaspora in North America. The doctrine of this tradition, and of the organisations which develop within it, revolves around a sacred writing composed by Sylenko himself, the Maha Vira (“Mighty Faith”).[1]

The Sylenkoite movement is distinctively monotheistic, and this, together with its early emphasis on the charismatic figure of the founder, has led other Ukrainian Rodnover movements and organisations to define it as not authentically “Rodnover”. Members of Sylenkoite churches, however, consider themselves Rodnovers in all respects. Ivakhiv (2005) defines it as a “reformed” Slavic Native Faith.[2] It may be more accurately defined as pantheistic or panentheistic, since, in the Maha Vira, Dazhbog (“Giving God”, the name that Sylenkoites use to refer to the supreme God) himself proclaims through his prophet: “I am the Giving God, I am in all things and all things are in me”.[3]

According to the definition given by Sylenko himself, his doctrine is that of a solar “absolute monotheism”.[4] Sylenko proclaimed himself a prophet, bringing to the Slavs a new understanding of God that, according to him, corresponds to their own and original understanding of God. By his own words: “God’s grace came upon me, and following the will of God I have proclaimed a new understanding of God”. According to believers, he acquired this knowledge through “breath of his ancestors” being united with them “by divine holiness”.[5]

The movement is split between at least four churches which administer more than one hundred congregations spread throughout Ukraine. These four churches are: the “Association of Sons and Daughters of the Native Ukrainian National Faith” (OSID RUNVira), the “Association of Sons and Daughters of Ukraine of the Native Ukrainian National Faith” (OSIDU RUNVira), Volodymyr Chornyi’s network, and the “Union of Native Ukrainian Faith” (SRUV).[6]