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Prayer vigils for Ukraine take place across diocese

First published on: 24th February 2023

Services have taken place across the diocese marking the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as people continue to pray for peace and justice in the region.

At lunchtime at Holy Trinity Boar Lane in Leeds people from across the city gathered to pray, reflect and light candles.

Congregation members from the church sang hymns, led prayers and shared stories from Ukrainians about that first day of the conflict one year ago.

The service was led the Revd Josh Cockayne, leader at the church, and attended by, among others, Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council; James Lewis, Leader of the Council; and Rachel Reeves MP, MP for Leeds West. 

The Rt Revd Arun Arora, Bishop of Kirkstall, closed the service with a blessing of peace.

In the evening people from all over the city of Bradford met at Bradford Cathedral for a prayer vigil, with songs, prayers, and stories from those who have been displaced by the war and those who have opened their homes.

Attendees heard from Ukrainians who have fled their homes and found sanctuary in Bradford, as well as from the Fialka Ladies Choir and the Dibrova Male Voice Choir.

Representatives from the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox Churches led prayers, and the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Toby Howarth, led an act of solidarity with faith leaders from the city, which included hearing from Dr Abdul Rahaman Mkia, a Syrian refugee, and Asima Terzic, a Bosnia refugee. 

Attendees also included the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Martin Love; Judith Cummins MP, MP for Bradford South; and Orysia Chymera, Chair of the Bradford Branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain. 

The vigil ended with the choirs leading the attendees in the Ukrainian national anthem, and the placing of 52 white candles outside the cathedral, symbolising the 52 weeks of war and a desire for peace.

Vigils and acts of solidarity have taken place all across the diocese today, including at Halifax Minster.

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