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Σάββατο, 22 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Dramatic photos: Ukraine’s priests take an active role in protests





Christianity has deep roots in Ukraine. The majority of Ukrainians are not actively religious, according to polls, but Eastern Orthodoxy is still a major force here. It's the faith that most observant Ukrainians follow, though they're divided between the Kiev and Moscow Patriarchates. (A number of Ukrainians also follow Greek Catholicism.) But churches and priests are omnipresent in the country, and especially so in the protests that have racked Kiev and other cities since late November.
Ukraine's Orthodox and Catholic priests have been frequently seen on or near the front lines of the clashes, ministering to protesters and riot police alike, though at times some have appeared to more closely align themselves near the protesters. Perhaps this is because protesters, camped out for three months in Kiev's Independence Square, and having endured the overwhelming firepower of security forces, are in more immediate physical need. Perhaps it's because of the complex historical relationship between church and state dating to Soviet-era Ukraine. Or maybe it's just where those priests' individual sympathies lie.

Whatever the case, photos tracking the priests as they move between both sides of the physical conflict, as well as minister to the dead and wounded, provide strikingly powerful glimpses into life on the ground in crisis-racked Ukraine

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