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Prayers for Ukraine at St Mary’s Church, Cleobury Mortimer

St Mary's Church Cleobury Mortimer Ukrainian memorial installation

Prayers for Ukraine at St Mary’s Church, Cleobury Mortimer

Last Sunday Deputy Lieutenant Katherine Garnier was privileged to join St Mary’s Church in Cleobury Mortimer for a moving service centred around prayers for Ukraine. Several Ukrainian families, who are resident guests in and around Cleobury Mortimer, were in the congregation and during the emotional service Svitlana and Volodymyr Dzedzei read, in Ukrainian and English, a famous poem ‘Testament’ by their national poet Taras Shevchenko. The Ukrainian National Anthem was also played and sung in English and Ukrainian.

Afterwards the large congregation moved outside to watch as Revd Prebendary Ashley Buck blessed The Angels of Ukraine, an installation suspended on the outside wall of the church tower. The display of hand-crocheted blue and yellow Angels began its journey in the Ukrainian city of Zhilina in July 2022 and has since travelled around the Ukraine, several Slovak cities and Cyprus before arriving in Castle Grounds in Ludlow in late January. After two weeks in Cleobury Mortimer it will move on to Shrewsbury then travel around other towns and cities of the UK and Europe to spread its important message of peace.

Following the blessing of the installation, Svitlana Dzedzei explained in Ukrainian, the background and purpose of the installation. Her words, read in English by Katherine Garnier DL, included:

“The brutal war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine has been going on for over 11 months. This war is killing the future of Ukraine, its children. We are forced to live with this pain. Women of Ukraine united to draw the attention of the world community to the horror that Russia is inflicting on Ukraine. We want to shout to the whole world about the cruelty and senselessness of war. Ukrainian mothers wove yellow and blue angels with their own hands, symbolizing the innocent souls of children killed by Russia.

Our action during the war turned into a Marathon of Memory and travels through the cities of Europe. Now they have arrived in the towns and cities of Great Britain. Unfortunately, with each new stage of the marathon, in each new location, the number of figurines increases. Now there are 461 dead children. Our goal is to show people all over the world how cruel and senseless war is. That each of us has the right to live in peace, without evil and violence, and calmly raise our children, putting in their hearts only goodness, light and respect for human life, love for people and the world in which they live.’

Also, we want to thank the people of Great Britain for helping Ukrainians, supporting us, for not being indifferent to our pain. With all due respect, I thank the residents of Cleobury Mortimer for giving the opportunity to hold a marathon in memory of the “Angels of Ukraine” and diligently promoting it. We thank you!”

The Angels of Ukraine will remain outside St Mary’s Church until the end of this week then move inside the main church until the following weekend.