There is the smell of frankincense. Echoing voices sing ancient hymns. It’s Easter in Ukraine, and the Eastern Orthodox Church is continuing age-old traditions on the holiest day of the year.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity runs deep in Ukrainian culture. The numbers of Christian converts from Paganism grew with the expansion of the Kievan realm by Vladimir the Great, who converted from Slavic Paganism in 988 AD. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church reigned from the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, and like many religions, it has incorporated Pagan traditions and symbols during its centuries of evolution.
This faith tells the story of the Ukrainian people; it has survived communism and the horrific death tolls of World War II. It is a piece of Ukrainian culture that has stayed true to old-world rituals and practices and remains largely untouched at a time when much of the world is changing.