SILVER SPRING, Md. — Local Ukrainians gathered at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on Sunday. Candles were lit so their prayers of peace, hope and victory can reach heaven.
Ivanna Ivaniv flew to the U.S. Saturday night. A sense of relief and guilt weighed on her heart. “That’s a fact. I really feel that I should be there now,” Ivaniv said.
On Sunday she and her three children came to pray that one day soon they’ll all return home.
She recounts the moments she learned her country was at war, “I saw on social media that Putin proclaim war to Ukraine. This is how it started it,” she said.
The uncertainty that lay ahead forced the mother to make a tough decision.
"Because I'm young, I'm strong and there's something I can do to be there but, I need to stay here with my kids," she said fighting back tears.
She left behind a host of relatives, friends, and her elderly parents who are physicians. "My father strictly wants to stay there. They say that there's nothing they can do abroad," she said.
The service was emotional for her family and many other parishioners. Speaking mostly in Ukrainian, they all stood for nearly the entire service.
What’s to come next in the war, time will only tell, but this mother believes prayers will be heard and answered.
“I believe that Ukraine is very strong because it is very united with the truth that we want to be independent,” Ivaniv said.