U is for Ukrainian Understanding & Unselfishness–A to Z Blog Challenge

Kiev, Ukraine with picture of a priest by Steve EvansU imageWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Each post highlights present-day and folktale examples.

Ukraine inspire many to look up and be in awe of the gold-domed St. Sophia’s Cathedral.  The people remember to also look around them and help each other no matter the economic struggles.  Many Orthodox Christian churches abound although many faiths are represented in the area.  Here we have this picture of a Christian priest in Kiev, Ukraine taken by Steve Evans.  He has granted permission for Story Crossroads to use this image.

Present-Day Understanding & Unselfishness

The Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church Charity has the Joseph Program where members bring food to those in need no matter if people share the same faith.  Much like Joseph of Egypt helped the Pharaoh during the times of famine, these volunteers meet the needs of these starved people who are trying to make ends meet.  The Donetsk Word of Life church ministers help determine the needs of each family.  More can be learned here:  http://wolua.org/en/charity.html.

Past Understanding & Unselfishness (Folktale)

This Ukrainian folktale is focused on Easter yet feels like it could be told any time of the year.  This particular one is found in the book “The Birds’ Gift” retold by Eric A. Kimmel, published by Holiday House.

Here is a summary:

A girl named Katrusya was in awe of the snow that had fallen.  Winter had come early.  While she enjoyed the snow, a little golden bird shivered. Her grandfather explained that flocks of birds would suffer and die as they got caught in it without a place to stay warm.  The girl wanted to save the one bird. The grandfather wondered the point to save one bird when hundreds would be dying.  The girl committed to finding the birds and saving more of them.  When she took dozens home, Katrusya’s brothers vowed to rescue birds, too.  Word spread and soon the whole village were searching and saving the birds.  Father Roman, the priest, offered the church as a place for the birds to be warmed as God created them and should be in God’s house.  The birds sang every Sunday during the sermons.  After many weeks, the birds became restless and flew into the glass panes.  Father Roman said he would release the birds the next Sunday.  The whole flock flew away.  Winter passed.  Easter came.  Katrusya noticed a delicately decorated egg in the grass.  More were found.  No one knew where they came from but Father Roman.  They looked up and saw those golden birds in the roofs of all their homes.  This gift came from the birds.  Since that time, people make Pysanky, beautifully decorated eggs, as symbols of God’s love for all.

Interesting Notes on Kindness  

  • Katrusya wished to save the bird and provided warmth to dozens
  • The girl’s kindness inspired the excitement of her brothers who aided in finding and rescuing more birds
  • Kindness was contagious and soon the whole village helped out
  • Everyone offered their homes and Father Roman offered the church
  • The birds reciprocated the kindness and shared lovely songs for Sunday sermons and eventually the delicately decorated eggs
  • People make Pysanky from this day on that symbolizes the love and kindness for each other and that of God

What stories of kindness do you know associated with Ukraine?  Anywhere in the world – past or present?  Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

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