Apr 23, 2022 - World

Ukrainians urged not to gather for Easter vigils

An Orthodox church in Ukraine

Ukrainians walk in front of an Orthodox church on an Orthodox Good Friday. Photo: Dominika Zarzycka/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Ukraine’s military has warned residents not to gather for Orthodox Easter after Russia rejected a ceasefire proposal for the religious holiday.

Driving the news: Curfews will remain in effect for traditional vigils that typically take place on Saturday night and run into Sunday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a statement Saturday morning.

The big picture: Ukrainians and Russians are commonly Orthodox Christians and celebrate Easter a week later than other Christian denominations.

  • Orthodox Easter’s service typically begins late Saturday and lasts into Sunday morning, then is followed by a traditional meal.

What they’re saying: “We must understand that the gathering of civilians at a predetermined time of all-night service can be a target for missiles, aircraft and artillery,” the statement said.

  • “Already, many religious communities, with the blessing of their leaders, have decided to postpone Easter services. We urge priests and the faithful to follow such decisions and choose an alternative time of night for liturgies.”

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