St Francis of Assisi - Llay

Christ the King - Rossett

Llay-Rossett Parish Wrexham, North Wales

Ukrainian Transport By Jasmine Zammit-Wilson

Upon arriving in the Ukraine, you realise just how many means of transport there are. We arrived in Kiev, on an aeroplane. I had only flown by plane once before, and that was when I was a small child, and the only thing I remember from that disastrous ordeal was I my baby brother throwing orange juice over the poor lady next to us.

We went from the airport in Kiev, to the church in Sumy, in a hired minibus. That was when I had my first experience of traditional Ukrainian roads, which I had been informed had been recently improved. Nevertheless, there were endless potholes which we were forever dodging, as the suspension of the minibus was nonexistent. The minibus took us four hours to reach Sumy from Kiev, which was quicker than going by train, which left at inappropriate times, and took about seven hours.

I travelled from the church to my first host's house in a car. Not many of the parishioners have their own cars, so that was a luxury. In the city, the speed limit was supposed to be sixty km per hour, which is just less than forty miles per hour. The standards of cars varied from very old Ladas to a relatively new Hyundai people carrier, When you travel around the outskirts of the city, some people travel by horse and cart. People who ride motorbikes in Sumy, rarely wear helmets or protective clothing.

The most common way of getting around Sumy, is either by foot or on the marshroutni taxis. It is like a town bus, which follows a particular route, but you can get on and off them where you like. It costs two hryvnia which is the equivalent of sixteen pence, no matter how far you go on the route.

On the Sunday we were taken to a horse farm in Pashkova, but we were too late to ride, as they had fed the horses just before we arrived, which was a disappointment to my mother and Fr. Pius.

There was only one problem with travelling around the Ukraine and that was the traffic police. My first encounter with them was on the journey back to the church from visiting the sick and aged of the parish. Yuri, who is attending a seminary with two years to go, driving, Fr Andrei in the passenger seat, with Fr Pius, Anne and myself in the back seat. We were pulled over and Yuri was taken to the police car for a long discussion, he was later free to go after he promised them a blessing.

The second encounter was on a marshroutni taxi, where we were stopped by the traffic police as we were carrying a passenger who was standing up, and the third and final encounter was on the minibus from Sumy back to Kiev to catch our flight home, where the driver was going slightly too fast. On both of these occasions the driver was taken to the other side of the road to 'discuss' how much the "fine" was to be.

Sumy Youth by David Bamford

Before I went to live in Russia for my university year abroad, I remember being plagued by nerves regarding meeting new people; specifically, people my own age. What would they be like? Would we have the same interests or would the whole year pass under a thin veil of awkward silence if I were introduced to anyone under the age of twenty-five?

Fortunately, my nerves were completely unfounded and I discovered a plethora of people my own age or a little older or younger who were not only into the same things as me, but who were itching to share their own interests in things with which I may not have been familiar.

So upon my arrival in Sumy, I was a little nervous about meeting new people but absolutely not nervous about talking to people my own age. And so it went that in both of the families with whom I stayed, there were people of my age or a little younger who I chatted with and we swapped ideas, phone numbers, email addresses and names of bands, films and books we’d read.

Sumy’s younger generation is populated by all kinds of interesting, fun and intelligent people. Chatting with a few of them in a park one night (oh come on, it had to happen - what would “the youth” do if they couldn’t sit in parks? Loitering teens in public places are a universal concept) I discovered that so many of them were completely able to reconcile their religion with their own interests as teenagers and young adults - something that I, for many years, have struggled to do.

It is somehow quite reassuring to know that a place like Sumy exits , full of teens and early twenty-somethings just beginning to realise their potential and also to discover where their religion stands in their day-to-day lives. So many young people in England have given up, seemingly, and appear to drift through daily life in a godless, uncertain state, forever convinced that there can be no light at the end of the tunnel.

It all boils down to one thing: religion in Great Britain has all but died for the average person aged 13-35. Churches appear to the youth of Britain as catacombs, housing fear and humility, “thou-shalt-not” and strict, swift punishments for misbehaviour. After all, the young population of Britain wish to follow their counterparts into experiments with drugs, homosexuality, heavy metal and stuff they saw on TV. One may ask “Where is there room for God in all this?”

One may answer: “You so not need to make room for God - God will make room for you.”

Sumy has been able to marry the adolescent experimentation, temptations of the flesh and out-and-out hedonism experienced by its youth with the calmness, peace and openness of the religion in which it appears to be steeped, and as a result, the youth of Sumy appear to be more relaxed and at ease with their religion, able to join God together with modern existence to produce a happier, well-rounded community of young people. It is my option that the youth of Britain should follow the example set by the youth of Sumy and learn to connect religion with their everyday lives - walking around Sumy I saw several happy, laughing teens wearing crosses and crucifixes. When was the last time the same was seen in England? Sumy’s youth is great for showing that you don’t need to be miserable to be religious, and I think that this is something the youth of Britain have forgotten.

Jasmine Zammit-Willson David Bamford Sumy Visit 3 Novogrod Siverskiy Church

Novogrod Siverskiy restored Orthodox Church

Parvdinka Orphange

Parvdinka Orphange with the Director

Depart kiev Borispol Airport

Depart kiev Borispol


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Fr. Pius

Anne Aitken

Helen Zammit-Willson

Jasmine Zammit-Willson

David Bamford

Peter Bamford

John Fernee

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