Christians gathering to pray near a political rally site in one of Ukraine’s eastern cities have come under numerous attacks — even gunfire — from protesters.
Prayer tents have ministered to people in the midst of Ukraine’s political revolution. Euromaidan protests began late last year when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from a trade deal with the European Union in favor of accepting financial aid from Russia. Euromaidan, the conflict’s nickname, is Ukrainian for “Eurosquare.”
In the city of Donetsk, Christians have persevered in the face of harassment and violence, evangelical pastor Sergey Kosyak said.
Kosyak said he and others who gather to pray at a busy city intersection in Donetsk have frequently faced opposition since erecting their prayer tent three months ago. Often it is the Ukrainian flag that flies above the tent that has provoked pro-Russian supporters to attack.
It is not uncommon for people to throw eggs, rocks and bottles — even large cement pieces — at the tent. Earlier this week, two men wearing gas masks and military helmets and carrying clubs forcibly removed the group’s flags.
“The Ukrainian flag they threw into the river,” Kosyak said. “And the flag of the Donetsk region they kept to take with them.”
As the men reached the middle of a nearby bridge, a car pulled alongside them.
“Two guys got out very professionally and in a few seconds our offenders were pounded down like otbivne [Ukraine’s version of schnitzel],” Kosyak said. “They brought us one of the flags and apologized that it was smeared with blood. Then they left.”
Then two men from the prayer team approached the men who had attacked the tent.
“Their faces were all covered in blood with broken noses,” Kosyak said. “Our men brought them to the tent where they gave them first aid. They washed them, prayed for them and handed them New Testaments.”
Regardless of what happens, Kosyak said, his group will continue to pray each day for the city and for Ukraine.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Marc Ira Hooks