In Kyiv, Ukraine

When I visited Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, the “orange revolution” that toppled the then-president, Leonid Kuchma, had just ended a few months before. Aside from a colourful – albeit not orange – demonstration in the centre of town was the only thing that was faintly reminiscent of the upheaval the capital had gone through. I was on business in Kyiv, but a good part of that business also allowed for visiting the main sites, including the impressive Orthodox churches and tombs.

2005_5 Kyiv_005

Kiyv is a city of contradictions. Socialist architecture dominates the skyline but coexists with traditional sacral buildings and a few houses from the 19th century. Religious traditions and sentiments are still important in Kyiv, even though Communism did its utmost to eradicate it. Young people congregate on the squares around the Orthodox church complexes, and priests can be seen filing into church for prayer, crossing themselves in prostration before entering the sacred place. The picture shown here is just such a scene; orthodox priests seemingly sceptical about something going on, or some of their fellow priests arriving late for service.