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Lviv Christians Pray for Peace as Russia Strikes Area with Missiles, Killing at Least 7 in City Once Regarded as 'Safe Haven'

Randy Mancini 5 Apr 18

LVIV, Ukraine - At least seven people were reportedly killed and 11 injured, including a child, on Monday, when Russian forces launched several missiles striking the city's landmark train depot, and a tire repair shop, not far from the city.  

For the first 54 days of the war, Lviv had been considered a relatively safe haven for residents and refugees alike, but several missile attacks were reported over the weekend. On Monday, the start of Holy Week here in Ukraine, Lviv saw its first fatalities of the war with Russia. 

Christians Pray For Peace

Lviv is home to some of the most beautiful churches in the world and nearly a hundred are located throughout the city. Most of the buildings were shut down during the Soviet era, but the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 triggered a resurgence of the Christian faith, and its churches, including the magnificent Greek Catholic Church of St. Andrew.  

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On Sunday, the week before Easter here, churches were packed with Christians praying that just as Jesus defeated death on a cross, Ukraine will also see the victory. 

"We have this Christian tradition that Christ is risen and Ukraine will be risen too," said Helena, a 30-year-resident of Lviv. "We strongly believe the enemy will fall down and we will have the victory."

Although restaurants and shops are open, many of the city's magnificent churches are boarded up and priceless statues remain heavily wrapped up and cushioned in case the worst happens. 

Arsen Kotenee, a father and long-time resident of Lviv told CBN News he's not afraid.  

"Actually, I'm not scared because I understand my life belongs to Christ," Kotenee said. 

"So, you're not leaving?" CBN News asked him. 

"I'm not supposed to leave," he replied. "My wife stays with me too. I have two children. We are trusting God."

Russia Will Be Defeated

There was a standing-room-only crowd at Spring of Life Church in Lviv on Sunday, where people are praying around the clock for their country.  

Kotenee said during a recent time of prayer, God gave him some good news for Ukraine.

"I just started praying in my spirit and I received this word Russia will be defeated, Russia will be defeated," he said. "When you hear all the dangers, don't be in panic, pray like a shield, when you pray, lift up your hands, so that's what we are doing. When we hear all the bad news, all the rockets. Yes, we get a lot of rockets in our city Lviv too. But praise God, we are doing OK."