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Religious Youth Service

Korean and Japanese Youth Connect with Ukraine through Service

Lviv, Ukraine—Several young people from Korea and Japan journeyed to the historic city of Lviv in western Ukraine to take part in Religious Youth Service projects.

The program started on May 8, 2015, in the Lviv City Council, where Oksana V. Krutiy, an official in the mayor’s office, met the young visitors to take them on a tour of the city. They climbed to the top of the Lviv Town Hall and had a bird’s-eye view of the city. After that, the volunteers did some work in the Metropolitan Garden near St. George's Cathedral.

Later that day, Vasily Pronko, the chef at the five-star Nobilis Hotel, conducted a master-class in making Ukrainian dumplings. Afterward, the participants donated the finished food to a local hospital.

On May 9, the volunteers visited the Ukrainian Catholic University. There was a talent contest dedicated to Mother's Day, and they performed a song. After dinner, they visited the Museum of National Folk Architecture and Rural Life, located in Shevchenko Park.

The volunteers were greatly impressed by their meeting with internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the conflicted regions of Crimea and the Donbass—Donetsk (River) Basin. The young Koreans and Japanese learned a few words of Ukrainian language from the displaced persons and sang songs.

On the last day, the guests got to know the Christian traditions of Ukraine. With the help of the head of the center of inter-religious dialogue, Taras Dzyubanskogo, the volunteers visited the Krehivskyy Basilian Monastery of St. Nicholas, which was founded in 1612. One of the monks, Brother Parkhomiy, gave them a tour of the monastery and sang a song.

UNESCO proclaimed the years 2013 to 2022 as the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures, a proposal that was approved by the UN General Assembly. Through their time spent working in Ukraine, the young Koreans and Japanese felt a deep connection with the Ukrainian people. "Ukraine will always be in my heart," said a volunteer from Korea, Kim Joo Son.

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