Philadelphia Welcomes Ukrainian Refugees

St. Nicholas Patriarchal Orthodox Cathedral welcomed Alla Pukhtetska and Veronika Matviienko last Tuesday after the women fled Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. They never expected to have to leave Ukraine.

“I saw a photo of this rocket, who fell on right bank of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. I thought it is impossible in modern times, we believed that the war would not come to Kyiv as a capital in Ukraine”

Alla says leaving the country was difficult for them, as millions were at an impasse trying to do the same.

“We took only two small bags, and we’re trying to reach any possible train or bus. But as it was very crowded, we had to use volunteers transport. And for example, just in short, I will describe the situation and we’ll say that it was in on March 8 of this year, there were too many people concentrated near the railway station. It was impossible to board the bus because it was already destinated to women with children.”

Thankful for their safety in America, they are still worried for Ukrainians who cannot leave due to the invasion.

“Those streets where everything is destroyed and there is no infrastructure. So people are staying at their homes or underground. A lot of them were violated in the villages near Kyiv they have to survive in European Bucha region. Maybe you’ve heard of those cities near Kyiv. They were completely destroyed, people could not even evacuate from there.”

Bishop Luke, who assisted the women in coming to America said that helping Ukrainians goes beyond religion or borders.

“Not only Orthodox people, Catholic, Roman Catholic, for the Pentecostal, Baptist Jewish, a lot of help from Ukrainian Jewish and I have a lot of help from Muslims.”

You can donate to Ukrainian refugees on the Church’s website at

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