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Women wearing embroidered Ukrainian shirts and flower crowns outside Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral (The Catholic Weekly/Giovanni Portelli Photography)

A crowd of 1500 Ukrainians rallied in the St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt in Sydney on Saturday to mark the two-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of their homeland. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Supporters draped in blue and yellow Ukrainian flags, and wearing traditional embroidered shirts, gathered in a public display at 2pm at Sydney’s mother church.

They came to show their resilience and to share each other’s pain after two years of gruelling war.

The Sydney event was one of more than 400 global rallies – including in other major cities in Australia – in a coordinated initiative to show support for Ukraine.

The crowd prayed for peace and pleaded for increased financial and military aid from the Australian Government to put an end to the fighting. Ukrainian Council of NSW vice president Andrew Mencinsky warned that “without aid, Ukraine faces the risk of ceasing to exist”.

Ukrainian Greek-Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox clergy offered prayers at the rally, while consular officials from European nations – including Polish, Lithuanian, German, Czech and Slovak representatives – also attended, along with a member of the Canadian consulate. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, former prime minister Tony Abbott, NSW Premier Chris Minns and former UK prime minister Boris Johnson sent video messages.

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Archdiocese has raised $150,000 to provide aid to those displaced by the war in Ukraine. The money was raised as part of a special Advent Appeal.

“In these past two years, we have kept the people of Ukraine in our hearts and prayers, and sought ways to support those who have found refuge here in Australia – and particularly Victoria,” Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli said.

“I am very pleased to say that through this appeal we had over 1000 donors – with some parishes uniting as one singular contribution.

“To date, we have received $131,549, a significant amount. On behalf of the Archdiocese, I will be bringing this amount to a total figure of $150,000.”

Archbishop Comensoli presented the donation to Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Sts Peter and Paul of Melbourne Bishop Mykola Bychok CSsR last week. 


Ukrainians mourn together at St Mary’s after two years of gruelling war (By George Al-Akiki, The Catholic Weekly)

Archdiocese of Melbourne raises $150,000 for the people of Ukraine (Melbourne Catholic)