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Ukrainians Seek Bibles in Wake of Russian Invasion, but Shortage Making It Difficult

Kyiv Ukrainian Bible Society
A sign outside St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, N.J., reads, "Pray for Ukraine," Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. Religious leaders and members of the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States are growing increasingly alarmed over the threat of a Russian invasion to Ukraine and have stepped efforts to help their family members back home. (AP Photo/Luis Andres Henao)

As Vladimir Putin’s army threatens the life and liberty of Ukrainian citizens, many are turning to prayer and Scripture. So many, in fact, that the Ukrainian Bible Society in Kyiv is selling out of Bibles.

Since Russia launched an unprovoked land invasion of Ukraine on Thursday of last week, many civilians have been attempting to flee to safety in neighboring countries, some praying and singing as they go. CNN captured one group kneeling and praying in the streets of Kharkiv, despite the harsh winter weather and threats of danger. In another video, a group of Ukrainian citizens can be seen singing a song titled “Let My Prayer Flow” while at a train station in Kyiv.

According to deputy general secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society Anatoliy Raychynets, so many Ukrainians are turning to the words of Scripture that they are running out of printed copies of the Bible. The Ukrainian Bible Society is an affiliate of the U.S. based American Bible Society.

Raychynets, who has been in contact with American Bible Society president and CEO Robert L. Briggs, has conveyed tragic stories of death, injury, loss, and fear. Nevertheless, Raychynets has been sharing the words of Psalm 31:21 with as many people as he can: “Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege.”

In the days before Russia invaded, Raychynets told Eternity News, “We printed Bibles for 2022 and we are now in [the] second month of the year and the stock in our warehouse is almost gone. This is a big challenge! We are talking about what we can do and how we can print more Bibles because people are asking for whatever we have.”

“In our churches—whether it is Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, or Evangelical churches— there are more new people. Not only on Sundays or Saturdays, but also during the week,” Raychynets said. “On evenings when we have a Bible study, new people are coming. They want to pray, to hear something that brings hope or comfort.”

Raychynets reiterated the same when speaking with Briggs: “We need more Bibles.”

The Ukrainian Bible Society has also been running out of their trauma healing resources. These resources were developed six years ago in response to trauma resulting from previous conflicts with Russia and have proven incredibly helpful to many Ukrainian Christians and seekers. Again, the main challenge is that demand is outpacing their ability to provide adequate supply. 

Despite the bitter and deadly conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Raychynet nevertheless has expressed solidarity with Christians and churches across enemy lines. 

“We speak to our colleagues in Russia,” Raychynet said. “We church leaders speak to one another, and we pray together. We are united in the Lord.”