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Southeast's Ukrainian Church, located in Sellwood, holds a fundraiser and a celebration

DAVID F. ASHTON - Heres Sofiya Ostap, wearing traditional celebratory Ukraine clothing - with flowers in her hair. Ever since Russia launched an unprovoked military attack on Ukraine early this year, the Ukraine has been much on the minds of the people of Inner Southeast. You've read here about Ukrainian events held at the Sellwood Community House and elsewhere, and about an effort to find Portland homes for Ukrainian shelter dogs.

On Saturday, September 10, the St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Sellwood thanked the community with a "Ukrainian Festival". S.E. 16th Avenue was blocked off in front of the church for the celebration -- which looked much like a large, well-attended block party.

FDAVID F. ASHTON - People dont mind standing in line for favorite Ukrainian foods like perogies, cabbage rolls, and borshch.  ather Volodymyr Yavorskyi of the church greeted the crowd, and then chatted with THE BEE about the special day. "The purpose of this festival is to show the Ukrainian culture to people who live around here.

"It's also important to allow all of the Ukrainian people who live in the greater Portland area to have an opportunity to come together; it gives them a place to be altogether here.

"When people are at home they feel alone. But when you come together, you encounter many people from similar backgrounds. This is something important to them. This helps provide the spiritual support that they receive."

But, Father Yavorskyi added, the festival was more than a display of culture and providing emotional support to other Ukrainians: "Also they come to enjoy and relax; our recent immigrants especially get to have food and entertainment like they had back in Ukraine. What they experience here, in this festival, is Ukrainian food, Ukrainian music, and the opportunity talk with each other. We have a lot of fun here for children, too."

DAVID F. ASHTON - Heres Dr. Roy Torley playing a bandura (Ukrainian: ?±?°????уÌ?Ñ??°). Its a Ukrainian plucked string folk instrument, which combines elements of the zither and lute. Until the 1940s, it was also often referred to by the term kobza. The Ukranian food seemed to be of special interest to many in the community. And some may have had the impression that the Ukrainian Festival was something new for the church. It's not, but it seemed particularly timely this year, said Father Yavorskyi. "This is the first time we've had Ukrainian Festival since 2009. So today is the first time in twelve years. I was a little bit nervous, wondering how many people would actually come. But now that we see this large group of people who turned out, it makes us feel very happy!"

He added that the community is always welcome at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church, situated at 8014 S.E. 16th Avenue in Sellwood.

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