PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some Ukrainians have come to our area to take refuge from the fighting. Saint Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Northern Liberties has strong ties to Ukraine and is now offering sanctuary to two refugees who fled the war.
It’s safe and quiet here at the church. It’s a stark contrast to the violence and destruction Alla Pukhtetska and Veronika Matviienko left behind.READ MORE: 5-Year-Old Boy Injured In North Philadelphia Shooting, Police Say
“For two weeks, we were hearing all those bombings,” Pukhtetska said.
Seeking safety, the women made the 500-mile journey from Kyiv, Ukraine to Warsaw, Poland, traveling partly by train and partly on foot. They arrived in the United States Tuesday night.
“It is very long journey. It is very expensive journey,” Pukhtetska said.
In Ukraine, Pukhtetska was a theology teacher and Matviienko, a choir director, at the same church in Kyiv.READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Teen Pilot Who Landed Plane On Bridge In Ocean City Shares How He Survived New Mexico Plane Crash
That church connected them with a church in Northern Liberties, where they stay at the rectory.
“We are very thankful to both Bishop Luke Zhoba and to Susan because they help us to pay the charges for the flight, for the accommodations in Poland,” Pukhtetska said.
They’re hoping Russia and Ukraine reach a peace agreement soon.
“I plan at that moment coming back to my native land,” Matviienko said.MORE NEWS: Police: 4-Year-Old In Stable But Critical Condition After Being Struck By SUV In West Philly
The church is also planning to offer refuge to a family of six arriving from Ukraine in the next several weeks.