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BRAMA, April 15, 2001, 10am EDT

Easter Baskets on Holy Saturday at St. George Church in New York City

Kalyna Leshchuk and Andreya Pencak (right) stand guard next to decorated baskets filled with Easter delicacies. In accordance with Ukrainian tradition, the baskets are blessed at a special service on Holy Saturday, but the contents are not eaten until after Easter Sunday Mass. Unless, of course, you had guard duty ...

[Easter Paska]

Basket styles and some ingredients can vary across regions in Ukraine. This basket was prepared with western Ukrainian flavor. At the center is the traditional "paska" (Easter babka or bread) with a candle, butter, ham, kovbasa (sausage), eggs. These traditional items are topped off with gold-wrapped chocolates, and a small set of icons.

Parishioners lined up at St. George Church in NYC await their turn to have the baskets blessed.

Baskets line the table in the crowded chapel downstairs.

Father Lawrence, pastor of St. George Church, blesses baskets on the floor of the chapel. In Ukraine, it is traditional for the congregation to form a circle with the baskets on the ground outside the church.

Afternoon light streams in through the stained glass windows on the west side of St. George Church.

Cooper Union, a neighboring university, hopes to build a high-rise facility next door that may have the unfortunate consequence of blocking the light on this side of the church.

After blessing the baskets, the faithful worship at the Plashchenytsia (Holy Sepulchre).
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