News from and about Ukraine & Ukrainians: Ukrainian Community Press Releases
BRAMA, October 22, 2001, 1 am ET
Paris’ Ukrainian social focal points – churches and parks|
Ukrainians in Paris - Les Ukrainnienes de Paris: Part II
As in most cities of the world the primary social locus for Ukrainians (and those seeking to congregate with them) is a Ukrainian church, a place not just for religious observance but one which offers the chance to meet new and old faces, and nurture acquaintanceships. In this category Paris has two long-lived ones: a Catholic one - Saint Volodymyr's at the intersection of rue des Saints-Peres and the trendy Boulevard-St. Germain in the central 6th arrondisement (district) , as well as an Orthodox one – St. Simon located in the 20th in the northeastern reaches of the city not far from the "Jourdan" Metro stop.
St. Volodymyr Church and Taras Shevchenko Park at the corner of Blvd. Saint Germain and Rue des Saints Pere.
The latter is more of a "kaplytsia" located in the Bibliotheque Ukrainienne Symon Petlura building. Being across from the St. Jean-Baptiste de Belleville (one of Paris’s cathedrals) it is dwarfed even more. Nevertheless, its longevity is a testament to its congregation’s commitment. The former, perched on one of Paris’s prominent streets, is draped in typical pale limestone and wrapped by the petit yet picturesque Taras Shevchenko Park ("Square Taras Chevtchenko", in French), competing for attention with the St. Germain de Pres Church a few blocks to the west. In the recent past maintenance of the church had lapsed. However currently, its interior is undergoing an aggressive restoration under the leadership of the new pastor.
As is the case with other major metropolitan destinations (New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Prague, and others) Paris has seen an influx of recent immigrants from Ukraine seeking some sort of basic economic relief. Billboards in the building’s foyer swarm with notices posted by those seeking and offering various services. As in the past so too now, the churches have seen their attendance balloon for services and "poludnevi perekusky". In the case of St. Volodymyr’s, the crowd spills out the doors and into the adjacent streets and park. According to the church’s priest, Pere Michel Romaniuk, he has had to assuage the concerns of some of the church’s neighbors given the size of the crowds.
The Church billboard is covered with notices in Ukrainian and French.
With its small playground and benches and adjacent to St. Volodymyr’s, Taras Shevchenko Park offers a respite from as well as a picturesque view of the hustle and bustle of the Boulevard-St. Germain. A bust of the Ukrainian bard stands to the back and center of the park - yet one more international tribute to Ukraine’s great poet.
Complete article with images:
Entrance to St. Volodymyr Church.
St. Volodymyr Church iconostasis
The Bibliotheque Ukrainienne Symon Petlura building hosts St. Simon Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the first floor (closed white shutters).
Pere Michel Romaniuk (right) poses with Max Pyziur (Brama) in front of the Taras Shevchenko bust outside St. Volodymyr's.
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