King Charles III, joined by the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, paid a visit to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London this week, where the king formally opened a welcome center for refugees from war-torn Ukraine.
“The visit of His Majesty the King along with Mrs. Zelenska offers a powerful sign of solidarity between the people of the United Kingdom and our sisters and brothers in Ukraine,” said Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, eparch of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London, according to the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. “We are honored that His Majesty has come back to our cathedral, and we pray his next visit will be to give thanks for an end to the war – a war that has taken so many innocent lives.”
An icon for the king
Bishop Nowakowski told Zelenska that each day prayers are offered for her husband, as well as for the military defending Ukraine and all of the Ukrainian people.
The bishop presented to King Charles an icon of the Theotokos of Eleousa – the Mother of God of Tenderness – a gift from His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The icon was written by Oleksandr Klymenko and Sofiia Atlantova, Ukrainian iconographers and artists who are founders of the charity project “Icons on Ammo Boxes.” The icon is written on part of a munitions box brought from the front lines.
After being presented with the traditional Ukrainian welcome of bread and salt, King Charles met with staff, volunteers and benefactors of the Ukrainian Welcome Centre (UWC), as well as temporarily displaced Ukrainians and their British sponsors.