Ukraine church started by Boca Raton couple now serving as shelter

A church in Irpin, Ukraine serving as a shelter for those seeking refuge.jpg
Posted at 2:19 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 17:13:09-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — As the crisis in Ukraine escalates, more people are sharing stories of family and friends fleeing their homes.

A Boca Raton couple said a church they started in Ukraine is now a shelter for those seeking refuge.

Konstantin and Angela showed WPTV picture after picture Monday of the destruction in Irpin, Ukraine. They said they helped start a church there.

Destruction in Irpin, Ukraine.jpg
Destruction in Irpin, Ukraine.

"I was teaching at the Kyiv Theological Seminary and it just happened with some of our neighbors we started our church with 10 people. And with the years, 25 years, the church has grown to 800 people," Konstantin said.

Once Ukraine was under attack, the church turned into a shelter.

"Our church right now is serving as a safe harbor, as a refuge place for people," Konstantin said. "But now a lot of people, hundreds of people come to our basement and some of our volunteers, church members risking their lives to serve these people. Cook food for them, provide water."

A church in Irpin, Ukraine serving as a shelter for those seeking refuge (1).jpg
A church in Irpin, Ukraine serving as a shelter for those seeking refuge.

Church volunteers are caring for them, but are also risking their lives by helping others leave the city. One of the church members lost his life.

"In fact one of our young men, I think he was 25 years old, he was helping people to escape to safety from our church. He was walking with them on the streets and they were killed, he was killed," Konstantin said.

Bombings happened near the church.

A fire in Irpin, Ukraine.jpg
A fire in Irpin, Ukraine.

"It breaks our heart to see what's going on there. We got news that in the backyard of our church the bomb exploded," Konstantin said.

Angela's parents were safely evacuated.

"My parents they are in safety right now in the Czech Republic but would be good to get them to come here," Angela said.

Konstantin and Angela now call the U.S. home, but worry what will happen to family and friends in Ukraine.

"A lot of family members who live here in the United States would like to take their relatives, especially close relatives to come to the United States as refugees," Konstantin said.

Konstantin wants to do more to help.

"As a pastor I'm trying right now to mobilize a group, a team of people to produce material to help people spiritual and emotional needs," Konstantin said. "They are heroes of faith for us, they are real heroes."