Posted by: BlessingMinistry | September 2, 2010

About L’viv, Ukraine

Looking out over L'viv

L’viv is in western Ukraine and was founded in 1256. It was named in honor of the founder’s son, Lev, whose name is literally translated “lion”.  Therefore, the city symbol is a lion under the arch of a fortress/castle and you can find references to the lion throughout the city.  Having been part of Red Ruthinia, Poland, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Austrian Empire, the Second Polish Republic, the Soviet Union, and now part of Ukraine, it is a beautiful and enchanting city with buildings of varying architectural influences, and

A city street in L'viv

cobblestone streets. The Blessing family often marvels at the graciousness of God calling them to live and serve in such a beautiful place.

In recent years, L’viv has prided itself on establishing the city as a truly European one, making its trademark the coffee shop.  If there is a church on every corner in the Bible Belt, there is a coffee shop on every corner in L’viv.  As people in Paris are said to search out their favorite bridge, the people of L’viv do the same with their coffee shops; if you ask 10 different people what their favorite coffee shop is, you will probably get 10 different answers!

Prior to World War II, L’viv was a major Jewish cultural center, but during the war the Nazis established a Jewish ghetto and built Yanivsky concentration camp where 200,000 Jews lost their lives to Hitler’s “Final Solution”; L’viv became a place of torture and death.  We recently learned that L’viv also has a history of support for the Jewish people, most notable during Bogdan Khmelnytsky’s uprising against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth magnates (1648-1654).  As he prepared to come to L’viv, he sent a message ahead, requesting that he be allowed to come to L’viv and, among other things, annihilate all the Jews.  L’viv denied him and, on the contrary, opened the city gates to allow all the Jews living in the outlying villages to come in for refuge.  It is our prayer and pursuit to see this righteous spirit of blessing the Jewish people rise again in the city of L’viv.

Anti-Semitic graffiti in L'viv

Praise God for the freedom He has given Ukraine today – both for Jew and Gentile.  There are many positive aspects in Ukraine and there is a resurgence of Jewish culture in L’viv, but at the same time, a spirit of anti-Semitism has been growing steadily here and across Europe.  We believe the Lord has great purpose for this city and we know it is His desire to see many come to salvation through faith in Jesus, that His light might shine in this place.


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