Kyiv Ukraine Temple Closes following Russian Invasion

The last temple to reopen during COVID has closed because of Russian aggression.

Days before Russia invaded Ukraine, starting the largest military action between European countries since World War II, the Europe Area Presidency had issued a letter to the members of Ukraine, offering words of encouragement and hope in the face of calamity. In those remarks, the presidency noted that the Kyiv Ukraine Temple would remain open. (Curiously, a Deseret News article covering the letter appears to have scrubbed the language about the temple remaining open.)

Now, as Russian troops surround Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, a Church spokesperson confirmed the Kyiv Ukraine Temple is closed until further notice. It’s a particular bit of bitter irony, as the Kyiv temple was last to reopen for any sort of operation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The temple’s official website understandably makes no mention of when it will reopen.

Dedicated in 2010, the temple was unlikely to be able to remain open due to encroaching Russian forces, but the situation is increasingly fraught as Russian troops focus on cutting off Kyiv’s outlet to the western part of the country; the temple is located in Kyiv’s western edge.

Saint Volodymyr Monument, Kyiv | Credit: Geoff Openshaw

Kyiv, a city of nearly three million people, is one of the Eastern Slavic world’s oldest cities, and is home to the first stake in formerly communist Europe. Missionaries first arrived in Ukraine, then part of the Vienna Austria East Mission, in 1990. Elder Boyd K. Packer formally dedicated the country for missionary work in September 1991 at the monument of Prince Volodymyr. The Ukrainian government recognized the Church that same month. The Ukrainian government declared its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991. A formal vote to leave the USSR occurred in early December 1991, with over 90% of Ukrainians, which included Crimea, voting for independence. The Soviet Union collapsed on December 26, 1991.

Today, Ukraine is home to two stakes and three districts. It is unclear how or if Latter-day Saints will freely worship should Russia succeed in replacing the Ukrainian government.

You can view a story of the country’s dedication below.

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