From the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Oblates missionaries from Chernihiv have been sheltering civilians. About 70 people found shelter in the cellars of the church and monastery. Life was “normal” in the basement. Meals, games with children, prayers for an end to the war. Masses were celebrated in the cellars.
With the progressing invasion and the heroic resistance of the city’s defenders, the situation of the civilian population was on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. The city lacks water, electricity and heating. Oblate missionaries evacuated the people who were under their protection. Logistically, it was extremely difficult due to the presence of enemy troops in the vicinity of Chernihiv. Moreover, the occupiers started opening fire on civilians. The Russians destroyed the bridge towards Kiev. Not only did people run away this way, but help also came.
At present, people are still dying in the city, although most of the inhabitants have fled Chernihiv. This possibility also opened up for religious. One argument was security, on the other hand, the deteriorating ability to deliver humanitarian aid. Father Piotr Wróblewski OMI from Poland and Father Dymitr Zaniamonski OMI from Belarus refused to leave. They decided to stay in the city, even at the cost of their lives.