"The priest said about 30 per cent of the members at his church are Ukrainian and he himself was born and raised in Ukraine before going to school in Russia. . ."
Shortly after a Saturday evening service ended at the All Saints Russian Orthodox Church in Calgary, someone walked up and poured red paint on the building's front doors.
Priest Dmitry Grygoryev said security cameras at the church captured a man jumping a short fence to get onto the property, trying to open a locked door, then dumping paint on the church's front doors and steps. The footage has since been turned over to the Calgary Police Service's hate crimes unit, Grygoryev said.
"I feel very sorry for this guy. I kind of understand his motivation -- he probably feels pain of all the situation, the political situation, that is happening in Ukraine right now and probably he was just trying to express his emotions. But, again, church is outside of politics," said Grygoryev, who has been leading the church in the northeast community of Renfrew since 2018.
The priest said about 30 per cent of the members at his church are Ukrainian and he himself was born and raised in Ukraine before going to school in Russia.
"Pretty much everyone has either relatives or friends in Ukraine and we feel... worried, at least, for what's going on," Grygoryev said.
"We are not trying to spread the hate and anger," he added. "We're trying to keep the peace.
"Everyone felt shocked," he said, continuing. "Nobody expected what's going to happen like that. All of us, to the very last moment, was thinking of (a) diplomatic way (that) will bring some resolution."
"We are praying for the peace and unity of Ukrainian and Russian people."
Splashes of red paint remain on the concrete front steps and doormat, though it was scraped and washed off of the front doors over the weekend.
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