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Special Christmas services for Ukrainians

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Ukrainians living in Devon and Cornwall are to celebrate Christmas at special church services across the two counties.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church traditionally celebrates Christmas on 7 January.

In Devon a service will take place at the church of St Michael de Rupe on Brentor, the Diocese of Exeter said.

A separate Christmas celebration will take place at the St Austell campus of Cornwall College.

The college - which has been running weekly English lessons for Ukrainians living in the county - will invite them to share food, songs and other traditions on the special day.

The service at St Michael de Rupe will include readings and prayers in Ukrainian and English as well as a small choir singing Ukrainian songs.

The church has become popular among the nearby Ukrainian community as St Michael is the patron saint of Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

Organisers said the congregation would also share festive food and traditions with British people in attendance to show their appreciation of the support they have received.

Tania Kovalchuk, a Ukrainian translator who moved to Tavistock before Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, said much thought had gone into making the service "accessible and inclusive" for everyone.

"Around 20 families are expected to come, and they have invited to this service their hosts families and friends, as well as several people from Tavistock who were there for us all this year," she said.

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