American pilgrim who walked 800 km with a cross left it at St. Nicholas Church

15.11.2023, 10:59
American pilgrim who walked 800 km with a cross left it at St. Nicholas Church - фото 1
An American pilgrim visited St. Nicholas Church in Kyiv after walking over 800 kilometers while carrying a cross. He left the cross he carried for 72 days, from Warsaw to Kyiv, in the church.

This modern-day 'Jesus' is named Jimmy, and his main goal was to share hope and love with everyone he encountered on his journey. He conceived the idea of this walking pilgrimage from Warsaw to Kyiv in November 2022, as reported by CREDO.

Preparing for this journey, he personally crafted a 25-kilogram cross adorned with painted clover leaves, symbolizing the Holy Trinity, with 12 leaves, each bearing the name of an apostle.

Though Jimmy had been to Ukraine and Kyiv several times before, this particular visit was inspired by Jesus's journey on the Via Dolorosa. Significantly, he chose to walk through the roads of Ukraine bearing a heavy cross at a time when the country has been enduring the weight of war for over a year and a half. Finally, on Monday, November 13, 2023, Jimmy reached the capital, which had bravely withstood the attempt of Russian occupation in February 2022, and he lingered at Maidan, a symbol of freedom and the struggle for independence.

Upon his arrival in Kyiv, part of Jimmy's white tunic tore. He questioned the significance of this event, as throughout 70 days of rain, wind, storms, day, and night, the tunic remained intact, only to tear upon reaching Kyiv. For Jimmy, this event signified the purpose of his journey with the cross, which had become an integral part of him. He mentioned that while looking for a place to rest, his priority was to find a spot for the cross, symbolizing Jesus and the unity of Christianity—since Jesus prayed on the cross for unity.

'It's evident that the cross holds great value for Jimmy because when I tried carrying it, I felt that it was genuinely heavy,' said Father Pavlo Vyshkovskyi OMI, the parish priest of St. Nicholas Church. 'Without the cross, Jimmy feels incomplete, as he told me.'

'Along the way, many people, including priests at 4-5 different churches, offered to keep my cross, but I wanted to bring it to the end,' said Jimmy. After visiting Maidan, Jimmy headed to St. Nicholas Church, where, after learning its history, he decided to leave his cross.

Upon seeing the current state of the sanctuary, Jimmy remarked, 'Right now, I am in St. Nicholas Church. There is a large cross here. I learned the church's history: for the last 33 years, it has not been returned to the parish for its intended purpose. I also heard that [during Soviet times] it was converted into a warehouse or something similar. I find it shameful that this building could have been used in a way other than a church. Because if you look at this architecture, you'd ask yourself: why repurpose it? I learned that there was a fire here a few years ago. Maybe we could have done something to restore the church. It is a beautiful sanctuary, and I am glad to have been invited here.'

At the end of October, a petition was registered on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for the return of St. Nicholas Church to the Catholic community. The collection of signatures is ongoing, and the parish earnestly requests all concerned individuals to join and help save this Kyiv sanctuary."