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Parishioners who arrived at the church on Sunday morning were surprised to find an unexpected guest on February 27, 2022.

Governor Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin arrived unannounced to pray for the people of Ukraine at the Ss Joachim and Anna Ukrainian Catholic Church in Front Royal.

Governor Youngkin’s staff had contacted the parish on Saturday and requested permission to attend and join the church in prayer for the Ukrainian people. He also asked for no advance publicity, which, in the words of a member of the parish council, “indicates authenticity and sincerity. The prayer he offered at the end of our service indicates the same thing.

The Governor and First Lady arrived early and attended the entire Divine Liturgy. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in union with Rome, celebrates the liturgy written by Saint John Chrysostom in the 3rd century. All are welcome to attend Ss. Joachim and Anna, which is located at 1396 Linden Street in Front Royal, www.ssjoachimandanna.org.

Here is the transcript of the Governor’s prayer:

Heavenly Father, we bow our heads this morning and you are just amazing glory. To be gathered here, and see the miraculous meal you offer to those who believe in you to become part of your kingdom. Father, thank you. Father, you promised us that when two or three are gathered in your name, you will be among us, and Father, we invite you here today to be among us.

Father, we rise to you, all Ukrainian people today. We ask you to envelop them with your protective spirit, clothe them with your armor, the armor of God, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of truth, your shield of faith, your helmet of salvation and the sword of your Spirit.

Father, protect them; Father, guide them, strengthen them. Jesus, you call us to pray for our leaders. We pray this morning, that world leaders will come together, reunite and feel your inspiration and wisdom on what actions they can take to end this atrocity.

Father, we raise all our world leaders to you. Lord, on a day when we pray for forgiveness, you call us to pray for our enemies.

Father, as difficult as it is, we pray for our enemies. Father, I pray that you would reach into Vladimir Putin’s heart, invade his being and help him see the error of these ways. Father, we pray for democracies around the world, that you will, in fact, allow the voice of the people to continue to be heard.

And Father, we pray for all the Russian people who oppose these actions, protect them and strengthen them on their own. Lord, at a time when we are sometimes at a loss for what to do and what to say, you promise us that we can turn to you.

Therefore, we pray this prayers in the name of your precious son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen. Thank you very much to all.

Governor Youngkin welcomes members of the Fedoryka family after the Divine Liturgy.

Governor and First Lady in the kitchen with the Wallace family before the Divine Liturgy.

The Governor and First Lady speak with Elizabeth Wallace and her daughter as she prepares refreshments for coffee time.

Governor Youngkin and Father Andrii Chornopyskyi

Governor Glenn Youngkin calls for decisive action on Ukraine