Small church serves in Severodonetsk, Ukraine, despite fighting

By July 7, 2022

Ukraine (MNN) — Twelve Christians have been hailed as heroes in the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk. Eric Foley with the Voice of the Martyrs Korea says these Christians brought food, diapers, medicine, and New Testaments to people in the city.

Civilians of Severodonetsk have lived huddled in basements and bomb shelters since the Russian invasion began in February.

Pastor Turgunov

This photo shows members of the church, with Pastor Turgunov standing tallest in the back. (Photo courtesy of The Voice of the Martyrs Korea)

Foley talks about the pastor. “His name is Alexander Turgunov. And he founded the church after his own battle with substance addiction. He went to a rehab center in Kharkiv in 2013. There, he heard about the Lord Jesus.”

He returned to his hometown Severodonetsk and ministered to people suffering from addictions. Foley says, “Of course, many of them were freed from drugs and returned to their lives. But these 12 guys joined him and formed the Church of the Transfiguration. Since the time the Church was founded, they’ve traveled around Severodonetsk, talking to young people and sharing with them the dangers of drugs and alcoholism.”

“They play sports or lift weights with the kids. They study the Bible with at-risk youth.”

The whole church lived in the pastor’s apartment, only leaving when a rocket hit the rooms next door. Thankfully, no one was hurt.


Ukrainian forces started retreating from Severodonetsk in early June. But it was a trap. As Russian forces advanced, Ukraine counter-attacked hard. Heavy fighting continues over the city. Finally, the Church of the Transfiguration decided to leave the city.

Some of them went to Kharkiv, others to France. They all continue to serve. Foley says, “They’re working in prison ministry. They’re working in drug rehab ministry even amidst the war.”

They want to return as soon as possible. Ask God to strengthen them to serve where they are.



The header photo shows members of the Church of the Transfiguration preparing meals for their neighbors in front of a wrecked apartment building. (Photo courtesy of the Voice of the Martyrs Korea)

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