Written by Simon Greaves, Court Member of the Guild of St Bride
The “new darkness” that fell on the world when Russia invaded Ukraine a month ago was recalled when journalists and colleagues who have been killed or injured covering the war from Ukrainian cities were remembered at a special commemorative service at St Bride’s, the journalists’ church.
Former BBC war correspondent Caroline Wyatt spoke of the sweep of international history in which the post-Second World War years of relative peace had in fact been exceptional. The world usually lived in a state of serious war somewhere on the globe, she reminded the congregation. But, she added, “breaking silence” about state incursions and invasions and telling the stark truth about what was happening on the ground as it happened was a role that had never been so important in the face of misinformation and propaganda.
A Ukrainian journalist was among the latest to be killed this week. Oleksandra ‘Sasha’ Kuvshynova, 24, and news cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, 55, were killed when their vehicle came under fire in a suburb of Kyiv while working for Fox News. A Russian journalist lost her life this week during shelling by Russian forces in Kyiv. Oksana Baulina had been reporting from the Ukrainian capital and the western city of Lviv for investigative website The Insider. At least five journalists are believed to have been killed in the war and more than 30 injured.
The service was arranged to remember and support reporters, producers, photographers, camera and sound crew, interpreters and fixers covering the month-long conflict.
The Rector of St Bride’s, The Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce, said: “Our ministry to journalism is one of the most important and distinctive aspects of our life at St Bride’s. Each autumn we remember and support all those whose mission it is to bring us the news at our journalists’ commemorative service.
“It seems appropriate at this time to hold a special service for all those involved in reporting the conflict in Ukraine, both those under fire in the country and those further afield who are attempting to bring us the news.”
As well as Wyatt’s reflections the congregation heard readings by Patrick Kidd, diary editor of The Times, and Timothy Worledge, editorial director of Fastmarkets Agriculture. The service also featured St Bride’s Choir’s outstanding singing of a movement from Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, performed in Polish, as well as three movements from Bach’s Cello Suites works performed by celebrated cellist Raphael Wallfisch.
Proceeds from the retiring collection went going to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
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