If anyone is still in favor of the West arming Ukraine, please sit down and read further. As the title says, her name was Kristina. I don’t know the name of her child that she is seen still clutching in the photos. (Update: I’ve since learned her baby was Kira) They both died together on Sunday, 27 July, 2014 in Gorlovka (Horlivka), Ukraine. Gorlovka is located in the Donetsk region, a Russian speaking area of eastern Ukraine. From the nature of her wounds, it appears they were killed by a shrapnel burst from an artillery shell fired into a residential neighborhood. The Ukrainian army presently has Gorlovka surrounded, and is firing indiscriminately into the city. For anyone wanting to pray so that God may remember Kristina and her child, 29 July is their 3rd day, 4 August is their 9th day, and 4 September is their 40th day.
UPDATE: I have removed the photos of Kristina and Kira which have been circulating on the Internet showing them at the scene of their death. For the reason why, you may click on this link to find an updated entry: A few more words about Kristina and Kira.
I received a private e-mail asking me to explain the significance of the 3rd, 9th, and 40th days. While many Protestant groups in the West believe that the soul sleeps or even dies until final judgment, in Orthodox Christianity some believe that there are two judgments. The numbers 3, 9, and 40 have particular significance in Christianity. Christ rose from the dead after three days. Many Orthodox believe that a soul dwells on Earth for three days after its transition, where it may visit places and people to which it had a connection. The 9th day is important, because that is when the journey begins. There are nine classes of angels, and it is the angels who conduct a soul into the hereafter and protect it from demons on its journey. From the 9th to the 40th day the soul is shown the torments of hell. The 40th day is the most important because Orthodox theology holds that a soul undergoes its first or particular judgment on this day which decides where the soul will dwell until the final or dread judgment at the end of time. Ukraine is an Orthodox country, and has a very strong historical connection to Orthodox Christianity. While I don’t know if Kristina herself was a believer, it is appropriate to remember her and her child this way. To paraphrase something once written by St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco, Kristina and the child may be gone, but they are still in desperate need of our assistance. +++