Our day started with breakfast in the hotel. Then we boarded the bus and drove to the Mykhailivskyy Cathedral. It was really interesting. There was lots of gold on the domes and in the interior of the church. No photos were allowed inside, so I decided to buy a book. This is an orthodox church.
Secondly, we toured St. Sophia's. This was built in the 1100's. It had beautiful Fresco paintings on the interior walls. This was impressive as they weren't discovered until some plaster from a more recent time had fallen off making the paintings visible. Light streamed through the windows in the dome area. I wished I could have taken photos - but once again, it wasn't allowed. I also bought a book at this cathedral.
We toured the Golden Gate, one of the original main gates to the city of Kyiv, built in 1100. It was amazing to see something so old.
We are seeing all kinds of clothing on the people here - especially the women. The older women wear dresses and their heads are covered with babushkas (scarves). The younger women were stiletto shoes, short skirts, tight pants, etc. What a contrast.
At 1:00 we went to the Kyiv Central Baptist Church for a delicious lunch. We were served borscht, salad (lettuce, radishes, vinegar dressing), rice, pork and gravy, bread, a hot raspberry/cranberry drink, cookies and small cream puffs. We sang The Doxology before sitting down to eat. There were 2 dining rooms in the basement of the church. 3 nice ladies served our food. The ladies restroom had 6 toilets with ceramic holes in the floor and 2 "western" style.
In the afternoon we had our first rehearsal. The church is lovely - plain compared to the ornate gold we saw earlier in the day. The pastor of the church gave us a welcome, and Steve, our tour guide, interpreted for us. The pastor had a great sense of humor. After listening to our rehearsal, he asked if we could stay to sing a few songs at the evening service. We later learned that they have church services every single evening of the week! It was explained this way: what else do they have to do? Interesting. Steve conferred with Dave and it was decided that we could stay, but would have to sing in our casual clothes as our concert attire was back at the hotel. We were scheduled to sing our concert at this church on day 5.
The church service started at 6:30. There were about 250 - 300 people gathered. It was interesting that each person stood to pray when they got to their seat. One of the four pastors opened the service with prayer. Then Steve told the congregation who we were and explained to them that we were in our travel clothes, but would be returning to sing for them on Thursday.
The first anthem we sang was Alleluia. As soon as we started singing, the audience rose to their feet. It was an emotional time. I had tears rolling down my cheeks and could barely sing. Steve later told us that they stand whenever the word "alleluia" is uttered.