Jayson Casper of Christianity Today writes that the recent flooding in the Ukrainian city of Kherson from the destroyed Kakhovka dam is the latest test of faith for the local Christian community. The city was also the center of Russian occupation forces in the area through much of 2022, and Kherson continues to be the target of attacks.
The Tavriski Christian Institute in Kherson was no exception, as its president Valentin Siniy described how books were stolen and burned by Russian troops. As the seminary lies on the bank of the Dnieper River, its greenhouse was recently flooded by rising water.
Experts estimate that the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam, 44 miles upstream, released an amount of water equal to the Great Salt Lake. A new wave of evacuations is underway in southern Ukraine, with 25,000 people in Russian-controlled areas and 17,000 in Ukrainian-held territory advised to leave.
An estimated 2,000 houses have been flooded, with 16,000 people made homeless. A lack of drinking water, electricity shortages, and floating land mines have contributed to the humanitarian and ecological disaster.
The dam’s reservoir contributed 2,600 tons of fish to the local economy. Wheat prices have spiked, as 94 percent of Kherson’s irrigation system has lost its supply. And 150 tons of machine oil have been carried toward the Black Sea.
But that is just the physical damage.
Tavriski Christian Institute (TCI) in Kherson is a spiritual casualty. Liberated from Russian occupation last November, the seminary’s riverside properties suffered a new blow with the deluge. Early in the war, TCI president Valentin Siniy evacuated west with his wife, two children, and much of the student body. Today he continues education from Ivano-Frankivsk as he oversees relief efforts over 500 miles away.
CT spoke with Siniy about the state of the seminary campus, the emotional impact of the flood, and the rising challenges to faith that have led to newfound spiritual insights