Religious Symbols

Religious family that escaped the USSR
Religious family that escaped the USSR

During the rise of the Soviet Union my family members were highly religious Christians who were partially denied the freedom to practice their religion. Although Jews were the ones specifically targeted by the communistic regime, some Christians were also harassed by the government. Unfortunately, my grandparents were unable to leave the USSR because of strict control by the undercover police who made sure nothing was abnormal; however, my parents managed to escape shortly prior to the collapse of the regime. The picture above is just some of the religious images that my parents took with them to the United States. Although my mother is not overly religious because of the past, my father is an exception. My father prays four times a day: first in the morning, at work, when he leaves work, and when he goes to sleep. Immigrating to the United States allowed my parents to experience religious freedom. Moreover, after we were financially established, we brought over my grandparents, thus uniting the family. Personally, I identify as a Christian because I was baptized in Church, but I do not go to Church every week like most members in my family. I respect that religious freedom is one of the reasons why my family wanted to emigrate out of the USSR, but I try not to focus too much on the past. To make it clear: I am not an atheist, but I don't allow my religion to consume my life. Even though I was born in Ukraine, I moved to the United States when I was only 2-years-old. 

Year: 1991

– Anton Khrystenko

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child