"The whole city seems filled with Mormons," said a Latter-day Saint man from Finland, joined by a woman from Romania, as they made their way on the underground metro to visit Pechersk Lavra, the Kiev Monastery of the Caves.
The throngs have amassed this weekend for Sunday's dedication of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' first temple built inside the former Soviet Union.
Besides buying Ukrainian pysanky eggs and Russian matryoshka nesting dolls at the stands along the cobblestone street beside St. Andrew's Cathedral, the LDS visitors have gravitated to sites of church interest, such as the grounds of the new temple or the park overlooking the Dnieper River that hosts the towering monument of Prince Vladimir, who brought Christianity to the region in the late 10th century.
It was in this area where then-Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve pronounced an apostolic blessing on the new nation on Sept. 11, 1991, just two days after the Ukrainian government had given full recognition to the LDS Church.
And less than 20 years later, an LDS temple is being dedicated in Ukraine.