Rainstorms, flooding and mudslides caused extensive damage to San Diego’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Monday January 22. The entire yard, parking lot, sanctuary, residence and church hall are covered in mud and rocks. Two days after the storm it is still impossible to enter the parking lot.
The church hall was being used by House of Ukraine as a warehouse/depot for humanitarian aid to Ukraine and boxes had been ready for shipment at the end of January. Everything is drenched and muddy. Many items will need to be discarded, others cleaned. All boxes will be need to be repacked.
The Parish priest Fr. Myron Mykhaylyuk and Mrs. Mykhaylyuk stood in knee deep fast moving water for 45 minutes, hanging on to the fence, before they were rescued. Their residence was the first to feel the force of storm as rocks started hitting the side of the apartment and water started gushing in. All of their worldly possessions are covered in mud and soot.
The Sanctuary, hall and residence will need professional remediation, carpets and floors torn up, walls dried. Volunteers are already working with shovels removing foot high mud that is surrounding all of the buildings.
St. Mary’s has been a place for Ukrainian Orthodox to worship since 1960 and a place for the Ukrainian community of San Diego to gather. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 it has welcomed and assisted many Ukrainian refugees, many of whom are now regular parishioners.
While the church is currently getting estimates for removing the debris, rocks and mud and drying out the buildings, even with volunteer labor the costs will be over $100,000 if not double that amount. All donations are much appreciated.