A bus filled with Latter-day Saints from Odessa, Ukraine, pulled into the parking lot on the grounds of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 21, the last day of the temple's open house.
The six-hour or so ride from Odessa to Kyiv seemed short, said some of the members who had been accustomed to traveling 18 hours to the Freiberg Germany Temple.
"It is impossible to say how I feel to have a temple so close," said Svetiana Anisiforva. "To be closer to the temple makes it seem more real. There is a feeling that the Lord has come closer, now that there is a House of the Lord in Ukraine."
Within an hour, Sister Anisiforva was standing at the doorway to the meetinghouse located on the grounds of the temple, welcoming visitors who had come to tour the temple. As a volunteer host, she smiled happily as she handed all who passed by her a brochure about the temple. Visitors watched video presentations about the temple prior to going on the tour. Afterward, member hosts met with visitors in small groups around tables in the cultural hall and answered questions.
Full-time missionaries Sister Anahit Helelyan from Armenia, and Amy Alletto of Parker, Colo., stood for hours by a table with brochures about the Church and its temples. Their faces practically glowed as they spoke of the "wonderful spirit" that had attended the open house and how interested many visitors were to learn about the Church.
"It is a very exciting time," Sister Helelyan said. She and Sister Alletto had only a moment to reply to Church News questions because visitors had begun to crowd around their table.
The open house began Aug. 7. During part of the time, Kyiv was gripped by record-breaking heat that on some days sent the temperature to 108 degrees F. A couple of days before the open house concluded, the weather cooled to temperatures comfortable enough for visitors to enjoy sitting on benches placed throughout the temple grounds.
The temple is to be dedicated Sunday, Aug. 29. Formal temple work will commence on Monday, Aug. 30.
The Kyiv Ukraine Temple serves members in nine countries — Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.
It will be the Church's 134th temple in operation worldwide and the 11th in Europe. Other European temples of the Church are the Bern Switzerland (dedicated in 1955), London England (1958), Freiberg Germany (1985), Stockholm Sweden (1985), Frankfurt Germany (1987), Preston England (1998), Madrid Spain (1999), The Hague Netherlands (2002), Copenhagen Denmark (2004) and Helsinki Finland (2006). In the October 2008 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced a temple to be built in Rome, Italy.