Poster SNL - Ukrainian Chorus performing during cold open
The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York performs 'Prayer for Ukraine' on 'Saturday Night Live.'
Will Heath/NBC

Watch: Ukrainian choir sings 'Prayer for Ukraine' on 'SNL'

Saturday Night Live showcased the healing nature of music Saturday in a powerful tribute to Ukraine. NBC’s long-running sketch-comedy show parked the humor as it opened the program with a candle-lit performance by New York’s Ukrainian Chorus Dumka singing “Prayer for Ukraine,” an 1885 hymn (text by Oleksandr Konysky, music by Mykola Lysenko) that has become the country’s spiritual anthem. As the stunning presentation ended, the camera moved up to reveal the tabletop candles spelling “Kyiv,” the capital of the country, which has been invaded by Russia. Watch now below.

Here is an English translation (by Dmytro Shostak on Wikipedia) of the Ukrainian lyrics to “Prayer for Ukraine”:

Lord, oh the Great and Almighty,
Protect our beloved Ukraine,
Bless her with freedom and light
Of your holy rays.
With learning and knowledge enlighten
Us, your children small,
In love pure and everlasting
Let us, oh Lord, grow.
We pray, oh Lord Almighty,
Protect our beloved Ukraine,
Grant our people and country
All your kindness and grace.
Bless us with freedom, bless us with wisdom,
Guide into kind world,
Bless us, oh Lord, with good fortune
For ever and evermore.

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