UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Hierarchs of the Church Participate in the Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Ukrainian Poet Taras Shevchenko
It was exactly a month ago, on the International Mother Language Day, February 27, 2014, the United Nations Organization was supposed to honor the 200th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko - the renowned Ukrainian poet, artist and political prisoner, who significantly contributed to the treasury of world culture. However, the tragic political events in Ukraine made it impossible for the Ukrainian-American community to gather in order to observe the anniversary. However, on Thursday, March 27, 2014 some 400 people gathered at the United Nations building to honor the poet of Ukraine.
Representing Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA at the UN event were His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Primate of the UOC of the USA; His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy and President of the Consistory of the UOC of the USA; Very Rev. Volodymyr Muzychka, pastor of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in New York, NY; Rev. Fr. George Bazylevsky and Tamara Parubchenko of United Ukrainian Orthodox Sisterhoods.
The gala celebration Taras Shevchenko: Champion of the Ukrainian Language, Self-Determination of Peoples, Human Rights and Social Justice took place in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber of the United Nations Building in New York.
International Mother Language Day which is held worldwide every February aims at promoting cultural and linguistic diversity. This year, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko, The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) and The World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO) supported by the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, organized a program to bring attention to the importance of the efforts of Taras Shevchenko to defend his mother language, Ukrainian, as well as champion human rights for the Ukrainian people, reads WFUWO website.
The program of the event featured the greetings from the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly John W. Ashe. The list of the participants also included the President of the UWC Eugene Czoliy and the President of the WFUWO Orysia Sushko. Dr. Maxim Tarnawsky of the University of Toronto served as a keynote speaker while Peter Fedynsky hosted the event. Interestingly, Mr. Fedynsky was a former Voice of America correspondent and a translator of Shevchenko’s Kobzar. The event also featured the performance by the Ukrainian Male Chorus of Philadelphia Prometheus, the Dobriansky Brothers, Ludmyla Hrabovsky and bandurist Alla Kutsevych, Shevcheko’s poetry readings, media presentation as well as art and publications exhibit.
Echoing numerous statements of the leaders of the Ukrainian American community, the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA emphasized that this commemoration at the UN enabled the Ukrainian American community, and the greater world community, to further inform the world about the creativity of the great Taras Shevchenko who elevated and suffered for the fundamental values that are at the core of the United Nations.
Dr. Martha Kebalo, WFUWO Main Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), said that “While the reason for the recognition of Mother Language Day is close to our hearts, this is the first year that Ukrainians are the organizers of such an event at the United Nations. [...] This event is an excellent opportunity to place in context the long history of the Ukrainian struggle for democracy and the dignity of the Ukrainian language. It is, after all, Taras Shevchenko who wrote ‘When will we greet our own George Washington at last, with the new law of righteousness?’ His words are very relevant today,” as reported by WFUWO.
In conclusion of the event, expressing his gratitude to those in attendance, the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations – Ambassador Yuriy Serheiev stated: “Just a month ago, a hundred young men lost their lives on the streets of the capital of Ukraine; how ironic it is that on this day – March 27, 2014 – 100 nations recognized the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Maydan had Nebesna Sotnia (Memory Eternal!) – here at the UN, as we celebrate the life of Taras Shevchenko – we have UN 100! Slava Ykraini! – Glory to Ukraine!”