Ukrainian-American Community of NY Metropolitan Area Remembers Victims
of Genocidal Famine in Ukraine of 1932-1933
The 2017 Annual National Holodomor Commemoration took place on the eve of the 85th anniversary of this human tragedy at St. Patrick Cathedral, New York City on 18 November 2017 with 2,000 people participating. The day began in Ukrainian Village on the lower southeast Manhattan as about 1500 people stepped off in an awareness march from 7thStreet and Third Avenue and walked about 3.5 miles to 51stStreet and Fifth Avenue to St. Patrick Cathedral.
The procession up Third Avenue was 2-3 blocks long and there were an abundance of placards describing what the march was all about and young Ukrainian students walking along the sidewalks passing out pamphlets explaining to those who observed the march that the Holodomor was an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation and her people. It was perpetrated by Josef Stalin and his henchmen in the fall of 1932 and the spring of 1933 and murdered seven to ten million innocent people – solely because Stalin though he was losing his grip on Ukraine and he needed to bring the nation back into line with the Soviet mindset. This march takes place on every fifth anniversary of the Holodomor and was led this year by His Eminence Metropolitan Antony of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church and His Grace Bishop Paul of the Stamford Eparchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
The climax of the march was the Memorial Service conducted in St. Patrick Cathedral with the participation of the above mentioned hierarchs together with Metropolitan Stephan and retired Bishop Losten of the Ukrainian Catholic Church as well as His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and clergy from both churches.
Prior to the beginning of the Memorial service, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony addressed several thousand people in attendance stating:
“At present, when our native homeland of Ukraine is enduring perhaps its greatest trials since achieving independence, we Ukrainians in the Diaspora and in Ukraine remember the Holodomor of 1932-33, this most sorrowful and tragic event in our Ukrainian history. Together, we prayerfully honor the memory of millions of innocent people who were martyred by hunger in Ukraine.
Today, much scholarly research have been conducted, and many scientific studies have been completed. They confirm unequivocally the fact that the Famine in Ukraine in 1932-33 was deliberately created by a totalitarian regime whose aim was to deliberately destroy the Ukrainian nation. Only a godless and atheistic government would contemplate the extermination by famine of the Ukrainian people – a time-honored and traditionally agricultural people, who also have been bearers of deep spirituality, culture and traditions. The communist regime attempted to mercilessly decimate the entire population by destroying it without concern for children, the young or the elderly. By creating an artificial famine and, thereby, physically destroying the Ukrainian people, the Bolshevik regime aimed to destroy and eradicate the reviled Ukrainian language, culture and the religious identity of the people. Therefore, the communist government was undoubtedly a godless regime which had built a paradise on earth without God. The Holodomor demonstrated that such an authority, in which there is no room for God, will only shed a sea of blood and build a living hell for millions.
The Holodomor is a wound that will always be a painful scar on the body of our nation. The magnitude of this tragedy is immense. We shall reap its “fruit” for centuries to come. For decades, this totalitarian system has been doing everything in its power to cover up and to erase this tragedy from the cultural memory and history of the Ukrainian nation. Without exaggeration, this famine is a tragedy not only for the Ukrainian people, but for all of humanity.
Today, we need to continue to expend great efforts to convey the truth and the real history of this, our national tragedy, to the furthest corners of the world where this truth may not yet have reached, or where it may have been heard in a distorted form. It is no secret that the forces of evil continue, even now, to try to hide, silence or distort the historical truth about the horrors of the Holodomor in Ukraine in the 20th century.
It is within our power and it is our duty to preserve the memory of the death of the millions of our brothers and sisters. Let this sorrowful day when we remember the terrible tragedy of the past century always be one of personal prayer and remembrance for all of the victims of the Holodomor. On this day of remembrance of the victims of the Holodomor, let us each light a candle for our countrymen who were exterminated. With sincere prayers to the Lord, let us entreat Him to give them rest in His Kingdom of Heaven and forgive them their sins. May He give us His blessing to preserve and support our independent Ukraine which the God-loving Ukrainian people currently are defending and protecting at great cost.”
The Dumka Ukrainian Choir sang the responses for the memorial service as it has for many years. Immediately preceding the Memorial Service, survivors of the Holodomor – just two of them, from Holy Trinity Cathedral on Broome Street in NYC – Alexander and Nadia Savaryn, approached a table before the altar to place candles and Ukrainian children followed with blades of wheat, candles, wreaths and flowers to place at the table – all in memory of the victims of the Holodomor.
Following the requiem service, representatives from the United States government were offered an opportunity to deliver remarks. Among the speakers was Mrs. Tamara Gallo Olexy, previous president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, which along with the National Holodomor Committee and the Churches organizes the event each year. She introduced Senator Charles Shumer who represents the state of New York in the US Senate. The Senator is a regular participant in this commemoration for at least the last ten years and always makes an emotional and stirring condemnation of the genocide and those responsible for it, but calls not only Ukrainians but people of all ethnic backgrounds to join in remembering the victims and aiding in stopping the acts of genocide that still occur in other countries around the world today.
Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA, His Excellency Valeriy Chaly and Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko spoke about the horror of the genocidal Holodomor and made references to the historic event of opening and dedications of the National US National Holodomor Memorial in Washington, DC which took place on November 7, 2015.
Bishop Paul of Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, CT closed the commemoration expressing gratitude to all the hierarchs and clergy, to the speakers, and to all present in the Cathedral and finally to His Excellency Cardinal Dolan who, along with his predecessors for nearly two decades invited the Ukrainian-American community to conduct the commemoration in the Cathedral.
The Dumka Choir, under the direction of maestro Vasyl Hrechynsky chanted solemn responses to a Memorial Panakhyda for the Famine victims. The Memorial event concluded with the singing of “Bozhe Velykyj”.
Ukrainian-Americans of New York Remember Holodomor - 11/19/2017
Photos of Deacon Ivan Tchopko, Subdeacon Yurii Bobko, Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak and Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan