BRAMA, Nov 23, 2005, 10:00 am ET|
Annual Ukrainian Genocide Commemoration held at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York
New York, NY. (UCCA) - The annual national observance to commemorate the 72nd Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide was held on Saturday, November 19, 2005 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The program began with a moving introduction by His Eminence Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, where he described the recollections of an elderly Genocide survivor and her guilt of having survived such an atrocity and how necessary it is to inform everyone about the atrocities in Ukraine in 1932-1933. "Not only did her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren," exclaimed His Eminence, "but also her fellow parishioners, her neighbors, her community, all became abundantly aware of not only how precious and holy God-given life is, but also how easily people can be led astray, how easily they can succumb to the demagoguery of one considered to be a "great" leader, how easily the life - in particular the life of those not in favor - can be devalued."
Cardinal Egan of the New York Roman Catholic Archdiocese also paid homage to the victims of the Ukrainian Genocide. He greeted the gathering and informed them that St. Patrick's Cathedral "is welcome to all to commemorate this tragedy of the Ukrainian people." Following the inspiring remarks by Cardinal Egan, His Excellency Basil Losten of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and His Eminence Antony then proceeded to co-celebrate an ecumenical requiem service (panakhyda) for the repose of the souls of the Genocide victims. The Dumka Chorus of New York, under the direction of Vasyl Hrechinsky, sang responses to the sacred service.
Following the requiem prayer, Michael Sawkiw, Jr., President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, provided brief introductory remarks. "It came at a time of no known natural calamity, pestilence, or drought," stated Mr. Sawkiw. "It came at a time of 'supposed' peace between the two world wars…But it also came at a time of subjugation of a tyrannical empire over the freedom-loving Ukrainian nation - a genocide was born." Amb. Valeriy Kuchinsky, Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the United Nations delivered remarks from the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko. In his address to those gathered, the Ukrainian President expressed "special words of gratitude to the American nation, which was the first to recognize the terrible consequences of the Holodomor of 1932-1933. I hope that this tragedy will be recognized also by the entire international community."
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Hennadiy Udovenko also participated in the program and spoke to those gathered at St. Patrick's Cathedral. He mentioned the first anniversary of the "Orange Revolution" and how the Ukrainian nation awoke to become masters of their own fate. Much like President Yushchenko, the Honorable Hennadiy Udovenko cordially thanked "the Ukrainian Diaspora in the United States for their strong position to attract U.S. and worldwide attention to this awful tragedy of the Ukrainian people."
President George Bush also sent greetings to the annual commemorative event. The UCCA President read the greetings in its full text [attached] to the gathering. Following the presidential greeting, Mr. Sawkiw informed those assembled that days earlier, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted a bill authorizing the construction of a monument on federal land in the District of Columbia to the victims of the Ukrainian Genocide, to be constructed by 2008 - the 75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide. He then proceeded to read a few remarks offered by Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, and sponsor of HR562, a bill authorizing the construction of a monument in Washington, DC. "This legislation is important for all of humanity," stated Rep. Levin in his remarks on the House floor. "It is very important to the 1.5 million Ukrainian Americans…it has special meaning to the people of Ukraine who have embarked on a courageous effort to build a free, democratic, open society, and indeed to all of us who value freedom."
Of particular interest were remarks delivered by Mr. Nigel Colley, grandnephew of Gareth Jones, a Western journalist who exposed the true nature of the genocidal famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933. "To the list of the millions of Ukrainian peasants who lost their lives due to Stalin's man-made famine," Mr. Colley stated, "the name of the only Welshman, my great uncle, Gareth Jones should perhaps now be added… Newly discovered evidence at the British Public Records Office points the finger of blame for Gareth's murder in 1935 in the direction of Moscow, quite probably in retribution for his international exposure of the Holodomor… and whose only crime was his dogged pursuit of truth…" Mr. Colley continued to describe episodes of Gareth Jones' travels throughout Ukraine and how he witnessed and documented the Genocide.
Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York, also issued an Executive Proclamation in remembrance of the victims of the Ukrainian Genocide. Excerpts from the text were read by Mr. Sawkiw [full text is attached]. His Excellency Basil Losten concluded the commemorative ceremony by thanking all the participants and expressing his hope that the world shall never forget about the horrors the Ukrainian nation suffered because of who they were. "A Prayer for Ukraine" was sung by the Dumka Chorus to close the program.
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