Light a candle

November 24, 2013

More than seven million Ukrainians died in the artificial, manmade famine between 1932 and 1933, which Canada recognizes as a genocide. In 2008, the federal government proclaimed the fourth Saturday in November as National Holodomor Memorial Day. For the past 30 years the commemorative services have been held in Winnipeg.

Ukrainians in Winnipeg gathered at city hall on Saturday November 23, for a service in front of the Holodomor Monument. Members of the federal, provincial and municipal governments joined the memorial service at the city hall. They gathered to commemorate the 80th anniversary of one of the darkest periods in Ukrainian history.

The services started with a Panahyda, a Memorial Service and the lighting of the memorial candles. His Grace Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, OSBM of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg and His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij Kalistchuk, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, together with the clergy and the people prayed for the victims of the Holodomor.

“It is a historical fact that the Holodomor occurred. It was deliberate and was designed to destroy the nation,” said Oksana Bondarchuk, president of the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress in Manitoba. It’s estimated that one-third of the Holodomor victims were children. It was not a famine caused by natural disasters, a crop shortage or drought. It was an artificially engineered famine, a cheap tool for killing people.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg is including the Holodomor as one of five genocides represented in their interactive exhibits.

MP James Bezan said that it was the biggest genocide the world has witnessed in such a short period of time – 15 months, when one third of the population was starved to death.

“It’s still hard to talk about. I witnessed all that…especially that there was no hunger in Russia,” said Mrs. Kushliak, who survived because her mother was able to cross the border into Russia, exchanging clothes for food. “Nobody cared, people were dying on the streets...and nobody paid any attention,” Mrs. Kushliak continued with tears.

Let all of us light a candle in memory of the victims of that horrific event, and recall the memory of our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, children of all ages – victims of the manmade genocide by the inhumane government of the USSR. Our candles join with our prayers for so many that died without a priest, without a funeral service, without a prayer. By the lighting our candles, we ask that each one of them may be in God’s everlasting memory.

            Вічная намять.

Used material: Ukrainians remember the Holodomor 80 years later, by Daniella Ponticelli, Winnipeg Sun.

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