NP-UN Western Bureau.
Members of Edmonton’s Ukrainian community celebrated the Feast of the Protection (Pokrova) of the Mother of God at the Ukrainian Youth Unity Centre, October 3.
In Ukraine this is both a religious, national, and family holiday It dates back to the time of the Zaporizhian Kozaks who began each of their campaigns with a prayer to the Virgin Mary.
This devotion to the Holy Mother was carried on by fighters for the freedom of Ukraine right to the present day. In 2014 “Defenders of Ukraine Day” was added to the title.
In his opening prayer and address, Rev. Serhiy Harahuc, Chaplain of the Ukrainian Youth Organization (CYM) stressed the importance of prayer in the face of the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.
With God’s help we can achieve victory which is essential because “Ukraine is in the vanguard of the fight for a civilized world.”
He closed with a plea to “live by that beautiful slogan (of CYM) ‘God and Ukraine’.”
Special guest Solomiia Farion, the former head of Nationalist Congress of Youth in Ukraine who noted that many members of Ukrainian youth organizations have joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces constituting between one third and two third of the volunteers. She recalled that many people in the West assumed Ukraine would fall in three days “but the Ukrainian society, and the Ukrainian army showed that we are prepared to fight.”
Farion also stated that there has been a transformation of Ukrainian society, with many people changing over from speaking Russian to Ukrainian and displaying a great interest in Ukrainian in songs and Ukrainian history. She thanked the Canadian community for all the critical support for Ukraine and for keeping the Ukrainian cause alive throughout the years. In doing so, members of the diaspora became “apostles to the whole world”.
“I call upon you to continue this work,” she added, passing on thanks from frontline soldiers who signed special flags that she presented.
Musical numbers were performed by both the Verkhovyna Choir, conducted by Namisha Greening, and the CYM Choir, directed by Olia Harabara.
CYM counsellor Solomia Myc recited an ode to the Ukrainian soldier written by 11-year-old Yulia Boshchenko from the village of Kryzhanivka in Ukraine.
Lukian Podilsky and Vera Kuzka served as Masters of Ceremony.