BOSTON – Ukrainians of Boston marked the annual “Sviato Heroyiv,” a remembrance of all those who gave their lives for Ukraine’s freedom, on Sunday, June 14, with a solemn requiem liturgy followed by a panakhyda and a wreath-laying ceremony at Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church; a formal program in the parish center; and a picnic/barbecue in the parish kitchen that spilled onto the extensive parish grounds.
Although organization of the event was spearheaded by the Boston branch of the Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA), a number of other Boston-area Ukrainian America organizations took part in the ceremonies, including Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church, St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church, local branches of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the Ukrainian American Veterans and Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization, as well as the Sunflower of Peace Foundation, which raises funds for medical kits for Ukrainian troops at the front in eastern Ukraine.
The program drew some 70 participants and was conducted under the verse of the Ukrainian poet Vasyl Symonenko, who was killed at age 29 by the Soviets in 1963 for his patriotic writing, “My people exist! My people will always exist!” It also noted the 150th anniversary of the birth of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky; the 100th anniversary of the World War I battle at Mount Makivka; the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazism; the 65th anniversary of the death of Gen. Roman Shukhevych, the supreme commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA); and the 25th anniversary of the student hunger strike of 1990.
UAYA President Nicholas Zozula acted as master of ceremonies. He opened the program by asking everyone to stand and sing the Ukrainian national anthem and then called everyone’s attention to a slide show, prepared by Maria Fedynyshyn Saxe, that featured various Ukrainian heroes who had given their lives for Ukraine.
Anna Nosal followed with a brief biographical sketch of Metropolitan Sheptytsky and Sophiyka Seneyko recited the poem about him titled “Nash Ukrainsky Moysey” (Our Ukrainian Moses). Brig. Gen. Leonid Kondratiuk then spoke about the battle of Makivka where Ukrainian Sich Riflemen defeated Russian imperial troops, marking the first time that organized Ukrainian troops had faced the Russians since the 17th century. A small UAYA chorus then sang “Hey na Hori, na Makivtsi” (On Mount Makivtsi).
Olya Baryski talked about the red poppy as a symbol of the sacrifices of World War II, and Anna Nosal followed with remarks about the death of UPA Supreme Commander Shukhevych. Lyubov Gentyk and Stephania Zarytska represented UCCA Boston and sang two songs. Markian Kolinsky wound up the segment by discussing the October 1990 student strike in Kyiv that eventually brought down the government.
They were followed by Kateryna Malakhova from the Sunflower of Peace Foundation; the Very Rev. Roman Tarnavsky, pastor of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church; the Very Rev. Dr. Yaroslav Nalysnyk, pastor of Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church; Orest Hrabovych, president of the Boston branch of Plast; and Vsevolod Petriv, UCCA Boston president.
Olya Baryski then gave a short resume emphasizing that Sviato Heroyiv is for all times honoring all who gave their lives for the idea of a Ukrainian state; for those who are paying the price today; and for those who will give their all in the future, guaranteeing the survival and continued existence of Ukraine.
The celebration was concluded with everyone standing and singing “Sto Biytsiv: Pisnia dlia Ukrainskoyi Armiyi” (100 Fighters: A Song for the Ukrainian Army). The song is set to the music of the Vietnam era “Ballad of the Green Berets” by U.S. Army Special Forces Sgt. Barry Sadler.