NP-UN Western Bureau.
Led by Bishop Ilarion, Western Eparch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC), ten members of the clergy from both the UOCC and the Edmonton Eparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church concelebrated a memorial service in commemoration of the victims of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine at Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park, May 1.
The commemoration, which is jointly organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Edmonton Branch and the Edmonton Branch of the Ukrainian Self-Reliance League, is normally held on April 26, the anniversary of Chornobyl, but was moved to May 1 this year because April 26 was Good Friday on the Julian Calendar.
When the explosion destroyed nuclear reactor No. 4 at the Chornobyl Nuclear Plant, located 110 kilometres north of Kyiv, Soviet authorities attempted to cover it up.
“The Soviet authorities in Moscow kept the scale of the incident a secret, keeping even the Ukrainian Soviet authorities in the dark. This is another tragic example of the Russian Communist regime putting their political future ahead of the lives of innocent people affected by the tragedy,” said Yarko Broda, Vice President of Edmonton UCC.
Greg Yewchuk, President of Edmonton Self-Reliance said that the World Health Organization determined approximately 5,000 people died as a result of the explosion.
“Continuing observations by this agency are beginning to show many other fatalities which are linked to the world’s worst nuclear power plant disaster. Many residents, approximately over 6.5 million, continue to reside within the contaminated areas in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
“The truth shows that radiation has a lifespan of over hundreds of years, affecting all walks of life not only including human, but also wildlife and vegetation. Though considering the damage this incident has done, new studies are showing that vegetation are experiencing some form of healing from this tragic event,” he said.