Freedom Fighters Commemorated in Edmonton

Participants at Edmonton’s Zeleni Sviata commemoration, May 27. Marco Levytsky

NP-UN Western Bureau.

Edmonton’s Ukrainian community commemorated both past and present fighters for Ukraine’s Freedom at the monument specifically dedicated to those freedom fighters at St. Michael’s Cemetery on May 27, Zeleni Sviata (Green Holidays) on the Julian Calendar.

This traditional Ukrainian holiday, which falls on Pentecost, celebrates the coming of Summer, but is also a time to pray for the souls of the deceased.

In the past the Ukrainian community held such ceremonies to honour those who gave their lives for Ukraine in the two world wars and the historic struggles for Ukrainian independence, explained Bishop David Motiuk, Ukrainian Catholic Eparch of Edmonton, following the Panakhyda (Memorial Service) he conducted with members of his clergy.

“But we never imagined that this could be repeated in our lifetime,” he said, speaking in Ukrainian.

However, since the current war in Eastern Ukraine erupted in 2014, over 3,900 freedom fighters have lost their lives, noted the bishop.

“On this day of Zeleni Sviata and the Day of the Holy Trinity, we not only remember the apostles of Christ who bravely began their mission of building Christ’s Church around the world, but we also remember the brave contemporary and historic heroes of the Ukrainian people, for their struggle and sacrifice. Heroes do not die and your presence today bears witness to this,” he told the gathering.