UNF Montreal Holds Annual Easter “Sviachene”

L-R: Producer of Montreal radio program “Trembita”, Stepan Balatsko with UNF-Montreal president Dr. Artem Luhovy at the “Sviachene”. MML Inc.

Zorianna Hrycenko, UNF Montreal.

The Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) Montreal Branch held its annual Easter “Spil’ne Sviachene” with UNF members, their families and guests on Sunday, May 6. Welcome remarks and Easter greetings were delivered by Dr. Artem Luhovy, president of UNF-Montreal. Opening and closing prayers were offered by Father Petro Rudnik. Rev. Rudnik previously served in the Ukrainian Catholic parish in Sydney, Nova Scotia and briefly in Kirkland Lake, Northern Ontario, before settling in Montreal.

Special guest at the “Sviachene” was Ukrainian writer from Kyiv, Markiyan Kamysh. A Ukrainian novelist and the only person representing the Chornobyl underground in literature, he has several books to his credit. He has made more than one hundred expeditions behind the Chornobyl barbed wire over many years, investigating and writing about Chornobyl’s exclusion zone.

Markiyan Kamysh’s father, who worked at the Institute for Nuclear Research, was sent as a liquidator during the Chornobyl nuclear explosion in April 1986 and consequently passed away from radiation effects.

Markian Kamysh was introduced at the “Sviachene” by Rostyslav Nemtsev, chairperson of UNF-Montreal Literary Circle. For several years Mr. Nemtsev and his committee has sought out accomplished writers, both Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian, that have written on various Ukrainian topics, inviting them to UNF-Montreal for book launches and literary evenings open to the public. An evening with the writer was held on April 26 at UNF-Montreal.

This year, “Sviachene” was prepared for UNF by the Ukrainian Womens’ Organization “OYK”. A delightful program of young dancers and talented singers was coordinated by Oksana Gerych, director of the newly-established Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian school in Montreal. UNF-Montreal and other Montreal Ukrainian organizations and parishes continue the annual community Easter tradition that began with the arrival of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada in the 1920’s -1930’s.

UNF Quebec branches, founded in 1936, existed 600 km north of Montreal in Val d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda, where children of Ukrainian pioneers still live.

UNF-Montreal recently helped sponsor the visit to Montreal of Olesia Stasiuk, director of the Holodomor museum in Kyiv, accompanied by Irka Balan, the vice-chair of UCC National Holodomor Awareness Committee. Olesia Stasiuk’s presentation, in commemoration of the 85th anniversary of the Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine, was organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Montreal Branch on May 3.

The “Sviachene” was videotaped by radio producer Stepan Balatsko for the Montreal “Trembita” program. The radio program was established by Stepan Balatsko, the deputy director of Metropolitan Sheptytsky Ukrainian Saturday school in Montreal. For further information regarding upcoming events contact Andriy Hovorun at secretary@unfmontreal.ca.

Members of UNF-Montreal executive include Dr. Artem Luhovy, president, and executive members Evhen Osidacz, Rostyslav Nyemtsev, Adrian Kowryha, Katrusia Smolynec, Petro Zelenko, Andriy Hovorun and Anastasia Kyva.