The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)

Will Include A National Memorial For Famine Victims

By E. Morgan Williams, U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF)  Information Service (ARTUIS)
Washington, D.C., Friday, December 19, 2003

South Bound Brook, New Jersey....The Metropolitan Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA has approved the construction of an Historical and Educational Complex/Museum beginning in the spring of 2004.

The major addition to the current Consistory/Library building at St. Andrew Metropolia Center will include state of the art museum display areas, according to Archbishop Antony, Consistory President.

(Click on image to enlarge it)

The Archbishop stated during a tour of the present facilities on Wednesday, December 17, that prominence will be given to a permanent Famine Memorial commemorating the victims of one of history's worst cases of ethnic genocide--the deliberate starvation of 7 million innocent Ukrainian people in 1932-33. The famine memorial will feature a tree of life, a pool of water and an eternal flame.

"The monument will be erected in loving memory of their precious souls and as a pledge that never again will silence and indifference veil horrors inflicted on the people of God," Archbishop Antony explained.

One of the featured areas in the new complex will be devoted to the genocidal famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine. The site will serve as a national Famine Museum and display an extensive archive of documentation, including oral histories and visual exhibits.

Archbishop Antony said that documenting and remembering what happened in Ukraine in 1932-1933 and the millions of victims of the tragedy is very important. "The famine of 1932-33 was not a natural phenomenon; it was purposely created by Stalin's direct orders to dispossess the lands of the Ukrainian peasant farmer in an attempt to collectivize Soviet agriculture and raise capital to build Soviet industry.

"And if this confiscation of land was not enough, there was also a planned attempt to eliminate all vestiges of Ukrainian nationalism, to silence the strongest and most vocal supporters of some semblance of Ukrainian cultural independence and to disseminate the Ukrainian population, thereby sapping its ability to resist Communist rule."

A large number of artifacts donated to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1961 by Konstantin and Olena Moschenko, natives of Poltava, Ukraine, became the foundation of the present historical archival collection.

Included in the collection were such artifacts as kilims, embroidered towels, icons, manuscripts, drawings of thousands of pysanky completed over 100 years ago, photo albums depicting hundreds of churches destroyed by the Soviets and wooden scale models of famous churches.

The new complex will house the Courtyard Famine Memorial; Patriarch Mstyslav Rotunda Gallery; 1932-33 Famine Exhibit Hall; Michael Werbiany Exhibit Hall; Konstantyn and Olena Moschenko Exhibit Hall; Founders Gallery; Museum Library, Lounge, Reading Area and Pysanka Exhibit; Icon, Cross and Liturgical Vessel Exhibit; Ecclesiastical Vestment and Antimins Exhibit; Rare Book and Document Exhibit; Cultural Treasures Exhibit, and the Visiting Exhibit Hall featuring the Kilim and Fine Art Collections.

The first Memorial Church Museum was located beneath St. Andrew Memorial Church, at the Metropolia Center in South Bound Brook, NJ and was dedicated on September 25, 1966. St. Andrew Memorial Church, consecrated in 1965, is dedicated to the memory of the millions of victims of the 1932-33 genocidal famine.

Archbishop Antony concluded the tour and discussion about the new complex by saying "the dream of His Holiness Patriarch Mstyslav and thousands of the faithful of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be finally realized with the completion of the Historical and Educational Complex/Museum.

"The many treasures that are located here serve as proud testimony of the history and resilience of the Ukrainian nation. Despite the efforts of the Soviet regime to eliminate all vestiges of Ukrainian national identity and Western misunderstanding of the role of Kyivan-Rus and Ukraine in European history, the fall of the Soviet empire has reawakened interest in Ukrainian history and culture."