By E. Morgan Williams, U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF)
www.ArtUkraine.com 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
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
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
"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."