Ukrainian Orthodox Christians in the United States of America Prayerfully Remembered the Heroes of Kruty
On Sunday, January 29, 2017 – Archbishop-elect Daniel presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, NJ marking two important events in the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Christians.
First and foremost the Church reflected upon the Gospel narrative of Zacchaeus Sunday, thus marking a spiritual entrance into the five weeks leading toward Great and Holy Lent, which in turn shall prepare the faithful of the Church to the Bright Feast of Pascha – Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
However, the entire community, being at the very heart of the historic spiritual center of the UOC of the USA, marked a sad event of Ukrainian history - the ultimate sacrifice of young students in the service of the Ancestral Homeland Ukraine.
On 22nd January 1918, the Ukrainian Central Rada proclaimed an independent Ukraine, under the name of the Ukrainian National Republic. This Act would give the indigenous population the freedom and equal rights they had been denied for centuries whilst under occupational and Soviet rule.
On 29th January 1918, only seven days after the declaration of independence, almost 400 Ukrainian university students chose to block the route of the Bolsheviks into the city of Kyiv, by positioning themselves at the railway station at Kruty. The young scholars, with no military training and limited weapons at their disposal, were physically no match for the Bolshevik army, and nearly all 400 men died in battle.
Reflecting upon the ultimate sacrifice of Kruty students, Vladyka Daniel made references to the historic struggle of Ukrainian people for their independence, yet linking his reflection to the ongoing historic battles and present wars that are being fought in the ancestral homeland Ukraine – ensuring that the God-given rights of freedom and political, economic and religious unity are preserved and passed to the next generation of Ukrainians throughout the world.
Holding the lit candles and chanting the solemn Memorial Service, Vladyka Daniel, clergy and faithful of the Church prayer for the heroes of Kruty, the fallen men and women of the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine as well as those who sacrificed their lives in the service of the United States of America.