After the Divine Liturgy, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the memorial service at the Patriarchal Church of Saint Georgios on Saturday, November 28, 2020, which was dedicated to the 87th anniversary of the Holodomor, a man-made famine which is one of the greatest tragedies in the modern history of the country, during which millions of people died of starvation.
Archimandrite Charalampiy Nitchev, who is in charge of the Ukrainian Community, and Consul General of Ukraine in Constantinople Oleksandr Gaman, as well as a limited number of officials of the Consulate and members of the Ukrainian Parish of Constantinople due to the COVID-19 restrictive measures.
In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out that the twentieth century can be considered the most tragic period in human history, which was marked by the two world wars, and by other trials, some of which are known whereas others are less familiar to us or even unknown.
“Among the latter, we must mention the Great Famine in Ukraine (Holodomor) which aimed to exterminate seven to ten million pious Ukrainians by starvation during the most horrific years of the Soviet regime, from 1932 to 1933, and this is what we prayerfully commemorates on this day.
The Ukrainian term ‘Holodomor’ refers to the man-made and intentional famine, the devilish plan of the Stalinist system aimed at a well-planned genocide of a very pious people with the aim of eradicating the Christian faith and the Orthodox Church, while, paradoxically, [at that time] the Ukrainian people had been blessed with an abundant harvest of grain and other goods. And while people were dying of hunger, the Soviet regime was exporting its crops to the world, creating the illusion that Ukraine was a prosperous country.”
As the Ecumenical Patriarch added, today we pray for the rest of the souls of these millions of pious Ukrainians who lost their lives during this tragic period.
Concluding his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out that at the moment when we remembered the Holodomor tragedy with our prayers, the whole world was suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which had so far caused more than one million deaths worldwide. In the face of this ordeal that raises many questions, the Ecumenical Patriarch urged everyone to follow the example of Job of the Old Testament, that is, not to despair and to maintain their faith and hope in the merciful God, Whom we must always trust.