On Wednesday, March 1, the Edmonton Eparchy hosted a “Vigil for Ukraine and Day of Solidarity” at St. Joseph’s College on the University of Alberta campus. This day-long event gave students, staff, and guests the chance to commemorate the first anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, to pray for peace, and to remember those who have died in the conflict. The day began with a molebyn (prayer service) for peace in Ukraine, held in St. Joseph’s chapel and led by Fr. Timothy Chrapko, a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. This was followed by four talks, each related to the struggle for Ukrainian independence.

  • Oleksandr Melnyk gave a talk called Ukraine, Its Neighbours, and Its Adversaries, discussing the history of efforts by the Ukrainian people to establish an independent state.
  • In Writings from the War: Archiving and Disseminating Testimonials of Ukrainians, Dr. Alex Averbuch described archiving testimonials of those affected by the current conflict (see “Writings from the War” at https://uawitness.com/en/).
  • Doctoral student Oleksandra Kushnir spoke about the Soviet policy of renaming Crimean Tatar place names in her lecture Rewriting History by Rewriting Landscapes: Soviet Distortion of Crimean Tatar Toponyms.
  • Yosafat Khaimyk, OSBM, spoke about the role of students in the Revolution of Dignity in his presentation, The 2014 Maidan as a Student Spirit(ual) Protest.

Following the lectures and discussions, a free borshch-and-pyrohy supper was held for students, speakers, and other participants. At the end of supper, three Ukrainian newcomers (each currently studying at the university) gave powerful testimonials about their experiences of the war. At the end of the evening, participants returned to St. Joseph’s chapel for a candlelight panakhyda for victims of the invasion. Bishop David gave an explanation of an icon of the Protection of the Mother of God, commissioned by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, while the singing was led by young adults from different parishes in the Edmonton area.