St Savvas 144 1

Memorial service for the victims of the Holodomor famine in Sydney by the Archbishop of Australia

St Savvas 144 1

On Sunday 26 November 2023, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia visited the Ukrainian Orthodox Parish-Community of Saint Savvas the New of Kalymnos, in the suburb of Banksia in Sydney.

His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia liturgised, being joined by the Parish Priest, Father Sava Pizanias and Father Miltiades Chryssavgis and Father Edward Waters. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a Memorial Service took place for the repose of the souls of the Victims of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933, on the occasion of the Holodomor Memorial Day, which is commemorated by Ukrainians all around the world on the last weekend of November each year.

During his address, before the large congregation, the Archbishop referred to the tragic events of one of the darkest pages of world history, as he discerned, since the artificial starvation caused by the Soviet regime in Ukraine in the 1930s resulted in the loss of seven million human lives, most of them children. His Eminence expressed his solidarity with the Ukrainian people, praying for the salvation of the souls of the innocent victims and for the prevention of the repetition of similar crimes and atrocities.

His Eminence also did not fail to refer to the fratricidal war raging in the territory of Ukraine after the invasion of Russian troops in February 2022, repeating his condemnation, appealing again for peace and assuring that the Mother Church and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as the Holy Archdiocese of Australia and himself as Archbishop, firmly support and will continue to support the rights of the Ukrainian People.

In Closing, Archbishop Makarios discerned with sorrow that in the depths of the Russian Church the “Theology of War” has infiltrated and been adopted, in complete opposition to the teachings of the Holy Gospel. “I am very afraid that our brothers and sisters, the Russians, have created their own, a parallel Orthodox Church,” he noted and added:

“They have their own Theology, their own Ecclesiology and their own approach and interpretation of the Sacred Canons. We should pray that God enlightens all the clergy, all the Bishops and especially those in senior executive positions, to understand that the Bishop’s primary responsibility is to work for the unity of the Church and not for division”.

Prior to this, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia was welcomed by the Proistamenos of the Parish-Community, Father Sava Pizanias, who, after referring to the sorrowful anniversary of the Holodomor, addressed grateful thanks to the Holy Archdiocese and personally to the Archbishop, for their constant care and support for Ukrainian Orthodoxy Community of Banksia and in general to the expatriate Ukrainians in Australia.

After the end of the Memorial, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia officially opened the outdoor recreation area recently acquired by the Parish – Community of Saint Savvas the New. This was followed by a luncheon, in the adjacent community hall, during which Mr. Peter Deriashnyj, President of the “Ukrainian Free Kozaks” Organisation of Australia, recited a poem about the Genocide of 1932-33, set to music, accompanied by the traditional Ukrainian instrument, the “bandura”.

Ms. Ekaterina Trushkina Rezende, a member of the Russian opposition, also attended the dinner and moved the audience with her short greeting, declared her undivided solidarity with the Ukrainian people, both for the atrocity they suffered 90 years ago, and for the suffering that Russia’s current invasion of their homeland has caused them all. Emphasising that the famine that led to the deaths of millions of innocent Ukrainians was a deliberate act of the Soviet regime, she reminded everyone that the tragic effects were also experienced by other populations beyond the borders of Ukraine, while she pointed out that it is important to highlight the extensive consequences of the Holodomor.

It is noted that the events for the Memorial Day for the victims of the Ukrainian Genocide were honoured with the presence of Mr. Bill Saravinovski, Mayor of the Bayside City Council, who also represented the New South Wales Minister for Multiculturalism, Mr. Steve Kamper, and the former Mayor and current Councillor of Georges River City Council, Mr. Nick Katris.

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