TUCA Marks 75th Anniversary of Holodomor

On November 3, 2007, the TUCA commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the Holodomor. The commemoration took place in the Virginia Beach Central Library. The memorial program was very well attended by over 50 Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians from the local area, and from as far away as Richmond.

The program opened with a Requiem Service, or Panakhyda, by Rev. Taras Lonchyna from the Holy Trinity Particular Ukrainian Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, in honor of the men, women and children who lost their lives during the famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine.

Nadia Hoots, the TUCA president, gave a brief history of the Holodomor and introduced the special guest speaker, Rostyslav Wasylenko from New Jersey, who lived through the famine. Mr. Wasylenko, 87, was born in Kyiv, where he completed his studies at the renowned Kyiv Ivan Franko Theatrical Studio. In 2002 he received the title "Honored Artist of Ukraine" by then Ukrainian President Kuchma. He is also the author of the book "A Life With and Without Makeup". Mr. Wasylenko gave an insightful and passionate speech about the events of the Holodomor, and his own experiences.

The ceremony ended with the lighting of black candles and a moment of silence in memory of those who perished in the famine, followed by a stirring rendition of the Ukrainian National Anthem.

Following the ceremony the participants were able to view a display of art work by local Ukrainian artist and TUCA Cultural Director Elaine Hampton, featuring her unique "Madonnas" icons, presented in honor of the lost lives of the Holodomor.

A reporter from the local Virginia Pilot newspaper was also on-hand to interview Mr. Wasylenko and several of the attendees at the service, for an article about the event which went to press on Nov. 15.