Panakhyda for the victims of the Russian invasion celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York
On June 11, the Panakhyda for the victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The Archdiocese of New York and the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia jointly organized this ecumenical memorial service. Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan; Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop-Metropolitan of Philadelphia, Borys Gudziak; Coptic Orthodox Bishop for the Diocese of New York and New England, David; Auxiliary Bishop of New York, Edmund Whalen; and Rev Protopresbyter Dr. Nicholas Kazarin, representing His Eminence Elpidophoros, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America prayed for peace and justice in Ukraine and repose of the victims of the Russian invasion together with Christians of different denominations and all people of goodwill.
Cardinal Dolan welcomed those who came to pray in Saint Patrick’s. “This is where God’s people assemble. Sometimes with smiles, sometimes with tears–as it is today, when we remember victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
The memorial service was sung by the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York under the direction of Vasyl Hrechynsky. Representatives of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups, as well as Ukrainian community leaders, united to pray together.
“We have come to accompany in prayer those who have died, both those who have given their lives, and the innocent who have had their lives taken from them,” noted Metropolitan Borys in his address. He added that the prayer is not a prayer of death, it is a prayer of life. “We sing the ‘Eternal Memory.’ Yes, with sorrow for the evil tragedy of the killing but also with great hope and trust”.
He stressed that people who in these days sacrifice their lives in Ukraine teach the rest of the world lessons about eternity. “We face death and loss together because we believe in life, and we have a deep faith in God’s desire for us to live, to live forever. When you do not fear death, when you know God’s grace, when you live under God’s blessing, when you know your dignity, you have started to live forever,” said the Archbishop.
The Ukrainian envoy to the United Nations, Serhiy Kyslytsia, in his brief remarks shared about the highest price Ukrainians are paying for their right to exist. “As we are gathered today, at this very moment, the front line of many hundreds miles of the Russia-Ukraine war remains an area of fierce fighting. They are fighting against a cruel enemy. An enemy that has come to kill, to destroy, to steal, and to humiliate. An enemy that makes no distinction between military and civilians. An enemy that does not consider itself to be bound by any norms or rules,” noted the Ambassador. He mentioned that the number of casualties among Ukrainian servicemen is horrendous. Every day around one hundred Ukrainian soldiers are killed in action and 500 wounded.
“During our short prayer between 10 and 20 people were killed or died of their injuries because of that brutal Russian invasion, and 60 others were maimed,” added Metropolitan Borys. He thanked Cardinal Dolan for his singular leadership and visit to Ukraine, American Catholic charity organizations for their aid to Ukrainians, and American Catholics who according to his rough estimate have contributed 100 million dollars to humanitarian aid to Ukraine. However, the Archbishop and the Ambassador mentioned that the struggle of the Ukrainian people continues, and the hard work is just beginning.