This Monday, Manor College held a community memorial and prayer service in memory of those killed during the Holodomor. What was the Holodomor? From 1932-1933, Ukrainians were subjected to a man-made famine that killed millions of people. Joseph Stalin wanted to punish Ukrainian farmers for resisting Soviet collectivization. Despite being known as the “bread basket” of Europe, Ukrainians received little of the goods they produced during this time. The Soviet Union’s decision to continue to mass export grain out of the country as people began to starve triggered a famine, with thousands of people dying from starvation each day. This event is now recognized as an act of genocide.
During the remembrance, guests, students, staff and faculty participated in a symbolic act of bell tolling and spooning wheat grains person by person into a large bowl. Manor’s Student Chaplains assisted.
President Jon Peri spoke on his recent efforts to have the Holodomor added to the Pennsylvania educational curriculum, and trustee Eugene Luciw read from the PA State House of Representatives Resolution 392, “Victims of Communism Memorial Day.”
Finally, Father Ciurpita blessed and broke bread that was distributed to the crowd, bringing the event full circle. “There is the tradition in certain regions of Ukraine to have three breads present at a funeral, at the end of which are blessed. One is given to the priest, the second is given to the poor and the third is divided up and eaten by those present,” explained Ciurpita.
Manor College strives to foster appreciation for its Ukrainian heritage and culture. The College was established in 1947 by the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, Jesus Lover of Humanity Province, a Byzantine Ukrainian order of the Eastern rite. Manor College wants to reverently acknowledge those who were affected by the Holodomor.