This year’s 85th Holodomor Commemoration, organised by AUGB (Rochdale) and St. Chad’s Church, began at Rochdale’s Town Hall on Saturday 24th November. Participants included members of the local and neighbouring communities.


AUGB Board member, Bohdan Ratycz, gave a moving opening address, explaining the history of the Holodomor.  The procession then moved from the Town Hall to the Holodomor Memorial in the Memorial Gardens led by the Union Jack and the Ukrainian National flag and followed by the Mayor and Mayoress of Rochdale, members of the clergy, the local Member of Parliament and participants.


AUGB Rochdale Branch Chair Olya Kurtianyk invited Rev. Bohdan Lysykanych of the Ukrainian Catholic Church (UCC) to bless the Memorial.  After a short service, wreaths were laid by  the Mayor of Rochdale Cllr. Mohammed Zaman, the Rt. Hon. Tony Lloyd MP, the Stockport and Rochdale Ukrainian communities respectively.  A minute’s silence was then observed after which the Prayer for Ukraine was sung by all.


The commemoration then continued at Rochdale’s Parish Church of St. Chad’s where the commemoration continued with the procession singing ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’.  Rev. Mark Coleman (Vicar of Rochdale) welcomed everyone to the service and a prayer ‘The Holodomor Collect’ was read. 


Further readings from ‘Requiem to Those Starved to Death’ (words by Dmytro Pavlychko) were read by the Olya Kurtianyk, the Rt. Hon. Tony Lloyd MP, Volodymyr Duchak, Rev. Margaret Smith, Maria Kopczyk and Michael Bidny.  This was followed by the singing of the Ukrainian hymn ‘Vysluhay Boze Blahanya’. 


There followed a bible reading by Rev. Karen Smeeton - Area Dean of Rochdale, after which the Rev. Mark Coleman, Vicar of Rochdale, delivered a sermon on the Holodomor and the reasons why we should not to forget the history about such atrocities.  Stockport’s ‘Mirage’ quartet performed the song ‘Ukraino’.    


Members of the Ukrainian community Natalie Batich, Olya Hladyk, Sonia Bidny and Janice Halstead then read Prayers of Intercession. This was concluded with the singing of the Lord’s Parayer (in Ukrainian) led by Stefan Moroz and the Oldham Singers. 


The programme continued with a Panakhyda (Requiem) Service led by Rev. Bohdan Lysykanych and Rev. Mark Coleman and concluded with the hymn ‘Abide with Me’.


A film about the Holodomor was also shown later.


Taras Melnyk


Photos (top to bottom):


  • Bohdan Ratycz - opening address.
  • Rev. Bohdan Lysykanych blesses the Holodomor Memorial.
  • Ukrainian Flag flying at half mast at Rochdale Town Hall.
  • Rev. Mark Coleman - sermon in St. Chad's Parish church.









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