The last Amen of our Sunday Service softly echoed across the incense filled air of the Cathedral.  The congregation readied themselves to step up to kiss the cross and head home for their Sunday lunch…

Parish priest Fr Yehven Stasiuk came forward from behind the iconostas and began to explain why he and many of the British born congregation had been wearing a little red flower in their lapels. “The flower is a poppy”, he said.  “Today her Majesty the Queen and the people of Britain commemorate the end of the First World War. Today they remember all soldiers who fell in the line of duty and we will also remember them during our Panakhyda dedicated to the fallen of all wars”.

The congregation listened intently as Fr. Yehven told them of Ukrainian born First World War veteran Filip Konowal, who left his homeland for a new life in Canada. He had volunteered for the army and in the First World War fought with exceptional valour on the battlefields of France. For his courage Konowal was awarded the highest decoration of the British Empire, the Victoria Cross. King George V personally awarded the medal to Konowal in London.

Father Yehven also told of more recent losses, that of British born Ukrainian Marine, Michael J Nowak, who was killed in action on the 12 June 1982 during the Falklands War.

The entire congregation joined in prayer for the souls of all soldiers, British and Ukrainian, who had lost their lives in wars, so that we today may enjoy the freedoms that we have.

Volodymyr Muzyczka
Ukrainian Autochephalous Orthodox Cathedral London

Ukrayinska Dumka


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