Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sviato Pokrova 2012

Today, October 14, is a festive day for Ukrainians everywhere.  Whether you are involved in church life, or a patriot, this is the Day of Ukrainian Cossacks.  Like many things in the Ukrainian life, today has many layers of complexity. 

Today is Pokrova, the day recognizing the act of intercession of the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary, over the people of the Blachernae church in Constantinpole.  According to Eastern Orthodox Sacred Tradition, in the tenth century on this day, St. Andrew the Blessed Fool for Christ, rose for prayers, and at four in the morning, he saw the dome of the Blachernae church open and the Virgin Mary enter, moving in the air above him, surrounded by the Holy Angels and Saints. She knelt and prayed with tears for all the faithful. St. Andrew and his disciple St. Epiphanius saw it, and the people were amazed.

In the same spirit, the Virgin Mary has appeared in various sites in Ukraine, and over the centuries has become the protector of Ukraine. 

Pokrova is also tied to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army UPA and has indeed become a day recognizing the struggle for national liberation.  But complexity its is by-line. 
Of course, history is all dependent upon who writes the words.  As I have recently read in the book Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder, people don't frequently have many choices during war, and during the course of Ukraine's last century (and for many before it seems) the people have been vulnerably between a rock and a hard place.  Difficult to choose options when you have none, and yet somehow the world goes on. 

The Ukrainian political movements of the 1920's and 1930's were fighting foreign and domestic enemies.  The organization mentioned above was formed to protect the people from repression and exploitation by the various "ruling bodies", and drive to the goal of an independent, free and unified state.  Extremely difficult circumstances dictated the acceptance of violence as an acceptable tool.  Hindsight is 20/20, and historians can interpret the strategic errors those in the trenches were too busy to sort out. 

Тарас Петрененко Україна

Warrior heritage of Ukrainian Cossacks
For Ukraine, for its diaspora, for Ukrainians everywhere, on this October 14th, whether you like red borsch, green or white, greetings on this day of Pokrova!  (The photo is from Edmonton's Borsch Fest 2012 - wish I 'd had the chance to attend!

Post a Comment