At the Holodomor Museum, the Honours of the Blessed Holy Martyr Omelyan Kovch presented

29 November 2023

On 28 November, the Holodomor Museum hosted the awarding ceremony of the Blessed Sacred Martyr Omelyan Kovch — for the first time since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. The event began with a commemoration of the Holodomor victims near the sculpture “Bitter Memory of Childhood”.

This year’s laureates of the Award: military paramedic Kateryna Polishchuk (“Ptashka”- ‘bird’ in English), military chaplains Fr. Yuriy Logaza, Fr. Serhii Dmitriev, pastor Hennadiy Mohnenko, former imam Said Ismagilov, as well as the entire Polish people in the person of President Andrzej Duda.

Honours were presented to the laureates by the head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, head of the Committee for the Commemoration of the Holy Martyr Omelyan Kovch, Ivan Vasiunyk, and committee members Danylo Lubkivskyi and Fr. Stefan Batruch. For Kateryna (“Ptashka”), her mother,Svitlana Polishchuk, received the award, and for the Polish people – acting Ambassador of Poland to Ukraine, Ms Agnieszka Goralska.

​His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasised that this year’s laureates demonstrated heroic humanity during the war. “We honoured a young girl – “Ptashka”, who is known today by the entire Ukrainian people. We honoured the Polish people — not the state, not the institution, but ordinary people who spontaneously opened their homes to Ukrainians. We honoured military chaplains of different Churches, even of different religions, who, like Father Omelyan Kovch, see God amid the fiery war and guide our soldiers to Him. We are proud that Father Omelyan’s case continues, which means that Ukraine is winning,” the Primate emphasised.

Ukrainian priest Omelyan Kovch from the Kosiv region saved Jews during the Second World War. For this, he was imprisoned in the Majdanek concentration camp, where he continued his pastoral ministry. He died in the camp hospital in February 1944. In 2001, Pope Ivan Paul II, during his visit to Ukraine, proclaimed Father Omelyan Kovch a Blessed Holy Martyr. In 2010, the Award of the Blessed Holy Martyr Omelyan Kovch was founded.

Photo: Oleksandr Savranskyi