Members of St. Paul Branch 100 of the Royal Canadian Legion served as the Honour Guard at “Heroes of Their Day,” an event that honoured thousands of Ukrainian Canadians who served Canada during the Second World War.
The event was hosted in Edmonton by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF).
Another St. Paul Legion member, Amil Shapka, attended in his capacity as a member of the UCCLF board.
Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox clergy offered prayers for the Second World War soldiers and for Ukrainians currently fighting for their homeland. Retired Canadian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Paul Wynnyk gave a keynote address, and attendees viewed a screening of John Paskevich’s film Canadian War Story.
An icon of the Mother of God watching over servicemen and servicewomen was presented at the event. The icon is the second phase of UCCLF’s Heroes of Their Day project, which has previously installed a commemorative stained-glass window in St. James’s Parish in London, England—the church used by the Ukrainian Canadian Servicemen’s Association during the Second World War.
Kyiv iconographers Oleksandr Klymenko and Sofia Atlantova were selected to create the icons, which will hang in participating churches across Canada to honour the generations of Ukrainian Canadian and Ukrainian servicemen and servicewomen. The wood panels the icons are painted are taken from ammunition crates sourced from battlefields in Ukraine.
The icon will be installed in the cathedrals of both the Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox churches in Canada. To date, it has been received by the cathedrals in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Toronto.
Ken Brodziak, Vern Slonowski, Peter Bednarchuk, and John Yakimec of St. Paul Legion formed the Honour Guard.