Praying for peace in Ukraine, Pope Francis remembered both the victims of Russia’s current aggression and the millions of victims of a Soviet-engineered famine 90 years ago.
“Let us pray for peace in the world and an end to all conflicts, with a special thought for the terrible suffering of the dear and tormented Ukrainian people,” the pope said on 23rd November at the end of his weekly general audience.
Speaking of Ukraine, he said: “Next Saturday (26th November) is the anniversary of the terrible genocide of Holodomor, the extermination by starvation artificially caused by (Josef) Stalin in Ukraine in 1932-33. Let us pray for the victims of this genocide and pray for so many Ukrainians-children, women and the elderly, babies-who suffer the martyrdom of aggression today,” the pope said.
Ukrainians mark Holodomor Memorial Day on 26th November, especially with prayer services remembering the dead. Ukraine has long been a major producer of grain.
Stalin’s orders to collectivise farms in Ukraine and confiscate most of the grain led to the famine, which Ukrainians and many others believe was a deliberate attempt to destroy Ukrainian national identity after the formation of the Soviet Union.
Picture: Pope Francis, speaking at his weekly general audience on 23rd November, prayed for peace in Ukraine and remembered the millions of Ukrainian victims of the 1932-33 Holodomor, a Soviet-engineered famine. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)