On March 26th, 2022, the monuments of the National Hero of Belarus, USA, and Poland – Andrei Tadeusz Bonaventura Kosciuszko, and the National Hero of Belarus – Kastus (Vincent, Konstantin) Kalinouski, were unveiled in Brooklyn, New York in front of the Saint Cyril’s of Turau Cathedral.
The Belarusian diaspora implemented an Honorary National Project to install Busts of Belarusian Heroes to support the struggle of the Belarusian people against the anti-people terrorist pro-Moscow regime in Belarus. The heroes fought for the independence of Belarus, America, Poland, and Lithuania, with which Belarus had a shared history. Their personalities still unite the peoples of these countries in opposition to the pro-Moscow regime of Lukashenko and the aggressive policy of Russia.
The celebration began with a speech by Zianon Pazniak, Leader of the Conservative Christian Party – BPF (Belarusian Popular Front), Coordinator of the Belarusian National Secretariat “Free Belarus,” and a staunch patriot of Belarus. At the beginning of his speech, Mr. Pazniak declared a minute of silence to honor the heroes dying today in a fight with the Moscow occupiers. At the end of his remarks, Mr. Pazniak said: “So let the bright memory of our heroes lifts our spirits and leads us to victory over Russia’s enemies of humankind, to be forever free Belarus and free Ukraine. Long live Belarus! Glory to Ukraine! ”
Then spoke Aliaksandr Khomchanka, head of the Cathedral of St. Cyril of Turau in Brooklyn, organizer, and coordinator of the project.
Afterward, the white hymns from the monuments were slowly raised and lowered to the singing of the Spiritual Hymn “Mighty God” (recorded by the church choir of the Cathedral in 1957 during the opening of the Belarusian Church). Then the busts were consecrated by Bishop Sviatoslav with the assistance of the clergy.
The event continued in the public hall of the Cathedral. The guests were Americans, Ukrainians, Poles, Lithuanians, and activists of Belarusian organizations from Canada, Chicago, Florida, California, Minnesota, Philadelphia, and other places. In addition, the author of the busts, sculptor Henik Lojka, spoke.
Belarusian-American Association (BAZA) and Parish Council of the Cathedral of St. Cyril of Turau of the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church would like to thank all those who believed in this project, supported it in every possible way, donated funds, and contributed to its implementation!
We thank Zianon Pazniak, the inspirer and initiator of the project.
We are incredibly grateful to Alexander Khomchenko, organizer and coordinator of the project, who was a real locomotive of the project, and his wife Ludmila, without whose help the implementation of the whole project would be in question.
We want to thank the sculptor Henik Lojka, who was tortured in Lukashenka prison for his Belarusian position but managed to escape from the regime and complete his creative work on the project.
We thank our friends who were able to join us at such a solemn and meaningful moment.
We were pleased to welcome Howard Collins, Acting Director of Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation; John Kunstadter, US Deputy Ambassador to Belarus in 2000-2001, author of 5 photo projects dedicated to the Belarusian countryside.
We were especially pleased that representatives of the Ukrainian, Polish and Lithuanian diasporas in New York joined our celebration.
We thank the representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora: Ivanka Zajac, President of the New York Branch of the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America (UCCA), Andriy Dobriansky, Director of Communications of the Ukrainian Congressional Committee, Bartholomew of America, and Valentina Bardakova – Ukrainian diaspora in New York, who, despite the war and defamatory propaganda against the Belarusian people, expressed support for Belarusians held hostage by the dictatorial regime. Furthermore, Ms. Ivanka Zayats expressed gratitude to the Belarusians who joined the battalion of Kastus Kalinouski and fought in Ukraine against the Russian occupation.
We thank Polish Diaspora members Stephen Olejasz, independent security policy analyst, retired U.S. Army officer, founding member, currently executive vice president of the American Association of Friends of Kosciuszko in West Point, and Christopher Grabowski – Head of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency. He also joined the celebration and expressed support for the Belarusian people in the struggle for their freedom and independence of Belarus.
Special thanks to Stephen Olejasz for an exciting story with unique bibliographic facts about the person of Andrei Tadeusz Bonaventura Kosciuszko.
We thank the representatives of the Lithuanian Diaspora in New York, Diana Tamkeviciene and Vitas Tamkevicius. They joined Belarusian Diaspora to express their support for the Belarusian and Ukrainian peoples in their struggle against the Russian occupation.
We were also happy to greet Belarusians from different parts of America with the opportunity to join the celebration or send their greetings. As Alexandre Kot, a Belarusian activist, a member of the Union of Belarusians of Canada, and a member of the Presidium of the BNR Council came from Toronto (Canada) to join the Unveiling of the Busts of Heroes.
We were glad to greet Yuri Belenky, Deputy Chairman of the CCP BPF, Economic Adviser.
Nadezhda Norton, President of the Association of Belarusians of America, joined the congratulations and congratulations from California.
Vitaly Zaika, chair of the Belarusian-American Chase Association, Iryna Khadarenka, and Andruś Asadčy, representatives of the Belarusian Enlightenment League of America, joined the ceremony.
Members of BAZA from Florida joined the celebration: Natalia Bogatishcheva, Sergei and Pauline Chernyak, Alexandra and Andrei Pushkarov.
Ivonka Survilla, Chair of the Council of the Belarusian People’s Republic, and Zhanna Charniauskaya, Chair of the Belarusians of Chicago, also sent their welcoming letters.
Special thanks to the activists of the New York branch of BAZA and all friends who helped in the implementation of the project at any stage: Vadim Vasiliev, Denis Demchenko, Sergei Medvedev, Igor Vyrvich, Anna Surmach, Tatiana Krasovskaya, Natalia Fedorenko, Sergei Kudzek, Sergei Kudel Danilov, Andrei Dundukov, Valery Mints, Uladzimir Karatkevich, Oksana Romaniuk, Mikhail Charopka.