On May 31, the Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, the faithful gathered at St. Vladimir Cemetery in Jackson, NJ for a panihida at St. John the Baptist Chapel to commemorate the victims of Lienz. Archpriest Serge Lukianov (chaplain of the Kuban Cossack Voisko Abroad), led the panihida, co-served by Archpriest Boris Slootsky, Priest George Kaplanov, and Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (clerics of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ).
On June 1, 1945, at the conclusion of the Second World War, over 20,000 Cossacks were rounded up by the British Army near the town of Lienz, Austria, and handed over for deportation to the Soviet Union. This action was in accordance with agreements at the Yalta and Tehran Conferences of the Allied Powers, which determined that all Soviet refuges and prisoners of war be repatriated if found within other Allied-controlled zones. As many of the Cossacks at Lienz were White émigrés and their children, they refused repatriation on account of the fact that they had never been Soviet citizens. This led to an organized forcible removal, which began while the Cossacks had gathered to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in an open field. The resulting operation left hundreds of Cossack men, women, and children dead, while hundreds more were sent to certain death in the Soviet camps. By tradition, the Kuban Cossack Voisko Abroad commemorates the victims of this tragedy every year on the nearest Sunday to June 1, and St. John the Baptist Chapel – built in honor of the Holy Passion-Bearer Tsarevich Alexis, Most August Ataman of All Cossack Hosts – likewise commemorates those fallen at Lienz.
Jackson, NJ: Clergy & Faithful commemorate Victims of Lienz Massacre - 05/31/20