New York Governor at Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral

Posted on March 9, 2022Comments Off on New York Governor at Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral

Governor Hochul Delivers Remarks at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Volodymyr

Earlier today, New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul delivered remarks at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Volodymyr in New York City.

Governor Hochul:  “I literally just hung up on the phone with the ambassador to Poland because I walked into the church doors here today and I said, Mr. Ambassador, we were so proud of how the Polish people have stepped up and embraced their neighbors… We will continue to stand together and tell the people who need a home and tell the people of Poland that we are here to open our doors because the Statue of Liberty is only in one harbor.”

Hochul:  “Our arms are wide open just as she lifts up that torch of freedom, that torch has been lifted here today in 2022 to welcome anyone who needs that.  We will continue to stand with you and find any way we can to show that we are also united in support of democracy and against tyranny, wherever it rears its ugly evil head, as it has with Putin’s attack on Ukraine.”

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks are available below:

Good morning, friends.  I’m so honored to be in your presence here today, in the sight of this beautiful church.  It is significant to note that the beginnings of this hallowed ground were actually a synagogue.  And so, it is right that we joined here with representatives from various members of the clergy, the Orthodox leadership, but also, His Eminence, Cardinal Dolan, and Rabbi Potasnik, to join in a unified voice as we lift up all of people from Ukraine in our hearts.  And when I look out in this room, yes, I hear the words of prayer on your lips.  And those are powerful words, heartfelt words, but I also see tremendous pain in your eyes, just as I saw pain in the eyes of Ukrainians, I visited in Buffalo and Rochester, over the last few days, had a wonderful restaurant, if you went to St. George’s services a few days ago.  So, I have tried to immerse myself in his community in a way like never before, to understand the depth of passion that exists in this community.

But as I hear the prayer and I see the pain, and sense the weeping in your hearts, for the people left behind, I also sense defiance in your souls.  That defiance is not just in churches and in places around our own state, but that defiance encapsulates what is captivated the world as we watch Ukrainians stand up.  Women grabbing weapons and going to the front line.  Some taking their children to safety, but others saying, “I’ll stand with the men and we’ll fight back.” Those are powerful images, and a reminder to all of us, that freedom is not free, it must be fought for, and never taken for granted. And wherever it becomes under assault, freedom-loving nations like ours and those throughout the world must stand in defiance and unity and ostracize those who dare, dare breached the borders of a sovereign nation like Ukraine, because that is exactly what happened with the unprovoked assault by Putin just two weeks ago.

So, what can we do?  Yes, we will pray and we will pray hard because I believe in the power of prayer.  But as you heard from His Eminence, we’re not just saying you’re in our hearts and our prayers and our thoughts.  It’s what are we doing? And that’s why I was very proud to announce that on behalf of 20 million New Yorkers, we not only stand with Ukraine, that we reject any business from our state with Russian interests or the Russian state, because that is part of a global effort to bring that nation to its knees and regret the day they ever attempted to subjugate the great country of Ukraine.

We also have reached our arms out and hope that those who seek comfort and must leave.  I don’t know if it’ll be temporary, but let the refugees come to New York, the home of the largest Ukrainian population in America.  It’s not just New York City, because there are homes and churches and relief services awaiting in every corner of the state, because I’ve made sure that they are ready.  I literally just hung up on the phone with the ambassador to Poland because I walked into the church doors here today and I said, Mr. Ambassador, we were so proud of how the Polish people have stepped up and embraced their neighbors – and if you wonder where the name “Hochul” comes from, both my husband’s grandparents were born in Poland and indeed my husband, as a representative of the United States government 30 years ago, was deployed to the Ukraine to help establish the rule of law that is now under attack.  He went to cities and universities and spoke to police departments to help them understand the power of the rule of law, but also the power of democracy.  He helped establish that.

So this assault is also personal for all of us, and we will continue to stand together and tell the people who need a home and tell the people of Poland that we are here to open our doors because the Statue of Liberty is only in one harbor – except New Jersey thinks it’s in their harbor too, but it is our harbor – and our arms are wide open just as she lifts up that torch of freedom, that torch has been lifted here today in 2022 to welcome anyone who needs that.  We will continue to stand with you and find any way we can to show that we are also united in support of democracy and against tyranny, wherever it rears its ugly evil head, as it has with Putin’s attack on Ukraine.

So, my friends, continue to pray, but if I can relieve any of the pain in your hearts, I wish I could because I am very empathetic and I feel what is going through your minds, but we are here together.  This is a uniting cause for people all over this planet and the proud people of Ukraine and their great President Zelensky, who’s an inspiration to all of us. They give everyone hope.  They give the rest of us hope or the power of individuals supported by the church, the clergy and prayers.  And we will overcome my friends.

Thank you very much.

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