One Year Commemoration for John J. Verigin
Several hundred people gathered at the Brilliant Cultural Centre on Sunday, October 25, 2009 to observe one year since the passing of USCC Honourary Chairman, John J. Verigin, who died October 26, 2008. The commemoration was held jointly with the observance of 85 years since the passing of an earlier Doukhobor leader, Peter V. Verigin – Lordly, who was tragically killed on October 29, 1924.
At 10:00 A.M. the family and relatives and others who wished to do so, made the trek up to the Verigin Memorial Park, final resting place of the two Verigins being commemorated, as well as other Doukhobor leaders and their family members. They carried out a brief service at the Park, while the majority stayed at the Centre and participated in a traditional hour-long Doukhobor prayer service (Moleniye).
At 11:00 A.M. the two groups recongregated at the Centre and commenced a two-hour commemorative programme, which included traditional congregational singing, as well as performances by the USCC Sunday Meetings for Children and the USCC Union of Youth. The moleniye and two hour programme were ably chaired by Andrew Ivin, who also spoke on the topic of the day. Other speakers included Mike W. Kanigan, Chairman of the USCC Executive Committee, Fred Makortoff, B.C. Coordinator for the Council of Doukhobors in Canada, and Dorothy Popoff and Vera Kanigan, who spoke on behalf of USCC women. Laura Verigin and her two younger children, Barry and Nina, expressed their sincere gratitude to the people for their support and prayers during their time of hardship in the loss of their husband and father. Barry read out a poem composed in memory of their father by his sister Nina.
Featured speaker was John J. Verigin Jr., USCC Executive Director, who made a thoughtful bilingual commentary on the significance of this commemorative gathering. He called upon all USCC members, and Doukhobors everywhere, to be inspired by the example of these two great Doukhobors, who had both dedicated themselves to furthering the ideals of peace and justice for all. He referred to his late father’s frequent exhortations to all members of the Doukhobor community to assess who they really were, to look at themselves honestly, and not through “rose-coloured glasses”. Only in this manner, stated the Executive Director, can we get a true assessment of our own status and of what we should perhaps be doing in order to fulfill our calling as Doukhobors. Mr. Verigin also offered the suggestion that it is not necessary to compare oneself to others, or to gauge one’s performance by such comparisons. Each of us has that inner voice of God within us, our conscience as we sometimes call it, which can serve as our best guideline as to what each of us should be doing….
At 1:00 P.M. the assembled congregation descended to the dining area of the Cultural Centre for a delicious pot-luck meal and more singing. The announcement was made that the special Commemorative Book and DVD Set for the late USCC Honourary Chairman, John J. Verigin, was scheduled to be ready by December 10, 2009, with a reminder that the advance sale price for the set was still available until October 31st.
A smaller commemorative gathering also took place at the USCC Community Centre in Grand Forks.