Ukrainian Cemetery Near Baltimore Vandalized Day Before Russian Invasion
49 headstones were overturned during the act of vandalism.
BALTIMORE, Md. — Police are investigating vandalism at a Ukrainian Catholic cemetery near Baltimore on Feb. 23 that left 49 headstones overturned.
The incident took place in the early morning hours, the day before Russia invaded Ukraine.
“It’s very unfortunate,” the cemetery administrator, Stephen Humeniuk, told CNA on Monday, Feb. 28.
Humeniuk said that there are several cemeteries in the area, including one right next door. However, St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church Cemetery in Dundalk, Maryland, an unincorporated community in Baltimore County, was the only cemetery vandalized, Humeniuk said.
The cemetery is owned by St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church in Baltimore.
There were no notes, spray paint, nor any other indications of a motive, according to Humeniuk, who said that he’s not sure why his cemetery was singled out.
When asked if he thought the vandalism was related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Humeniuk replied: "I don‘t know. It’s just hard to say. You just have no proof yet.”
The last time there was a problem with vandalism at the cemetery was about 25 years ago, Humeniuk said.
“About 25 years ago some kids came through and knocked over head stones, but they also did other cemeteries in the area,” he said. “This one seems to have been concentrated on just us, no one else.”
The Associated Press reported Monday that Baltimore County police spokeswoman Sgt. Gladys Brown says the department is investigating. Brown couldn’t say whether the vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime, the AP reported.
In a Facebook post, the church announced that Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore visited there Sunday to stand in “solidarity with Ukraine and our Ukrainian Community.”
WJZ reported that Lori told parishioners at the church that day that Russia’s actions in Ukraine are “evil.”
In a Feb. 28 Facebook post, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he visited the church and “stood shoulder to shoulder with members of the Ukrainian community during a special prayer service.” e of Maryland continue to stand in solidarity with the brave, proud people of Ukraine. Slava Ukraini,” he wrote. “Slava Ukraini” is a patriotic Ukrainian phrase that means “glory to Ukraine.”