On February 20 Ukrainians all over the world pause to mark the Day of Commemoration of the Heavenly Hundred.
In November 2013, the people of Ukraine rose up in protest against the authoritarian, corrupt regime of former president Viktor Yanukovych.
On Kyiv’s Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti), and city squares throughout the country the Ukrainian people made of their government a simple demand – to be treated with dignity. They demanded democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. The Revolution of Dignity saw millions of citizens from all corners of the country take to the streets in defence of their rights. The Yanukovych regime responded with violence, declaring war against its own people.
Increasing state violence culminated on February 18-20, 2014, when the regime’s snipers opened fire against the demonstrators on the Maidan. Over 100 people – the Heavenly Hundred – were murdered on the Maidan defending the Ukrainian peoples’ unalienable right to justice and liberty. Today, we honour their memory. The supreme sacrifice paid by the Heavenly Hundred will never be forgotten. The brave patriots of the Maidan and city squares throughout Ukraine stand as an eternal example to us all of unity, determination and courage.
Today, three years after the triumph of the Revolution of Dignity, the people of Ukraine are forced to defend their country against an external aggressor. Russia occupies sovereign Ukrainian territory in the Crimea and wages ruthless war against Ukraine in the eastern oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Today, as we honour the memory of the Heavenly Hundred, we pause to pay tribute to the thousands of Ukrainians who have fallen or been wounded as a result of Russia’s invasion. We know that with God’s help, they will be victorious. We remain secure in the knowledge that in the end, good always triumphs over evil, and freedom always defeats tyranny. And we pray that Peace soon returns to Ukraine.