A priest stands between protesters and security forces at a rally in Kiev.
The freedom from fear could be seen in the eyes of the young men in ski helmets holding wooden shields who ran into a shower of snipers’ bullets this past 20 February. More than a thousand were injured and a hundred killed. These martyrs — publicly acclaimed as the “Heavenly Hundred” — are a moving symbol of the shift from fear to dignity in today’s Ukraine and how a manifestation of the human spirit ultimately became a revolution of democratic principles.
any things remain unforgettable from those early days in the Maidan: the regular ecumenical prayer services; the tented chapel; the order and organization of the square; the radiant faces of committed volunteers and activists; the wellcoordinated distribution of medical care, food and clothing and the psychological services; the disciplined self-defense security personnel; and the creative programs of music, theater and
poetry. The “University of the Maidan,” as observers coined those days on the square, even accumulated a library of 2,500 books. Yet, the most moving images remain of those demonstrators at prayer and of the protestors that gave their lives for the freedom and dignity of all Ukrainians. I remember visiting eight young protesters in the ophthalmological unit of a Kiev hospital. In January and February, many on the Maidan lost their eyesight; the riot police
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF CNEWA
The official publication of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA)