HILLSBOROUGH: Ukrainians salute ‘Heaven’s Hundred’ heroes

Requiem service at Hillsborough-Manville area church

By Eugene Brenycz, Special Writer
   On Thursday evening, March 13, parishioners of St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on Brooks Boulevard in Hillsborough gathered with members of the local community for a Panachyda (requiem service) to remember and honor the “Heaven’s Hundred,” those who have given their lives since December for a free and independent Ukraine.
   In the last several weeks, months-long uprising in the Ukraine resulted in driving out Prime Minister Viktor Viktor Yanukovych. In response Russian troops entered the Crimean peninsula, leading to a diplomatic scenario in which Crimea will be annexed to Russia.
   Father Orest Kunderevych, pastor of St. Michael’s, offered the Panachyda in front of 80 attendees. Prayers were said for the deceased. The service ended with the traditional singing of “Eternal Memory” (“Vichnaya Pamyat”) and a prayer for peace in Ukraine, distributed by the Philadelphia Archeparchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, of which St. Michael’s is part.
   The church hall was decorated for the commemoration service by parishioners Nadia Gakalo and Maria Wowk. A cross of 106 candles, one for each of the victims, was set before the stage.
   Women and children from the parish family stood side by side with candles, a rose and photographs of the victims of violence.
   The remembrance program began with the playing of “Hey Plyve Kacha,” a traditional Ukrainian folk song adopted on the Maidan (Independence Square in Kiev) as a salute to the fallen heroes.
   Parishioner Eugene Brenycz made a statement in both English and Ukrainian, saluting those who sacrificed their lives in defense of others and Ukraine’s freedoms.
   He said the Hillsborough parish “will remember their sacrifice in freeing Ukraine from a Russian lackey who ordered their deaths. They stood on the front lines facing Russian snipers, in order to keep fires burning, so that the smoke would protect others on the Maidan from the snipers. They gave their lives to protect others.”
   Mr. Brenycz said two weeks ago that news and pictures of the service will reach the Ukraine and let them know that people here are thinking of them. “They know the world is watching,” he said March 4.
      Joining him in reading the names of Heaven’s Hundred were parishioners Ihor Shymkiv, Yuri Wowk, Mary Makar and Ewhen Brenycz.
   The attendees saluted Ukraine’s fallen heroes with chants of “Heroes Never Die!” The program concluded with the attendees singing the Ukrainian national anthem.