“Slava Ukraini” – two words which, a month ago, were not known around the world. Since war erupted in Ukraine in February, those words have become known – a cry around the world … by people protesting in public against the war … by sharing images of what is happening in Ukraine on social media … by speeches of international politicians … by ordinary people in daily conversations .. by artists including the words in their paintings, mixed media, tangling, sculpture etc.

What do the words “Slava Ukraini” mean? What is their history? It goes back to the late 1880’s, with Ukrainian writer Taras Shevchenko’s poem “To Osnovyanenko”:

“Our thought, our song
Will not die, will not perish…
Oh there, people, is our glory,
Glory of Ukraine!

 (Slava Ukraini = Glory to Ukraine)

During the Ukrainian War of Independence (1917-1921), the phrase “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine!) became part of the vocabulary of Ukrainian nationalists and when Ukraine declared independence in 1991, “Slava Ukraini” became a common patriotic slogan. In 1995, President Clinto used the phrase in his speech in Kyiv, and during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the phrase became a symbol of democracy and of resistance against Russian President Putin. Two months ago,“Slava Ukraini” signs began to appear around the world to show global solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Being in ‘solidarity’ with Ukraine expresses support – financially, politically, prayerfully, in silence and in song, in creative images and in poetic form. Expressing support of Ukraine and its people is expressing support of democratic values in Ukraine and throughout the world.

May the words “Slava Ukraini” echo throughout the world, may peace come to Ukraine, and may democracy not just survive but thrive throughout the world. “Slava Ukraini!”


The national colours of Ukraine: yellow and blue
The dove: sign of peace

© June Maffin