The World Academy of Rusyn Culture is an academic and charitable institution founded by Steven Chepa in 2001 for the purpose of encouraging new work and preserving the insights and beauty of Rusyn culture for the benefit of all mankind.
To encourage new work influenced by the Rusyn experience.
To support creative talent, performances, and exhibitions throughout the world.
To document and preserve the history, beauty and unique insights of Rusyn culture.
To recognize outstanding Rusyn cultural support and achievement by awarding “Fellow” designations to worthy individuals who include Rusyn culture among the treasures of their human experience.
To further recognize and reward Rusyn cultural achievement by awarding a Chepa Bear along with other tokens of appreciation to individuals on an annual basis in recognition of outstanding contributions to Rusyn culture in the categories of architecture, art, music, theatre, literature and outstanding support. Prizes will not be awarded in years of inadequate achievement or inadequate funding.
To publish a directory of Rusyn talent and knowledge to facilitate sharing and fellowship throughout the world.
State Academies are important to facilitate
State government support of an organization for the benefit of its own citizens.
New Institution – New Standards
Any time a Rusyn institution is established, the following doubts are raised: Why was it established? What is its mission? Every novelty attracts general attention, especially in Rusyn life, as new establishments are expected to bring new quality.
The above-mentioned issues were discussed at the Ceremonial Inaugural of the Congress of Academy of Rusyn Culture in Slovakia, which took place on September 10th, 2005 in Presov. A group of 17 notable personalities of cultural-social, academic and national-religious Rusyn life in Slovakia gathered at the inaugural congress. Aleksander Zozulyak, M.A, the governor of the Academy for secular section, who was granted the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Rusyn Nation (by the Carpatho-Rusyn Research Centre in Ocale, Florida, USA, the patron of which is Mr. Steven Chepa, Toronto) talked about the structure and mission of the academy. Moreover, he elaborated on the newly launched website, which provides information (in Rusyn, Slovak and English) about the Academy of Rusyn Culture in Slovakia; The World Congress of Rusyns which takes place in Slovakia; as well as the life of Rusyns living in Slovakia and abroad. As Mr. Zozulyak emphasized, the main mission of this academic and charitable institution is to initiate and encourage new standards, especially in the area of Rusyn cultural development. Besides, the academy has further objectives such as encouraging young talent, presenting Rusyn contemporaneousness and history, improvement of language and literary culture. Within the academy, the following sections were established: linguistics, literature, history, ethnography, fine and dramatic arts, politics, media, youth and religion.
Father Frantisek Krajnyak, a devoted Rusyn nationalist and Greek-Catholic priest from Medzilaborce, was appointed the second governor for the clerical section. He talked about the issues of Rusyns’ clerical life. He considers religious life a part of every nation’s culture, including Rusyn. In his opinion, the Rusyn language is of great importance as a liturgical and pastoral language of Greek-Catholic and Orthodox Churches; thus, he drew attention to the importance of translating liturgical books into Rusyn. F. Krajnyak is very vigorous in this field; however, he does not always get the approval of the upper clergy. Nevertheless, he does not give up but keeps working. After translating the Gospels and Apostles for Sundays and Holy Days of The Year, he and other devoted people are working on translations of further religious literature into Rusyn and he is just about to finish Mathew and Mark’s Gospels. However, it is still doubtful whether he will get the bleesing of the bishop of Presov diocese Mon. Jan Babyak. Father Josafat Timkovich, the author of several interesting ecclesiastical books also contributed to the debate. Being a Rusyn and a member of Basilian order, he is working on a publication entitiled ‘Rusyns and Basilians in Sacred Documents.’ He declared that there is no need to be pessimistic as the last census of residents showed that 35 thousand Greek-Catholics living in Slovakia proclaimed Rusyn their mother tongue, which shows great and precious spiritual potential. It is up to these people to look after their ecclesiastic and national life.
The following personalities contributed to the discussion:
Mgr. Gabriel Beskyd, the chairman of Rusyn cultural-national organisation with the original title Russian Club-1923;
Maria Girova, a writer and a cultural worker;
Jan Hrib, the author of almost all Rusyn textbooks for primary schools;
Assistant Professor Vasil Jabur, one of the people to codify the Rusyn language and an author of the orthographic innovations;
PhDr. Kvetoslava Koporova, a Rusyn journalist and activist in the field of Rusyn language teaching at primary schools in Slovakia;
PhDr. Anna Pliskova, a co-author of Rusyn language textbooks for secondary schools, the editor of Rusyn literature anniversary volumes and a lecturer at the Department of Rusyn Language and Culture, Institute of National Minority Studies, University of Presov;
PhDr. Maria Malcovska, a journalist, writer and a laureate of the Aleksander Dukhnovich Award for Rusyn Literature;
and several others who gave their opinions on the process of professionalising Rusyn national life work as well as on the development of the Rusyn literary language at universities, schools, media and so on.
Since 1989, mutual co-operation with Rusyns abroad has become a tradition, which provides a good basis for the work of the newly established academy. Its constituent members have achieved some worthy results such as the codification of Rusyn language in 1995 (which is considered the greatest success of the Rusyn national life), Rusyn radio and television broadcasting, the establishment of the Rusyn “Aleksander Dukhnovich” theatre, Rusyn periodic and non-periodic press (which has existed for 15 years), Rusyn literature as well as the effort of Rusyn priests to introduce the Rusyn language into liturgical use or teaching the Rusyn language and culture at primary, secondary and high schools and universities. Important challenges in all these fields lie ahead the members-advisors of the academy under the leadership of both governors. We wish the newly established Rusyn institution to build firm foundations and reap high quality results.
PhDr. Maria MaLcovskA,