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Marine Sergeant Michael Strank Awarded Certificate of US Citizenship

Representative publication about the history of Rusyns

Holy Father Benedict XVI was requested to review and approve the commencement ...


The first Rusyn event in the Slavonic Department...

Short chronology of events in Krasnobrod monastery

The Rusyns in Slovakia after 1989

Alexander Duchnovič Society and Rusyns in the period pre-Munich republic


Marine Sergeant Michael Strank Awarded Certificate of US Citizenship


(Carpatho-Rusyn Society Recognizes Award and Calls Attention to Strank’s Carpatho-Rusyn Ethnicity.)


Munhall, Pannsylvania:  The Carpatho-Rusyn Society proudly recognizes and welcomes the posthumous award of a certificate of United States citizenship to Rusyn-American Sgt. Michael Strank. On July 29, 2008, in a ceremony in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, Strank’s sister, Mary Pero, accepted a certificate of citizenship on his behalf from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).

Michael Strank was a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was photographed raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima and is depicted in the famous statue that commemorates the event. Strank died in combat a two weeks later – March 1, 1945..



Born in the Rusyn-inhabited village of Jarabina, Czechoslovakia in 1919, Strank was the son of Vasyl Strenk and Marta Grofikova. Vasyl Strenk emigrated to Franklin Borough near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where, like many Rusyn immigrants, he found work in a steel mill. His family, including his son Michael, joined him in 1922.

The Rusyns, also known as Rusnaks or Ruthenians, are indigenous to the Carpathian mountain region of Eastern Europe (Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, with immigrant communities in Serbia and Croatia). Because they have never had their own state, and because the Soviet-bloc countries refused to recognize Rusyns as a distinct national group, there has always been some confusion about the Rusyn ethnicity, which is distinct from Slovak, Czech, and other East European nationalities.

The confusion has extended to the representation of Michael Strank. In the book and film, Flags of Our Fathers, Strank is incorrectly identified as Czech, and in recent press accounts, he is mis-identified as Slovak. While his family emigrated from the state of Czechoslovakia, and while the village of Jarabina is currently located in the Slovak Republic, there is no doubt about Strank’s Rusyn origins and ethnicity. In the naturalization documents filed by his parents in Cambria Country, Pennsylvania, they declared their nationality as Ruthenian (Rusyn).

Although Strank became a citizen in 1935 when his father was naturalized, he never received a certificate of citizenship. Until recently, the Marine Corps was unaware that Strank was an immigrant. Gunnery Sergeant Matt Blais, a Marine security guard at the American Embassy in Slovakia, discovered that Strank was not a natural-born U.S. citizen and he petitioned the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on Strank’s behalf for posthumous naturalization.

At the ceremony before the memorial that depicts Strank, Jonathan Scharfen, acting director of CIS, noted that Strank’s story represents the contributions that immigrants have made to the United States throughout its history. The Carpatho-Rusyn Society celebrates the bravery and sacrifice of Michael Strank and all the men and women of Rusyn heritage who have served and continue to serve on behalf of our country.


About Carpatho-Rusyn Society in USA

The Carpatho-Rusyn Society in USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Rusyns and others about Rusyn history and culture and committed to supporting Rusyn culture in the Rusyn homeland in east central Europe.

As a membership organization, it boasts over 1,800 members worldwide who support the organization’s work through their annual dues as well as voluntary contributions to funds that support Rusyn cultural development abroad, as well as humanitarian aid for Rusyn communities in Europe.

For more information, see

Elaine RUSINKO, Baltimore, USA

19. 9. 2008



Representative publication about the

history of Rusyns


This is what we could call the newest publication by PAUL ROBERT MAGOCSI, a Professor at Toronto University, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Science, entitled “НАРОД НИВЫДКЫ – ілустрована історія карпаторусинôв“ (THE PEOPLE FROM NOWHERE– Illustrated History of Carpathian Rusyns). It was issued recently by the V. Paďak Publishing House (Uzhhorod, 2007). The book is written on 120 pages and in a concise way (which is not easy, as, like the author said, it is a lot easier to write lengthily) presents the history of Rusyns from our ancestors in the oldest times until the present day. It is written in a reader-friendly style and can serve children in schools as well as the youth and adults. This precious and interesting book will be presented to all children learning the Rusyn language and culture at schools, but it can also serve as a nice gift for every Rusyn.

First, the book was published in English (one part in Uzhhorod (2006) and the other in Toronto (2006), and later translated from English into Ukrainian by Serhij Bilecky and Nadija Kuško (published in Uzhhorod 2006). Consequently, Valerij Paďak, CSc. translated it into Rusyn and he also prepared commentaries to pictures, since about half of the book’s content consists of high-quality illustrations, which the aforementioned translator and publisher chose from the rich archive of Paul Robert Magocsi and the Research Centre of Carpathian Studies at the V. Paďak Publishing House. Larysa Iľčenko was the editor in charge and the author of the graphical layout of the work. This has been the 155th book published by the V. Paďak Publishing House in Uzhhorod and it has all the characteristics necessary to become a manual for all conscious Rusyns. This book will, however, be published in other languages, too, so that as many Rusyns and members of other nations as possible could learn about the history of Rusyns. Versions in Slovak, Romanian, Polish, language of Rusyn Duchy in Serbia, Serbian, Croatian, Czech and Hungarian are being prepared (basically in the languages of all those countries where the most Rusyns live and where membership organisations of the World Congress of Rusyns have their headquarters). The Romanian version (all being well) is supposed to be issued before the 9th World Congress of Rusyns in the Romanian town of Sighetul Marmaţiei, taking place on June 21st – 24th, 2007. It would be a good promotion of not only the Congress, but Rusyns in Romania in general.

It is thanks to Steven Chepa, a Rusyn philanthropist, sponsor, President of Norstone Financial Corporation in Toronto, Canada, that this book has already been published in three and will be issued in several further languages. Big thanks to him for his beneficial deed. Thanks to him, all school children who learn Rusyn, be it in Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary or Serbia, will get a free copy of the book.

Everybody else can buy or order the book on the following addresses: Akadémia rusínskej kultúry v Slovenskej republike or: Svetový kongres Rusínov (for those who prefer to send a cheque), Duchnovičovo nám. 1, 081 48 Prešov, Slovenská republika. The book can also be ordered by phone from the following number: 0905 470 884 or the following e-mail address: The book is hardback and full-colour, and, yet, it can be purchased for only 200 Sk plus 50 Sk p&p (within Slovakia), $8 plus $8 p&p (for neighbouring countries), $8 plus $13 (for other European countries) or $8 plus $16 p&p (for countries outside Europe). The reason why the book is so cheap is that we want it to be affordable for everybody! We hope for high public interest. Those who want to buy the book in person from the aforementioned address can do so on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 to 10.30 am.

A. Z., April 16th, 2007


Holy Father Benedict XVI was requested to review and approve the commencement of the cause toward the saintly status of our Rusyn Greek-Catholic priest, Father Andrew Timkovic (1919-1987) from Kosice, Slovakia   


In the March 2007 Rev. Gorazd A. Timkovic, OSBM, published book:

Timkovic Andrew (1919-1987) - the story about normal married priest - (Timkovič Andrej (1919-1987) - príbeh zvyčajneho ženatého farára), Presov, 2007, 464 pp. This story of an obedient and faithful, loving priest is written in Slovak language.


19th of the March 2007 Revs. Timkovic asked Holy Father Benedict XVI, and local Greek-Catholic bishop Milan Chautur, CSsR - CLICK HERE, to begin process of the "cause" of Rev. Andrew Timkovic (1919-1987), who was heartily persecuted by the Nazis, atheist Communists and Roman-Catholics (see published preface below). Timkovics believe that their paternal father's love and holiness, exemplified by the saintly life of Rev. Andrew Timkovic (martyrized by Roman Catholics), will help not only to get Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches recognizing their common struggles, but also to fulfill a significant priority of the Pontificate of His Holiness Benedict XVI in seeking UNITY BETWEEN  ORTHODOX AND ROMAN CATHOLICS as the best solution in following Christ's Instructions to today's Apostolic Churches.


Preface from the book:

Every era has her faithful martyrs whose lives bring witness and help on our journey of faith, especially in this time period. Greek-Catholic priest Father Andrew Fedorovic Timkovic (1919-1987) is one of those outstanding obediently faithful; he is a simple but clever man whose life story bears evidence of power he drew from his Catholic faith even in the hard days of his life. As a Ruthenian Greek-Catholic priest he lived his life serving God although, at times, executing his pastoral service under public  pressure.


Father Andrew raised 4 children and all completed University studies (one doctorate of human medicine, two doctorates of vet medicine and one electrical engineer). Three of the four Timkovic children have graduated from Theological Colleges (later after their father Andrew death). Therefore, we can say the eldest of children graduated at one College and other three at two Colleges!

Andrew was accused by the fascists because he sympathized with the Communists; later he was persecuted by the Communists for he was always faithful to the Roman Catholic Church (Union), also named the Latin Church. Finally, he was persecuted by the Latins because he defended Greek-Catholic rite (Greek-Catholic particular Ruthenian sui iuris Church) against Latinization.


- In the Nazi era Andrew Timkovic was victimized and imprisoned by the Gestapo and Horthy police for his sympathy with the Communist intended ideology, which was highly socially attractive at its begining.

- After the elimination of the Greek-Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia in 1950 he was persecuted and victimized by the Communist Regime for his allegiance with the Pope and because he did not agree to communist constrained Orthodoxy.

- After 1968, when the self-governing particular Greek-Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia was restored with limitations, Father Andrew Timkovic was intrigue-persecuted by the local Roman-Catholic hierarchy as he remained strongly faithful to his Greek-Catholic Church; Father Andrew strongly protested the illegal transfer of worshippers and property into the Latin church.


Father Andrew Timkovic's unwearying energy was consistent and steady in his endless fight for justice and surviving of his own family; he died and went to the Lord in 1987 without experiencing the new era in Czechoslovakia (1989). Father Andrew lived his life in the middle of the world's wrongs but he wasn't mastered by evil nor would the world deprive him of his faithful independence and inner freedom for the Lord. He tried to overcome all the dimensions of life with a spirit of justice, truth, love and devotion to God. In the Holy Bible we find words which fully reflect the life difficulties of Father Andrew Timkovic:

- "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed" (1Pt 3,14).   

- "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Mt 5,6).

- "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5,10).       


The biography of the Greek-Catholic priest Father Andrew Timkovic illustrates the fate of the entire Ruthenian-Rusyn nation especially in the Southern Carpathian Mountains in the 20th century. The Carpatho-Rus nation was

- persecuted and oppressed during the Nazi era (annexation of Subcarpathian Rus by Horthy Hungary),

- persecuted during Communist reign (denial of the proper description RUTHENIAN-RUSYN and forced usage of the insensitive title UKRAINIAN; the 1950 elimination of Ruthenian Presov Greek-Catholic eparchy and in 1968 replaced it with the Slovak Presov Greek-Catholic eparchy).

- violently assimilated and latinized when Rusyn-Ruthenian Greek-Catholics were forced by local church hierarchy (assigned by Vatican Slovak chauvinists) to switch to improperly named Slovak Greek-Catholics and subsequently to Slovak Roman-Catholics.


If the life story and destiny of the faithful and heroic figure of this book appears to have novel characteristics it is not due to the writer's credit. Nothing in this book has been fabricated. This book is a work confirmed by many here publicized documents, which are the facts, hence its historic elements have been experienced by Father Andrew Timkovic's truly obedient and faithful life...






Another publication dedicated to the history of Carpathian Rusyns, a Ukrainian translation by S. Bileňsky and N. Kuškova, was issued towards the end of 2006 in Uzhhorod under the attractive title: Народ нізвідки: ілюстрована історія карпаторусинів (The People from Nowhere: An Illustrated History of Carpatho-Rusyns). Its author, Professor at Toronto University and a member of the Canadian Royal Academy of Science Paul Robert Magocsi, has been doing research in the area of Rusyn matters for many years and achieved more than one deserved success. He is an experienced researcher whose work has always been typified by logical argumentation, transparency and credibility, and, at the same time, it has almost always brought some innovation.  

This publication is no exception. P. R. Magocsi, (this time also with very competent colleagues), prepared a brief overview of the history of Rusyns from the oldest times until the present period in an especially successful form. The publishing company of V. Paďak in Uzhhorod has clearly done a great job and those who are interested can get a book really worth buying.

The monograph Народ нізвідки evidently bears all the signs of a popular academic publication, which is proven not only by its slender size, reader-friendly style, transparent structure and minimised notations, but also a large share of illustrations in its content. At the same time, it is a highly professional and erudite work, written with a great deal of knowledge of the matter, which, in many ways, fulfils even stricter, academic criteria. The first guarantee of professionalism is the author’s name itself. He has never descended to cheap propaganda, he has always written and acted correctly and lead only serious discussions with critics.

The author guaranteed objectivity of the presented work especially by always using the outcomes of his own research, which he contrasted with the majority academic opinion. This is how he saved the work from unsupported claims, which can often be found especially in interpretation of the oldest history, beginning with various autochtone theories and ideas about Rusyns as direct inheritors of the original Slavonic or Eastern-Slavonic ethnic group, about their Celtic ethnic origin and so on. To his credit, in the respective passages, he does not present various commonly-spread myths and legends, which many authors use as historic facts.

Naturally, the author could not ignore thoughts about a possible Christianisation of Rusyns by Constantine and Method before their important Great-Moravian mission, a mention of Anonymous’s Chronicle about the sad fate of Prince Laborec or records about the Russian mark, which is sometimes interpreted as a specific, autonomous, administrative unit of Rusyn inhabitants in the Hungarian Empire. In favour of forming national identity of Rusyns, documents about the worthy activities of Fedor Korjatovych were naturally used. This is also true about documents characterising participation of Rusyns in the anti-Habsburg peasants’ revolt.

Such an approach would be neither academic nor correct. That is why P. Magocsi in the text and V. Paďak in the comments to the illustrations include adequate time and content information connected to the respective sequences. For this purpose, they used primary historic sources, and, in each case they bring the reader’s attention to possible doubts about the credibility of some data and to consequent hyperbole.

Although the publication is not large in its content (120 pages including numerous illustrations), this does not decrease its message. This was achieved by the systematic character of the book, even at the cost of dedicating various levels of detail to individual historic periods, events or processes. Some historic facts were only touched upon, some were elaborated upon in encyclopaedic style. In spite of this, the description of the events does not appear dry, as it is often the case with such publications.

Undoubtedly, historic development of Carpathian Rusyns is a very complicated process, especially its ethnogenesis. That is why it is far from easy to explain, but this is a handicap of those ethnic groups, which, for various reasons, have not achieved their own independence. On the other hand, the text of the publication sounds entirely clear and natural, which is also helped by its transparent structure. Dividing the slender academic book into as many as nine chapters is, however, approaching the line of unacceptability.

It is not a secret, nor a mistake, that the publication of the book has a certain nation building dimension, that it is trying to increase and strengthen national awareness of the Rusyn ethnic group. In the end, if an author who is the Chairman of the World Council of Rusyns omitted this aspect, it would be rather strange. It is noteworthy, though, that, in the book, there is no sign of nationalism or xenophobia, which is quite common in similar publications and which often, uselessly, initiates venomous controversies. Only in vain would we look for invectives against pro-Ukrainian ethnic groups, against the Ukrainian nation or state; of course, not taking into account critical remarks on the non-acknowledgement of the Rusyn minority in Ukraine.

A significant advantage of the presented work is an impartial commentary on the important role of religion and churches in the history of the Rusyn ethnic group. The influence of religion and church institutions is evaluated in a very realistic manner. The author finds the influence indisputable, but does not overrate it, which is quite rare among present Rusyn authors. The fact that P. Magocsi does not favour the Greek-Catholic Church must also be appreciated. Similar attention has been paid to the functioning of the Orthodox Church and its clergy. Thus, it is not only representatives of the Union (A. Bačinskij, J. Bazilovič, M. Lučkaj, A, Duchnovič, V. Hadžega, P. P. Gojdič, T. Romža) who are presented as positive historic figures, but also representatives of the Orthodox Church (J. Zejkan, A. Tóth, M. Sandovič). 

The publication Народ нізвідки has not only interesting content but also attractive form, which is why it must satisfy every reader and evoke the keen interest of the public. This is thanks to the form of material elaboration and the style of its presentation as well as its aesthetic qualities, especially brilliant illustrations of various kinds, which are adequately and sensibly arranged within the content and chronological sequence. Commentaries to illustrations by V. Paďak, subtly complete and specify the main text and are an organic part of the monograph. The rich illustration material pictures natural surroundings, historic figures, folklore, architecture, maps, documents as well as publications connected to the history of the Carpathian Rusyns. The variety of this material does not allow an impression of congestion and stuffiness, which is quite common if the artistic aspect is overexposed. 

Naturally, there is no human product in the world that would have no mistakes or defects. The presented illustrated publication about the history of the Carpathian Rusyns has also its weaknesses. Certain simplifications in the description of the historic process in the Carpathian area is one of them. This is a consequence of a discrepancy between the size of the book and its content and time boundaries. An inexperienced reader could get the impression that the development of the Rusyn ethnic group happened in certain leaps and, without significant problems, directly headed toward the present time. That is why continuity of the historic development should have been expressed more pithily.

Statistics is a common weakness in similar publications, especially when referring to such a large time and space frame as in this case. Numbers give the impression of exactness and argumentative power if they are accurate, refer to a concrete phenomenon and can be verified at present. If this is not the case, and this concerns almost all historical statistics, they are only of a superficial importance. They are useful in creating or specifying reader’s ideas, but they cannot be used to draw historic and, even less, politic conclusions. If data were calculated in different ways and times, they cannot be compared at all.           

A certain unbalance can be observed when comparing the amount of space and information devoted to the history of Rusyns living in particular regions. Naturally, in history as well as present conditions, a majority of the Rusyn ethnic group has lived in the present-day Zakarpat’ska region of Ukraine and in north-eastern Slovakia. This does not mean, though, that the history of Lemkos can be reduced to the issue of the Florin Republic or the event of “Wisla“. Rather little attention was paid to the Rusyn commonalty in America, which has significantly influenced solving the issue of Carpathian Rusyns since the beginning of the 20th century. The Rusyn localities in present-day Hungary and Romania are, in the publication, mentioned only symbolically.

From our point of view, the most controversial issue in the whole monograph is using the term Carpathian Rus’ to refer to residential region of Rusyns in Ukraine and Slovakia, as well as Lemkos in south-eastern Poland. We are convinced that it is at the best inappropriate to give a distinctive name to a territory located according to ethnographic borders, if a certain political aspect is concerned. It is unacceptable also in such a case if the ethnic borders were determined in the most impartial way possible. We do not think, though, that this is the case of the Rusyns in the central Europe. Apart from this, with regard to the historically well-known (and in the past also partly officially used) terms such as Sub-Carpathian Rus, Carpathian Ukraine, PriKarpatska Rus’, which actually referred to various administrative and geographical units, rehabilitation of the term Carpathian Rus’ would deepen non-transparency or even confusion in terminology.

Not considering the outlined facts, in general it can be claimed that the attractive publication The People from Nowhere represents another important step in getting to know the history of the Rusyn ethnic group in the Carpathian area, and especially its popularisation. That is why sincere thanks need to be expressed to the author of the work, his close colleagues, the publisher, as well as sponsors. The work, thanks to a respectable content and excellently managed form, can fulfil several functions and, at the same time, serve as a complementary educational text, a handbook for teachers and students, a representative gift, but especially as a good piece on the bookshelf of every Rusyn patriot.  

PhDr. Stanislav KONEČNÝ, CSc.,

Institute of Humanities, Slovak Academy of Science, Košice, March 12th, 2007


The first Rusyn event in the Slavonic Department...


The cover of the newest book of Prof. Paul Robert Magocsi – Narod nîvydky (THE PEOPLE FROM NOWHERE), which has already been issued in three editions – Rusyn, English and Ukrainian. In 2007, Slovak, Romanian and Polish editions will be published.


... On February 16th, 2007, a significant event took place in the State Academic Library (SAL) in Prešov – a presentation of the two newest books connected to the name of Paul Robert Magocsi, a professor at the Toronto University and a member of the Canadian Royal Academy of Science – NAROD NîVYDKY (THE PEOPLE FROM NOWHERE) and CARPATHO-RUSYNS AND THEIR NEIGHBORS.

The first one was written by Professor Magocsi and it was presented in three versions – Rusyn, English and Ukrainian. The second one is an annual of academic articles in the area of Rusyn studies, which was compiled by three Professors from the USA: Bogdan Horbal, Patricia A. Krafcik and Elaine Rusinko. In the annual, 23 authors from various countries contributed in five different languages. In Slovak Rusyn, the article Rusînskyj jazyk u svitľi peršych zmin pravyl pravopysu (The Rusyn Language Illuminated by the First Orthographic Changes) by Assistant Professor Vasiľ Jabur and Doctor Anna Pliškova, PhD., employees at the Department of Rusyn Language and Culture, Institute of Regional and Ethnic Minority Studies, University of Prešov. Apart from them, the following academics from Slovakia presented their articles in the above publication: Professor Juraj Vaňko, CSc. (translator’s note: CSc. – socialist era qualification equivalent to PhD.), Professor Peter Švorc, CSc., Doctor Marián Gajdoš, CSc., and Doctor Stanislav Konečný, CSc. The following authors from Slovakia were also present at the gala presentation of the book Carpatho-Rusyns and their Neighbors: A. Plišková, S. Konečný and P. Švorc. The annual was kept a secret from P. R. Magocsi, as it was supposed to be a surprise gift dedicated to him as one of the most significant historians in the world for his 60th birthday in 2006, which was successfully managed.

At the beginning of the book presentation in the Slavonic Department of the State Academic Library (SAL), a performance of members of “Šariš“ folk group (based at the M. Moyzes Music School in Prešov and lead by J. Piroh, a teacher and the group leader) created a festive atmosphere and pleased all those in attendance.


The guests of honour at the presentation: (from left to right) Professor Š. Šutaj, DrSc., Professor P. Švorc, CSc. (who gave an academic talk about the annual Carpatho-Rusyns and their Neighbors), Professor P. R. Magocsi, PhD. and Doctor S. Konečný, CSc. (who gave an academic talk about the book Narod nîvydky). The guests were welcomed by Mgr. V. Zavadská, the Head of SAL in Prešov, who, on behalf of the Slavonic Department of SAL, was presented with the newest valuable publications by P. R. Magocsi. In the background, Mgr. Alexander Zozuľák, the event organiser and presenter can be seen.


The presentation of both books was of high quality and enriched the cultural-nationality life of not only Rusyns in Prešov, but also broader communities of readers of other nationalities. It was prepared by the Slovak Association of Rusyn Organisations in cooperation with the State Academic Library in Prešov.

A. Z., photos by P. Krajňák, February 17th, 2007


Short chronology of events in Krasnobrod monastery (Great Monastery - in Hungarian language called Nagymonostor)

To the 9th century the pagan cult center of the Taurus;
9th century - according to S. Papp Monastery funded by the Rusyn-Ruthenian Count Laborec;
14th century - Monastery destroied by Karol Robert from Anjou... The miracle
of the icon of the Theotokos from Krasnobrod Monastery and after great donations from the Rusyn-Ruthenian Count, Theodor Koriatovich and reconstruction of Monastery;
to the 17th century - the great lavra (Nagymonostor with its own archimandrite-bishop);
1603 - the burning and reconstruction by the protestant count Valentine Drugeth;
1614 - attempts made toward unification, known as The Krasnobrod "unia" by count George
1651-1664 - the ecclesial residence of the Greek-Catholic archimandrite-bishop P. Petrovic, OSBM;
1703-1711 - the decline of Monasticism during the Rakoczy uprising;
1729 - the resettling of the Krasnobrod Monastery by Mukachevo Basilians;
1750-1752 - the construction of the stone-built (Masonry) Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit;
1759 - the construction of the stone-built Monastery and Chapel of The Holy Protection;
1747-1820 - inaugural steps towards The school of Philosophy and iconography studies at the Krasnobrod Monastery;
1806 - the exceptional authoritative grant (pledge) of forgiveness bestowed by the Pope;
1821 - ordination of the first Presov Greek-Catholic bishop G. Tarkovic;
1915 - the Monastery was destroyed during World War I;
1949/50 - liquidation of The Order of St. Basil the Great during communist regime;
1968 - restoration of Greek-Catholic pilgrimages;
1990 - restoration of pilgrimages within The Basilian Order;
1998 - 2001 - reconstruction of Basilian Monastery building close to their original location.
2002 - consecration of
Monastery complex by 4 Greek-Catholic bishops;
- initial beginnings of construction pertaining the new Monastery Church.

x   x   x

In the ancient Subcarpathian Region (in the north-eastern part of present day Slovakia) near the city of Medzilaborce, lie the ruins of one of the oldest Basilian monasteries in Slovak Republic, the Descent of the Holy Spirit Monastery - the Monastery of Krasny Brod.
According to tradition, it was funded by the Count Laborec in 9th century and later refunded by the Count Teodor Koriatovich (+1414).
From the end of the XVIII to the early part of the XIX century, it flourished as the Basilian Philosophical-Theological University.
In its glorious past it was destroyed three times: once at the beginning of the XVII century, once again at the beginning of the XVIII century and lastly in 1915. After its first, second and third destruction the monastery was rebuilt. Lastly it was rebuilt in 1999-2002, but not at his original place (to keep old historical ruins) but 50 metres beside it. Now this
new Basilian monastery has 20 rooms for monks.
Today there are living three ieromonks: Sedlacek, Bilancik, Lucak and brother Antonak as candidate of Basilians.


If You want to study more the famouse history of this Basilian monastery, take to Your hands the book: J.V. Timkovic,
Letopis Krasnobrodskeho monastiera alebo kusok zo slavnych dejin greckokatolikov na Slovensku, Presov, 1995, 126 pp. Book is written in slovak language with many footnotes in original.

The Rusyns in Slovakia after 1989


All the revolutionary events in the history have influenced also formation and development of national emancipation process, whatever nation or ethnic minority.  Thus logically, the most important revolutionary events in Europe during 19th and 20th century have affected also the process of national emancipation of the Rusyns.


During the process of national renascence, most nations have solved almost all elementary issues  of their national existence, including the issue of written language which was usually occupying the leading position in this process. The Rusyns, contrary to other Slavonic and non-Slavonic minorities, have not solved a single one of the basic issues concerning their national existence during the process of national renascence in the first half of 19th century. We talk about an issue of national identity among other Slavonic minorities, issues of cultural orientation, written language or at least the issue of  the name for the minority. Therefore, they had to carry these issues over to 20th century. And in this century, they were offered the opportunity to solve these basic issues three times.   

The first such opportunity for the Rusyns was in 1918 in the newly formed Czechoslovak Republic, the Slavonic state, which has guaranteed their right to develop their culture in their native language and to use their language in public, in press and schools, though Slovak administration was trying to introduce Slovak language as educating language in Greek-Catholic elementary schools, in which education was performed in Hungarian language until 1919. However, east-Slovakian Rusyns did not take their chance due to disunity of their representatives who had formed three fractions: Russia-phile, Ukraine-phile and Rusyn-phile. This disunity was even multiplied by quarrels between the Greek-Catholic Church, representing the local Rusyn national orientation, and the Orthodox Church, supporting the pro-Russian fraction.


The end of World War II and installation of the communist political and social regime in reformed Czechoslovakia can hardly be regarded as the second opportunity which might have been used by the Rusyns to start the process of national emancipation. Elimination of the Greek-Catholic Church, accompanied by rapid official implementation of the Ukrainian language as the educational language in the Rusyn region, together with introduction of  ethonym „Ukrainians“ as the official name for the Rusyns, and even the violent agricultural collectivization could not help to solve an issue of national identity of the Rusyns. On the contrary, this social situation created suitable conditions for their assimilation. Whole this process is aptly explained by Professor Paul Robert Magocsi of the Toronto University who has been studying the Rusyns for almost 30 years: “It was caused by the fact that people felt like being robbed of their land, religion and also Rusyn nationality. Thus many have concluded that if they cannot identify themselves as Rusyns and have their own Rusyn schools, it will be better to become Slovaks than Ukrainians. “ 1

The real opportunity to revive the process of national consciousness formation and to solve the basic issues of Rusyn national existence came in 1968 with an attempt to introduce radical democratic reforms into political and economic life in Czechoslovakia. However, this effort was interrupted on 21 August 1968 by arrival of Soviet Army and armies of Warsaw Treaty. The only positive result, reached by Rusyns in this period, was renewal of the Greek-Catholic Church (in June 1968) which, however, could not support Rusyns‘ awaking national consciousness again and again in the process of normalization. Rusyns‘ national identity formation was weakened also by introduction of Slovak language as liturgical language in parishes  with the Rusyn population. Generally, we can say that events in Czechoslovakia, following year 1968, have brought the Rusyns more negative consequences than positive ones.  

The third opportunity to solve the basic issues of the national existence appeared for the Rusyns after democratic revolution in Czechoslovakia in November 1989. To find the solution, the new organizational base was supposed to be established, which would be able to present political and cultural requirements of the Rusyns living in Slovakia. Though the process of establishing such base has repeatedly proved disunity among representatives of this minority, resulting from the fact that the basic problems were not solved, democratic principles of building the society have offered Rusyns the possibility to solve them on the free-choice basis. West-European countries with flourishing economy and rich cultural and democratic traditions became a model and example of general progress, motivating the Rusyns, as well as most Slovak people.

The policy of open border between Carpathian post-communist countries, where the Rusyns live, emerged a new hope for them in 1990’s. Being member states of the Conference on Safety and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), they have ratified several agreements concerning minority rights. Particularly important for the Rusyns were decisions approved at the conference in Copenhagen in June 1990 which say that „appurtenance to certain ethnic minority is a personal matter of the individuals and no disadvantages  can result from that  for them“ . Moreover, „individuals who belong to minorities can perform their activities together with other members of the community“. 2  Copenhagen Treaty recognizes also the role of non-governmental organizations in supporting the interests of minorities and it invites participating countries to guarantee that education of history and culture in educating institutions „will take into consideration also history and culture of ethnic minorities“.   At the following CBSE meeting in Geneva (July 1991), member states accepted special administrative measures which ensure for the minorities the right for membership in non-governmental organizations in foreign countries. Administration also certified the principle that individuals or organizations representing ethnic minorities were allowed to have „contacts without difficulties... across the borders... with persons of the same ethnic or national origin“. 4

In the new situation, characteristic by explosion of the Rusyn national consciousness as well as the fact that many European countries and non-governmental organizations are interested in the Rusyns, they start to realize their position as one of many European nationalities. They start to build their regional minority organizations (Rusyn Renascence in Slovakia, 1990) and inter-regional minority organizations ( the World Congress of the Rusyns, 1991) and to apply for financial support for their activities from the state.

While the communist regime approached selectively towards minorities, the Rusyn minority being an evidence of that, Slovak postcommunist governments applied ratified international documents and in practice they gradually had to identify themselves with the necessity to accept ethnic heterogeneity in Slovakia, even in relation to two clearly defined east-Slovakian ethnic orientations – Rusyn and Ukrainian. Practically, it meant to divide financial support from the state into two parts according to percentage ratio found in census in 1991 when 55% of  the budget was supposed to be given to Rusyn cultural organizations and mass media and 45% to Ukrainian ones.  Reality, however, was different, and it was not changed even after the next census in 2001, e.g. after 10 years, except for the last two years when the Rusyn minority, on the contrary, wag getting smaller proportion of dotation for development of culture, even though the number of SR inhabitants of the Ukrainian nationality was significantly smaller than the Rusyn one.


However, as for financing the minority culture, the most critical period for the Rusyn minority after 1989 was the period between years 1994 and 1998, so called period of the third Mečiar’s government, which can be characterized as the period of discriminating measures towards minority cultures. In 1995, the government changed standard practice of financing the minority culture which is executed in three forms since then:

  •  form of objective transfer from budget section of the Ministry of Culture of the SR for the projects developing minority culture: cultural activities, publishing periodical and unperiodical press; 

  • form of financing minority cultural organizations as state contributory organizations, specifically on the level of district offices;

  • form of providing finances for activities concentrated on minority culture development within contributory organizations activities arised under district offices; 

Change of financing method probably most evidently affects activities of minority unions and publishing periodical and unperiodical press in minority language. This is caused by insufficient financing with limited expenses year by year on one hand, and granting finances from the budget determined for minority culture on the other hand, which did not have required effect for given minority or did not correspond to minority needs at all. For example in 1996, the Slovenská Republika newspaper was publishing a supplement for minorities which, however, was read by the minorities only to minimum extent but the budget of the minority periodicals publishers was half-reduced for publishing in their mother language. There were also cases when unperiodical press published by the Kubko Goral  - Slovak South publisher was supported to the exclusion of support for periodical and unperiodical press in mother languages of the minorities; in 2002 it was the case of organization for physically disabled people. In all these cases the amount of money represented more than several dozens of millions of Slovak crowns which were thus taken from minority cultures.

Despite the fact that since 1998 we witness minority policy reconstitution in which the Slovak government is more accommodating than previous governments and it is also a period  characteristic for increased participation of minority representatives on solving their own problems; since 2002 we can constantly observe how the current government  spends given state dotation in limited amount, what significantly paralyses and damages the level either of individual cultural minority activities or level and frequency of their periodicals, the latter one being damaged much more.  


While before 1995, the state allowed financing all the items concerning preparation and realization of cultural activity and periodicals publishing from the given dotation, at present they are reduced only to the most necessary ones, e.g. for periodical press there are only 4 of them – royalties, polygraphic expenses, other personal expenses and travel expenses. It means that it is not allowed to draw finances for deliveries into wages and insurance companies, for room renting, fuel, telephone, fax, internet, stationery, and unfortunately, not even for wages and salaries payment since 2004. 5  Thus after systematic restrictions of professional work in minority organizations and editorial offices since 1995, last year the Ministry of Culture of the SR has even widened their restrictive steps – in minority unions as well as editorial offices they have eliminated any possible professional work. This is also the main reason of these organizations‘ activity stagnation in recent years, because it gradually lapses into voluntary level and it can disappear completely under systematic restrictions. Just to compare, we give an example of period between 1991 and 1995 in the editorial office of Rusyn periodical press – the weekly Narodny and two-monthly Rusyn – there were 4 full-time professional editors; at present – 10 years later – there is not a single employee in the editorial office; and the newspaper frequency was reduced as well – a weekly has first changed into two-weekly and nowadays it is only a monthly, moreover, without any state dotation. The similar situation is also in minority unions which expected this government, with representation of the ethnic principle-based party, to have completely different approach related to minority culture development. So far, it seems that compared to a previous government, situation of the biggest minority in Slovakia – Hungarian – has changed significantly, also due to accepted principle of state finances distribution – dependent on number of minority members. According to that principle, more than 50% of the annual budget for the minority culture in the SR (about SVK 50 mil, except for year 2002, when this section was grossed up to SVK 80 mil and as much as 60% of this sum was for Hungarian culture development), it is automatically determined only for one minority and the rest more than 40% of the budget is divided into other at least 10 minorities. Based on this, e.g. only in 2004, the state subsidized 20 periodicals, this year there are 14; and 101 titles of unperiodical press, this year there were about a hundred titles of Hungarian unperiodical press.

Just to compare – in case of Rusyn minority, state supports 2 periodicals each year (since 2004 there are three Rusyn periodicals, sponsorship for one of them was refused by the government because the approach of the Section of Minority Cultures of  the Ministry of Culture of SR towards other minorities, except for Hungarian minority of course, applies the principle of support for one periodical for each minority) and three titles of unperiodical press at most.  Similar situation is in relation to other minorities, smaller in amount of members. So we think that it is appropriate to reconsider the way of financing minority cultures, moreover, it is also necessary to take other factors into consideration, not only number of minority members, but also number of people admitting their mother language, minority’s ability to find finances from other sources, for example from mother countries; this is not possible in case of the Rusyns or Romanies. In such cases, amount of given dotation should be considered since it is unjust for the Rusyns not to have the possibility to publish their own press during almost 40-year period and also at present they are forced to stand the restrictive measures. It is now even more paradoxical because the SR does not provide so little amount of money for minority culture, it is just necessary to change the conception of distribution.  

Despite these demerits from the Rusyn point of view, we can say that after 1989 development of this minority in fact shows positive trends which are given by a new social and political situation and relevant legislation. It is also positive that the Rusyns claim fulfilment of their human and ethnic rights and fight for them in a legal way. Obstructions they meet are usually of personal character in form of past time philosophy relicts, persons still persisting at some posts in state administration who acted in a way that the Rusyn were forced to exert much stronger effort in fulfilling their constitutional rights. Maybe the most remarkable example is a 12-year effort to start broadcasting in mother Rusyn language in the Slovak Radio public radio station where Rusyn broadcasting functions only since 2002, if we do not count unsuccessful first attempt in 1998 which was made in pre-election period as well as in 2002. Besides, Rusyns had to use  almost all available methods to reach their constitutional right – requests and complaints to the highest governmental and state representatives, protest meetings, press conferences, petitions and finally complaint addressed to European Council in Strasburg. Disinterest of this institution’s authorities in solving the problem to the Rusyns satisfaction was evident here and the situation has improved only after some personal changes in the Slovak Radio.  

Similar situation was in another public institution – Slovak Television and the Rusyns have met with similar ones in connection with declaration of their mother language codification by the state officials from the Ministry of Culture or even the Government Office in 1995. Very similar situation had to be solved by the Rusyns in connection with fulfilment of their right for education in mother language, mainly within academic education. Anyway, first requests by the Rusyn Renascence in Slovakia for establishing the study of Rusyn language at UPJŠ University and department of Rusyn language and culture within this university was submitted in 1993. Though the state earmarked objective dotation of SVK 1.5 mil in 1994 for establishing this department, it has not been done yet and after 12-year troubles, similar to the case of Rusyn broadcasting – again only after personal changes at the Prešov University, Rusyn people lived to see successful accreditation of bachelor study program, and maybe in the next school year they will live to see also first students in this study program.  It is really topmost necessary, because the lack of qualified teachers influences the level of teaching this subject in elementary and secondary schools.

With regard to minority emancipation process, after 1989 the Rusyns in Slovakia determined 10 primary objectives, realization of which was supposed to create conditions for the final success of this process. They are:

  • renewal of the Rusyn language teaching at schools in regions where the Rusyns live and where parents show interest,

  • to establish department of Rusyn language and culture with the purpose to prepare qualified teachers and employees for other spheres of cultural and minority life of the Rusyn minority,

  • to establish independent Rusyn editorial office in the Slovak Radio in Prešov for the Rusyn broadcasting,

  •  to start performances in the Rusyn language in the professional Theatre  of  Alexander Duchnovič in Prešov,

  • to prepare broadcasting for the Rusyns in the Slovak Television in Košice,

  • to form an editorial office for periodical and unperiodical press in the Rusyn language in Prešov,

  • to develop a wide-scope activity among the Rusyns with the aim to develop and promote folk art,

  • to build contacts with other Rusyn organizations in the world and to establish the World Congress of the Rusyns,

  • to build contacts with minority organizations in Europe and to join them,

  • to return the original function to the minority museum in Svidník – let it be the museum  of the Rusyn culture and serve this minority.

The Rusyns managed to accomplish 8 of these objectives so far. However, department of the Rusyn language and culture at the Prešov University still does not exist, as we mentioned above; in 1999 the Section for Rusyn Language and Culture was established at the Institute of Minority Studies and Foreign Languages instead. The question of former Museum of Ukrainian (at present Ukrainian-Rusyn) Culture in Svidník was neither solved until now. Despite, most of determined objectives were fulfilled and they brought required results in a form of increased number of people living in Slovakia, admitting the Rusyn nationality in the last census and declaring the Rusyn language as their mother language. They represent very good fundamentals for development of other future activities concentrated on building up the ethnic consciousness of  this minority; however, it will require very responsive approach from the state institutions.

PhDr. Anna Plišková



1 Magocsi, P. R.: The Rusyns of Slovakia. An Historical Survey. New York, Carpatho-Rusyn Research Center, 1993, p. 106.

2 Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE. Copenhagen, 1990, p. 40 – 41, paragraph 32 and 32.6.

3 Tamže, p 41, no. 34.

4 Report of the Meeting of Experts on National Minorities. Geneva, 1991, p. 10.

5 Act of the Ministry of Culture of the SR from 29 Aril 004 no. MK-480/2004-1 on granting dotations from the Ministry of Culture of the SR.

Alexander Duchnovič Society and Rusyns in the period

pre-Munich republic


The Russian cultural-edifying society, Alexander Duchnovič Society, which went along with Carpathian Rusyns on their uneasy way during the significant stage of their history, definitely deserves our attention also nowadays. It is an example of the fact that it is possible to establish the organisation, which is massive but at the same time able for actions, ideologically decided but at the same time tolerating, voluntary and disciplined, in the former Sub-Carpathian Russ and on the adjacent part of the eastern Slovakia, without any political and material state support.


Русское културно-просветительное общество имени Александра В. Духновича (Alexander Duchnovič Society) was established on 22nd March 1923 at the meeting of 163 Rusyn nationalists in Mukachevo. The general meeting became the supreme body, but the activity of society was mainly managed by the central administration (централное правленіе) and presidium headed by chairman of the society E. I. Sabov, vice chairman Dr. J .V. Kaminsky and secretary Dr. S. A. Fencik. The Alexander Duchnovič Society was from its beginning supported by the new governor of Sub-Carpathian Russia Dr. A. Beskid, bishop of Eparchy of Mukachevo P. Gebej, as well as by representatives of state administration, officers, priests, and teachers of Russian national and cultural orientation.


The establishment of the branch in Prešov was the significant reinforcement of the Alexander Duchnovič Society. It took place on 13th June 1924 with the participation of 18 Rusyn activists and two guests: governor A. Beskid and Dr. Š. Fencik, the deputy of the centre. The committee consisting of nine members was elected, headed by the chairman Ivan Kizak. Disposal of the relatively spacious Russian House, which was purchased in the year 1925, was advantageous. The Russian club, established in the year 1923, became its official owner but it served to the whole Society and its sections. The branch of the Society in Prešov was quickly developing thanks to the support from the part of canonry and also the local Russian schools. Since 19th June 1930 A. Duchnovič Society in Prešov has been an independent organisation. The prelate Dr. Simeon Smandray became the chairman of the Society, Jozef Kizak became its vice chairman and Ivan Gönder was elected to the position of the secretary.


Causes and reasons of the establishment of Alexander Duchnovič Society can be found in three levels: historical, pragmatic, and fortificative.


The historical level of the establishment of the Society is created by traditions, in other words by the fact that already three Rusyn organisation of similar type and with similar objectives in this area had already existed and they osvedčili sa. These were Литературное заведение Пряшевское (ЛЗП), Общество св. Иоанна Крестителя (ОИК) a Общество св. Василия Великаго (ОВВ). Русское културно-просветительное общество имени Александра В. Духновича, as was the official name of the Society, was in this sense some direct continuation of these cultural organisations, which were directly or indirectly connected with the person A. V. Duchnovič, and basically it followed its work. Despite the fact that the abovementioned four societies existed and performed their activities during almost one hundred years, they had several common signs even though they differed in some indicators, especially due to historical development.


Throughout the years, also the basic intent of Rusyn organisations was changing significantly. ЛЗП was aimed at development of Rusyn literature, ОИК was focused on the education of Rusyn youth, ОВВ on spiritual and cultural uplift of people, and A. Duchnovič Society, apart from education and cultural development of region, attempted to forming the national identity of Rusyns. All of the mentioned Rusyn societies are connected with the name and personality of A. V. Duchnovič.  He was a founder of ЛЗП and ОИК; he ideologically initiated ОВВ, whereas A. V. Duchnovič Society in fact followed its message. In this connection it can be noted that Duchnovič was more-less spiritual leader of the societies, while A.I. Dobrjanskij was their organiser, of course apart from the last one.


Regarding to this fact it is also interesting that all of abovementioned Rusyn societies failed to perform at least one of the main aims, which were resolved by them. ЛЗП failed to establish the printing station with Cyrillic alphabet, Spolok sv. Jána Krstiteľa (St. John Baptist Fellowship) failed to publish the magazine, Spolok sv. Vasiľa Veľkého (St. Vasiľ the Great Fellowship) did not build up the Russian national house, and A. Duchnovič Society did not achieve the ideological and national unification of Rusyn ethnic in Carpathian area. It seems that exactly this circumstance to decisive extent influenced the further development of Rusyns in Carpathian area.


The pragmatic level of the formation of the Society consisted in the need of active change of the social and political situation of the ethnic minority in Czechoslovakia. Actually, exactly this moment induced the establishment of the Society and offensive side of its activity. It became the expression of the struggle for the cultural development of Rusyn people living in the republic. It should work in the moral and Russian national spirit, but without any political activity.


The serious reason of establishment of such a Society was the state of national awareness of Rusyn population. It became still more and more obvious that not even the second phase of national renascence connected with the period of years 1849-1867 and with the activity of A. I. Dobrjanský was completed and relevant issues related to the national identity of Rusyns, including the literary language issue, basically remained opened. Therefore the work in these purviews directly required the organisational basis and material and technical conditions, with which could the cultural society dispose.


Its need was more actual because of the Rusyn political parties, there of which was not few, did not perform this task partially also due to objective reasons. They were divided according to the national-cultural movement, bounded by the various coalition contracts and they always expressed the interests of several individuals or small groups. They have neither a real influence in parliament nor authority on the territory of is activity. In this sense A. Duchnovič Society represented the interests of wider ranks of population including farmers from outland, and it became the tribune of Russianphile conception of Rusyn national movement in the period of pre-Munich republic.


Of course, the establishment of A. Duchnovič Society can be perceived also in some defensive task and its defensive activity. Basically, it consisted in the direct or indirect reaction to those ideological and political streams and tendencies, which were considered by the influential and traditionally thinking part of the Rusyn intelligence to be dangerous or harmful for profiling the Rusyn ethnic minority according to its ideas. Of course, in difficult political relations it could not get uninvolved in the contradictory activities, declarations and attitudes, which were over the framework of the original ambitions of the Society and finally they helped to its break-up.


However, the task of the Society to disavow and to defend the Russian national conception against so-called national movement was presented more significantly. This task became more difficult because its sympathisers and they indorsed to Rusyns, and in language confrontations they preferred the local dialect, which was comprehensible for people, to literary Russian. They gained over also the significant personalities from Rusyn intelligence who were known because of their activity in Spolok sv. Vasiľa Veľkého (St. Vasiľ the Great Fellowship), for example A. Vološin, V. Hadžega, H. Stripskij, and also the part of Marmaroš intelligence (Dr.Julij. Braščajko, M. Braščajko, M. Dolinaj, S. Kločurak and others).


In the middle of the twenties, the struggle between the both conceptions of national identification of Rusyns in Czechoslovakia – Rusyn and Ukrainian, the outward occurrence of which was presented as a contention of cultural-edifying organisations for their influence on the masses of population, was characterised by dominance of A. Duchnovič Society. „The Duchnovičs“ had an advantage because the Ukrainian stream did not have at that time the home base and it was developed mainly by emigrants with the support of small group of intellectuals even though it had the sympathisers also in the political sphere in region and in centre.


The Alexander Duchnovič Society developed its activity relatively soon; the sections started to work, especially organisational, literary-scientific, dramatic, musical-cantorial, library, the section of Russian women, national houses, health-care-sanitary, and sporting section. The whole line of branches of the Society and net of reading-rooms were set up. In the year 1928 it was 189 reading-rooms in Sub-Carpathia and 12 in Slovakia. The Society managed also 188 libraries with 41.212 volumes. At that time under the patronage of society 107 drama clubs performed their activity, five of them in Slovakia, 31 cantorial clubs (two in Slovakia) and 16 music bands, two of them in Slovakia. Only in the year 1928 Society organised more than 1 800 discourses.


The big economic depression in the years 1929-1933 had in Czechoslovakia more difficult development than in other industrially developed states, regarding to the high ratio of consumer industry and its export character. The production during these years decreased in average to 60% of the level before the economic depression. Of course, the recession seriously touched especially Sub-Carpathia and northeast of Slovakia, which belonged to the most backwoods parts of the state. This was determined especially by the economic structure of the region, but also by some further specifications in geographical and demographic area.


Also the societies, A. Duchnovič Society and Просвіта, responded to this situation. Throughout the years of depression the both organisations in fact devoted less time to their principal problems, which were the problems of language and ethnic and national culture issue, and they demanded in their activities and petitions the organizing of public works, unemployment benefits and import of grain, but especially the import of corn from Romania, because there was a threat of famine in some areas.


From 1933 the crisis of A. Duchnovič Society was appearing.  This crisis was determined by the change of political situation and social atmosphere. The autonomy movement got the significant dimensions and achieved the support of almost whole political spectrum in Sub-Carpathia Russia. The autonomism was accompanied by requirement of administrative boarder inspection between Sub-Carpathia and Slovakia, but it was perceived more sensitively in Slovak environment than it was expected in the initial objectives and documents. This issue became a stumbling block in relations between Rusyns and Slovaks just during the times when the defence of republic unity and its independency became actual issues.

To certain extent, A. Duchnovič Society took over the speech of autonomian parties, and by this act it brought some doubts about its loyalty to the governmental structures. This situation was used by the Ukrainian movement, which lead the activist politics outwards and declared the support to republic integrity. The government started to perceive the Russianphile stream represented by A. Brody and Š. Fencik as more dangerous than Ukrainianphile movement, which they started to prefer. Otherwise A. Duchnovič Society performed its activity furthest, but it found itself in significant defensive and it was gradually loosing its initial positions.


The position and activity of the A. Duchnovič Society was weakened to a significant extent by some personal changes made at the beginning of 1930s. In the year 1929 I. Kiziak, a chairman of the branch of the Society in Prešov, died, and he was replaced by a prelate and canon of the chapter, S. Smandray. The new leadership was not consistent in total, as one part supported rather religious and moral aspect in the activity of the Society, whereas the other one, headed by T. Rojkovič, preferred national and cultural actions.


In the year 1931 the bishop of Mukachevo, P. Gebej, died, who himself, like the bishop of Prešov, P. Gojdič, was of Rusyn belief, however, for the sake of unity of the Church and nation he tried in a diplomatic way to moderate contradiction between the Rusyn and Ukrainian political stream and in this sense he supported actions of the Duchnovičs and the society Просвіта. A general vicar and since 1932 a new bishop, A. Stojka, avowed also to Rusyns, however, he sympathised with pro-Hungarian tendencies.


A great loss for the A. Duchnovič Society was the death of governor of Sub-Carpathian Russia, Dr. A. Beskid, in the year 1933.  He was an eager supporter of the Society since the beginning and he fully identified with its Russianphile program. At the same time he refused pro-Hungarian policy, therefore he got support from the government. The new governor K. Hrabar (1935-1938) tried to avoid conflicts indeed, he propped himself upon aid from the country party, however, he did not acquired a necessary authority even though in the year 1937 competencies of his office were extended.


Development and work of the Society was very negatively influenced by the death of long-year chairman E. I. Sabov in the year 1934.  Dr. J. Kaminskij became a new chairman, however, the Society in fact was headed by the secretary Dr. Š. Fencik.  Without questions, he was educated and able man, however, he had his own political activities, and therefore the A. Duchnovič Society was not his priority. His engagement in the autonomous movement and suspicion of support of aspirations of Poland and Hungary in Sub-Carpathia did not prosper to the reputation of the Society, as well as his sympathies for the Italian fascism.


In the year 1936 Dr. E. Bačinský was elected for a chairman. He tried to retrieve the activity of the organisation in the original spirit, however, he did not find understanding and in the year 1937 he resigned. Not even complicated foreign political relations favoured intentions and the mission of the Society.

Struggle of Russianphile and Ukrainianphile stream in Sub-Carpathian Russia were marked with certain differences in political work of rivalling clusters, their different strategy and tactics. The Alexander Duchnovič Society implemented its promotion work on campaign base.  It made use of important anniversaries of national revivalists, exposing of monuments, opening of Russian houses, consecrating of society flags, organising of so-called Russian days and the like. It achieve many success in this field.


Monuments and busts of A. Duchnovič, A. Dobrjanský, E. Fencik, A. Mitrak were built and ceremonially exposed in several towns of Sub-Carpathian Russia  and eastern Slovakia. Apart from Russian houses in Prešov and Uzgorod bolo there were 17 national house opened not only in district centres (Svaľava, Iršava, Volovec), but also in bigger villages (Činadejevo, Nižne Verecky, Zavadka, Bukovec, Sukov and the like). On other side, Prosvita and Ukrainian national organisations focused more on patient every day campaign work, which brought its fruits without any dispute.

The Alexander Duchnovič Society in Sub-Carpathia formally terminated after its affiliation to the USSR in the year 1945, in Slovakia even until February 1948. However, its aim has not been met and in the field of forming and strengthening of Rusyn national awareness it still has a lot of to do even today. Therefore, it was not a coincidence that after eliminating of totalitarian regimes the Society was restored both in Sub-Carpathia and in Slovakia.

One shall believe that after solution of organisational problems and elimination of various misunderstandings the Society starts to work in the ideal of its famous predecessor and avoid mistakes, remedy of which would require many hardships and sacrifice.


(abbreviated and amended by A. Z., the entire article in the Rusyn language shall be published in the upcoming year-book of the World Congress of Rusyns.)