The cover of the zero edition of Rusîn, which was released in June 1990 and issued by the Andy Warhol Association in Medzilaborce under the leadership of Michal Bycko.
Although every ordinary man is proud of their roots and ancestry, ...now and then they feel like concealing their origins. Not long ago, I met a Professor of Art Theory from Canada and he, while we were drinking beer, told me: „In your country, everything is so beautiful, so lovely, and special ..., even women, but everything is so cheap!.“ Naturally, it hurt me a bit and I countered that cheapness and rarity can be very close in Canada, as well as in our country. I was not successful, though; he had more arguments to provide. Unfortunately.
Our “national cheapness “, by means of the ontogenesis of our nation, has not lost its edges, but, on the contrary, mutates, takes on new negative social-economical “manners“ of the transforming system. Moral prostitution has become natural and if you happen to wonder why it is, everybody would find you at best “weird”. Mother History changes its face according to the approach of “academic people” as those in power (or temporary superiority) wish. Simply status quo of nowadays as well as “quo vadis Ruthenia?“
15 years ago, in the eyes of many of those who are considered “revivalists“ nowadays, some Rusyn “fools“, messers Zozuľák, Kaliňák, Guba, Ing. Bicko, Ing. Roháč, Cepko, Chomča, Fecura, Bycko, Father Krajňák, Dr. Turok and so on; in the “Velvety mist“, “made up their minds to“ try to play the strings of moral and ethnic awareness of “Rusnaks”. In the times when many cared about how to “hang” these guys (among them also “revivalists” of nowadays); they stood in frost and snow and, in public, risking to at least get a thick ear, literally spread words to save Rusyn writing, speech, customs and traditions. No Canadian professor, no Slovak professor, assistant professor and so on, showed their heads from “their trench” to say in public who we are. They patiently watched TV at home, wearing slippers, and waited to see what comes of the “To je ono!“ (“That’s it!” – a well-known rallying cry of the Velvet Revolution – translator’s comment), whether there will be something for them, too and if not, they were not there, their hands are clean. The blind democracy in form of anarchy and chaos decoction..., like never before, gave a chance to everybody, even the last “human vermin” to shine in public as the sunny side of the era. The unclear, bad, chaotic era, the times like foul water, the best for fishing. And those real “masters of revolution”, they as if had overslept and did not even notice that the moss of hypocrisy and suit-changing has overgrown them and, as “Out of sight, out of mind” is still true, they were forgotten. Just like Mrs Maďarová, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art, who, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the museum’s establishment remembered not even one of its founders, as if the museum had been in this world only since she was appointed the director. However, the museum was born in the same “nappy” with VPN (Verejnosť proti násiliu – Public Against Violence, a political party of the Revolution of 1989 – translator’s comment), the Rusyn Revival, the magazine Rusín... Similarly, a Canadian professor included in the “who’s who” names of all and sundry, but did not even mention those who, risking their own safety and the safety of their families, actually set something up. And to contribute a little to the opinion of our “cheapness” described in the troublesome image of nowadays; today, on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of the magazine Rusín, I would like to and I have the right or even the obligation to say:
RUSYNS, you may have come from “fish “, “pike“, or “lobster “; you might be “hyphenated“, or “non-hyphenated“ (I am saying this being motivated by dividing Rusyns into “heaps“, which happens nowadays and why gradually NOTHING will be left of Rusyns!!!); intelligent, simple or even stupid, (Please God forgive me, but everywhere there are also stupid people); Greek-Catholic, Orthodox or atheists..., THAT IS THE TRUTH.
All that has its continuation in form of the Rusyn Revival, Rusîn, Narodne Novînky Press, InfoRusin, etc. ..., was originated in Medzilaborce in the times of the “Velvet Revolution“. Here, with the best intention and in the nicest way possible, the basis for the sake of Rusyns, their culture, belief and language were laid. Here, important plans were cooked up; the plans how to avoid assimilation (which is already here), how to keep the Cyrillic alphabet, schools... Those men who I have mentioned were there. I am still, thank God, a living witness and I will impart this image of the truth as it happened. Even if anyone tried to deny all this and write a bastardised history of the Rusyn Revival after the “Velvet Revolution”, the truth is what it is. You can deny anything in you, if nothing else, you will stay, in spite of everything, one of our golden children, as all that forms the substance of all Rusynity in Slovakia, as well as your active work (good or worse...), is the product of thoughts and courage of those November days and nights in 1989. The only facts that might be different are those that I have forgotten to mention, that is why I apologise in advance (after all, I was not given enough space for my statement to be more detailed), but I have said the “pillar“ of the truth with the main “supporting constructions“ not only of the Rusin magazine origination... I thank everybody for the GOOD that has been done for Rusyns and I criticise others for what could have been done and was not (being also self-critical!!!). Either way, I disdain all artifice, paranoia and mendacity that serves to someone as gloss for fame, often at the expense of humiliating “God’s true warriors“.
I wish the editorial office of Rusín (just like to a child of mine, as it came into being in Medzilaborce and I was there) a lot of readers, more cultivated content of higher quality, less “storms in teacups“ on its pages, more intellectual spirit, a broad-spectrum of culture and arts, and so that we could be presented to the world as real people with souls, brains, culture, art and science.
Dr. Michal BYCKO, PhD.
The front page of the first edition of Narodny Novînky Press,
issued on August 21st, 1991.
The front page of the celebratory edition of Narodny Novînky Press,
issued on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Rusîn and Narodny Novînky Press
on August 21st, 2006.
(IN SPITE OF ALL THE TROUBLES, OBSTACLES AND NAYSAYERS)
Why such a title and subtitle? Those who read the Narodne Novînky Press know what I am talking about. Five years ago, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of our newspaper, I wrote an editorial entitled “The Bubble Has Not Burst Even After 10 Years” (at the beginning of their existence, our and your Narodne Novînky Press and the magazine Rusîn were named “a bubble“ by the so-called Rusyn-Ukrainians):”You might not believe me, but yesterday, looking at a map of Greece and its islands, I found a small island situated between Turkey and Crete called Karpathos. Jokingly, I said to myself that we, Rusyns from under the Carpathian Mountains, should go there, as we have a lot of problems with our “relatives” Rusyn-Ukrainians or just Ukrainians. There, we would finally live and work in peace and we would leave behind those Rusyns who do not help the other Rusyns but impede and harm them. And this also applies to some members of the Rusyn Revival and the Association of Rusyn Intelligentsia in Slovakia....“ And these words are still “half-topical”, even at the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the above-mentioned Rusyn periodicals. Why “half”–topical? Because we have no more problems with so-called Rusyn-Ukrainians or Ukrainians, we do not “fight” with them anymore, they have their own business and we have ours. But the second part of the quoted statement is still current; the situation concerning the “pests” from the side of some leading members of the Rusyn Revival in the Slovak Republic and the Association of Rusyn Intelligentsia in Slovakia, has become even more pressing. And this is rather tragic in the Rusyn movement, although it might be natural; as where there is no “outer enemy” to fight, a fight within the actual movement (and not just the Rusyn movement) arises. This is what has become evident over the past five years, when the fight of our “pests“ has intensified and sharpened, about which our “former enemies” (some leading Rusyn-Ukrainian or just Ukrainian representatives) can be happy. And this is to harm not just us, our editorial office but also the civic association Rusín and Ludove Noviny Press, and the whole Rusyn movement, the Rusyns in Slovakia generally. I do not want to go into detail, as about many of them you could read and learn from the pages of Narodny Novînky Press. I just want to say that we have reached the stage when our enemies, “the pests of the editorial flower“, have come so far that the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia is now in court with our civic association. The Rusyn Revival is lead by the main organiser of this work, “the chief pest“ from the leadership of the Association of Rusyn Intelligentsia in Slovakia, who uses for his personal objectives “minor pests” from the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia, who have been joined by other “Stefan’s-pests“ from the leadership of the Russian Club – 1923, now the Russian Club 1923 Foundation in Prešov...
But today, when we celebrate a jubilee of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn, I do not feel like dealing with this situation, which was also indirectly helped by the leading representatives of the Slovak Ministry of Culture, who passed the buck saying: you can solve it on your own; or, this is how you yourselves have solved it (I especially mean the solution of the Rusyn National Minority Committee as an advisory organ of the Ministry of Culture, which suggests dividing the state grant for the development of Rusyn culture). Yes, we have “solved” it like we have solved it... But in spite of bad soil, in spite of pests, the editorial flower is still alive, it is growing and blossoming. And this is not only thanks to the flower’s immunity, but also the help of those who now and then water the flower and fertilize its soil, so that it could keep growing and flourishing. By this I mean you, our loyal readers, subscribers, correspondents, co-workers and benefactors, to whom big thanks go for not letting the editorial flower die. The flower is alive and pleases its many well-wishers, but saddens many naysayers! And this flower will be how we have raised it together, it will not change; whether someone likes it or not. Whether we can keep feasting our eyes on it, depends on our viability but also your care.
Just like at its 10th jubilee, I called the editorial a SMALL ISLAND OF RUSYNITY; now the analogy with a FLOWER came to my mind. But whether it is a birth of an island or a flower, the facts stay facts; and I am going to delve into the past a bit. And it will not be anything new if I say that the ISLAND or FLOWER was born on the “Ukrainian ground of Nove žytťe (The New Life) and the Association of Rusyn-Ukrainians of Czechoslovakia, where, after the revolutionary wave in 1989, a page and later several pages in Rusyn – Holos Rusîniv (The Voice of Rusyns) – started to be published. Then, in Medzilaborce, the zero and first issue of Rusîn was released; which happened with the help of us, “the Rusyns in a Ukrainian river“. The big fish from ZRUČS, though, criticised me for sitting on the fence between the Ukrainian and Rusyn side; and although we are of one Rusyn origin, some did not realise the times have changed – nobody will order us around... (then, we meant the leadership of ZRUSR, now ROSR and ZIRS).
And that is how the seeds of hostility were sown and there were no regrets, it was just needed to separate the “Rusyn rotten fish from the pedigree Ukrainian fish“. It has been done, and we are thankful for that, because in this way, the ice on the stagnant waters could break more easily. (That can be said about the Rusyn Revival of the past five years; however, the “pedigree fish” was this organisation, for a change; at least, its leadership thinks so, and we are still the “chaff”, which needs to be got rid of! This is how those from the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia and “shark Janko“ are thinking.)
But becoming and being the river, the island, the flower, that is to the credit of the editorial staff, and also some “fish from Ukrainian waters“... Surely, we cannot omit (in a good sense) all our colleagues, correspondents and readers, especially those who have helped us to create and develop the island of Rusynity or grow its flower, those who stayed loyal even in the hardest times and until now. Thanks for preserving and nourishing the island (flower) go especially to the members of our small editorial team. And last but not least to those Rusyn businessmen who have supported us financially. And to make it complete, we have to mention the state support, especially the Slovak Ministry of Culture; without the foundation of which we would have “suffocated as fish without water” (or dried out as a flower) a long time ago.
TO ALL THESE I WOULD LIKE TO THANK FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART AND TO ASK – PLEASE, IN THE YEARS TO COME, DO NOT LET THE ISLAND OF RUSYNITY TO BE DELETED FROM THE MAP OF THE ETHNIC CULTURE OF RUSYNS IN SLOVAKIA AND IN THE WORLD (OR, FOR THE EDITORIAL FLOWER, TO GET IN THE BOOK OF THE EXTINCT FLOWERS).
This is what, on this festive day,
Alexander ZOZUĽÁK, editor in chief
To work for the nation is holy work. This is also what Rusyn editorial staff were thinking at the beginning of the 1990s when they started to publish Narodne Novînky Press and the magazine Rusîn. It is not a long time ago but the balance sheet brings high spirits.
The editorial team has not changed its personnel, but, over the years, Narodne Novînky Press and the magazine Rusîn have improved their contents in the quality of the published materials. A literary appendix entitled Pozdraľiňa Rusîniv was created, the proposal to which I handed in to the editor-in-chief A. Zozuľák over a decade ago and he willingly brought it to practice. Shame though that the literary appendix is issued rather irregularly.
Narodne Novînky Press and Rusîn, from the very beginning, mobilised me to start writing in Rusyn, which happened soon afterwards. The folk language of everyday use, with which we enter the world – is the first phenomenon of thinking and speaking. It came to my mind that I could use it as an instrument of literary communication. And that is how I was born “literary”, for the second time. This is also why Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn should be honoured.
A man often realises what harm has been done to him only after it is over. And that is why we have to try not to let it happen. The same I expect from Mr Zozuľák and the whole editorial office. Do your piece of work with such zest so that we do not have to be sorry for you but so that we admire you.
Better years come in turn with worse years and there were such years when the editorial was not given a crown from the state. It was necessary to look for sponsorship but Saša Zozuľák with his team would walk around like the apostles in the past on Holy Ground. From one door to another. Shame aside – the Christ also preached to his disciples: Knock and the door will open, ask and you will be given. And the newspaper and the magazine were saved. Well, it is easier said than done but they all have showed they can stick to their guns. For a good cause, which, in the end, is the uplifting of the Rusyn national culture.
One day, when Rusîn and Narodne Novînky Press will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their foundation, the followers of today’s editors will commemorate their nation-loving deeds. The newspaper will have a high printing rate, its own printing press, technical equipment of high quality and their own editors will just be peppered around. Today’s conditions of the editorial work will seem petite; however, no follower will make fun of it. Let us, contemporaries, honour these people, which they truly deserve.
Na mnohaja strán a blahaja per, bratia a sestry!
(To many pages and blessed pens, brothers and sisters!)
Mgr. Štefan SUCHÝ,
A methodologist of Rusyn language, writer, laureate of the Alexander Dukhnovich Award for Rusyn Literature
On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the emergence of Narodne Novînky Press and Rusîn, I would like to congratulate their editorial office and to wish the editorial team good health, personal happiness, a lot of creative strength, and also a lot of active and loyal readers and correspondents.
I am looking forward to every issue of Narodne Novînky and Rusîn, knowing I will learn the most topical information about Rusyn life and I will also find articles on the most frequently discussed problems that trouble Rusyns. I am convinced that Narodne Novînky Press have their irreplaceable position in the Rusyn press in Slovakia! And although we can meet an opinion that this newspaper is not needed, I do not agree with those who say that. I think that also the monthly periodical InfoRusîn and the cultural-religious bimonthly Rusîn have their position in the Rusyn periodical press. And if someone started to issue another serious and well-founded periodical, no harm would be done. Nowadays, competition is needed and no activities or initiatives of those who are willing and able to do something for Rusyns should be disapproved of. No problem with issuing newspapers should tear Rusyns apart.
Narodny Novînky Press was founded in the times when the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia was originated and it is an inherent part of its history. Narodny Novînky has helped to push forward the interests of the Rusyn Revival since its establishment, to realise its goals and present the opinions of us, Rusyns, to the naysayers of Rusynity and those who wanted to liquidate the Rusyn Revival at the very beginning. Narodny Novînky Press has survived 15 years in uneasy financial conditions, but managed to be issued as viable press. And we were actually lucky to have Narodny Novînky, as the ideas and goals of the Rusyn movement without a newspaper, without a public medium would equal a discussion “with nobody”. The main credit at the 15-year existence of Narodny Novînky Press goes to its editorial staff and especially its editor-in-chief Mgr. Alexander Zozuľák. The major burden and responsibility to maintain the newspaper and the magazine Rusîn, to publish their every issue; have always been on his shoulders. It is said that he who does nothing, cannot spoil anything and those who work, also make mistakes. It is valid in general, and also about the work of the editorial of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn. There are things to be corrected, improved in their work, whether it concerns the contents of the periodicals, broader variety of articles, the amount of information about the life of Rusyns. Surely, the editorial team with their head are aware of it. Naturally, a lot depends on the finances, although this issue can be influenced only to some degree. We hope that the new government and the new upcoming law about financing national minorities will bring some positive changes also in solving the problems connected with publishing Narodny Novînky.
As far as the future of Narodne Novînky is concerned, I am an optimist and I believe in its further successful existence for the sake of the ethnic, cultural, and social life of us, Rusyns in Slovakia.
JUDr. Peter KRAJŇÁK,
A former member of the executive committee and spokesman of the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia
Not so long ago I came across the latest issue of the Christian magazine Blahovistnîk and the first sentence to attract my attention was: “Wake up, Rusyns, so that your sons and daughters do not get lost, so that the graves of your fathers do not cry!”
These or similar words might have been the motto of the first newspaper in Rusyn with the idea to enhance the Rusyn nation so that it does not get lost.
Now, it has been 15 years since the foundation of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn and that is the time to recapitulate, the time to look back and see the beginnings of the editorial work, to see how many plans there were, and how much willingness to work. There was a team of people who pulled the same end of the string and moved in the same direction. Surely, it was not easy to start from nothing, from square one, just with enthusiasm to work for the nation. But it might have been the reason for having done so much positive work.
For a nation, it is very important to have their newspapers published, to be able to read their mother tongue printed. Children are able to study and read in Rusyn also thanks to Narodny Novînky and its appendix Rusalka, students have the space to realise themselves and write in Rusyn. It is a big issue which cannot be paid for and although it does not often seem to be the case, it is a hard job that must often face a lot of various problems. It should be emphasised that, from the very beginning, it has been the first and only periodical to openly, without censorship, write and fight against slovakisation in the church, which was not even mentioned in the official independent mass media. From the editorial office, a lot of books have come out – academic literature as well as prose and poetry; and textbooks and children’s books are published too. From the very beginning, the Rusyn editorial was the place for the Rusyn intelligentsia and students to meet and work.
Not everything can be mentioned here, but, during those 15 years, a lot of good work has been done, which can be seen in all spheres of the Rusyn movement. But you cannot mention one without the other. It is said that you forget as time goes by and remember just the good. But you should also learn something from the good, so that you do not fall asleep on your laurels. Rusyns have this flaw that makes them lament and discuss over and over how things used to be in the past or what is necessary to be done, but, in the meantime, they oversleep and do nothing. However, no one will wait for Rusyns to wake up.
It is true that nobody has been sleeping here but we still have to be alert. We must not forget the good that used to be here, but, most importantly, we must not forget to live and think ahead. So let the words “Wake up, Rusyns, so that your sons and daughters do not get lost, so that the graves of your fathers do not cry!” be a maxim for everybody. They might be sharp words, but they give a true picture of the Rusyn movement of nowadays. After all, they are words of Rusyns themselves (common Rusyns, not those “educated” ones), who see and feel what is going on around them, who are like pharmacist’s scales: they show the smallest disturbance, the tiniest whiff in the intelligentsia circles. I think it is a rescue call of the nation.
I wish the whole editorial a lot of strength in further work, enthusiasm and courage and so that it does not fall asleep, but cheerfully continue the started work to glorify Our Father and ensure welfare for our nation „...so that our children do not get lost and our fathers’ graves do not cry“. Because the work has not been finished, we are still at the beginning and there is still a lot to do. And the work for our nation has never been and never will be easy.
Mgr. Alena BLICHOVÁ,
Chairperson of the Association of Rusyn Youth in Slovakia
and Deputy of the World Forum of Rusyn Youth
August 21st, 2006
Only one writing in his mother tongue speaks to a broad community, he can experience and feel its power, its influence on those who he is addressing, be it in speaking or writing.
A natural way of connecting people, apart from other mass media, is surely newspapers and magazines. In this case, we are talking about our Rusyn Narodny Novînky and the magazine Rusîn. For 15 years, they have in writing talked not only to Rusyns in Slovakia but in the whole world. During those years, the newspaper and the magazine have been trying to help Rusyns to find themselves in their autonomy and identity. They do not misguide, they advice and help. And they have not stopped, although they have been criticised and almost been liquidated. By whom? By naysayers and people who would like to “preach“ to our Rusyns, but, doing that, they keep forgetting a very important thing: If someone wants to write or talk to Rusyns of in Slovakia and in the world, most importantly, they should be aware of normative, standard Rusyn language, which was codified in 1995. And they should also write in the Cyrillic alphabet, not in Latin. That is what was approved at the codification and as far as I know, there was no further official codification. Until these people are aware of that, they have no right to interfere and attack people who, for 15 years, have been helping our Rusyns and who have stayed loyal to our native Cyrillic!!!
To their 15th birthday, I wish our Narodny Novînky and Rusîn, which mean a lot to me, to be able to keep helping Rusyns in the homeland and abroad in their ethnic life, in maintaining and developing the beautiful Rusyn traditions and great treasure we were given by our ancestors. Let nobody take or destroy it!
Deputy of the Rusyn Cultural-Educational Association of Alexander Dukhnovich
August 21st, 2006
When fifteen years have passed, it is a time worth looking and casting our minds back. In 1991, I shyly wrote my first letter to your editorial, awaiting what will follow. To this letter I also attached a poem entitled “Nezabúdajte, deti” (Do not forget, children). The poem was published in Narodny Novînky and I was very pleased, as it was my first poem published in our newspaper. I kept writing articles and poems, and they were gradually published in Narodny Novînky and Rusîn. And that is how my correspondent’s work started.
Then, after 1989, our Rusyn nation was abandoned like a homeless person, left with nothing. And it was no one else but your editorial office, which started to fulfil its mission. You started to issue Narodny Novînky and the magazine Rusîn. There, articles were written in our mother tongue, in Rusyn. It was a great gift for our people. Although you were fighting serious problems and imperfections, the major thing missing was money. You did not surrender, but, with sacrifice have continued in serving our nation, for which you deserve warm and deep thanks.
Gradually, the group of readers started to cast its net wider. Narodny Novînky Press and the magazine Rusîn have been improving. They have been bringing information from various areas of Rusyn life not only in Slovakia, but also abroad, where Rusyns also live. They have started to fulfil their mission and I hope they will keep on.
Is 15 years a lot or few? In human life it is not long, but in the life of the Rusyn printed word it is a nice age. To the following 15-year period, I wish you all in the editorial office good health, lots of happiness and energy at your hard and responsible work for all Rusyns.
August 21st, 2006
There is a wise old proverb saying that great is not the one who starts the work, but the one who keeps on through troubles and complications. We could also say that about the history of the first post-revolution issue for Rusyns in Slovakia entitled Rusîn and Narodny Novînky. For 15 years, they have been enriching the national-educational field for our Rusyn nation with their work.
On the occasion of the significant jubilee of our Narodne Novînky Press and Rusîn, I decided to briefly consider my relationship towards the above-mentioned issues. I was very lucky to learn about the work of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn while I was a student of the Pedagogical Faculty, University of Prešov. Many times, the nice editorial team welcomed me in their premises with caring words and not once gave me precious advice. In Narodne Novînky, I was given a chance to publish in my mother tongue and, in this way, I could meet the codified Rusyn language. In my opinion, Narodny Novînky Press was of great importance in forming my national awareness. Thank you, Narodne Novînky, that through you I could find out who I am.
The quarterly appendix Rusalka, aimed at children and youth, which has been published for six years, is surely an individual chapter in the history of Narodny Novînky. Rusyn youth was in this way given a chance not just to read but also create and publish their own works. And, as we can see, the number of young correspondents and emerging writers is increasing. In Rusalka, you can find interesting articles, contemplations, poems, experiences, and narrations, the authors of which are our young people. Even though, from the very beginning, Rusalka was a thorn in the side for many, it has been issued until this day and still has its correspondents, which shows how important Rusalka is for young people. I try to publish in each issue of Rusalka and, at the lessons of Rusyn, I also try to get my students to write articles and poems. Writing articles, which they can later read in Rusalka, is very motivating for them, just like it was for me in the past.
The editorial team under the leadership of Alexander Zozuľák has a great responsibility for publishing Narodny Novînky Press. It is necessary to praise them for saving Narodne Novînky and maintaining their publication in spite of many problems. Only thanks to them we can today celebrate the 15th birthday. I believe that the creative work of the editorial team will always be prosperous and that their leadership will never forget to allow space for young ones. Because it is they who are important for the future, only they will carry on in working for the Rusyn nation.
On behalf of all the young, I wish Narodny Novînky, Rusalka and Rusîn many successful years to come and the editors a lot of enthusiasm and patience in their hard, but for the nation very useful, work.
Mgr. Marek GAJ,
Rusyn language teacher at the Primary School in Radvan nad Laborcom,
Former first Chairman of the Association of Rusyn Youth in Slovakia
And the World Forum of Rusyn Youth
August 21st, 2006
The Holy Gospel of John starts with the words: „In the beginning there was the word...“ With the word, God started and with words, every work of a man starts too. With the word, the Rusyn Revival started 15 years ago, when (at the Andy Warhol Association and the Town Cultural Centre of Medzilaborce) in 1991, the magazine Rusîn and Narodny Novînky started to be regularly published. I was also present, in the beginning of this work. And that is why I think, it is also my place to think back...
Medzilaborce, 1990, Michal Bycko, Father Krajňák, Michal Turok-Heteš, the Festival of Culture and Sports, the zero issue of Rusîn...
Nowadays, nobody would be surprised by decadent Andy on the cover page of the magazine. However, then, in 1990, many were. But, at the same time, many people were surprised by the actual contents of the magazine. Mostly, it was a positive and generous surprise, but there were also some critics who were disappointed that „Rusnaks “ got “theirs”...
I also got mine. The critics were mostly annoyed with the “Greek-Catholic spirit“ of the articles about Alexander Dukhnovich, the Monastery of Krasnobrod and by the “idea of a Rusyn standard language“. The article entitled “The Babylon Tower in the Carpathian Mountains” fired up the blood of many. And it kept doing so for 15 years and it seems it will continue for many years ahead. If this is what happens with the enemies, so be it! But if this is the case with “our own people“, for whom the development of the Rusyn literary language is a “minor job as long as there are our festivals “; it is rather shameful.
Without literary language, without the teaching of the standard Rusyn language at schools, without Rusyn religious ceremonies, we will die as a nation! Every enemy of our work knows that. That is why they want Rusyns to be just a funded festival corpse.
Fifteen years ago in Rusîn, I wrote about the Monastery of Krasnobrod being in ruins and that it lacked the lovely singing of Basilian fathers. Today, a lovely new monastery is there, unfortunately however, the lovely singing of monks still cannot be heard... A funded corpse...
I wish Rusîn and Narodny Novînky vitality which can not only strengthen the hearts of all Rusyns, but also wake up those who dream the dreams of the dead.
Father ThLic. František KRAJŇÁK,
Governor of the Rusyn Culture Academy in Slovakia for Clerical Matters
and Deputy of the Slovak Association of Rusyn Organisations
August 21st, 2006