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17533Rusyns demand Rusyn in church

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  • Martin Votruba
    Feb 7, 2007
      Rusyn activists in Slovakia want the Greek Catholic Church (often
      called Byzantine in the US) to introduce Rusyn in its services. The
      campaign does not concern liturgy in the historical language called
      Church Slavic, which the activists want to retain, but at the sermons
      that are in Slovak.

      After the communists took over in Slovakia in 1948, they copied the
      practice in the Soviet Union and banned the Greek Catholic Church,
      which they linked to the (Russian) Eastern Orthodox Church. Following
      the demands from the Kremlin, they also banned references to Rusyn
      ethnic identity and mandated Ukrainian identity instead (many Rusyns
      preferred to opt for Slovak rather than Ukrainian identity then). The
      Greek Catholic Church was permitted again during the relaxation of
      communist rule in the late 1960s, but the ban on Rusyn identity was
      not removed until after the collapse of communism in 1989.

      The current Rusyn campaign, called "Charter of Rusyn Greek Catholic
      Believers 2007," charges that the Greek Catholic Church Slovakizes
      its Rusyn members because it does not provide for the use of Rusyn in
      church.

      The Greek Catholic Bishop's Office in Presov has said that the Rusyn
      activists should direct their linguistic demands to schools and
      cultural institutions, and that there has been a shortage of
      candidates for priesthood who could speak Rusyn.

      The activists say, however, that their campaign is aimed at the Church
      because that remains the only sphere where Rusyn is absent, and
      maintain that some of the Greek Catholic clergy would be able to use
      Rusyn in church, but fear to do so because of the Church hierarchy.

      Rusyn is an officially recognized minority language in Slovakia that
      is taught in several schools.


      Martin

      votruba "at" pitt "dot "edu
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