17533Rusyns demand Rusyn in church
- Feb 7, 2007Rusyn 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
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.
votruba "at" pitt "dot "edu
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