- Dec 7, 2012The first Slovak parish in New York was the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (Slovensky Kostol Sv. Alzbety), founded in 1891 and located on East 4th Street. Its pastor, Father Francis Dénes, tried to cater to both pro-Hungarian ("Magyarone") and anti-Hungarian Slovaks, but neither group was pleased. After a period of unrest in which small incidences could take on cosmic dimensions, Archbishop Corrigan allowed the Slovak nationalists to withdraw from the parish and organize the Church of St. John Nepomucene (Slovensky Kostol Sv. Jana Nepomuckeho) in a former synagogue a few doors away on the same street.
This explains why my Mother was baptised and confirmed at St Elizabeth's. I never heard her refer to herself or anyone in her family as other than "Hungarians" however over the years have found family documents showing her parents both emigrated in 1905 from Eperes/Presov in what is now Slovakia and all their documents including Grandpa's military pass show they were Slovaks and he was even Greek Catholic (Gorog Kath)on school docs. I heard my Mother speaking some Slovak later in life but she said she was speaking "hungarian" I knew better having been to Czech at Defense Language Institute in the Army and already working with immigrants in Germany. Clearly there was some ethnic "brainwashing" going on back then as I see in this history of their church.
Thank God that the Slovaks finally came into a national identity and country of their own free of the Magyars and Czechs.
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