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Re: [Slovak-World] Re: Rusyns demand Rusyn in church

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  • maxine
    Hi Martin, You are so knowledgeable, thank you for explaining all this to us. Keep up the good work. Maxine Is Michalovce Rusyn also? ... From: Martin
    Message 1 of 20 , Feb 13, 2007
      Hi Martin, You are so knowledgeable, thank you for explaining all this to us. Keep up the good work. Maxine

      Is Michalovce Rusyn also?


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Martin Votruba
      To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 1:50 AM
      Subject: [Slovak-World] Re: Rusyns demand Rusyn in church


      I think you gave a very good account of the situation, Joe. One's
      identity is formed by what others tell us what we are, beginning with
      our parents and soon by others. Once we are a little older, we use
      that information to begin to decide who we are for ourselves, but then
      others can still influence us by labeling us in ways different from
      what we'd rather choose.

      Most of the Eastern Slavs in the former Kingdom of Hungary acquired a
      fairly clear identity -- they became Rusyns (just as the Western Slavs
      in the Kingdom became Slovaks and the Southern Slavs became Croats).
      It was more complicated in Poland-Ukraine because the borders shifted
      a lot all the time.

      Although the Rusyns/Eastern Slavs still used several labels for
      themselves once they found themselves in Czechoslovakia after 1918
      (Rusin, Rusnak, Malorus, Rus, Ukrajinec...), it was clear that those
      who did saw their identity as different from that of their West Slavic
      fellow citizens and neighbors, the Slovaks, and the other way round.

      That was crushed after WW II. Their administrative part of
      Czechoslovakia, Sub-Carpathian Rus (the north-eastern part of the
      earlier Kingdom for the preceding 800 years), was annexed by the
      Soviet Union in 1945 and all the Eastern Slavs had to call themselves
      Ukrainians there after that (Rusyn identity was banned).
      Czechoslovakia, which turned communist in 1948, had to follow suit.
      When Prague copied the Soviet ban on Rusyn identity, many Rusyns in
      Slovakia were eager to call themselves Slovak out of fear that their
      villages might still be annexed by Moscow, too, or they personally
      deported if they called themselves Ukrainians (those fears were
      probably unfounded by then).

      So, the Rusyns in communist Czechoslovakia were left with two options:
      either call themselves Ukrainians or Slovaks. Understandably, most
      chose the second option -- the identity of the majority in the state
      where they lived rather than the identity that was being forced on the
      Rusyns across the border just east of them, who had now found
      themselves in the Soviet Union -- a lot incomparably worse than being
      in communist Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.

      After 40 years of Rusyn "official non-existence," communism collapsed
      in Czechoslovakia, people are allowed to call themselves whatever they
      want again, and Rusyn activists are trying to persuade the descendants
      of those who used to call themselves Rusyns before communism to
      recognize that identity for themselves again. It's an uphill
      struggle: the decades of Slovak identity, intermarriage, migration
      have taken their heavy toll on a group of people that was not
      particularly numerous in Slovakia to begin with. Moreover, they've
      lost the supportive influence/"hinterland" of the about 500,000 pre-WW
      II Rusyn majority in Sub-Carpathian Rus where Ukraine is still
      suppressing Rusyn identity.

      About 90,000 people called themselves Rusyns (and related identities)
      in pre-WW II democracy in Slovakia in the 1930 census. Immediately
      after the collapse of communism, about 17,000 called themselves Rusyns
      + about 13,000 Ukrainians for a total of ca. 31,000 in the 1991
      census, a precipitous drop of 60% while Slovakia's population actually
      grew by 60% during the same period. Although activists (and Magocsi)
      hoped then that the number might quadruple within a decade, it hasn't
      happened: about 24,000 called themselves Rusyns + about 11,000
      Ukrainians for a total of ca. 35,000 in the 2001 census.

      Rusyn activists base their hopes on the higher number of people in
      Slovakia who say their mother tongue is Rusyn, ca. 55,000 + 8,000
      Ukrainian for a total of about 63,000 more than a half of whom
      identify as Slovak; and on the number of Greek Catholics, ca. 220,000
      plus ca. 50,000 Eastern Orthodox for a total of 270,000, most of whom
      Rusyn activists tend to see as people who lost their Rusyn/East Slavic
      identity over the centuries of living in the Kingdom among the Roman
      Catholic and Protestant Slovaks and Hungarians.

      People can claim whatever ethnicity and religion in Slovakia, and
      change both freely, so it's been up to the activists and people's
      choice in the past 16 years. But the present choices are among the
      results of the annihilating grinder through which Rusyn identity was
      put in the decades between the end of WW II and the collapse of communism.

      Martin

      votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • vchromoho
      ... this to us. Keep up the good work. Maxine ... Hi Maxine, Let me just jump in and say that I think Martin s summary of Rusyns in (Czecho-)Slovakia was
      Message 2 of 20 , Feb 13, 2007
        --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "maxine" <maxine96@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Martin, You are so knowledgeable, thank you for explaining all
        this to us. Keep up the good work. Maxine
        >
        > Is Michalovce Rusyn also?

        Hi Maxine,

        Let me just jump in and say that I think Martin's summary of Rusyns
        in (Czecho-)Slovakia was superb.

        Before he responds to your question, let me throw out there this
        very interesting article from the website of the Orthodox parish in
        Michalovce:
        http://www.pcomichalovce.szm.sk/HISTORIA/historia1.html

        It pretty clearly demonstrates that Rusyns were one of the
        significant ethnic groups who lived in Michalovce and many of the
        surrounding villages. Unfortunately, according to the 2001 census
        statistics, that is no longer the case (of course, the descendants
        of the people who were the local Rusyns are still around; they just
        don't feel anymore that they are Rusyns). Perhaps Martin will refer
        to / summarize this article when he responds to your question.

        Rich
      • bergschlawiner
        In the GC church in Bardejov and the Orthodox cathedral in Presov I heard Rusyn spoken during the sermons. The Rusyns have already been publishing a New
        Message 3 of 20 , Feb 13, 2007
          In the GC church in Bardejov and the Orthodox cathedral in Presov I
          heard Rusyn spoken during the sermons. The Rusyns have already been
          publishing a New Testament in Rusyn. No one is forcing the faithful to
          use or pray in Slovak like they are doing in the US with English.
        • vchromoho
          ... been ... to ... You provide two examples, but you assert that No one is forcing the faithful to use or pray in Slovak . Are you certain that this has
          Message 4 of 20 , Feb 14, 2007
            --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "bergschlawiner" <KD7EER@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > In the GC church in Bardejov and the Orthodox cathedral in Presov I
            > heard Rusyn spoken during the sermons. The Rusyns have already
            been
            > publishing a New Testament in Rusyn. No one is forcing the faithful
            to
            > use or pray in Slovak like they are doing in the US with English.

            You provide two examples, but you assert that "No one is forcing the
            faithful to use or pray in Slovak". Are you certain that this has
            never happened, anywhere?

            As my Greek Catholic Rusyn priest friends in Europe have asked
            me, "Why is the Church acting so vehemently against Rusyns?" Frankly,
            I didn't have an answer for them, and I too would love to know why.

            Ponder, if you will, the sad stories on this website:
            http://www.geocities.com/timkovic/

            The ONLY time the current bishop of Presov, Babjak, has written to
            address the concerns of Rusyns at all has been to denounce and rebut
            them:
            http://www.grkatpo.sk/spravy/?zobrazit=text&id=797
            http://www.grkatpo.sk/spravy/?zobrazit=text&id=529
            Where is the pastoral concern in that? Does he have nothing more to
            say to them than "this is all a lie"?
          • Caye Caswick
            Rich, any chance that comes in an English version? Caye ... http://www.pcomichalovce.szm.sk/HISTORIA/historia1.html ...
            Message 5 of 20 , Feb 14, 2007
              Rich, any chance that comes in an English version?


              Caye



              --- vchromoho <rcuster@...> wrote:

              > --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "maxine"
              > <maxine96@...> wrote:
              > >
              > > Hi Martin, You are so knowledgeable, thank you
              > for explaining all
              > this to us. Keep up the good work. Maxine
              > >
              > > Is Michalovce Rusyn also?
              >
              > Hi Maxine,
              >
              > Let me just jump in and say that I think Martin's
              > summary of Rusyns
              > in (Czecho-)Slovakia was superb.
              >
              > Before he responds to your question, let me throw
              > out there this
              > very interesting article from the website of the
              > Orthodox parish in
              > Michalovce:
              >
              http://www.pcomichalovce.szm.sk/HISTORIA/historia1.html
              >
              > It pretty clearly demonstrates that Rusyns were one
              > of the
              > significant ethnic groups who lived in Michalovce
              > and many of the
              > surrounding villages. Unfortunately, according to
              > the 2001 census
              > statistics, that is no longer the case (of course,
              > the descendants
              > of the people who were the local Rusyns are still
              > around; they just
              > don't feel anymore that they are Rusyns). Perhaps
              > Martin will refer
              > to / summarize this article when he responds to your
              > question.
              >
              > Rich
              >
              >




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            • Martin Votruba
              ... Thank you Dr. Q, Maxine, Rich, for your kind words. Actually, I wondered whether Rich might be able to say more about it -- he s got the best information
              Message 6 of 20 , Feb 14, 2007
                > Is Michalovce Rusyn also?

                Thank you Dr. Q, Maxine, Rich, for your kind words. Actually, I
                wondered whether Rich might be able to say more about it -- he's got
                the best information about these topics of anyone I know. Rusyns have
                certainly been in the Michalovce area for hundreds of years. It's not
                easy to be very specific about the more distant past because reports
                about ethnicity become scanty. The earliest survey of the languages
                in the Habsburg monarchy listed Slovak as the major language in
                Michalovce and the surrounding area (roughly, from Trebisov to
                Humenne) in 1772 but that's all. The survey didn't ask about all the
                languages, only about the major (not necessarily majority) language in
                each village.

                The website that Rich has linked to says that the earliest known
                record of the Rusyns in the area comes from 1254, but such Central
                European records rarely tell us anything about when a settlement came
                into existence, only by what year it had already been in place, which
                is the case in this instance, too. (I'm skipping some amateurish
                narration about earlier history at that website.) Those who follow
                the Eastern Christian rite have been the second largest religious
                group in Michalovce (40%-->20%) since at least the 18th century.


                Martin

                votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
              • vchromoho
                No, Caye, unfortunately not. It would make a worthwhile project to translate it, though; perhaps the Carpatho-Rusyn Society could do something about that. The
                Message 7 of 20 , Feb 14, 2007
                  No, Caye, unfortunately not. It would make a worthwhile project to
                  translate it, though; perhaps the Carpatho-Rusyn Society could do
                  something about that.

                  The Michalovce Orthodox parish has an English version of their site,
                  but so far there's really nothing on it:
                  http://www.pcomichalovce.szm.sk/ANGLICKY/pco-finish.html

                  --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, Caye Caswick <ccaswick@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Rich, any chance that comes in an English version?
                  >
                  > Caye
                  >
                  > --- vchromoho <rcuster@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "maxine"
                  > > <maxine96@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > Hi Martin, You are so knowledgeable, thank you
                  > > for explaining all
                  > > this to us. Keep up the good work. Maxine
                  > > >
                  > > > Is Michalovce Rusyn also?
                  > >
                  > > Hi Maxine,
                  > >
                  > > Let me just jump in and say that I think Martin's
                  > > summary of Rusyns
                  > > in (Czecho-)Slovakia was superb.
                  > >
                  > > Before he responds to your question, let me throw
                  > > out there this
                  > > very interesting article from the website of the
                  > > Orthodox parish in
                  > > Michalovce:
                  > >
                  > http://www.pcomichalovce.szm.sk/HISTORIA/historia1.html
                  > >
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