13 June 2010

More than 100 people turn out to learn "Who Are the Rusyns?"

John Righetti explains the Rusyns
The first public event of the Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society brought more than 100 people Saturday afternoon to St. Peter & St. Paul Orthodox Church in Burr Ridge, Ill.

The crowd came from four states to hear John Righetti, the national president of the C-RS, tell the often-complicated story of who the Rusyns are, where they came from, and how they became so divided after emigrating to the United States.

Tom Sedor recorded the event, and as soon as DVD copies of John's talk are available, we'll get the word out to you.

The afternoon featured Rusyn snacks and pastries prepared by volunteers, who kept the crowd well-fed. A number of our guests said the talk helped answer the many questions they've had about their heritage.

We've also picked up some new members.

Sampling the Rusyn treats
The way things work, new members join the national Carpatho-Rusyn society, a membership which brings them the bi-monthly New Rusyn Times. Then they're automatically members of the Lake Michigan chapter, the 11th chapter of the C-RS.

Among the questions I received were why we didn't call ourself the "Chicago" chapter. I explained that we're targeting the broader Rusyn community that stretches along Lake Michigan from Northwest Indiana up into Wisconsin. Another questioner wondered whether Michigan was covered in our group.

Anybody is welcome to participate, but the main Rusyn settlement in Michigan is in the eastern part of the state, including the greater Detroit area and Flint. John Righetti tells us that there's talk of forming a C-RS chapter in that area.

Cornerstone of St. Peter & St. Paul
But as I said, anyone's welcome, and Saturday's event brought Rusyns from Muskegon and Indianapolis, along with one of our organizers and national C-RS board member Jim Kaminski who came all the way from Washington, D.C.

Sincere thanks go to St. Peter & Paul for the hospitality shown to us. Several member of our board are parishioners, and they helped organize the event -- and kept the air conditioning up on a muggy Saturday afternoon.

While nothing's finalized, we've discussed some tentative plans for a Northwest Indiana location for our next public event for a Saturday in October to mark the newly proclaimed Rusyn holiday (officially marked on Oct. 26). Stay tuned for details.

On Sunday morning, John and I attended liturgy at St. Peter & Paul and John sang with the choir, led by John Sutko.

The liturgy included a beatifully sung Church Slavonic version of the Cherubic Hymn using  Prostopinije, the distinctively Rusyn Carpathian chant-style, that provided a perfect end to the weekend.

--Tim Cuprisin


  1. My mom and I truly enjoyed the entire event and were happy to meet a relative - Father Korba (Uram)!

  2. Glad it went so well. Wish I could have joined in, but I'm several hundred miles too far away. Sigh.