30 July 2010

First Slovak Folklore Festival planned for September in Hillside, Ill.

What's being billed as the "First Slovak Folklore Festival Chicago 2010" has been scheduled for 4 p.m., Sept. 11  at 4550 Roosevelt Road, Hillside, the building of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association.

The event will feature performances by the Veselica & Veselicka Folk Ensembles, the Vychodna Slovak  Dancers, the Pajtasi Music Group, the Siumni Highlander Group, the Omladina Folk dancers, the Balkanke Igrie, and Fujara player Drahos Dalos.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Seniors 65 and over are $19, and kids under 10 are free.

You can buy tickets here, or call (312) 404-8104 for more information.

29 July 2010

Carpatho-Rusyns on Radio Slovakia International

English-language Radio Slovakia International has aired a 10-minute look at the Rusyns of Slovakia.

You can listen to the broadcast here.

28 July 2010

An overview of "The Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic Churches"

This new article from One Magazine is written from a Catholic point of view, but it provides a balanced primer on how the Carpatho-Rusyns moved from Orthodoxy to the Greek Catholic/Byzantine Catholic church, starting with the Union of Užhorod in the 17th Century.

Author Michael J.L La Civita notes that differences between the Ukrainians and Rusyns were apparent even before the Union:

"Though they shared the same customs and rites as their northeastern neighbors (modern Ukrainians), Rusyns adapted these rites, making them their own. Fortified by the monks of St. Nicholas Monastery, an ancient foundation located near Mukačevo (a town in modern Ukraine), Rusyns built their unique wooden churches, wrote their icons and sang their plainchant, or prostopinije, all contributing to the creation of a distinctive Subcarpathian Rusyn Orthodox church.

26 July 2010

A steamy Saturday in historic Whiting, Indiana

Thanks to the hospitality of Father John Kovach, the board of the Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society met Saturday in air-conditioned comfort in the parish hall of  St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Whiting, Ind.

The current church at 2011 Clark St. in an undated illustration.
After Saturday's meeting, a short walk to Whiting's annual Pierogi Fest led me to the historic image (at right) of St. Mary's, parish founded in 1899 by Rusyn immigrants.

It's the oldest Byzantine Catholic parish in Northwest, Ind., and is considered the mother church to a number of parishes in Indiana and in Chicago.

Daphne Myers pointed me to this bit of parish history from "The Standard History of Lake County, Indiana and the Calument Region," published in 1915:

"St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church, in charge of Rev. Valentine Balogh, is an organization of American-Ruthenians, which since 1907 has been under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1899 they bought the church and parish house which had been erected by the German Reformed Lutherans and established an independent organization.

"The pastors of this first society were Rev. Father Seregelyi, Rev. Eugene Satala and Rev. Father Parscouta. The appointment of Father Balogh, in 1907, came through Rt. Rev. S. S. Ortynsky. who had been selected from Rome as bishop of the Greek Catholic Ruthenians in the United States.

On account of legal complication with his predecessor, Rev. Father Parscouta, he did not take active charge of the church until May, 1908. Since that time the progress of the parish has been steady and smooth."

The current church was dedicated in 1918, as the corner stone shows.

St. Mary's in Whiting, Indiana today.

25 July 2010

Save the date: Saturday, October 30

The Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society will mark the first Carpatho-Rusyn Day in North America with a public event on Saturday, October 30.

UPDATE: Thanks to the hospitality of Msgr. Frank Korba, we've finalized the location for the event, St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church, in Munster, Indiana. Tentatively, the doors will open at noon, with the program beginning at 1 p.m.

22 July 2010

You say pierogi, we say pirohy

Whiting, Indiana's annual Pierogi Fest starts its three-day run on Friday, July 23 in the heart of the Northwest Indiana community.

And while it's not a Rusyn festival, there are plenty of us in the neighborhood, so we'll be eating our pirohy, while our Polish-American friends are nibbling on their pierogi.

Here are the details for this year's fest.

In fact, the Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society is holding a board meeting at noon Saturday in the shadow of festival, in the parish hall of St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Whiting. The location enables those of us who want to sample some delicacies shared on both sides of the Carpathians -- before or after the meeting -- to partake. 

Let's hope for cooler weather than we've had of late. And as we organize our new group, let's hope we can have presence at next year's Pierogi Fest.

To show the pan-Slavic nature of the festival, here's a short video from last year's festival showing a Slovak dance group (ignore the title):

21 July 2010

Some great press for the Carpatho-Rusyn Cultural Center

At Carpatho-Rusyn Cultural Center: Slovak mayor enjoys dance

You can find the Slovak translation of the article over at the Cultural Center's blog.

Here's a little sample:

V Kultúrnom centre karpatských Rusínov

Slovenský primátor má rád tanečnú zábavu

Napísala Kelly Fennessy
reportérka Daily News

Kultúrne centrum v meste Munhall získava vďaka špeciálnemu hosťovi medzinárodné uznanie.

Takmer 100 ľudí prišlo v piatok večer do budovy Národného kultúrneho a vzdelávacieho centra karpatských Rusínov na Dickson Street na úplne prvú typickú rusínsku tanečnú zábavu.

Zábavy sa zúčastnil aj špeciálny hosť, primátor slovenského mesta Prešov Pavel Hagyari, ktorý svojou zastávkou v tomto centre zakončil svoju šesťdňovú návštevu regiónu mesta Pittsburgh. Prešov a Pittsburgh sú partnerskými mestami.

19 July 2010

An introduction to the Rusyn wooden architecture in Slovakia

Denisa Herelova is a Slovak-born writer who put together an interesting overview of the wooden churches of Eastern Slovakia at a site called suite101.com.

It's always comforting to see a writer who understands who the Rusyns are,

If you look at some of her other pieces, you'll learn about bryndza cheese, which she terms a "superfood," and pick up some more info if you're planning a trip to the homeland.

The site also offers an article full of tips on restaurants in Bratislava, the Slovak capital.

18 July 2010

Forget the halušky, please pass the five-spice beef

Here's an entertaining piece from the Youngstown, Ohio,  newspaper on a Carpatho-Rusyn church that's scoring by serving less-than-traditional fare, thanks to the pastor's Shanghai-born wife.

UPDATE: Here's a more complete version of the story.

16 July 2010

An archaeological discovery in Mukačevo

The spelling is wacky and some of the details are off, but if this Greek blogger is right, it looks like a cave monastery dating back to the 11th Century has been discovered in Mukačevo, in the Rusyn heartland of Transcarpathia.

14 July 2010

Who knows what you'll find at the Polish Museum of America sale

Chicago's Polish Museum of America Library holds its annual Duplicate Book Sale, and Items from the PMA Attic Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (July 17), and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday (July 18).

The sale of books and other materials -- such as pottery, paintings and ornate frames --  will be held in the First Floor Social Hall at the PMA, 984 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Anything left unsold will be available at a discounted prices through July 31. The library's normal hours are Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday's from 1 to 7 p.m.

For more information, call the library at 1-773-384-3352, ext. 101.

11 July 2010

If you happen to be in Pittsburgh next Friday evening . . .

The Carpatho-Rusyn Cultural Center is hosting a summer dance at 7 p.m. Friday (July 16).

Admission is $5 per person for this zabava, sponsored by the C-RS National and the Pittsburgh Chapter.

Mayor Hagyari (center), with Righetti and Sivak
Dean Poloka, director and choreographer for the Slavjane dance group, will be on hand to offer demonstrations of Rusyn dance steps.

Among the special guests will be Pavel Hagyari, mayor (or Primátorof Prešov, Slovakia. 

Maryann Sivak, of the cultural center, and national C-RS President John Righetti met him at a Rusyn masquerade ball in February 2009, and they invited him to the center.

"We are very pleased that he did remember and are looking forward to his visit," says Maryann.

UPDATE: Here's a report from the Cultural Center's blog on how Friday's Zabava/Dance turned out.

05 July 2010

It's St. Cyril and Methodius Day in Slovakia and the Czech Republic

July 5 is a national holiday in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic honoring Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the "Apostles to the Slavs."

They are linked, at least through legend, to the spread of Christianity among our Carpatho-Rusyn ancestors.

Here's a reprint of a Byzantine Catholic tract on the saints and their influence on the Rusyns.

This article comes from the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church.

And here's a piece from a Slovak Roman Catholic parish in Canada.

02 July 2010

Some numbers to chew over this Independence Day weekend

The Lake Michigan region
I'd like to thank all of you who regularly check the blog for new posts.

I'm happy to report that Lake Michigan Rusyns received 539 unique visitors in June, up from 430 in May. Readers come from around the world, with hits from the Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia, along with Russia, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Australia and the UK.

But 97% of our visitors come from the U.S. And a large number come from Lake Michigan Rusyn country: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and crossing Lake Michigan into the state of Michigan. And readers come from across the U.S., including the Rusyn-American heartland of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Obviously, our focus is our specific piece of the Rusyn-American community. But I try to post articles on broader Rusyn topics.

I'd love to be able to offer more material on our local Rusyn history, like this. I'm always interested in photographs from our past.

So if you have materials to share, please send them to me at lakemichiganrusyns@gmail.com