22 January 2012

Lemko Homeland Tour

Lemko Region—July 20–August 2, 2012
Optional Western Poland—August 2–6

Seize the cultural experience of a lifetime! Discover the richness and fullness of the Lemko Rusyn heritage in the scenic and haunting beauty of the Lemko homeland, Lemkovyna, nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Carpathian Mountains of southeastern Poland.

Learn about the Lemko people, their history, culture, and the events that helped shape their lives. Enjoy their songs and dances, their delicious foods and wonderful traditions, and the camaraderie of the local Lemko people. Visit the village of your ancestors and walk in their footsteps.

C-RS tour director, Nancy Revak teams up with native Lemko cultural leaders to give you a true taste of Lemko culture and history. It's an experience you will never forget—one from which you will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of your own Lemko ancestry

Don't miss out. Register NOW! Deadline is FEBRUARY 1, 2012.

This year's Lemko Tour is twelve days full of interesting experiences. Add four more days on the optional extension to Western Poland, where Lemkos were forcibly resettled in the 1947 Akcja Wisla, and where many Lemkos still live today. Attend the annual Vatra Lemkos in Exile, a traditional bonfire festival, where Lemko Rusyns from many lands reunite to celebrate their survival and revival.

This year, tour members will have the choice of departing the U.S. from two locations: 
  • Chicago—for the convenience of those traveling from the West and Midwest
  • NY/NJ—for those traveling from the East

Everyone will meet up in Warsaw and continue together from there.

The Lemko Homeland Tour is sponsored by the Carpatho-Rusyn Society (C-RS) in cooperation with the Rusin Association of Minnesota. Polish American Tours (PAT Tours) will book your air travel roundtrip from your local airport and back.

IMPORTANT: If you are interested in taking the tour, IMMEDIATELY contact Nancy Revak at lemkotour@c-rs.org or 310-473-8522. EARLY SIGN-UP IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to take advantage of current airline rates, taxes and fees, which are expected to increase significantly after the first of the year and skyrocket the closer we get to the summer peak travel season

For the full details and registration form, view the announcement here. 

Lake Michigan Carpatho-Ruysn Society Celebrates Rusyn New Year

Participants continue the Rusyn tradition
of providing more than enough food for guests
Candles burning in holiday centerpieces on each table added a festive touch to Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society’s Rusyn New Year celebration.  Eighty people made their way to St. Peter and St. Paul Orthodox Church in Burr Ridge, Illinois on January 14 for the chapter’s second annual potluck luncheon.  

The buffet table was laden with traditional dishes such as halushki (noodles and fried cabbage), pagach (flat bread with potato and cheese filling) accompanied by honey for dipping, pirohi, mushroom machunka (thick soup made with dried mushrooms), bryndza (sheep’s milk cheese), herring, halupki (stuffed cabbage), pickled beets and smoked sausage as well as salads and appetizers. As more and more food kept arriving, Paula Manzuk, who volunteered to coordinate the food, was kept busy re-arranging the tables to make room for new dishes.  A separate dessert table was covered with traditional Rusyn nut and poppyseed rolls, kolachi and poppyseed cake as well as other sweets. 

Prior to the luncheon, guests had the opportunity to visit the genealogy table where Arlene Dremak Gardiner assisted them in finding the villages of their ancestors.  She also encouraged them to attend the chapter’s genealogy workshop which she will conduct in late summer.  Arlene and her daughter Karin Gardiner Sandman also displayed some of their pysanky collection.  They will offer a pysanky-making workshop on Saturday, March 24 at Descent of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church in Schererville, Indiana.  Information about both events will be posted on this blog.  At the Rusyn Market, Richard Trojanowski and Ken Cuprisin offered books, T-shirt, CDs and other Rusyn items, some of which came from Rusyn villages in Slovakia and Poland.  
Arlene Gardiner assists Bob Yurschak
in finding the village of his ancestors.
Some attendees gathered about a table with a display board commemorating the chapter’s late president Tim Cuprisin who died the day before Thanksgiving.  It also held pictures of last year’s pysanky decorating and genealogy workshops which will be held again this year.  On the table were photographs from the 1940’s and earlier of Viflejemčiki or Jasličkári, traditional Rusyn Bethlehem singers.  Traditionally the Jaslichkary or shepherds, garbed in white long white garments with colorful ribbons across their chests and tall stove-pipe hats, began their visit to a home with the singing of Rozhdestvo Tvoje, the tropar for the Birth of Christ. Then they presented a short play about the Nativity and sang carols. They carried with them a small church with a nativity scene inside as they told the story of His birth. 
Joan Klisch-Williams looks at old pictures of traditional Rusyn Jaslichkay.
The solemnity of the Jaslichkary was in sharp contrast to the accompanying kubi who wore old clothes and sheepskin masks and carried wooden hatchets.  They chased children about the home, threatening to put the naughty ones in the large burlap bags they slung over their shoulders.  The likelihood of such a happening was diminished as the bag was usually filled with food and drink from the households already visited. The singing of Mnohaja Blahaja L'ita (Many Blessed Years) concluded the visit.

After the luncheon, newly-elected president Charlotte Pribish Conjelko introduced all the board members and talked about upcoming events such as a pysanky-making workshop at Descent of the Holy Spirit Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Church in Schererville, Indiana on March 24 and a genealogy workshop in late summer.  She also welcomed suggestions for programs and speakers.

A big hit at the gathering were Heather Domanski and Colleen Villasenor who wore traditional Rusyn clothing which they created.  The talented seamstresses have their own business making priests’ vestments, Easter basket covers and baptismal dresses from wedding gowns.
Colleen Villasenor and Heather Domanski tell
about their Rusyn garments that they created.
After everyone had eaten, Board Member John Sutko led the singing of traditional Rusyn Christmas carols.  He also created a booklet of 15 traditional Eastern European carols for those who attended to take home.
Ss. Peter and Paul choir director John Sutko leads the singing of carols after the luncheon.
The day concluded with host pastor Fr. Herman Kincaid inviting everyone to attend a Panachida for deceased Lake Michigan Chapter President Tim Cuprisin in the church and wishing everyone a safe journey home.
Fr. Herman Kincaid offers a Panachida for Tim Cuprisin.
Responses were sung by board members Fr. John Lucas, treasurer, Fr. William Conjelko and John Sutko

17 January 2012


The board of the Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society recently elected two new officers and board members.  Former chapter secretary Charlotte Pribish Conjelko of Hobart, Indiana has succeeded the late Tim Cuprisin as president.  Tim’s brother Ken of Lynwood, Illinois is the new secretary.  Chicago residents Brendan Barry and Karin Sandman were elected to the board.  

Other board members are Fr. John Lucas of Chicago, treasurer; Michael Baron, Joliet, Illinois; Fr. William Conjelko, Hobart; Richard Garbera-Trojanowski, Round Lake, Illinois; Arlene Dremak Gardiner, Racine, Wisconsin; Tom Sedor, Orland Park, Illinois; John Sutko, Burbank, Illinois; and Lisa Terlecki, Berwyn, Illinois.

On Saturday, March 24 the chapter will host a pysanky-making workshop at Descent of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church in Schererville, Indiana.  Details will be posted on this blog shortly.  A Rusyn genealogy workshop will be offered in late summer.

06 January 2012


Just a reminder that Sunday, January 8 is the deadline for letting the Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society know if you plan to attend its Rusyn New Year potluck.

Barbara Rolek of the Eastern European food website and her camera will be joining the festivities January 14 to learn more about Rusyns and our cooking.  You can visit her site at: www.easteuropeanfood.about.com. 

Those who attend are urged to bring their recipes to share with Barbara and the group.  Thanks to Nancy End all of last year's recipes were typed and shared with the chapter which we will do again this year.  It is not mandatory that the dish be homemade.  

Details about the event and contact information are below.

Христос раждається! Christos Raždajetsja! Christ is Born!

According to the Julian Calendar, today is Christmas Eve.  Among the customs Rusyns brought with them to this country were Viflejemčiki or Jasličkári, traditional Rusyn Bethlehem singers, who carried a small replica of a church with them.  Their visits to homes during the Christmas season began with the singing of  Rozhdestvo Tvoje, the tropar for the Birth of Christ. 

Traditionally the Jaslichkary or shepherds, garbed in white long white garments with colorful ribbons across their chests and tall stove pipe hats, presented a short play about the Nativity and sang carols.  Their solemnity was in sharp contrast to the accompanying kubi who wore old clothes and sheepskin masks and carried wooden hatchets.  They chased children, threatening to put the naughty ones in the large burlap bags they slung over their shoulders.  The likelihood of such a happening was diminished as the bag filled with food and drink from the households.

The singing of  Mnohaja Blahaja L'ita (Many Blessed Years) concluded the visit.

The picture from SS. Peter and Paul Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Church in Central City, Pennsylvania is probably from the late 1940s.  The Jaslichkary in the back row are John “Herbie” Pribish, Steve Evano, Ed Fetsko and Mike Strongosky.  The kubi are John Muha and one of the Smolen brothers.