Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blessed Nativity!

Video of a Traditional Rusyn Christmas in Zakarpattya.

December 25 (Gregorian Calendar) & January 7 (Julian Calendar)

Christos Razdajetsja! - Slavite Jeho!
Christ is Born! - Glorify Him!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Carpatho-Rusyn Saint Alexis Toth

Holy Father & Confessor Alexis of Wilkes-Barre - Father Alexis (Georgievich Toth) of Wilkes-Barre was a missionary priest, sent from his homeland in (Eperjes, now Presov in Zepes county) Slovakia as a Uniate, who, in order to serve and protect his flock in the United States in a hostile Latin environment, recognized the need to lead them in a return to their Orthodox Christian heritage. His feast day is celebrated on May 7th.

By this action Father Alexis Toth gained the distinction of being the first Uniate Greek Rite Catholic priest in America to lead his people in reunion with the Orthodox Church. Having been sent originally to America to be a missionary to the immigrants, Father Alexis, in his new role, was to fulfill his destiny as the missionary leading his people back to the Orthodox Church.

In December 1892 he evangelized the immigrants in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, preaching and enlightening them about their social and religious future in America. In 1902, he received the parish of St. John the Baptist in Mayfield, Pennsylvania, into the Orthodox fold. Elevated to the rank of protopresbyter, he was in the forefront, over the years until his death, of receiving parishes from the Unia into Orthodoxy. Through his efforts over 20,000 Carpatho-Russian and Galician uniates were re-united with the Orthodox Church.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Andy Warhol Movie "I am from nowhere" 2002

I am from Nowhere : Director: Georg Misch Genre: Documentary Produced In: 2002

Synopsis: Since 1952 countless films, documentaries, and reports have been made on the subject of Miková, the small village in Eastern Slovakia with a population of one hundred and fifty where the family of Andy Warhol stemmed from. Focusing on his relatives who still live there I am from Nowhere investigates the fuss the media made about them, thus reflecting on filming as well as being filmed, on media-fame, and on Warhol's legendary 15 minutes thereof. But this is a film even more about the dreams and hopes of the people there, about the universal human dream of a better life, and about an "American Dream" which quite unexpectedly turns out to be nightmarish.

This movie can be viewed in its entirety at the following link:

Movie Trailer from the documentary film "I Am From Nowhere: The People History Ignored"

This is the official trailer for the documentary film "I Am From Nowhere: The People History Ignored". Visit

Directed by Jonathan Martin. A Bohemian Industries/Rotwang Films LLC. Production. Filmed on location in Poland, Slovakia, Canada, and Connecticut. Languages include Polish, Ukrainian, Slovakian, German, and English.

The film tells the story of the little known and often ignored peoples of the Carpathian mountains. It details their history, their persecutions, crimes against them including genocide.

Website for Rusyn Wooden Churches in the Zakarpattya Region

There a website up with some new information on Rusyn Wooden Churches in the Zakarpattya Region. The site page for the Rusyn Churches is only 20-30% finished, but there are some interesting photos and information on the few they do have listed. Check it out.

Here is the link:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese's refurbished website

For any of you who have not seen it...the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese has recently revamped their website. The new website gives them a much more professional and organized look. There are also many new features on their new website. Please take a look and see what you think. Their website can be viewed at:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Holy Martyr Ludmilla

Holy Martyr Ludmilla - The Holy Martyr Ludmilla was married to Czech Prince Borivoy, and both were baptized by St. Methodius, Archbishop of Moravia and Enlightener of the Slavs.

As Christians, they showed concern for the enlightening of their subjects. With the light of the true Faith, they built churches and invited priests to celebrate the divine services. Prince Borivoy died at the age of 36. As a widow, St. Ludmilla led an austere, pious life and continued to work for the Church during the reign of her son, Bratislav.

Prince Bratislav married the Princess Dragomira with whom he had a son, Vyacheslav. After the death of Prince Bratislav, eighteen-year-old Vyacheslav came to the throne. Taking advantage of the inexperience and youth of her son, Dragomira began to introduce pagan manners and customs in the country.

St. Ludmilla opposed this, and Dragomira came to hate her mother-in-law. When St. Ludmilla moved to the city of Techin, Dragomira secretly sent two boyars to murder her. While St. Ludmilla was praying, the two assassins entered the house and carried out Dragomira’s orders.

The relics of the holy Martyr Ludmilla were buried in Techin in the city wall. Numerous healings occurred at her grave. Later, Prince Vyacheslav transferred the body of St. Ludmilla to the city of Prague and placed it in the church of St. George. Commemorated on September 16th.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Carpatho-Rusyn Saint Holy Martyr Maxim of Gorlice

Holy Martyr Maxim of Gorlice – Our righteous father Maxim Sandovich (also Maximus) of Gorlice, Protomartyr of the Lemko people, was a Carpatho-Rusyn hieromartyr who, in practicing his Orthodox faith as a priest under the rule of the Unia, as enforced by the Roman Catholic Austrian imperial government, was arrested and then executed for his faith in August 1914.

Maxim Sandovich was born into the family of a prosperous farmer, Timothy Sandovich, and his wife, Christina, in the village of Zdyna, Galicia. His father served as the choir director in the local parish. After finishing four years of study at the local high school in Novy Sanch, Maxim crossed the border into Russia to become a novice at the Pochaev Lavra in Volynia. Subsequently, he attended the Orthodox seminary in Zhitomir. Completing his studies he married a young Orthodox woman, Pelagia, and was ordained as a deacon and then to the priesthood before returning to his home.

It was not very long before the Austrian militia discovered his Orthodox pastoral and missionary service as he was denounced by a Ukrainian teacher by the name of Leos, in 1912. Immediately the Austrian gendarmes put Fr. Maxim in chains and sent him to prison in Lvov. There he was held for two years without a trial or inquest while being abused horribly and living in equally bad conditions. Then as World War I was to begin he was released for lack of evidence.

Fr. Maxim's stay at his home in the village Hrab was to prove to be short as the first shots of the war heralded a wave of new repressions of the Orthodox Carpatho-Russians. The militia, on August 4, 1914, arrested the whole family of the young priest and dragged them off in shackles to the prison in Gorlice. Fr. Maxim, his father, mother, brother, and wife were forced to travel on foot to the prison while being prodded by the bayonets of the gendarmes. In prison they were placed in separate cells and denied the opportunity to see each other.

Then, on Sunday, August 6, while at prayer at the dawn of the new day, Fr. Maxim could hear the noise of a crowd beyond the walls of their prison. The noise was accompanied finally by a load thud as a moustachioed German captain, named Dietrich, from Linz entered the prison grounds, accompanied by two soldiers and four gendarmes. The captain was known to be a cruel and sadistic person. This group was followed by the prison wardens, some civil servants, officers, and a group of curious women led by Pan Mitshka, the leader of the Gorlice District. As silence fell, the order was given to the warden to bring Fr. Maxim from his cell.

With that order two soldiers led the twenty-eight-year-old Orthodox priest from the prison. Fr. Maxim suddenly realized where they were taking him and humbly and with dignity asked, "Be so good as not to hold me. I will go peacefully wherever you wish." Even the taunting of the crowd did not affect his courageous bearing as he walked calmly and with a measured gait to the fateful wall, as befitting a follower of Christ.

Captain Dietrich ripped Fr. Maxim's cross from his chest, tossing it on the ground where he trampled it with his feet. As the captain bound Fr. Maxim's hands behind his back and blind folded him, Fr. Maxim exclaimed that it was not necessary as he had no intention of running away. But, the "brave" captain laughed and then marked with white chalk a line on Fr. Maxim's black cassock as a target for the riflemen. In the silence of the moment as the executioners were arranged, Pan Mitshka read the death sentence. With a short command from the captain, the saber was raised and lowered. With that action, shots echoed through the prison.

Fr. Maxim's voice could then be heard, first strongly but diminishing as he spoke, "Long live the Russian people." Then, leaning against the wall, "Long live the Holy Orthodox Faith." And, finally and barely audible, "Long live Slavdom." As his powerful frame slid down the wall, a gendarme ended Fr. Maxim's suffering by firing three shots from his pistol into Fr. Maxim's head.

Through all this Fr. Maxim's father and mother watched his heroic death in silence and as the final shots echoed through the prison his wife fell senselessly to the ground. Thus died Fr. Maxim Sandovich, a martyr for Orthodox Christianity.

His feast days are celebrated on August 6 (his repose) and September 6 (his glorification).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Carpatho-Rusyn Saint Alexis of Khust

Holy Father & Confessor Alexis of Khust (Hust) – Our venerable and God-bearing Father Alexis Kabaliuk, Apostle of Carpatho-Russia (August 30, 1877 – December 2, 1947), was a leader of the Carpathian Orthodox in the early 20th century. His feast days are celebrated on October 21 and December 2. There is an akathist written for him.

Alexander Ivanovich Kabaliuk was born into a Greek Catholic (Uniate) family but converted to Orthodoxy as a young man. He became an archimandrite and played a major role in reviving Orthodoxy in Transcarpathia in the early 20th century, and his missionary activities were persecuted by the Austrian-Hungarian authorities, who suspected Orthodox believers of pro-Russian sympathies. On the eve of World War I, Kabalyuk was sentenced to jail, and following his release he was one of the leaders of the Carpathian Orthodox until his death in 1947. He is considered an Orthodox hero and was glorified in 2001 by the Church of Ukraine (Moscow Patriarchate) as the first Subcarpathian Russian Orthodox saint.

His relics are at the St. Nicolas monastery in the village of Iza in the Ukraine.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Synaxis of Carpatho-Rusyn Saints

On August 28, 2005, Metropolitan Nicholas of the American Carpatho- Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) proclaimed that starting in 2006 the Second Sunday after Pentecost will be commemorated as the Synaxis (Gathering) of the Carpatho-Rusyn Saints of the Holy Orthodox Faith.

On the Orthodox Church calendar, the first Sunday after Pentecost is dedicated to All Saints of the Orthodox Church. The Kondak for that Sunday tells us: "The universe offers Thee the God-bearing martyrs as the first-fruits of great creation, O Lord and Creator. Through the Theotokos and their prayers establish Thy Church in peace."

The Second Sunday after Pentecost is designated in some calendars as the Sunday of the Regional Saints. So it is appropriate that the Carpatho- Rusyn saints are commemorated on this day.

The twelve Saints who are remembered are:

1. St. Maxim of Gorlich. He was martyred in 1914 for his priestly witness against Austro-Hungarian oppression.

2. St. Ludmilla. Martyred in 926. She was the grandmother of King Wenceslaus.

3. St. Procopius of Sazava. He built several monasteries in the 11th century which subsequently became centers of Orthodox Christianity when the Church came under severe governmental opposition.

4. St. Rostislav. As prince of Moravia in the 9th century, SS Cyril and Methodius were encouraged to begin their missionary work with the Slavic people.

5. and 6. St. Cyril and his brother St. Methodius who established the Orthodox faith and were the first Orthodox witnesses to the Slav nations. They lived around the year 863.

7. St. Wenceslaus. The king of the Czech and Moravian lands known for his charity and promoting of Christianity among his subjects. He was killed in 929. He was the subject of the well-known (Christmas song "Good King Wenceslaus." Sometimes identified as Vagislav in martyrologies.

8. St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre. He was instrumental in evangelizing many in the early 20th century.

9. St. Moses the Hungarian. He was a slave for many years. He entered a monastery in the eleventh century. He endured much for his Christian faith while a slave.

10. St. Gorazd. He was the bishop of Moravia and Sleizska. During World War II, he harbored members of the resistance in the Orthodox cathedral in Prague. He was executed by the Nazi.

11. St. Alexis of Khust. He led many Carpathian people to the Orthodox faith about the same time as did St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre. He was persecuted by the Nazi during World War II.

12. St. Ephrem of New Torzhok

Over the next few weeks I will be exloring more about all of the Carpatho-Rusyn Saints, their lives and their service to the Carpatho-Rusyn People and the Orthodox Church.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Beautiful Carpatho-Rusyn Chapel in Pennsylvania

The Saint Nicholas Chapel mirrors the churches in the homeland of Greek Catholic Union’s founders who came to America from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe, present day Eastern Slovakia and Western Ukraine.

The Chapel is a New World re-creation of GCU’s founders’ Old World faith. Their Eastern Christian heritage is reflected in the tranquil, prayerful interior of the Chapel.

Constructed of various hardwoods, the Chapel is a celebration of “God With Us,” a theme echoed in the liturgical services of the Eastern Christian Churches. Saint Nicholas, patron of the GCU and the Byzantine Catholic Church in America, lived in the fourth century in Asia Minor. He was a model of faith and an example of virtue. His most notable attribute was his charity to fellow humans. Featured at the Chapel are ten scenes from the life of Saint Nicholas. Each has a message and a teaching purpose, now recorded on the walls of the Chapel for future generations.

A Museum combining GCU, Greek Catholic, and Carpatho-Rusyn histories is located on the lower level of the Chapel. Many one-of-a-kind artifacts are included in the collection. The Saint Nicholas Chapel, adjacent to the GCU Home Office in Beaver, PA is open and free of charge to interested persons. Reservations are required and may be made by calling GCU at 1-800-722-4428.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rusyn Links

Dear Friends,

Recently I have been searching the Internet trying to find interesting links to various sites that in someway or another pertain to the Rusyn People and Culture. If you look on the right hand side of this Blog, you will see a "Various Rusyn Links" section. Even with my surfing, I am sure I have missed some very interesting and enlightening sites. So, I am asking you for some help in expanding the "Links" section of my Blog. If you know or find a website that mostly pertains to the Rusyn People, Places or Culture, please post a comment with the web address of the site.

Thanks for your assistance,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Aleksander Duchnovič - Ja Rusyn Byl

Aleksander Duchnovič (1803-1865)"Vrucanie" -- 1851 Almanac Pozdravlenie Rusynov

Я Русин был, єсмь, и буду, Я родился Русином,Честный мой род не забуду, Останусь єго сыном;

Русин был мой отец, мати,Русская вся родина,Русины сестры, и браты И широка дружина;

Великій мой род, и главный, Міру єсть современный,Духом и силою славный, Всїм народам пріємный.

Я свїт узрїл под Бескидом, Первый воздух русскій ссал,И кормился русским хлїбом, Русин мене колысал.

Коль первый раз отворил рот, Русскоє слово прорек,На аз-буцї первый мой пот З молодого чела тек.

Русским потом я питан был, Русским ищол расходомВ широкій свїт; но не забыл С своим знатися родом. --

И теперь, кто питает мя? Кто кормит, кто мя держит?Самое русское нлемя Мою годность содержит!

Прото тобї, роде мой, Кленуся живым Богом,За печальный пот и труд твой Повинуюся полгом. --

И отдам ти колько могу, Прійми той щирый дарок,Прійми вот маленьку книгу, И сей писменный рядок;

Прочеє же не забуду Сердца моєго скрухуПожертвити; -- я твой буду, Твоим другом и умру.

In English:

I was, am and will remain Rusyn, I was born a Rusyn, My honorable lineage I will not forget, And I shall remain its son;

My father and mother were Rusyn, As are all my relatives, My brothers and sisters are Rusyns, And my large group of friends;

My great and mighty people Are united in peace, And with renewed strength and spirit, Are magnanimous to all others.

I first saw the light of this world under the [Carpathian] Beskid range, The first breath I drew was Rusyn, And I was raised on Rusyn bread, A Rusyn it was who cradled me.

When I opened my mouth for the first time, I spoke Rusyn words, And it was over Cyrillic letters That sweat ran from my young brow.

Later I was educated as a Rusyn. And as such went out into the wide world; But I did not forget My own distinguished people.

And now who shows me the way? Who nourishes me? Who uplifts me? It is the Rusyn nation Which upholds my respectability.

It is for you, my people, I bow down to the living God. Through sweat and hard work I pay back my obligation

And give to you as much as I can Accept as a gift and with sincerity. This little book And its writer's words

I will not forget to sacrifice this repentance From the bottom of my heart. I will remain your devoted Friend until I die.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Notable Rusyn Americans

Juliya Chernetsky, Hostess of various TV shows on Fuse TV.
Sandra Dee, actress
Steve Ditko, comic book illustrator and co-creator of Spider-Man
Bill Evans, jazz musician (Rusyn mother)
Thomas Hopko, Orthodox Christian theologian
Tom Ridge, politician (Rusyn mother)
Tom Selleck, actor (Rusyn father)
Mark Singel, politician (Rusyn mother)
John Spencer, actor (Rusyn mother)
Michael Strank, soldier
Robert Urich, actor (Rusyn father)
Andy Warhol, artist
James Warhola, illustrator
Peter Wilhousky, composer
Gregory Zatkovich, lawyer and political activist
Paul Zatkovich, newspaper editor and cultural activist

Politics of the Rusyns

This is a very sensitive subject for all sides involved. What is the true politics for the Rusyns? Good question. If you ask 4 different people from 4 different regions, you will clearly get 4 totally different responses. Are any of them right, are any of them wrong? Who knows? I think what is important is for the people of Rusyn decent to come together as a group. Stop fighting each other because one is a Greek Catholic (Uniate) and the other is Eastern Orthodox. Stop fighting because one person of Rusyn decent was born in the current country of Ukraine while another person of Rusyn decent was born in Slovakia or Southern Poland.

The ancient area where the Rusyn people came from is a divided area. Not all that came from those areas or current live in those areas consider themselves to be “Rusyn”. The traditional geographic area of the Rusyn people is considered to be: the mountainous Transcarpathian region of western Ukraine and adjacent areas in Slovakia, as well as extreme areas of southeastern Poland. Many of the Rusyn people moved away from their traditional homelands over centuries, for economical or political reasons, and have settled in various areas through out Eastern, Central and Southern Europe. There are a large numbers of ethnic Rusyn people, outside of current day Ukraine, that live in Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary and Poland. As well, many Rusyns emigrated to the United States and Canada.

The Rusyns have always been subject to larger neighboring powers, such as Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Poland, the Soviet Union, Ukraine, and Russia. In contrast to the modern Ukrainian national movement that united Western Ukrainians with those in the rest of Ukraine, the Rusyn national movement took two forms: one considered Rusyns as a separate East Slavic nation, while the other was based on the concept of fraternal unity with Russians.

Most of the predecessors of the Eastern Slavic inhabitants of present-day Western Ukraine, as well as Western Belarus, referred to themselves as Ruthenians (Rusyns) prior to the nineteenth century. Many of them became active participants in the creation of the Ukrainian nation and came to call themselves Ukrainians. There were, however, ethnic Rusyn enclaves, which were not a part of this movement: those living on the border of the same territory or in more isolated regions, such as the people from Carpathian Ruthenia, Poleshuks, or the Rusyns of Podlachia. With no reason to change their self-identifying monikers, these isolated groups continued to refer to themselves as Rusyns even after the majority of their people had begun to self-identify as Ukrainian.

In my opinion, the most important factor in being Rusyn is not a national identity, but in the historical, ethnic and cultural beauty that is found in our heritage. To recognize that our predecessors suffered through changing political governments, borders, economic difficulties and other hardships. Many of them moved out of necessity, to make the lives of their children and future generations better.

It does not matter if you are a Rusyn from Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, USA or Canada. What matters is the recognition of our shared past as a people, a saving and sharing of our history, culture, and traditions.

So personally I feel that one can be both Ukrainian and Rusyn, just as one can be Serbian and Rusyn, or Canadian and Rusyn. In addition, religion should not be a factor either. There are many Rusyn that are Greek Catholic, just as there are many that are Eastern Orthodox. Lets not continue the squabbles of the past. Let’s unite in a common theme, being Rusyn, and not divide ourselves by Religious differences.

Remember the words of Aleksander Duchnovič..."I was a Rusyn, I am a Rusyn, and will always be a Rusyn!” Let being a Rusyn be a tool to unite us, and not divide us.

Vladimir Lavenko

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Get "The Ukrainians" to come to the USA for a concert Tour!

Get the musical band "The Ukrainians" to come to the USA for a concert tour. If they get enought hits on theit request widget they will try to arrange a tour.

Invite 'The Ukrainians' to your city
If you want to see them in your town, let them know. Pass this widget to other fans. When there are enough people, they'll pass this on to local promoters.

Demand The Ukrainians in Las Cruces!
The Ukrainians in Las Cruces - Learn more about this Eventful Demand

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Welcome to my new Blog Page

Welcome to my new Blog page...."The Roaming Rusyn."

My name is Vladimir Lavenko. I am of Rusyn decesnt and was born in the USA. I am very proud of my heritage and my families culture and history. I want to share some of my thoughts, ideas, and travels with all of you through this Blog page.

I am in my early 40's and I live in Southern New Mexico, USA. Not a very common place for a Rusyn to live.

I hope you will subscribe to my Blog, visit it on occasion when you have a chance...and hopefully will supply me with some courteous, respectful, insightful feedback.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my first Blog.

-Vladimir Lavenko