WHO ARE WE?
By JOHN SLIVKA
NATIONALITY: Rusin, Russian, Ruthenian, Slovak?...
ECCLESIASTICAL NAME: Greek Rite Catholic, Byzantine Rite Catholic????
From the curious title of this paper, it should not be hard to visualize some of the con-fusion our people feel as RUSINS, as to their ethnic, their national and their ecclesiastical background. who are we, and where have we come from, what should we be properly called, are all matters that should easily be solved through the research of history and of philology, providing our research is done without prejudice or falsification. There have been, historically, many such attempts, but the cause of true history has been done many an injustice. All such legitimate efforts have been curtailed or thwarted, since the background has not been sufficiently studied, and the research has not been honestly brought to its legitimate conclusion.
In history and in philology, the facts, as presented, may be but half truths; they may have been slanted, so that a specified aim may be achieved. Again, time takes its toll from historians and philologists alike, and the medley of truths and half-truths they have concocted will remain, the further to confuse the legitimate student in both of these fields.
Whenever a person assumes a name other than his own, we can no longer call this his "original" name, since he is using a given, or an assumed name. In the same way, the work of the historian, of the philologist does not change the original, even though it be dubbed with a strange appellation. The assumed name, the falsified name, is but a new word; it has no lasting effect on the ethnic or national group it assumes to represent.
There have been many historians and students of philology who, in the past, have cried out against the false labels, that have been applied to us RUSINS. The matter has never yet been satisfactorily settled, and in this area confusion continues to prevail. In my efforts to raise my voice in this ethnic and national debate, I but join with scores of writers who, in the past, have endeavored to bring out the facts. I am not hoping to inaugurate a Debating Society. I but hope to present historical facts and opinions stated by authors who are noted for the authoritative ring of their findings. Among ourselves, what have we been calling ourselves? Are we RUSINS, RUTHENIANS, RUSSIANS or SLOVAKS? What is the correct ecclesiastical label? Are we Greek Rite Catholics, BYZANTINE Catholics, or does some other name best suit us? We have inherited, we have assumed, we have made up, or been branded with names that are supposed to designate our ethnic, our national or our cultural background, but we have accepted these various names without a sufficient investigation of their historical and philological bases. My right name is John RUSIN. Why should I, or why should anyone else change my name to John RUSSIAN? Why should I name myself, or allow anyone else to call me John RUSSIAN? That is not my name. A person's name is his sole identification.
What are other people thinking these days, in the matter of racial, national and cultural inheritance? In the House of Representatives of the United States, a bill was introduced (1968) asking the establishment of a National Commission for the PRESERVATION OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES on the American scene. This bill reflects the really deep concern of many citizens, of many educators for a national policy that will identify, that will compile and that will preserve the resources of many of our non-English speaking American citizens, i.e. citizens of the United States of America. (1)
Ben Jehuda is a Hebrew writer, who says: "Whoever rejects Hebrew, rejects his own people." "Every nation," he said, "has the right to defend its own nationality". Ben Jehuda was possessed of a beloved son. Although he had passed his third birthday, he still didn't speak. His only playmates were a cat and a dog. His wife said: "Let our child play with other children; jet him learn to speak with them." "Yes indeed," Jehuda replied: "Let him learn a foreign language! Our Hebrew people speak more than three hundred languages; the only one they do not speak, is HEBREW-- their own!" (2)
But, let us turn our attention to our own Rusin people.
What is our nomenclature, our correct national and ethnic name? (3) what should be our proper ecclesiastical nomenclature? Here in the United States of America, our people have had a variety of names since they began coming here in the 1880's.
NATIONAL NAME: 1. Rusin 2. Russian 3. Rushin 4. Ruten 5. Ruthenian 6. Rutheni Hungarorum 7. Uhro-Rus' 8. Uhro-Russ 9 Uherski-Rusin 10. Russo-Hungarian 11. Little Russian 12. Malo-Rus' 13. Rusnak 14. Rusnyak 15. Carpatho-Ruthenian 16. Karpato-Rus' 17. Podkarpatskij Rusin 18. Zakarpatskij Rusin 19. Carpatho-Russian 20. Chorvatskij Rusin, etc., etc. (4).
ECCLESIASTICAL NAMES: 1. Greko Kaftolik. 2. Greek Catholic. 3. Russian Church, 4.Slavish Church. 5. Greek Rite Catholic Church. 6. Greek Rite Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite. 7. Greek Slavanic Rite Catholic Church. 8. Greek Slovanic Rite Catholic Church 9. Ruthenian Rite Catholic. 10. Greek-Byzantine Rite Catholic. 11. Byzantine Rite. 12. Byzantine Greek Rite Catholic. 13. Byzantine Slavonic Rite Catholic. 14. Byzantine Slovanic Rite Catholic. 15. Byzantine Rite Slovanic Usage. 16. Byzantine Ruthenian Rite.17. Ruthenian Catholic Rite. 18. Slavonic Greek Rite. 19. Greek Ruthenian Rite. 20. Greek Rite. etc., etc
THE CATHOLIC DIRECTORY: (5) is a good gauge of the changes in official titles, given by our ecclesiastical superiors in the United States of America.
In 1914. we were the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church in the United States of America.
In 1916 we had become the Ruthenian Catholic Diocese.
In 1918 we were the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Diocese.
In 1925. the Diocese of Pittsburgh (Greek Rite).
In 1956, we appeared as the Byzantine Exarchate of Pittsburgh (Greek Rite) and finally, in. 1964 we were the Byzantine Rite Eparchy of Passaic. These names were all correct, at that time, but how various and varied they seem as we look back at them.
The pages of the "Byzantine Catholic World" (6) are some times far-flung in their nomenclature. On March 17.1968 the '"Byzantine Catholic World" reported that Bishop Stephen A. Kocisko, D.D.. appointed to the Eparchy of Pittsburgh, again, to the Ruthenian Eparchial See; at another point, as a Ruthenian Eparch of Pittsburgh. On page 8 of the same issue. the Most Rev. Stephen J. Kocisko, D.D. was Bishop of Pittsburgh Byzantine Catholic Diocese. at ceremonies, that took place in the Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic Church. Which title is official?
The time has certainly come when a standard form of our name should he adopted and all others, inherited or casually bestowed on us, should be dropped.
Searching for our national name, I have found the following facts; first: SLOVANIC. The origin of this name comes from the word SLOVO which means word, i.e. the people who speak words. In the beginning all the languages were primitive, therefore one was forced to use the primitive names. SLOVO - word, i.e. those people who speak words, were called the SLOVJANE - SLOVANIC people and not SLAVANIC, nor SLAVONIC. Other people whose words they did hot understand they called Nimi. Nimci, i.e. dumb, mute.
SLOVJANE, SLOVENSKY NAROD. (7) Slovanic, Slovanic people.
A group of people, who lived in India, (8) named themselves SLOVJANE, SLOVENSKY NAROD. In the year 1896 BC (9) this group wandered westward and occupied in Europe the territory known today as Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Rumania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
A group of the Slovanic people migrated south and there they chose a leader, by the name of SRB - SERBIN and settled in the Balkan territory naming themselves after their leader SRB, SERBI - Serbian. (10)
Another group of the SLOVANIC people traveled westward seeking better pastures, better lands. This group traveled with the two brothers Lech- L'ach and Cech (Czech). L'ach settled in the territory of present Poland and Czech in present Cehia - Bohemia. (11)
Thus the SLOVANIC people in the south became known as Serbians and in the west as Czechs and Poles.
The group of the SLOVANIC people who remained in the Carpathian mountains, (12) invited a RUS' (13), to organize them and establish a government for them so that they might be led by their leaders. At that time the RUS' people were also called "SVEIE" (Swedes) a name they keep to this day.
Many scholars derive the name of this SLOVANIC group of people from the leader RUS', the sons of RUS', i.e. RUS' SYNY, Rusyn, RUSYNY, Rusiny. The two words thus became a single word.
Referring to any English dictionary you will find the words Slav, Sclavus, Sclaboi, Russ, Russian, but you will never find the word RUSYN, RUSIN. The word Slave: the reduction to slavery of many Slavic peoples of Central Europe. (14)
In the past, although our forefathers might have been slaves, they still had their own name. Why not use it today. Our forefathers always said: "MY SLOVJANE, we are Slovanic and not SLAVANIC." "My hovorime SLOVA a ne SLAVU, nasa besida sostojit iz slovach, tak my nazyvajemesja SLOVJANAMI. We speak words and not glory, our conversation is composed of words, therefore we are called the people who speak words, SLOVANIC."
When the SLOVANIC language, the SLOVJANSKIJ JAZYK, was divided into dialects by accepting words, names from their neighbors, the SLOVANIC people started to use other names too, but the name SLOVANIC - SLOVJANE remained among them. (15)
Some of the Rusin nationals who are dwelling or have dwelt among the Slovak nationals, are beginning to classify themselves as Slovak nationals, because at present the territory in which they were born or live, is Slovakia. Let us be objective. The same territory was Hungary before 1919, were these people, who at present call themselves Slovaks, were they Hungarians- Magyars? The territory, State, Country does not change a person's nationality or ethnic group's name. It remains the same, that is an inheritance from the ancestors. Such misled people must learn that there is a great difference between nationality, culture, citizenship and territory. I can be a citizen of a country, but that will not give me my mother tongue, my ethnic group and as we would say commonly nationality (language), and vice versa.
Citizens of the United States of America are of different national groups, linguistic groups, as English, German, Italian, Rusin. Russian etc., they cannot classify themselves, as American nationals, neither ethnically nor linguistically.
There are people who do not take pride in their ethnic or linguistic group; they join the majority and feel that they belong to a better class ethnically and linguistically. Such a move would change neither their ethnical nor linguistic origin, but they would be classified as: Anglicized, Germanized, Russianized, Slovakized etc. people and not a true English, German, Russian or Slovak national and linguistic group.
The historians have a proverb, which says: "He who is not interested in the past, does not deserve a better future". So it is with those who do not treasure their ethnic, their linguistic group. A nation lives in its language.
If we were to look for the word "RUSIN" in the English language Dictionary, we would not find it defined as a nation. No one has ever taken time out to define, to explain the origin of the word "RUSIN", or if he did, it was not appreciated and it was not printed, and if it was printed it served some other purpose. But we find the word "RUSSIAN". However if we would ask a RUSSIAN in his language, what is his nationality (linguistic), he would say:
"Ja Rossian, ja Russkij, Russka, and not RUSSIAN. If we ask a RUSIN the same question, he will say: "JA RUSIN - JA RUSYN, RUSSKIJ RUSKA and not RUSSIAN nor ROSSIAN.
Many people do not take into consideration Orthography and parts of speech, when they translate the word-name RUSKIJ or RUSSKIJ into English. The adjective of RUSIN -RUSYN grammatically speaking is: RUSKIJ, RUSKA, RUSKOJE and for RUSSIAN it is also RUSSKIJ, RUSSKAJA, RUSSKOJE. The adjective answers the question kto, cto, i.e. who is he, who is she, what is it? The ending of the Adjective is "ii or yj, Rusin- Rusyn, Ruskij, or as suchij, bilyj, dobryj.
Therefore when we speak about the Rusyn, Ruskij, we should not translate the name
RUSKIJ into English as RUSSIAN, but give it its own identification. When we speak about RUSSIAN RUSSKIJ then we translate the word -- name RUSSKIJ in English as RUSSIAN.
The name RUS' RUSYN, RUSIN RUS'KIJ was used centuries before the name RUSSIA
- RUSSKIJ came into existence. Therefore, let us name the child by its own name, then the child will be aware about whom or to whom you are speaking. The name is an identification of a person, ethnic group, country, etc. Therefore we must use it properly, to know who or what is in concern and not to change it according to taste, feeling, political or national views. II you are a RUSYN - RUSIN use the name RUSYN - RUSIN and do not substitute another name. If you are a RUSSIAN, do likewise, do not name a RUSSIAN a RUSYN -RUSIN or vice versa. Use the grammar and pronunciation of words according to tile one in concern. The listening itself is still the most important matter in learning a language; the printed material is just a reminder of what you heard. Example: The RUSSIAN "U" has an odd sound because, as in Russian "o", the lips are slightly rounded and protruded, when you read the word, name RUSSIAN, it sounds as if pronounced RRROSSIAN. (the R sound like RRR). (15A)
An adult has already a set of habits for pronouncing his own language, and this makes it harder for him to learn new ones, than for a child who is starting from scratch. That is why, it is so important that you should not be afraid of mimicking, even what you hear may sound strange to you. Every one is urged to limit every sound, every inflection, as heard. Ja hovorju po rus'ki or Ja gavarju pa russki.
What do the Slovaks say about the RUSINS? Volod. Hnatjuk divides all the RUSINS (i.e. Greek Rite Catholic Uniates) into two groups: 1. Rusnaks, 2. Sloviaks. Rusnaks are those Rusins, who use the infinitive ending with "ti" and do not use the word "DZE". The Sloviaks use the infinitive ending "C" (TS)) and use the word "DZE". The first he names Rusnaks and the other Sloviaks - Slovensky (the contrary to Slovaks).
To name the Sloviaks for Slovaks and call their dialect the Sloviak dialect or the Slovak language according to him a grave mistake. They, themselves say: "My hotorime po Slovensky a nie pa Slovatsky". Nasa rets ye Slovenska rets a nie Slovatska". "Ale neyen retsi i zvyky, typem characterem jsou to RUSOVE a ne SLOVATSI". We speak Slovanic and not Slovak. Our language is Slovanic and not Slovak, but the language, customs and character make them Rusins and not Slovaks.
Not even the dialects which the Rusnatsi (Rusins) and Sloviatsi use with a forced division, have the same inner composition and vocabulary.
To illustrate this with only a few words used in western Slovakia and in Eastern Slovak, compare these with the RUSIN words. (16)
Z PODRETSI LUTSIVNANSKEHO Z LUTSIVNE
Bol yeden kral a ten kral sa vibral na polovku. A ten kral sa stratsil od svoyikh kamaratokh. Tak daleko do lesa isel, ze az zabludzil, i nemohol sa zo svoyimi kamaratami zists. Zasla ho nots i khodzil tel'o po l'ese, az vidzel svetlo. A to tam bul kosyar. I on isel tam, psi nanho skotsili. Prisol batsa a psov oduril. Kral sa pita: "Prosim vas, tsi bi see ma neprenotsovali? Ya som sa stratsil od svoyieh kamaratakh. Teraz bludzim po l'ese nemozem niyakim kontsom trafits!. Dobre. Baca narikhtoval vetseru pre svoyich yuhasokh. Ay kral'a zavolali na tu vetseru. Dali mu varekhu do ruki, abi yel s nimi a ze latsni bol, ay sa barz neodmahal... Isyel s nimi na tu vetseru. Yak oni yedli, tak on zatsal sverkhu sirene sberats. A moy batsa ryaf ho po ruke i povye": A tso nezres s krayu, jak idruhi?... (28)
UKAZKY NARETSI RUSNATSKEHO VYKHODNIHO SLOVENSKA
1. Z NIZNIKH REPAS V BYV. SPISI
Isou jeden suster, mal pri sobi cizmi. I prisou na jednoho mnicha. Mnich lezau opituj. Suster vzjal s mnicha reverendu a sa obl'uk za popa. Prisou na jednu dedinu, de nebul sem roku pup. Sobi prosil popovsku sluzbu na tuj dedini. Rechtar dal zohnati prezendasou a dal sa s torn popom do jednanko. Ta ho barz rado prijali. Tak sobi pojednal sem gboli jarcu, I vsitko, cu mu potrebno bulo. Jed i pil az nepojil i neprepil vsitko, cto sebi vijednal. (28)
2. Z VYSNEHO SVIDNIKA V BYV. SARISI.
Bil Salomon kral' na balu. Jak z balu prisol i marnca sa go zvidala: Sto tam, sincu, dobrogo cuti? Ta sitko plano, maminko cuti. Ta ne rnoze tarn sinku planogo cuti. Ta sto on zrobil? Zaklikal svogo inasa. Pides tu gu rnarnci mesti chisku a obrisnec ji vodi kuscik na nogi. Taj pocujes tu, sto ona bude govoriti. (29)
3. z CERTIAZNEHO V BYV. ZEMPLINE
Koli sujatij Petro izo svojim bratom Pavlom chodiu po niskosti, po zemli, prijsli gu jednoj vody, ne mogli pereiti. Isou jeden gazda z vozom zo stirma volami. Oni jogo prosili, zbi jich pereviz cerez vodu. ... (29)
4. ZUBL'E NAD UZHORODOM.
Iza daunych casuu, koli jsi Jisus Christos isjatim Petrom chodiu po zemli zyu ujednom sel'i jeden zyt, u kotoroho nebyla lern jedna koroua, kotru vun prodau, zeby mau scoho platiti na skolu, kotra sa budovala, jag zyt prodau korou, taj stym prodau i vsytko svoj sojesta i stau chudobni i pustiusa po zebrich... (29).
If we compare the language used by the villagers of Eastern Slovakia with the ordinary Slovak usage, we shall see that the language of these people is much closer to the RUSIN than to the regular Slovak language. Why should this be so, except that these people are really not Slovaks, but Slovakized RUSINS. It is, of course, true that the language these people speak is not a literary language; it is but the language of the common people. Should we use the literary Slovak with them, they would have no concept of what we were talking about, but they would understand the literary RUSIN language.
Now let us take a' look at what some of the leaders of the RUSINS in our country (U.S.A.) think and feel in this matter.
There was a National Congress of RUSINS held in Homestead, Pennsylvania, in September of 1919. It was Mr. Julius Gardos, President of the American National Council of UHRO-RUSINS, who summed the matter up in a nutshell, when he said: "There, everything was decided in the name of the RUSINS, for the good of the RUSINS". (30)
In 1929, a memorandum was published by Michael Yuhasz Sr. with the title: "WILSON'S PRINCIPLES IN CZECHOSLOVAK PRACTICE", signed by Michael Yuhasz Sr. as President of the RUSIN COUNCIL of NATIONAL DEFENSE in AMERICA. To the memorandum he added the admonition: "Medieval Latin writers have designated these people as RUTHENIANS. This name has also been adopted by modern foreign authors. While these people were part of the political, economic and cultural unit of Hungary, they termed themselves UHRO-RUSINS or simply RUSINS. Since their incorporation into the Czechoslovak Republic, they have denominated themselves as PODKARPATSKI RUSINS and PODKARPATSKA RUS'. This they have done to indicate their distinct individual national character, customs and language. These are the points in which they are distinguished from their Slovanic brothers." (31)
At the end of 1930, a census was taken in PODKARPATSKA RUS'. In previous Census reports most of our people, the RUSINS, had been recorded by the Czech Census officials as Slovaks or as Magyars. Because of this, they had been deprived of their rights as legitimate minorities.
To prevent the recurrence of this fraud, it was decided at an Eparchail Consistory of Munkacs in Uzhorod, that instructions and warnings should be given to the people as to how they should be registered in the Census. Bishop Peter Gebey and his Consistory asserted: This deliberate destruction of a people, brought about by outlanders and other enemies of our RUSIN people must be brought to an end. It is the sacred duty of each and everyone of the faithful to respond to the call for enumeration, and to register in the Census as RUSINS, in accordance with those unforgettable words of the Great Awakener and poet Alexander Duchnovics: "I have always been, I am, and I shall ever continue to be, a RUSIN." In the admonition to the people, the Consistory added the words:
"Whosoever does not register as a RUSIN, tears apart our most precious garment of national strength and unity". (32)
Bishop Alexander Stojka, in his Pastoral Letter of May, 1935, strongly opposed the
Slovakization of the RUSINS of the Greekk Rite Catholic Church. "Not long ago," he wrote,
"the newspapers were filled with stories that the Slovakization was spreading in CarpathoRus,
and especially in the Prjasev Rus'. Soon after the change in government, (33), certain Greek Rite
Catholics, anxious to prove the superiority of their loyalty to the Czech government, began
calling themselves "'Slovak Greek Catholics'." Mter the manifestation of these tendencies, an
action was begun in Parisian (34) political centers, to establish a separate Slovak Greek
Catholic Hierarchy, or a separate Greek Catholic Eparchy. Such movement naturally beg~ unrest
and dissatisfaction among the RUSIN GREEK RITE CATHOLICS, for this was patenfly a work
of Slovakization of the RUSINS, under the cloak of Church and Religion.
These tendencies were not only provocative, but absurd. Dr. Edward J. Benes and Thomas G. Masaryk debated this question before the delegates of the Versailles Peace Conference, when the question had risen as to how many RUSINS there were in CARPATHO-RUS'. Both said that the divisions of Prjasev and Munkacs must be taken into consideration, since EVERY GREEK CATHOLIC is "ipso facto" a RUSIN by nationality. Fifteen years later the Czechs, who not so long since acknowledged that EVERY GREEK CATHOLIC was a RUSIN by nationality, began to speak another language. Some of the Czech and Slovak newspapers went so far as to say that there were more Slovak Greek Catholics in Slovakia than there were RUSINS. For his defense of RUSIN nationality and the Greek Rite, as Father of his faithful, Bishop Alexander Stojka was attacked by the Czech and Slovak press. These attacks were, in turn, printed here in the United States by the various Czech and Slovak newspapers.
Respect and great honor are due Bishop Alexander Stoika, (35) for fearlessly defending his people, their nationality and their RITE. He knew from the past history that Slovakization will in time mean Latinization, the destruction of the RITE, a virtual genocide both for the RUSINS and their nation, not to speak of the irreparable loss of their GREEK CATHOLIC RITE.
In his Pastoral Letter, Bishop Alexander Stojka stated, among other things: "All the Uniate Greek Rite Catholics in the region are RUSINS. They, therefore, have the obligation to sing in RUSIN and in Russky in their churches, and not in slovak. He urged them to learn the Cyrillic alphabet, so that they might be able to read the Church texts which are written in that script. He besought them to speak to their children in RUSIN, so that they might learn and preserve the language. He likewise reminded the teachers in his Church Parochial schools to carry out these orders. Otherwise, he warned them, they would deserve and probably get reprimanded.
Bishop Paul Gojdich addressed his people in a Pastoral Letter along simular lines. He wrote a letter to the Ministery of Education in Bratislava, January 26, 1930.
Bishop Paul Gojdich in his Pastoral Letter said: "Open wide your hearts and accept the good RUSINS, the poor and forgotten RUSINS, into your love. Both their souls and their nationality are in danger of being forgotten, for their enemies now surround them on every side. Unless we extend a helping hand to them now, they will all very soon disappear, these RUSINS of DUCHNOVICS, of Pavlovics, of Valyi the Great.
Who primariiy, had been called~to this task, other than we, their leaders? We have been chosen by God, and placed in the forefront to lead our people. Before God, before mankind and before history, we have been charged with the responsibility for both their religious and their national future.
In the interest of our people, let us take up a stand. Through the intensification of our pastoral care, let us lead our people to the Lord, our God, strengthening them in their religion and in their love for God and for their neighbor, fortifying them as well, in their RUSIN fidelity, not only to their Catholic Faith, but to their love for their RITE. Thus, without abandoning their own, they should have no desire for what is foreign.
Teach them respect for what is foreign, but to love wholeheartedly what is their own. Let us teach our RUSINS not to be ashamed of their language nor their nationality. Rather let them understand that they belong to a nation that is great and that they may proudly hold up their heads beforee the world because of its greatness. (36)
Czech children are learning their lessons in school, in Czech not only in the Czech areas, but in Moravia, and in the autonomous PODKARPATSKA RUS' as well. The same rule applies to the Slovak children, the Magyar children and the German tots. It is only the RUSIN children who are not being taught in their own mother tongue.
The Education Law states: "In the national schools, the children are not to be used as bargaining tools, since education is guaranteed not only by the Education Law, but categorically, by the terms of the Peace Conference, which no one, who has at heart the peace and the welfare of the Republic, may dare to violate".
It is our hope that the Honorable Minister of Education will take note of this humble petition, and that he will look kindly on these poor suffering people, who have always been loyal in obedience to authority. They ought not to be deprived of this minimal requirement of the law, which states that RUSIN children should be instructed in their own language, the RUSIN language. (37).
As late as June 1968, the following statement appeared in the "TRIBUNA CITACIV", of Priasiv. "At present, they are anxious to change our nationality, our language, so that we are no longer to be called RUSINS, but Slovaks. These same people are anxious to have us change our RITE and accept the Latin rite, so that it will be an easier task to Slovakize us".
Even in Rome, when our Greek Rite Catholic Church is spoken or written of, it is simply called the Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite. No more can we say that there are in the Church any Greek Rite Catholics! They have all disappeared!
In present day Czecholovakia, the press carries articles that assert that the Greek Rite Catholic Church has disappeared, has been abolished. There are, they say, some Catholics of the Byzantine Rite, but these have all emigrated! (38)
Facts are often distorted and wrongly interpreted through faulty translation. Writing a biography of Metropolitan Szepticky, in "Slovak Studies" a publication of the Slovak Institute, Cyril Korolevsky, the translator, translates the word "Slavs" as "Slovak", when a more correct translation would be "SLOVANIC" or "SLOVYANE", Slovensky yazik is more correctly translated as the Slovanic language, rather than the Slovak language. (39).
A bit farther on in the same number of "Slovak Studies", the statement is made that the members of the Greek Catholic Union were "Slavs and Ruthenians from Southern Carpathia", but that their weekly paper was published in both the Ruthenian and Slovak language. Quite obviously, under the term Slavs from Southern Carpathia, the appelation "Slovak Greek Catholic", is concealed.
The "Amerikansky Rusky Viestnik" appeared in a distorted type of RUSIN, the RUSIN used in the Eastern part of present day Slovakia. Its editor, Paul Zsatkovich, was a native of Rakocz, in Zemplin county. Until 1906, it was published with the Cyrillic alphabet. After that date Latin letters were used, with here and there, a sprinkling of material in Cyrillic type. (40)
We have another illustration of the Slovensky language in the "Slovak Studies". Korolevsky, the author we've quoted before, speaks of the Congregation for the Eastern Church, where, in 1932, both the Ruthenians from Galicia and the Ruthenians from Subcarpathia were included under the single term of Ruthenians. Conditions today have changed substantially, from those of 1932. The Ruthenians from Galicia are officially termed: Ukrainians, and, he states, it is time to admit that most of the Ruthenians from Subcarpathia are actually Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite who emigrated to the United States from Eastern Slovakia. (41).
History may be slanted, but a true historian will note the slant, and correct it. Our RUSIN bishops have not been silent in this matter, and in 1930, we had the example of Bishop Peter Gebey protesting against Slovakization. In 1935 Bishop Alexander Stojka spoke out against it, as did Bishop Paul Gojdich, in 1936.
It seems surprising that the Slovak Institute in Rome should use the State Census of 1930, when they speak of nationality and religion, instead of the Schematismus (Directory) of the Eparchy of Presov, where they might find a truer description of our RUSIN people, and a more valid Census. I doubt that such historians phylologs as Jan Husek, S. Czambel, V. Hnatjuk and Jiri Polivka etc. would take much pride in using such census figures.
Let us not be imitators. Let us rather learn from those who know their place in the scheme of things and glory in what is their own. The Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Catholics (Melkites), Maximos V. Patriarch of Antioch and of the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem in his first public address as a Greek Catholic (Melkite) Patriarch, in his Cathedral church in Beirut, Lebanon (42) said: "The Almighty has willed to place this great burden on our shoulders. It was His will that we should be elected Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic community, as the successor of the distinguished Patriarch Maximos IV. Sayegh."
"I am a Lebanese," he said, "and I take pride in my Lebanese nationality, working, as I do, for the good of Lebanon and for the welfare of its sons."
"What I was yesterday, I am today, an Arab who takes pride in his nationality. I keep faith in my pledge and work with those who work, and struggle with those who struggle, until such a day comes when, with the Lord's blessing, right and justice and peace shall be restored to all of us."
In every nation, where my Patriarchate extends, all of us owe allegiance to the constituted authorities, as well as that respect and close cooperation that redound to the good of the whole body of citizens."
These are indeed words of mature wisdom. Follow the implied advice, remain amongst your own people, accept your nationality, your language, your cultural inheritance. In these you will find the precious remains that are worth more than diamonds and pearls. Treasure this inheritance; through you, may they give off the glitter and sparkle of sincere appreciation. As a Lebanese, as an Arab, as a Greek Catholic Melkite, the Patriarch Maximos V. Hakim is proud of his inheritance. Learn from him, to say, "I, too, am proud of my land, I too of my nationality, I too, am proud of my staunch Greek Rite Catholic forefathers."
WHY have we been called RUTHENIANS? (43). Where did the term come from? Actually, the word has come into English, through the German language, where it was derived from the neo-classical Latin term, a corruption of the word RUSIN, which in vague sort of way, meant Little Rus' (Rusyns). (44). In the Old-Slovanic language, according to the philologists, the word was RUS'YN, and pronounced RUS-YN-RUS'IN, so that, in English it would sound something like RUSHIN.
The Greeks, who as neighbors to the SLOVANIC people, were anxious to speak with them, found this quite difficult, since many sounds in the Slovanic language had no equivalent in Greek. They were, therefore, forced to substitute Greek sounds for what they heard from the Slovanic people. For the Slovanic "Sh", they substituted the Greek sigma, or the Greek Theta. Simularly, in place of "V" they substituted "PHI or Beta", the sounds of "F" and "B", and for our "Y" they countered with the Greek combination "oi". Constantine Porphyrogenitos, writing of the Eastern Slovanic people and their customs, uses such words as SVJATOSLAV - SPHENDOSTLABOS, MIROSLAV MIROSTHLABOS, SLAVY - STHLABOI.
Writing and communication were considerably helped with the formation of the Cyrillic alphabet. As it is known, most of these letter forms were borrowed from the Greek Alphabet, but the new sounds, seven of them, that were introduced, made possible the writing of every sound used by the Slovanic people. As in the RUSIN alphabet, so, in Greek, there are two "i's". One is the short "i" termed in Greek ETA, simular to the Hungarian "e" or the Slovanic " _ ". The other "i" is IOTA. To a foreigner the RUSIN pronounciation of his name would sound like "RUS'EN". This was not easily pronounced, so, in Greek, the characteristic "Os" was added, so that the word became RUTHENOS or RUFTHENOS. Taken over by the Latins, the word became RUTHENUS or the RUTHENI. (45). Most philologists maintain that the word RUTHENUS is incorrect, a corrupt word of Rusin and not one of the RUSIN philologists would ever make use of the term.
To the Greeks, all the RUSINS were RUTHENIANS. Nobody at that time had ever heard of the Galician RUS', or of the PODKARPATSKA RUS'. Amongst the people themselves, such terms as RUSYN, RUSIN, RUS', RUSSKIY or RUSSKA were used. The matter of writing the word with "S'", or "S" or with two "S's" is not important. These but reflect dialectical usages.
Historically, it is interesting to note that even in Moscow, there was a change of designation, when, in the XVIII-th century, under Peter the Great, the RUS' became RUSS and the nation RUSSIA, that is RUS' sija - this Rus'. The Kievian RUS', became Ukraina; Biela RUS' termed themselves HALICKA RUS'. Only those who lived on the Southern slopes of the north-eastern Carpathian mountains persisted in calling themselves RUS'IN and RUSINS. When this territory was forcibly included into the Soviet Union on June 29, 1945, they changed the name to the Carpatho-Ukraine. Regardless of these political changes, the name is still RUSIN! Other national groups have been dominated by powerful neighbors, but that fact would never change their name. The RUSIN was, and is and will continue to be, the RUSIN. As Alexander Duchnovics, the great patriot and poet, writer has said: "Ja RUSIN jesm I budu.... Keep his words in mind and keep the name RUSIN alive, forget the name "Ruthenian", the corrupt word of "Rusin".
As in the political sphere, so in the Ecclesiastical sphere, we find all sort of designations, except our real name. Our name has been constantly changed, that few people know our real name. Because of this multiplicity of nomenclature, the GREEK RITE CATHOLIC Bishops ol Hungary (46) meeting in 1773, at a Synod in Vienna, Austria, accepted the name "GRECESKAHO OBRJADA KATHOLIKI" in Hungarian: "GOROG SZERTART'ASU KATOLIKUS" - GREEK RITE CATHOLICS, Catholics of the Greek Rite of the Catholic Church. The term does not indicate nationality, but simply the RITE.
As the Roman, or Latin Rite Catholics are not all Romans or Latins, but are made up of hundreds of nationalities, so is the GREEK RITE spread among people of many national backgrounds and cultures.
RecenUy a new name has come into use for the PODKARPATSKI RUSINS. Now they are said to belong to the Byzantine Rite. Factually, it is true that the brothers Cyril and Methodius, who brought the Faith to our RUSIN people in 863, came from Constantinople, and therefore, from the Bysantine Empire. These Saints were responsible for the translation into SLOVANIC language, of the Greek texts, thus giving us the heritage of the
GREEK RITE. (47).
With the conversion of the Kievian RUS' to christianity by St. Vladimir in 969, the first bishops sent to them came from Constantinople, and this venerable Eastern See continued to send them bishops for many years. We look in vain, bowever, for a single bishop from Constantinople to our UHRO-RUSINS, RUSINS, living as they were, under the southern slopes of the northeastern Carpathians.
Historically, the UHRO-RUSINS, RUSINS have been constantly named, called Greek Catholics and GREEK RITE CATHOLICS. Look up the Charters of our RUSIN (nationality) churches in the United States of America. It is but a handful of historian who refer to them as Byzantines, or as Byzantine Rite Catholics.
In our Exarchate Stephen C. Gulovich, Ph.D., S.T.D. Chancellor of the Exarchate introduced the Byzantine name in (1942). Just on what foundation do they justify the use of this term? In a brief, dated August 14, 1391, a certain Hrusov - Kortvelyes, Superior of the monastery in Maramaros county, won the recoguition of Anthony, Patriarch of Constantinople, who confirmed him in his jurisdiction. It is also worthy of note, that this Hrusov monastery was, in 1391, occupied chieffy by Roumanians, and not by RUSINS. (48)
Is there a real difference between being called GREEK RITE CATHOLIC, and, BYZANTINE RITE CATHOLIC? Some say that the difference is only in name, that Greek Rite Catholic and Byzantine Rite Catholic are the same thing, both however may be used interchangeably, and in fact, are.
How is it possible for both names to connote the same? In accordance with the principle of documentary law, a name is an idenification, and is not to be changed without going through the regular legal procedure. Presuming that we are possessed of both these names, when were they legally established? History must record, in some way the introduction of the change. Or, is this equality of names a thing of hearsay? We cannot establish hearsay as the law, nor can we establish what is but one person's opinion, as the law. Facts are what we must have, hard, cold facts.
Hear-say maintains that Byzantine indicates our cultural heritage more accurately, than does the word Greek. But the facts of history, like any other facts, need historical proof. These statements need the proof of legality, not the opinion of hear-say. What is culture? Culture, the Dictionary says: "is the act of developing the intellect and the moral faculties, especially in education". When and where, did the Carpatho-Rusins have Byzantine leaders, educators? They had Greek educators; they had Greek leaders. SS. Cyril and Methodius were Greek missionaries. They were born in Greece, at Solun. These were the men who became the Apostles of the SLOVANIC people. They translated into the Slovanic language the Greek text of the Divine Services. Did they use the Byzantine language? Or is there a Byzantine Language? Indeed they did it in Greek: The nine co-workers of SS. Cyril and Methodius were Greeks. These were the men who helped in the translation into Slovanic from the Greek.
In the Munkacs Eparchy, we can point to one actual Greek, Bishop John Joseph DeCamilis, who ruled the Eparchy from 1690-1706. He was not a Byzantine, but a Greek, who was born on the Island of Chios.
People have many reasons to be named, called by another name and not their own. Some say I do not want to be called, named, a foreigner, a "hunky,"... Regardless what name you will use, Shakespeare, Murray, Smith, Johnson, etc., you can be pointed out as an emigrant, even if you were born in England or U.S.A. Secondly you may have a fine English vocabulary and diction, but it will not help, because an Englishman will detect you. Your speech, pronunciation, will tell him you are a foreigner. Your family upbringing and surrounding has a lot to do with the knowledge of language. Then why should a person be ashamed of his ancestor's language. A proverb says: "If you are not good for your own, you are not good for others". Do not become a sore thumb in a larger group, stay where you belong, and pride yourself in the language and rite of your ancestors.
Many times we note a confusion in Church Registers: Birth, Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage and Death.
"Father, I do not spell my name that way, since I went to school my teacher could not pronounce my name, therefore she changed it and since then I spell it her way".
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT THE CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH, BAPTISM, ETC.?
"Every certificate of birth, baptism, etc. must be issued exactly as it appears in the parish register WITHOUT ADDITION, ALTERATIONS OR CORRECTION". If persons have Americanized or Anglicized their name, the altered form may not be written on the certificate, not even in parenthesis. The law of the State of New Jersey, states: "A record which was correct when made canot be altered to agree with a name later assumed and used without permission of a Court. This is also true in cases involving Americanization of names."
"In accordance with the law, the Registrar of the State of New Jersey recently informed us, "birth records cannot be adjusted to reflect the spellings or translations of first or last names which came into use by the individual later in life".
"The procedure is to be followed not only by our parishes in the State of New Jersey, but by all p~rishes in all States. Persons who request their certificate to be issued according to the way they were using their name are to be informed, the certificate must be issued exactly as it appears in the Register. This requirement is demanded by law. Since the certificate is serving as a legal purpose cannot be (changed) altered."
We all know from our history books the sad condition of the weaker people and the power of the Oligarchs in pagan times, which continued in the Christian era for a long time.
Now we are confronted with a name BYZANTIUM - BYZANTINE. Could we pride ourselves with this name or not? True, books are written about the Byzantine Empire, Byzantine Art, Uterature, etc., etc., how great was the Empire, how beautiful is Byzantine Art, how the Empire progressed. But, if we will open ow~ eyes wide open, then we will learn that everything is not as rosy as it looks. History tells us that the Empire was an immense territory, which shrank practically to a city, Constantinople, and at present we cannot find Byzantium on the map, not only Byzantium, Byzantine, but even Constantinople, which was renamed Istambul (1045 by the Turks.)
The word - name Byzantium, Byzantine, was not used by the RUSINS of former Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the nomenclature Byzantine Rite was never used by the RUSINS. Some of the Rusins immigrated to the United States of America in the 1870's. They did not use the name Byzantine Rite to explain to which rite they belonged, but used the name GREEK CATHOLIC or GREEK RITE CAThOUC. The name Byzantine Rite in the United States among the RUSINS appeared in 1942 in the Semi-official newspaper "Eastern Observer" of the Exarchate of Pittsburgh, Pa. Some of the clergy objected to the use of the new nomenclature, but to no avail. The name Byzantine was not popular among the clergy nor the laity, but only in the Eastern Observer. In 1942.... when a few churches were organized, directives were issued, stipulatinig the name Byzantine Rite Catholic.
Are we RUSINS Byzantines, did our RUSINS ever jive in the Byzantine Empire? But, I am not a Greek. True, but the common sense tells us that if I say that I am a GREEK RITE CATHOLIC, I emphasize my RITE and MY CATHOLICITY and not nationality.
Now let us take a good look at the charters of our churches here in the United States of America. With the exception of a few new churches established since the late 1940-s and 1950-s they are titled Greek Catholic or GREEK RITE CATHOLIC CHURCH or some other version, but the words GREEK CATHOLIC are still there.
Many individuals say "GREEK RITE CATHOLIC " or Byzantine rite Catholic is the same. Well, if it is the same, then why do you leave out the original name, and use a new name which is not in the charter, that is illegal, and you are using an alias name. I do not think that I must go into detail to the meaning of the word alias.
GREEK CATHOLIC or more emphasized GREEK RITE CATHOLIC was good for our forefathers, why is it not good for us ?
Truly speaking is there a Byzantine Rite, Byzantine Church ? If there is one who established it and in which year was it established or was it only labeled Byzantine ? Why isn't the child named by its-own name ? Perhaps, some are ashamed of the name GREEK RITE CATHOLIC There is nothing to be ashamed of such a beautiful Rite as the GREEK RITE, even the western Latin Roman Catholics praise the beauty of the GREEK RITE ceremonies.
The Ukrainians - Galicians also left out the GREEK RITE CATHOLIC name in 1950 - 1960-s and began to use the name Byzantine Rite Catholics, or Ukrainian Byzantine Rite Catholics. At present they too -are eliminating the name Byzantine and are beginning to use a new name UKRAINIAN RITE CATHOLICS. (52).
When we emphasize a RITE, the GREEK RITE, we speak of Pius, devout people, who developed the rite, and not about barbarous people, who are not interested in piety, humility, only in power and pride at all costs.
Should we be proud of Byzantium, its Emperors, some Patriarchs, Art etc. etc. Research will reveal many and many matters, which are generally not mentioned only by a few, but research will enlighten us about the past. Let us turn to the pages of history, what does the history tell us about the past. ?
In the past if a stranger went to Constantinople for a visit and went out sightseeing, he would been struck by many strange and unusual sights. He or she would see monuments with the inscription such as "CHRISTOS BASILEUS" The people of Byzantium, Constantinople would also claim that the Ruler of Byzantium is the Incarnate Christ himself. (53).
We are well aware that the Byzantine Empire was nothing but a great spectacular drama, a Passion play, in which the so called consecrated ruler was the leading character, and throughout the centuries, played the part of Christ. On Easter Sunday the Emperor used to present himself to the people with twelve men as his apostles, his body bandaged with white bands and his face painted pate as death.
The Basileus (Emperor) used to perform wondrous things. Yes ,King Midas was able to turn everything into gold, but the Basileus the incarnate Christ by the touch of his hand made many things sacred, as letters, money, stables, etc. etc.
Torture, was a law in Byzantium especially for the unsuccessful conspirator, who did not become a Basileus, Emperor.
The torture was: his feet, hand, nose or ears cut off, being whipped with lead beaded lashes and his eyes were put out blinded, led around the streets on a donkey.
Who were most of the Emperors, and could Byzantium be proud of them ? Many of them were of the lowest origin, class. In Byzantium any one could become Basileus, regardless of rank, fortune or ancestry.
Emperor Leo I. had been a butcher; people in Constantinople -used to point out to one another the place where he and his wife used to sell meat. Justin I was a poor swineherd from Bederina who came in rags to the Capital, bare footed, with a pack on his back. One day his nephew came in rags to the Capital, his name was Justinian.
Phocas was a simple centurion, and Leo III the Isaurian was an odd job man. The parents of Leo V lived in the greatest poverty Michael III. was a servant, Basil I was a peasant Anthimus, Patriarch of Constantinople, had been excommunicated by the Church as a heretic and condemned to exile by the Emperor.
The Byzantine democracy, was not of a secular nature, the Gospel was adopted as the Constitution, not as a political conviction, but, because the city of god was believed to be organized along such lines. Just as the Byzantines wanted their monarch to be the replica of the Kingdom of God.
Looking still further into the life in the Byzantine Empire, we note, if anyone wished to secure a successful career for his son, he had him castrated. Then he might become a Governor, Ambassador, Prime Minister, Admiral or a Patriarch.
We also note, that in Byzantium the whole of intellectual life was stagnant. Literature was poverty stricken, living on what it had inherited from Greece and Rome.
Schools produced not full men, but the erudites, ignorites. Mutilation for higher position was growing in Byzantium. Members of great Patrician families, were often eager to be castrated, even the scions of the Royal House, their aim was to keep-out outsiders from the important offices. Therefore the castrats were always welcomed.
At Rome it was different, there the eunuch of rich and influential were ranked below a free born beggar. In Byzantium eunuchs held many of the highest ecclesiastical positions, and so occupied a more exalted social position than their conquerors at an Oriental Court.
Most remarkable is the huge percentage of castrates among note-worthy Byzantine Generals and Admirals, throughout Byzantine history, from days of Justinian onwards.
Byzance was founded about 658 BC, by a Greek colony from Megarn, the chief of the Megarian expedition was Byzas, after whom the city was named, Byzantium (54).
Byzance received its name of Constantinople as early as 324 AD. The solemn inauguration of the city did not occur until May 11th 330 AD only after this date the Court of Government settled in this new capital, Constantinople.
So Constantinople became a Capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. To beautify this Capital, the most beautiful statues of antiquity were gathered from various parts of the Empire to adorn its public places. In general the other cities of the Roman world were stripped, to beautify the city of New Rome - Constantinople, to surpass all cities.
Constantine the Great had chosen this city as a new Capital of the Roman Empire, but owing to his wars and needs of the State, he rarely resided there. It was only under Theodosius the Great ( 379 395 ) that Constantinople assumed definitive rank as Capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. ( 55 ).
When Photius (d.891) began the Schism consummated by Michael Caerularius in 1054, the so called Byzantine Church, had since the death of Emperor Constantine (d.337) been formally out of communion with the Latin Roman Church for 248 years.
55 years on account of Arianism.
11 years on account of the condemnation of St. John Chrysostom
35 years on account of Zeno's henoticum. (The worship of ONE God, without denying the existence of other gods.).
41 years on account of Monotheism. ( Doctrine of belief that there is One God.)
90 years on account of Iconoclasm.
16 years on account of the adulterous marriage of Constantine VI.
The total of years are 248. (56).
In 1054 the Great Schism of the East began, which is still lasting to the present day, regardless of the Ecumenism of the Vatican Council II.
During this period 19 Patriarchs of Constantinople were open heretics, some of them quite famous, as Eusibius of Nicodimia, Eudoxius of Macedonia, Nestorius, Acacius, Sergius and Pyrrhus.
What a tragedy and inhuman acts in the Byzantine Roman Empire Revolutions were in Byzantium the most frequently used method of change in the Government, to the point that it was accepted as Constitutional.
Of 109 Sovereigns, 65 were assassinated, 12 died in Convents prisons, 3 died of hunger, 18 were castrated or had their eyes put out, their nose or hand cut off and the rest were poisoned, stabbed, strangled, suffocated, thrown down from the top of a column .. or ignominiously hunted down.
In 1058 years there were 65 palace, street or barracks revolutions and 65 dethronements. So we can say of Byzantium, too, that it was an absolute monarchy tempered by assassinations.
Reading the past pages, we must conclude, that there is nothing for us to be proud of the name Byzantine, Byzantium nor of the Emperors, Empresses, some Patriarchs and Bishops, Art and the sad religious life.
In my research concerning Byzantium, its Empire, Government... I am especially throwing some light upon the evils of the past of which we cannot be proud, if we give up our original Ecclesiastical name GREEK CATHOLIC - GREEK RITE CATHOLIC and substitute it with Byzantine Catholic, - Byzantine Rite Catholic. We know from history the consequence of the proud ,corrupt Government in the Byzantine Empire, that it had to come to an end. At present we may read about the Byzantine Empire etc, etc., but it does not exist anymore, it lived for 1058 years and died a mortal death, only history books speak of it.
Good deeds will bring their reward, but the evil ones their punishment.
Take a good look at our good and faithful Podkarpatski RUSINS who were most of the time dominated by others, subjected to some other nationalities, but their honesty and good deeds regardless of their hardship, oppression they are still existing and holding their heads high above the drowning waters of their enemies.
Our Podkarpatski Rusin forefathers kept their Ecclesiastical name GREEK CATHOLIC - GREEK RITE CATHOLIC from the times of Saints Cyril and Methodius and are still keeping it in Europe regardless of oppression, suffering and martyr death. Are we not the descendants of our Podkarpatski Rusin forefathers, who emigrated to the United States of America from the north-eastern southern slopes of the Carpathian mountains ( former Hungary). They lived in hope to have a brighter future, but not all reached that goal, and if you did, do not be ashamed of your forefathers and their ecclesiastical and national name.
May I also present to you the following facts. We are well aware that our Podkarpatski Rusin forefathers emigrated to the U. S. A. from the former and present Hungary . (Podkarpatska Rus and Czechoslovakia). Most of our Rusin forefathers are still living in the same territories. Their ecclesiastical nomenclature was and is to the present day GREEK RITE CATHOLIC, GRECESKOHO OBRJADA KATOLIKI, GOROG SZERTARTASU KATOLIKUS.
To prove this fact the Ecclesiastical Directory testifies to it as follows: SCHEMATISMUS CLERI GRAECI RITUS CATHOLICORUM DIOCESIS MUNKACSENSIS. Anno 1899 - 1908 etc., also the SCHEMATISMUS VENERAbilis CLERI FRAGOPOLITANAE seu PRESOVENSIS. Administratura Apostolicae Munkacsensis nec non omnium Graeci Ritus Catholicorum in Republica Czechoslovakiae Degentum A.D. 1948.
The "Kalendar Slova " pre Grecko katolikov na rok 1973. Zostavil Dr. Emil Korba. Povolenie Grecko Katolickoho Ordinariatu v Presove . C.j. 1308- 1972.
In conclusion, the name Byzantine for centuries became synonymous with "BARBAROUS, FUTILE, and INANE", so everyone shied away from its use. The name Byzantine became rehabilitated by some scholars and historians of the XIXth and XXth centuries.
The name GREEK connotes the glorious history of Greece and its great culture and religion of the devout, and pious Greeks. The original and official language of the Byzantine Empire and of the Church was GREEK. The Rite which our forefathers received at the conversion to Christianity by Ss. Cyril and Methodius who were of the Greek Rite, both of them were Greeks Should we be ashamed of their work and their nationality and assume another name ?
Let us correct our mistakes, be not ashamed of our GREEK RITE.
I hope that my reminding words will make us all think and we will not use a nomenclature, which is not ours, which does not belong to us. Let others do as they please, but we here in the United States of America will stand by our Rusin forefathers and our martyrs to the last breath of our life, and proudly exclaim that we are GREEK RITE CATHOLICS, nationally, linguistically RUSINS.
Sing as our ancestors sang in Podkarpatska Rus', and Czechoslovakia:
Page prepared by Walter Maksimovich
© LV Productions Originally Composed: July 4th, 1997
Date last modified: March 15th, 2010.