Until 2003, the Metro New Jersey - New York Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society (C-RS) existed to provide a social outlet for the city's Carpatho-Rusyn (or Ruthenian, Carpatho-Russian, or Lemko) community. At that time, however, it was expected that a proper New York City Chapter would be created and so the chapter was renamed simply the New Jersey Chapter. The NYC Chapter never materialized, so the NJ Chapter remains the closest link the city's Rusyns have to Rusyn communities throughout the country and around the world.
Carpatho-Rusyns are a small Slavic group found in the Carpathian mountains, along the borders of what is now Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine and Romania. Pockets also live along the Serbian-Croatian border.
They emmigrated in large numbers to the United States starting in the 1880s, with many settling in New York City - particularly in Lower Manhattan, the Lower East Side and the East Village and in Greenpoint. Major Rusyn landmarks in the city inclulde St. Nicholas Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church (288 East 10th Street at Avenue A) and St. Mary's Ruthenian Catholic Church (246 Easat 15th Street) in the East Village, and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration (228 N. 12th Street) in Greenpoint. The most famous Carpatho-Rusyn New Yorker is by far Andy Warhol.
On Saturday, the C-RS will hold its monthly meeting at the public library in Wayne, NJ, with a presentation entitled A Rusyn World Congress in a Spa Town. Orestes and Katarina Mihaly and Paul Best, three of the North American delegates to the June 2005 World Congress of Rusyns, held in Krynica, Poland, will provide an overview of that important international social and cultural gathering of Rusyns from around the world.
Also on hand will be Maria Silvestri, who headed the North American youth delegation to the World Forum of Rusyn Youth as leader of Rusyn Outpost: North America. She will not only describe the World Forum and its activities, but will also present interviews with young Rusyns from several countries that she recorded while in Krynica.
A Rusyn World Congress in a Spa Town will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Wayne Public Library, 461 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ. From Manhattan, take NJ Transit bus 197 from Port Authority to the Valley Road/Preakness Avenue stop in Wayne (the library, in the Wayne Municipal Complex, will be right across the street). The 1:00 p.m. bus departs Port Authority and arrives in Wayne at 1:47 PM.
Meanwhile, the New York Chapter is still in the process of forming. If you would be interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
(Photo: St. Mary's, by Bob Kisch, from http://worldisround.com/articles/17913/index.html)