UWC President Visits the Ukrainian Comunity in Slovakia
October 11, 2011
UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS PRESIDENT VISITS
THE UKRAINIAN COMMUNITY IN SLOVAKIA
The President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), Eugene Czolij, spent two days on October 1-2, 2011, visiting the Ukrainian community in Slovakia and acquainting himself with issues of importance to the Ukrainian national minority.
The visit began on October 1 in Presov where the UWC President met with Petro Sokol, President of the Union of Ruthenians-Ukrainians of the Slovak Republic or the “URUSR“, and Vice President Pavlo Bogdan. They discussed the dynamics of the community life of the Ukrainian autochthonous people in Slovakia, the URUSR’s work and the lack of a legislative framework and government structure for national minorities. Also discussed was the possibility of conducting the next UWC AGM in September 2012 in Bratyslawa to show that Ukrainians worldwide support the Ukrainian autochthonous people in Slovakia. During the meeting the hosts arranged a visit to the building that the URUSR will be renting for the next 20 years and renovating in order to create a Centre of Ukrainian Culture in Presov.
Eugene Czolij subsequently met with the mayor of Presov, Pavel Hagyari, who gave assurances that the URUSR’s office space would remain secure without any rental increase and, in the event of its sale, the city would offer the URUSR other premises on the same conditions. He also gave assurances that the Ruthenian dialect will not be introduced in the local Slovak-Ukrainian kindergarten.
During a community meeting, the UWC President learned of several problems which are hindering the development of the Ukrainian national minority in Slovakia, including: the closing of Ukrainian village schools due to lack of funding and the fact that there had been substantial reductions in the 2011 government grants for the newspaper “Nove Zhyttia” and for the June Festival of Ruthenian-Ukrainian Culture in Svidnik. Eugene Czolij assured the community that the UWC will monitor these issues and support the URUSR in preserving the Ukrainian identity.
On October 2, Eugene Czolij attended Divine Liturgy at Saint John the Baptist Greek Catholic Church, the site of chapels for repressed Ukrainian bishops, Blessed Pavlo Petro Hoydych and Blessed Basil Hopko.
Upon visiting the Saint Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Church, the UWC President paid tribute to victims of the Holodomor of 1932-33 at a monument erected in the church’s courtyard.
Eugene Czolij also met Dr. Miroslav Sopoliga, Director of the Slovak National Museum – Museum of Ukrainian Culture in Svidnik. During a tour of the museum, the Gallery of Dezider Milly and the open-air ethnographic exposition, Dr. Sopoliga informed the UWC President that they were experiencing difficulties maintaining the facilities due to a lack of funding.
At the end of the day, the UWC President was shown URUSR’s bulding in Kosice.