Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Activities of Ukrainian American Club of SWFL

  There will be no membership meeting tonight. The Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, instead will have its annual Scholarship Fundraiser luncheon at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club in North Port at noon Friday. 

    At the luncheon, the club’s Scholarship Committee, headed by professor Viktor Lisnyczyj of North Port, the organizer and formal host, will present a scholarship award to a North Port High School graduating student who was selected by the committee. The 
name of the scholarship recipient and the amount of the award will be made public at the luncheon. Traditionally, the award is in the amount of $1,000. Additionally, $250 will be presented the previous year’s recipients to assist with textbook and related expenses. 

    An invitation to attend the luncheon is extended to all. Individuals interested in attending should make reservations by contacting Christyna Sheldon at 941-460-9890 or Gene Tomashosky at 941-786-5256. 

    A brief business meeting will be held prior to the serving of lunch and prior to the awards ceremonies. 

    The monthly membership meeting of North Port’s Chapter 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America — UNWLA, commonly referred to as “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (union of Ukrainian ladies), headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, will be held at 10 a.m., May 6, at the St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church Parish Center at Biscayne Drive and West Price Boulevard. 

    The main item on the agenda will be the XXX UNWLA National Convention which will be held in New York City May 23-26. It will be the first time the convention will be held in New York City, where the UNWLA “was born.” 

    North Port Chapter 56 will play an important role at this jubilee convention. In addition to delegates who will be elected, there are three Chapter 56 members who are members of the UNWLA National executive board: vice president for public relations Lidia Bilous, liaison for membersat-large Roxolana Yarymovych, and liaison for branches-at-large Orysia Zinycz, who will also chair the convention’s Nominating Committee. 

    The monthly membership meeting of Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans will take place at 3 p.m. May 9 at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center — the Oseredok. Please note that this is a change from the customary meeting on first Friday, necessitated by the Scholarship Awards luncheon by the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida.
    Almost 150 relatives (children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces) and friends, including my wife, Katrusia, and I, of Iwanna Martynetz of North Port gathered Saturday afternoon at the Oseredok to honor Iwanna and to celebrate her 90th birthday. The affair was masterfully managed by Iwanna’s older brother, Dr. Walter Motyka of North Port, who was able to relay his sister’s and their family life history, including the tragedies (their oldest sister murdered by NKVD, predecessor of KGB, in Drohobych prison in June 1941, and their younger brother dying as a hero while fighting the invaders of Ukraine as member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army — UPA), and the happier times while she was married to now deceased Myroslaw Martynetz and was raising family in Rochester, N.Y., in addition to being active in many cultural and civic organizations, especially the “Soyuz Ukrayinok.” 

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at 

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘Christ is risen! — ‘Khrystos Voskres!’

This “Passion Week,” commemorating Christ’s sufferings and crucifixion, observed this year together by all Christians of both eastern (Byzantine) and western (Latin) traditions, will end this Saturday with services that will include the proclamation “Christ is risen!” The Ukrainian Christian believers will proclaim “Khrystos Voskres!” and will greet each other with these words until the Feast of Ascension (40 days after Easter). The response to this greeting is “Voistynu Voskres!” (indeed He has risen).

Easter in Ukrainian is known as “Velykden” (great day), and is observed for three days (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday), with an added touch of Velykden on the following Sunday, the Thomas’ Sunday. This is also known as “Providna Nedilya,” during which the faithful commemorate the deceased by visiting cemeteries and praying at the graves of their relatives and friends. The Ukrainian St. Andrew’s Cemetery in South Bound Brook, N.J., one of the better-known Ukrainian cemeteries in North America, is the site of tens of thousands of visitors on that day, including visitors from outside of the U.S. That cemetery, in addition to an ornate Holodomor memorial church, has many monuments which are works of art, some by world-renowned sculptors.

The traditional Ukrainian observance of the Easter holiday, or Velykden, is a joyful religious and family affair, with no Easter bunny but with the Ukrainian artistically hand-decorated “pysanky” (Easter eggs) as one of the important items of the holiday food basket, which also contains ham, sausage, cheese, butter and “babka” or “paska” (Easter breads). One should not forget the horseradish root.

During my childhood days in my native village of Volya Yakubova (Jacob’s Freedom), as well as in most Ukrainian villages and towns, Easter food baskets were brought to churches for blessings on Sundays after the Resurrection divine liturgy. It was a sight to see — a variety of beautifully decorated food baskets, partially covered by embroidered napkins or towels, and the girls and women dressed in traditional Ukrainian embroidered blouses, dresses and jackets standing next to their baskets awaiting the blessing with holy water. One of the traditions in my village was for the unmarried girls to run as fast as possible with the blessed basket to their homes, with a belief that the one who reaches her home first will be the first to be married that year.

Here in North Port, and in most Ukrainian American communities, the blessings of Easter food baskets take place late afternoon on Saturday before Easter Sunday.

My wife Katrusia and I wish to extend to all our relatives, friends and neighbors a happy and healthy Easter — “Veselykh Svyat!” (happy holidays).

                                                                          • • •

The Ukrainian American community in North Port and Southwest Florida, and other Ukrainian American and Ukrainian Canadian communities, together with Ukrainians in Ukraine and in other countries, will observe next week the sad anniversary of the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. The plant, located in Ukraine, offi- cially known then as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, was nevertheless subordinated to and completely controlled directly by the central Sevier Russian government in Moscow, which refused to acknowledge the explosion and the extent of potential damage until the deadly radiation reached and was recorded in Western Europe.

Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

By Atanas Kobryn

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One more traditional Easter bazaar

   On Friday, the popular traditional Easter Bazaar of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church will be held from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Parish Center, 1076 N. Biscayne Drive at the corner of West Price Boulevard. Ukrainian arts and crafts, pysanky (artistically hand-decorated Ukrainian Easter eggs) and other gift items will be available for viewing and for sale. Food items, including “babkas” ( traditional Ukrainian Easter bread) and sausages will be available for purchase, and homebaked pastries will be available with coffee or tea, eat-in or takeout.

    The traditional and very popular Friday night Ukrainian American dinners with “varenyky” (pierogies), “holubtsi” (cabbage rolls) and other extras will be available from noon-6 p.m., eat-in or takeout as well. Large takeout orders should be reserved in advance by calling 941-423-2427 a day earlier.

    This year’s bazaar committee is co-chaired by active members of the parish Oksana Lew and Iwanna Holowaty, both of Venice. Slava Chomyk of Port Charlotte is the kitchen manager.

    There is no admission charge, and everybody is welcome.

    This is North Port’s second
Easter bazaar; the first was held April 4 at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center (known as the “Oseredok”).

                                                             • • •

    Due to miscommunication, there was an error in my March 26 column regarding the membership of the Oseredok’s Auditing Committee. Elected for the year 2014-15 were Doris Horbachevsky of North Port, Ihor W. Hron of Osprey and Mykola Weremijenko of North Port.

    Daria Tomashosky, who chairs the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida and the North Port Chapter of Ukrainian American Congress Committee, and is an active member of several other clubs and organizations (the North Port Art Center, Kiwanis, and “Hromadskyi Komitet,” to name some) chaired
last week’s very successful Easter bazaar. She would like to express her appreciation for the hard and dedicated work of members of her committee, for the community’s support, and for the North Port Sun’s publicity with photographs. It all made this year’s bazaar another success.

                                                             • • •

    This coming Monday, our Jewish friends and neighbors will commence celebrating one of the holiest holidays, Passover, which will last until April 22.

    My wife Katrusia and I wish all our Jewish friends and neighbors and their families here in Southwest Florida and in the greater New York City area the happiest, healthiest and most enjoyable holiday.

    This holiday takes my memory back to my childhood days when Sarah Samet of blessed memory,
mother of my classroom friends Adele and Joseph, would present me a gift of matzo. Also, I can never forget attending seders with Jewish staff members and clients of the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Services Center in New York while I was employed there. I still have my yarmulke.

                                                             • • •

    The monthly membership meeting of Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans will take place at 3 p.m. Friday at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, 4100 S. Biscayne Drive, North Port. Attendance of post members is mandatory. Non-member veterans are always welcome.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at atanask@aol. com. 

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
 by Atanas Kobryn

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Traditional Ukrainian Easter bazaars planned

      From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, a Ukrainian Easter bazaar will take place at 4100 S. Biscayne Drive, North Port, sponsored by St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center (known as the “Oseredok”). A Ukrainian “pysanky” (traditional Easter eggs) decorating demonstration and sale, arts and crafts exhibit, and baked goods sale will be some of the attractions. Ukrainian food will be available on-site as well as for takeout.

    To ensure takeout availability of ring kielbasa, “babka”
(Ukrainian Easter bread) and “varenyky” (pierogies), it is highly recommended to pre-order these items by calling 941-786-5256.

    Also at the bazaar, there will be an exhibit of books and other materials dedicated to the 200th anniversary of
the birth of universally acclaimed Ukrainian artist, poet and revolutionary Taras Shevchenko, sponsored by the Ukrainian Language Society. The coordinator of this exhibit will be Neonilia Lechman of Venice.

    One week later, on April 11, the traditional bazaar of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1076 N. Biscayne Drive (corner of West Price Boulevard), North Port. Ukrainian arts and crafts, gift items, pysanky, and Easter
bread will be available, as well as other popular Ukrainian food. The traditional Ukrainian American dinners featuring pierogies, “holubtsi” (cabbage rolls) and homebaked pastries will be available from noon to 6 p.m. As in the past, visitors will be able to win prizes by purchasing raffle tickets.

    Takeouts also will be available, but large orders should be pre-ordered by calling a day or two earlier at 941-423-2427.

    This year’s St. Mary’s bazaar committee is headed by co-chairs
Oksana Lew and Iwanna Holowaty, both of Venice.

                                                             • • •

    This month’s membership meeting of Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans will be held at 3 p.m. April 11 at the Oseredok.

    This is a change from the regularly scheduled meeting date, which is the first Friday of the month, due to the Ukrainian bazaar sponsored by the Oseredok on Friday.

                                                              • • •

    The Coordinating Committee of Ukrainian American Organizations of North Port and vicinity, known in Ukrainian as “Hromadskyi Komitet,” an umbrella organization of all Ukrainian American clubs and organization of Southwest Florida, held its annual meeting and election of officers last week at the Oseredok.

    After the reading
of minutes from the previous meeting and reports of officers, the members re-elected Roma Guran of Venice to serve another year as president. Also re-elected were vice president professor Vira Bodnaruk of Venice, secretary Lieda Boyko of Port Charlotte, and treasurer Klara Szpiczka of North Port.

    Hromadskyi Komitet is composed of two representatives each from member organizations. It was decided at this meeting to ask the organizations to replace representatives who were their delegates for several years with “new faces.” Member organizations will be notified by mail and/or email of the date and place of the next meeting.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

by Atanas Kobryn