The meeting was chaired by past president of the Oseredok, Roman Shramenko, who also presented a brief but very detailed history of the center, from the aforementioned first meeting through the growth of the community, construction of the building, blessing of the building by both Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox clergy who had relayed the blessings of two metropolitans, Mstyslav Skrypnyk of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Myroslav Lubachivsky of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and development of various activities and programs that both united and still serve the Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community, including many Canadian Ukrainians who either settled here or visit the area regularly.
Shramenko especially acknowledged the important role in the first several years of the organizational and construction activities of the late Canadian Federal Senator Paul Yuzyk, who visited this area every summer with his wife Maria, and the first president of the Oseredok, the late Volodymyr Riznyk and his wife Paulina. Yuzyk and Riznyk were natives of Canada and the United States, respectively, yet they were very active in the Ukrainian Canadian and Ukrainian American churches and organizations all their lives, and their contribution to the organizing of the Oseredok and establishing it as the center of the community were immeasurable.
Following the mandated reports of officers and committee chairs, election of new Oseredok leadership for the year 2015-2016 took place. Elected were: professor Victor Lisnyczyj, president; Daria Tomashosky, vice president; Dr. Bohdan Bodnaruk, secretary; Mykola Kompanijec, treasurer; Klara Szpiczka, Membership Committee chair; professor Vira Bodnaruk and Halyna Lisnyczyj, Cultural Affairs Committee co-chairs; Maria Nikitin, Social Services; Eugene Tomashosky, property manager; and three members-at-large, Anna Macilienski, Orysia Swystun and Vladimir Szpiczka. Auditing Committee members are Mykola Weremijenko, Odarka Horbachevsky and Victor Kaplij.
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Ukrainian Christians in Ukraine and many Ukrainian Americans and Ukrainian Canadians, including our Southwest Florida community, celebrated last Sunday “Velykden” (greatest day, as Ukrainians refer to Easter). In preparation for the holiday, there were traditional blessings of festive food baskets last Saturday afternoon at both North Port Ukrainian churches. Special services and a solemn divine liturgy containing resurrection canons and prayers appropriate for Easter took place last Sunday. After the church services, there were communal Easter dinners in the church halls for parishioners and guests who preferred not to have Easter dinner at their homes.
My lovely and loving wife Katrusia, confined to a wheelchair, nevertheless decided to prepare both a food basket for the blessing (which I was happy to take to the church to be blessed last Saturday), and almost a full Easter dinner, which we enjoyed last Sunday at home with our visiting oldest son, Alexander Zenon Kobryn of Lakeland. Katrusia and I appreciate the generosity and friendliness of the local chapter of “Soyuz Ukrayinok” for a gift of Easter goodies, including “babka,” before the holidays.
In Ukraine, both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are legal national holidays, and Easter Tuesday is also a holiday, with religious services only.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn