Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ukrainian American Club meets tonight

The monthly membership meeting of Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, will take place at 6 p.m. tonight at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known as “Oseredok” (center) to Ukrainians, 4100 S. Biscayne Drive.
The Club’s Board of Directors met last week and, after hearing and approving reports of Secretary Doris Horbachevsky, Treasurer NancyWosny, Corresponding Secretary Halya Lisnyczyj, Scholarship Committee chair Professor Victor Lisnyczyj, and other officers, approved the agenda for tonight’s meeting.
There will be reports of officers, and further discussions of specific agenda items, especially the Scholarship Awards Luncheon scheduled for noon on April 12, at Heron Creek Golf and Country Club in North Port; the Club’s participation in the Punta Gorda Cultural Heritage Center, and other projects.
Tickets are $30 per person for a delicious Heron Creek Golf and Country Club buffet luncheon for the Scholarship Awards Luncheon April 12. Tickets must be purchased or ordered in advance by contacting Halya Lisnyczyj at 941-429-2350 or at her email,, or by calling Klara Szpiczka at 941-423-6590.
After the conclusion of the reports and other business agenda items, there will be an interesting and up-to-date presentation about identity theft. The guest speaker will be retired Estero, Fla., Police Chief Walter Zalisko.
The Club’s meetings are free and open to all, with free parking. Visitors and guests are free to participate in addressing questions to the featured speaker(s), and to express their opinions.

The monthly membership meeting of Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post No. 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, headed by Post Commander U.S. Army Col. Roman Rondiak, of Osprey, will take place at 3 p.m. Friday at the Oseredok.
The meeting agenda will include discussions of miscellaneous proposed activities, including the planning of Memorial Day observances (atVenice Memorial Garden, North Port Veterans Park, etc.) at the end of May, and the next two membership meetings, especially the pre-vacation June meeting.
The highlight of the meeting will be the group photo of all members, for the submission to the UAV 69th National Convention Journal.

The North Port Milena Rudnycka Branch No. 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, popularly known as “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (union of Ukrainian Ladies), headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, will have its monthly membership meeting at 10 a.m., April 5 at the Oseredok.

The “Hromadskyi Komitet” (Coordinating Committee of Ukrainian American Clubs and Organizations of North Port and vicinity) held its annual meeting March 23 at the Oseredok, and elected new leadership of the local Ukrainian American community. Elected were: Professor Vira Bodnaruk of Venice — president, and Lesia Popel of Englewood — treasurer. Both are delegates of the Ukrainian Language Association. The secretary position remains temporarily unfilled.

The Fundraising Committee of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church happily announced achieving nearly 75 percent of its goal to raise funds for improvements to the church properties. It will sponsor another fundraising pancake brunch at 11 a.m., Sunday at the Parish Hall, 1078 N. Biscayne Drive, on the corner of West Price Blvd.
The brunch will follow the Divine Liturgy which begins at 10 a.m. All are invited.

There are also traditional Ukrainian American dinners being served between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. every Friday.
Takeout “varenyky” (pierogis) and “kovbasa” (kielbasa, sausage) are available at the Oseredok.
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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

‘Oseredok’ leadership re-elected

Members of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known to Ukrainians as the “Oseredok” (center), at last week’s annual membership meeting re-elected most of the officers and members of the Executive board.
Re-elected were Victor Lisnyczyj – president, Daria Tomashosky – vice president, Dr. Bohdan Bodnaruk – secretary, and Mykola Kompanijec – treasurer, Vira Bodnaruk and Halya Lisnyczyj – Cultural Affairs co-chairs, and Eugene Tomashosky – property manager.
Former Membership Committee Chair Klara Szpiczka was elected cochair of Social Services, with Maria Nikitin, who was re-elected, and Maria Kompanijec was elected Membership Committee Chair.
Members at-large are Orysia Swystun, in charge of twice-weekly card and domino socials, Anna Macilynska, and Natalie Newmerzhycky.
Auditing Board members are Victor Kaplijchairman, and Odarka Horbachevsky and Mykola Weremijenko - members.
Financial Committee members are Orest Bilous and Ihor Hron.

The Ukrainian Easter Bazaar sponsored by the Oseredok on Saturday was a resounding success. The Bazaar Committee, chaired by Oseredok Vice President Daria Tomashosky, really worked hard several days prior to and during the bazaar, but the result of their efforts was a well-organized affair, superb entertainment, and delicious food prepared and served fresh all day.
Food items, baked goods (babkas and other pastries) were available for on-site consumption and for takeout. Many gift items, jewelry, pysanky — Ukrainian Easter eggs — along with embroidery and publications were also available.
The highlight of the bazaar was the appearance of the youthful Ukrainian Dancers from St. Petersburg, Fla,, a duet of Roma Long playing bandura, the Ukrainian national instrument, and Anya Rejnarowycz, who sang a popular Ukrainian folk song, and a mini-concert of singers of the local Ukrainian Pentecostals congregation.

The judge began reading the verdict in the Russian “kangaroo” trial of kidnapped and illegally transported to Russia Ukrainian Air Force pilot Nadiya Savchenko on Monday. At this writing it is not known if he completed the reading.
The ruling will not be official until the judge finishes reading the verdict. The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that “Judge Stepanenko’s words pointed to a guilty verdict. {…} The judge also accused her of being part of a ‘criminal group’ and of aiming to kill an ‘unlimited number of people.’” Russian authorities ignored repeated calls from the international community, including U.N. and U.S. governments, for her immediate release from the illegal detention.
The prosecutors are ignoring the documentary evidence of the defense about Savchenko’s innocence of all charges, and relying on false witnesses (typical of Stalin’s period!) and are asking for a 23-year prison term. Savchenko is protesting her illegal detention and the “kangaroo” trial by declaring a hunger strike, which is seriously affecting her health.
This Sunday, the overwhelming majority of world Christians will celebrate Easter, commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus.
The Ukrainians call the day “Velykden” which means great day.
My wife Katrusia and I wish all our relatives, friends, and neighbors a happy and healthy Easter.

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn (

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Taras Shevchenko commemorated

The Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community commemorated one of the greatest, if not the greatest, son of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko (18141861) last Sunday with a special program at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center (the “Oseredok” to Ukrainians). In his “Zapovit” (My Testament) Shevchenko wrote: “And in the great new family, the family of the free, with softly spoken, kindly word remember also me.” Ukrainians all over the world do this every year during March.
Professor Vira Bodnaruk of Venice, who chaired the committee organizing the affair, professionally emceed the program. It consisted of recitations of Shevchenko’s poems and singing of his songs, in addition to a brief but comprehensive keynote address by Neonilia M. Lechman of Venice. She managed to convey the greatness of Shevchenko, who was born a serf, yet rose to become professor of Imperial Academy of Arts, and, most importantly, he gained eternal love and admiration of Ukrainians thanks to his art, poetry, patriotism and his prophetic vision which resonates even now.
The United Choir directed by Lubow Ingram of Venice began the program with the singing of Shevchenko’s “Zapovit,” while the public, as is the tradition, was standing with respect.
Later the choir sang two more of Shevchenko’s songs. The thunderous applauses were accorded the very young performers, 6-year-old Sofiya Tkach and 9-yearold Roksolana Tkach, students of Pine View School in Osprey, and North Port’s Glenallen Elementary School students Anastasia, 11, and Natalia Kudelko, 8, who recited Shevchenko’s poems and sang his songs to the delight of the audience.
Other participants of the program were Petro Fridrich, Roma Steckiw-Long and Anya Rejnarowycz.
The attendees also had an opportunity to view a selection of publications on display, courtesy of the Ukrainian Language Society.

The Ukrainian Easter Bazaar sponsored by St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, at 4100 S. Biscayne Drive. There will be a Ukrainian arts and crafts exhibit, pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) decorating, traditional Ukrainian food and pastries, and a special attraction: Ukrainian dancers at 2 p.m.
Food and refreshments can be consumed onsite, or ordered for takeout.
It is recommended that “kovbasa” (kielbasy),” varenyky” (pierogies) and “babkas” (special Easterbreads) for takeout be preordered by calling 941-786-5256.

The Fundraising Committee of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, as part of its campaign to raise funds for the continuous improvements of the church properties, will sponsor a Fundraising Brunch at 11 a.m., Sunday at the Parish Center located next to the church, 1078 N. Biscayne Drive, at the corner of West Price Boulevard. All are invited.
The 10 a.m. Divine Liturgy (Mass), celebrated in the traditional Byzantine-Ukrainian rite, is open to all, and Catholics will fulfill their Sunday attendance obligation by attending the Liturgy, prior to taking advantage of the Fundraising Brunch.

My wife Katrusia and I wish all our Irish friends and neighbors, and all who will declare themselves Irish for a day, a happy and healthy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. 

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn (

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Global Day ‘Free Nadiya Savchenko!’

The third and, according to one of Savchenko’s defense lawyers Mark Feygin, the final Global Day to free Nadiya Savchenko is today. The previous one was held on May 11, 2015, Nadiya’s birthday. Attorney Feygin hopes this will be “the last worldwide action prior to her freedom.”
Nadiya Savchenko, 34-year old Ukrainian Air Force lieutenant, was captured by the Russian-supported terrorists in eastern Ukraine June 17, 2014, driven across the border to Russia and turned over to the Russian authorities. She is being tried for complicity in killing two Russian journalists and illegally crossing the border to Russia. Moving a prisoner of war across international borders is prohibited by international law, but Russia contends Savchenko sneaked into Russia pretending to be a refugee and was arrested on Russian soil.
By 2015, Savchenko was being labeled Joan of Arc, and was elected in absentia to “Verkhovna Rada” (Ukraine’s parliament). President Petro Poroshenko awarded her Ukraine’s highest award for bravery.
Her case became cause celebre across Europe and North America, including in Canada. Resolutions and statements, including one by the U.S. State Department calling on Russia to free herunconditionally, are being ignored by Russia. Russia is proceeding with all charges against Savchenko, even though all agree that the decision whether to sentence or to free her is being made by Russian President Putin, and not by any court. While Savchenko was expected to speak during the last session, March 3, the court adjourned unexpectedly, and in protest she began her second hunger strike.

The traditional pre-Easter Bazaar of Presentation of the Most Holy Mother of God (St. Mary’s) Ukrainian Catholic Church is planned Friday and Saturday at 1078 N.
Biscayne Dr., North Port. Popular Ukrainian food and pastries, for on-site consumption or for take-out, Easter breads, and other gift items will be available.
Oksana Lew of Venice chairs this year’s Bazaar Committee.

The Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community will commemorate the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861), an artist, poet, and revolutionary, at 4 p.m. Sunday, at St.
Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known as “Oseredok” (the center) to Ukrainians.
The event is being sponsored by the “Hromadskyi Komitet” (coordinating committee of Ukrainian American Clubs and Organizations), headed by Romana Guran of Venice.
Taras Shevchenko, who was born a serf, obtained his freedom in 1838 at the age of 24. He became a celebrated painter, a poet, and a member of the Brotherhood of St. Cyril and Methodius, which advocated liberalization of despotic czarist Russia, for which he was arrested in 1847, and sentenced to 10 years of banishment while serving as a private in the Russian Army.
His first book of poems, “Kobzar,” was published in 1840. It is treasured by Ukrainians all over the world on par with the Bible.
Many of his poems, including the world famous “My Testament” were translated into almost all civilized languages of the world.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port 

Sun. He can be emailed
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Meetings, bazaars and war news

The monthly membership meeting of North Port’s Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, headed by Post Commander Col. Roman Rondiak, USA Retired of Osprey, will be at 3 p.m., Friday at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian American Religious and Cultural Center in North Port, the “Oseredok.”

Finance Officer Oleh Sawkiw reminds members, who did not submit their dues, to either mail the checks to him, or to bring the dues to Friday’s meeting.

 Annual membership meeting of the Oseredok and election of “Uprava” (president, board members, and auditing board) is planned for 2 p.m., Monday at the Oseredok. Reports of officers, including the financial report, will be presented for approval.

 President Victor Lisnyczyj of North Port wishes to remind members that all membership dues must be paid before the meeting.


The traditional Pre-Easter Bazaar of Presentation of the Most Holy Mother of God (St. Mary’s) Ukrainian Catholic Church will be held, for the first time, over two days, March 11 and March 12. More information, including hours of operation, will be provided in next week’s column.

The Pre-Easter Bazaar of the Oseredok is planned March 19.

 The Ukrainian American Greek-Catholic and Orthodox faithful, who follow the Julian (“Old”) calendar, in Southwest Florida and in Ukraine will begin the annual Lent (known in Ukrainian as “Velykyi Peest,” or “great fast”) on March 14. Tradition and church regulations mandate a strict fast (no meat and dairy products) on the first day of Lent and on Good Friday, known to Ukrainians as “Great Friday.” Dances, including weddings, and other “boisterous” entertainment, are forbidden during the Great Fast.

This year’s Easter will be observed May 1. Eastern, or Byzantine tradition does not allow the Easter celebration prior to the Jewish Passover, which this year will be observed from sundown of April 22 through April 30.


All observances within the Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community, including all church services, are with full knowledge of and in sympathy with the problems of the Ukrainian homeland, especially the defense of Ukraine from the Russian military invasion. In addition to occupying Crimea, Putin’s Russian Federation introduced some 30,000 troops into parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine where it encourages local terrorists, who are trained and commanded by Russian military officers, to continue to attack Ukrainian military units in spite of the so-called “Minsk Accord” calling for cease-fire.

The officials of the Donetsk oblast announced recently that 49 children were killed and 138 wounded since the start of hostilities. No information was provided by Luhansk oblast.

Over 9,000 individuals were killed, and over 20,000 injured in the area according to the United Nations release.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko announced that, as of Jan. 31, a total of 2,269 members of Ukrainian Armed Forces were killed by the terrorists and Russian military personnel.

To contact Atanas Kobryn, call 941-423-9499 or email: atanask@aol. com
 Atanas Kobryn, North Port, FL