Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eternal greeting ‘Khrystos Voskres!’ this Sunday

The overwhelming majority of Christians in Ukraine, and many Ukrainian Canadians and Ukrainian Americans, will celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, known in Ukrainian as “Velykden” (The Great Day) on Sunday, May 1. Many other Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics, in addition to Ukrainians, celebrate “Velykden’” according to the “Old” (Julian) calendar, which sets this celebration after the Jewish Passover, or May 1 this year.
Preceding the Day of Resurrection is the Passion Week, which mandates, in addition to the traditional fasting, several wonderful and unique religious ceremonies. In many Ukrainian cities the practice of massive public marches with icons and veneration of Stations of the Cross is now in vogue after decades of repression by the occupational Communist Russia.
Locally, Presentation of the Most Holy Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church and St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church serving Ukrainian Orthodox faithful will have several special services the rest of this week, including Vespers with the display and veneration of “Plashchanytsia” (Holy Shroud) on Friday, blessing of the food baskets Saturday, and, ending the cycle with the Resurrection Matins and festive Divine Liturgy Mass which includes “Khrystos Voskres!” (Christ has Risen) and other special hymns Sunday.

The Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, held its 10th Scholarship Awards Luncheon on April 12 at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club in North Port. After a very brief business meeting, Daria called upon Professor Victor Lisnyczyj of North Port, chairman of the Scholarship Committee, to chair the affair.
Lisnyczyj introduced all nine past recipients of scholarships by displaying their photographs on the screen and reading the letters received from some of them. The letters were read by Scholarship Committee members Lidia Bilous, Ihor W. Hron, Katherine Steciuk and Gene Tomashosky.
This year’s scholarship recipient Marco Antonio Guzman, a Port Charlotte High School senior, was introduced and asked to read his winning essay, which dealt with the Chornobyl disaster. Marco is planning to study law or foreign service at the University of Florida. His academic awards include National Merit Scholar, National Hispanic Recognition Scholar, Horatio Alger Association Scholar and Advance Placement Scholar with Distinction. His other activities include National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Model UN Debate Team President, and many community service involvements. He was presented an award certificate and $1,000.
Because it was the 10th “Jubilee” Scholarship Awards luncheon, the committee decided to make a second award.
The recipient was Emily A. Boykin, another PCHS senior, who plans to study art history and economics at the University of Florida. Her academic honors are too numerous to be listed here. She founded and led “ROS” (Respect Our School), recognized by Charlotte County’s School Board as a group of innovative excellence in the public school environment. She was a member of National Honor Society, Student Government Association, National ART Honor Society, “Parkside Parish” volunteer, Ponce de Leon nature park/bird sanctuary volunteer, and many others. She was also presented with a certificate and a scholarship award.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Friday, April 22, 2016

30th Anniversary of Chernobyl disaster

On April 26, 1986, the fourth block of the atomic power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine — at that time officially known as Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, a de facto colony of Communist Russia known as USSR — exploded and the deadly radiation spread throughout Europe, but affecting mostly areas in Belarus, European Russia and Ukraine. This was the worst nuclear radiation exposure since the bombing of Japan at the end of WWII.
One person was killed immediately, more than two dozen of first responders were officially declared as dead shortly thereafter, but the real numbers of killed and injured will probably never be known. One million or more is a number being mentioned by many.
Military units without special protective clothing were ordered to clean up, and most of them either died or are suffering from the exposure until this day.
Assistance to Chernobyl victims continues to strain the budgets of both the national and local governments of Ukraine.
In accordance with policy and practice of the totalitarian Soviet regime, the truth about the disaster and the resulting deaths and injuries would have been kept a state secret, but the radiation failed to be stopped by the Iron Curtain, and the Swedish government was the first to sound the alarm. Soviet President Gorbachev finally made a public announcement several days after the explosion.
Members of the North Port and Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community will attend a “Panakhyda” (special requiem service) for the repose of souls of all Chernobyl victims at 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 26 at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church, 4100 S. Biscayne Drive. Following the service, a documentary film “Nature in the Chernobyl Zone” will be shown at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious & Cultural Center, with a coffee and pastry reception afterwards.
All are welcome.
Commemorations of the Chernobyl disaster are taking place throughout the world, with mass rallies, prayers and other religious services, wreath laying, etc.
Saturday, there will be a table with materials about the Chernobyl tragedy at the Earth Day observance between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in Oscar Scherer Park in Venice. The Chernobyl table and exhibit are being sponsored by the Coordinating Committee of Ukrainian American Clubs and Organizations of North Port and vicinity headed by Professor Vira Bodnaruk of Venice.
Members of the North Port Branch #56 of Ukrainian National Women’s League of America headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, and of the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port will provide majority of volunteers to service the table.

All are invited to a special “Evening at the L’viv Opera Theatre” at 5 p.m. Sunday at the St. Mary’s Social Hall, 1078 N. Biscayne Drive.
Enjoy the on screen viewing, recorded live, of “Cavaleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni, performed by acclaimed artists of the Ukrainian Opera.
Refreshments will be served. Donation: $25 per person. For tickets contact Natalie Sluzar at 941-429-5445, or Tetiana Silecky at 941-302-5054.

My wife Katrusia and I wish all our Jewish friends and neighbors here in Southwest Florida and in Greater New York City happy and healthy Passover, which commences at sundown Friday.

AtaƱas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ukrainian American Veterans make plans

The only Ukrainian American Veterans post in Florida, Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 in North Port, has members not only from several surrounding communities but also from more distant places like the St. Petersburg area, Hallandale Beach, Fla., Valrico, Fla., and others.
Two members are on active duty, one in U.S. Army, and the other on the U.S. Navy, both holding officers’ ranks.
We are grateful for and proud of their service.
Our post is proud to be the home post of the current National Commander Ihor W. Hron of Osprey, one Past National Commander (yours truly), and two National Officers: National Adjutant Col. Roman Rondiak, USA (Ret.), of Osprey, who is also the current Post Commander, and National Chaplain/ Service Officer Marian Bojsiuk, of Venice, Past Post Commander and Past Commandant of the local Marine Corps League, Detachment 948.
The Post’s membership roster lists 45 names and addresses. Membership is open to all U.S. Armed Forces war and peacetime veterans, male and female, of Ukrainian descent and non-Ukrainians married to a Ukrainian American.
The Post 40 was chosen to honor the 40th anniversary of the City of North Port, because it was formed in April, 1999, North Port’s 40th anniversary year. From the beginning the post is participating in almost all civic and veterans events, including Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances, Venice Memorial Garden’s Memorial Day Programs and various events of the local Ukrainian American community, such as Ukraine’s Independence days.
This month’s membership meeting was held Friday, April 1, at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known to Ukrainians as “Oseredok” (center, in Ukrainian) and was chaired by Past Post Commander and current National Commander Hron.
Following reports by Post Adjutant John Czerkas, Finance Officer Oleh Sawkiw and other officers, members discussed plans for the next meeting, at 1 p.m. May 6 at the Oseredok, instead of the traditional 3 p.m. Also up for discussion will be the post’s participation in Venice Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Program Friday, May 27, and North Port’s Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Park on Monday, May 30, in addition to other events, either to be sponsored by Post 40, or where Post’s participation will be essential.
Much time was spent discussing the program of June membership meeting, the last one before the summer vacation, which will be held either June 3 or 10, with the final decision to be made at the May 6 meeting.

The traditional Scholarship Awards Luncheon of the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, was held Tuesday at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club in North Port. More information about the luncheon will appear in next week’s column.
Due to this week’s luncheon, there will be no membership meeting this month. Next meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Wed., May 25 at the Oseredok.

The Fundraising Committee of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in North Port is reporting that its fundraising goal is pretty close to being reached.
Additional contribution will be accepted with thanks and gratitude.

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

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Scholarship awards luncheon set for Tuesday

The traditional Scholarship Awards luncheon of the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, starts at noon, Tuesday at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club of South Sumter Boulevard in North Port.
A delicious buffet luncheon, with tickets at $30 per person, should be ordered as soon as possible from Halya Lisnyczyj by calling 941-429-2350 or emailing, or from Klara Szpiczka, by calling 941-423-6590. There will be no tickets available at the door.
This year’s Scholarship Awards luncheon will be the Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida’s tenth $1,000 award and be given, with a certificate, to a graduating senior of North Port High School or Port Charlotte High School.
The first eight awards went to North Port High School seniors. Last year’s recipient of the award was Port Charlotte graduating senior Valerie Segebre.
This year’s recipient’s name and his/her school will be announced at the luncheon.
In addition to the $1,000 scholarship award, presented to a graduating student who submits winning essay covering themes related to Ukraine, the club is awarding also smaller amounts, usually $250, to recipients of earlier awards. So far, only two recipients of scholarship awards have been of Ukrainian descent.
The Ukrainian American Club invites graduating students of local high schools to apply for scholarship.
Information about the club, including Scholarship Committee’s activities, can be seen at

Members and guests who attended Wednesday’s monthly meeting of Ukrainian American Club, held at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center — known as the Oseredok — received a comprehensive set of information about the identity theft problem professionally presented by Walter Zalisko, of Estero, Fla., retired police chief and president of PMC International and Police Management Consultants.
Zalisko answered many questions following his presentation and also individually during the coffee and pastry social hour after the meeting.
The meeting was also addressed briefly by Dr. John Kurey, of Parma, Ohio, who spoke briefly about the activities and immediate plans of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of St. Josaphat in Parma, headed by Bishop Bohdan J. Danylo, and Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, headed by Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski.
Prior to the presentation, a brief business meeting was held that included reports of secretary Doris Horbachevsky, treasurer Nancy Wosny, correspondence secretary Halya Lisnyczyj and several committee members, including Scholarship Committee chair Victor Lisnyczyj.
Due to the Scholarship Awards luncheon April 12, there will be no membership meeting this month.
The next monthly membership meeting is 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 25 at the Oseredok.

The monthly membership meeting of Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post No. 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans was held Friday at the Oseredok. It was chaired by Past Post Commander and UAV National Commander Ihor W. Hron, of Osprey.
Members discussed change of starting time of the meetings, upcoming election of post officers, the upcoming UAV 69th National Convention, and next month’s Memorial Day observances.
The next meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on May 6, 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