Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mourning death of renowned poet

The North Port and Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community bid farewell to a poet and writer, member of the Association of Writers of Ukraine, read and celebrated here as well as in Ukraine and worldwide Ukrainian settlements.
Halyna Pankiw, 92, known by her pen name Hanna Cherin, died Tuesday, July 19. 2016, and was laid to rest at Venice Memorial Gardens on Friday, July 22.
The traditional “Panakhyda” (requiem service) at the local Farley Chapel was celebrated Thursday by two Ukrainian Orthodox priests, the Rt. Rev. John Fatenko and the Rev. Oeh Saciuk, and the Solemn Requiem Liturgy (Mass) was celebrated by these two priests at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church, where the deceased worshiped. The church choir under the direction of Anastasia Fatenko sang beautiful responses at both services.
Speakers at the service and during the “Tryzna” (memorial luncheon following the interment) at the Family Table Restaurant were the Rt. Rev. John Fatenko on behalf of the local Ukrainian Orthodox community and Maria Nikitin on behalf of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center. They thanked her for many years of dedicated service at the center and at the Sen. Paul Yuzyk Memorial Library which is located at the Center, Mykola Weremijenko, a longtime friend of the deceased also spoke.
Halyna Pankiw, aka as Hanna Cherin, was born April 29, 1924, in Kyiv, now capital of Ukraine. She started to write poetry as a child. After graduating from high school she was accepted, without having to take entrance examinations because she graduated with honors from her high school, to study at the Kyiv Shevchenko University. Her studies were interrupted by World War II. After the war she wound up in the displaced persons camps in Germany, where her first book of poems “Crescendo” was published in 1949.
In 1950, she immigrated to the United States, settled in Chicago, eventually graduated from the University of Chicago and became the head of the University of Chicago Library. After her retirement in 1988, she came to Florida and devoted her time and talents to North Port’s St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known as “Oseredok” (center) in Ukrainian, and especially to the center’s library, the largest Ukrainian language library in Florida.
Hanna Cherin authored 26 books of poetry and artistic prose, including some travelogues. Many of her works are directed at the children and teenagers, but it would be inaccurate to describe them as “children’s books” because her writings were universally admired and loved.
May she rest in peace: “Veeechnaya Pamyat!” (eternal memory).
Sad news came from Toronto, Canada: A professor in the departments of History and Science, York University in Toronto, Orest Subtelny, Ph.D. (Harvard University, 1973), a Canadian historian of Ukrainian descent, author of many articles and books, active in Ukrainian Canadian organizations, especially “Plast” (Ukrainian Canadian Scouting Organization) lost his valiant fight with cancer July 24, 2016. He was born in 1943 in Krakow, Poland.
Subtelny and his writings were known throughout the world, including Ukraine. He will be missed by academia and the general public. “Veechnaya Pamyat!”
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukranian community for the North Port Sun. He can be e-mailed at 

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Commemorating heroes, saying ‘thanks’ to officials

While reading the true history of Ukraine, not the version developed by our neighbors, especially Russia, and accepted as “true” by most western, including American, politicians and others, one will recognize that Ukrainians were freedom-loving people who fought, often with arms, to regain the freedom and independence of Ukraine.
Several brief interludes of independence during the last century ended in defeat, and what followed were more drastic measures by the occupiers.
One of the attempts to stand up to the advancing mighty Communist Russian armada is known in Ukrainian history as “Battle of Brody”, which took place in the second half of July 1944, in the vicinity of the small city of Brody, some 60 miles northeast of L’viv, cultural, and at one time a political capital of Western Ukraine. A military division of volunteers, in a large part young students and recent high school graduates, having witnessed recent murders by KGB (at that time known as NKVD) of thousands of patriotic Ukrainians, decided to take up arms in an attempt to stop the Soviet Army from taking L’viv. Outnumbered and out-gunned, the division was no match for the advancing armor, supported by aircraft.
Thousands were killed, many taken prisoner (and many of these summarily executed by SMERSH), with only a small number managing to survive, including those who had joined the Ukrainian Underground Army, known as “UPA,” fighting both invaders, Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Communist Russia.
The patriotic Ukrainians in Ukraine and throughout the world commemorate the thousands of young heroes of the “Battle of Brody” and pray for the repose of their souls during the month of July.
The Ukrainian American community of North Port and Southwest Florida is very appreciative of the action of the North Port City Commission and of the Sarasota County Commission for recognizing the upcoming 25th anniversary of restoration of Ukraine’s independence which will be observed Aug. 24, 2016.
The proclamation for the 25th anniversary of the renewed Independence of Ukraine was presented by North Port Mayor Jacqueline Moore to Professor Vira Bodnaruk, president of the Coordinating Committee of Ukrainian American Clubs and Organizations of North Port and vicinity, during the city of North Port City Commission Special Meeting on July 7.
Approximately 30 representatives of the Ukrainian American community, including members of the local Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, attended the ceremony. Presentation of the proclamation of the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Ukraine’s independence by the Sarasota County Commission took place July 12 at the Robert L. Anderson Administration Building of Sarasota County in Venice.
Representatives of the Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community, most wearing the traditional Ukrainian embroidered attire, attended the ceremony. Members of the Ukrainian American Veterans, led by the UAV National Commander Ihor W. Hron, were in their summer uniforms.

To commemorate the 110th anniversary of the birth of Olena Teliha, who was born July 21, 1906, a commemorative assembly will take place tomorrow at the Memorial Cross at Babyn Yar near Kyiv.
Olena Teliha, poetess, publicist, literary personality and civic leader was murdered by the Nazis, together with her husband and several other Ukrainian patriots at Babyn Yar in February 1942. 

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn (

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Farewell to a great community activist

The Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community bid final farewell to one of its longtime members and activists, Dr. Wolodymyr Korol, 94, who died on July 2, 2016. He was born on April 6, 1922, in Bytkiw, in one of the most picturesque regions in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine.
He attended schools in his native town and eventually the University in L’viv.
Like most Ukrainian youth of his time, he became involved in the Ukrainian political organizations in the periodbetween World War I and World War II, while lands of Ukraine were divided among Soviet Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania, intending the restoration of Ukraine’s independence.
Eventually, he became a member of the 1st Division of Ukrainian National Army. Following his retirement from work in Pfizer, Inc. medical laboratory in Groton, Connecticut, in 1994, Wolodymyr and his wife Halyna, who predeceased him in 2014, came to North Port, to join a young but grooving, and very active, patriotic Ukrainian American community.
They got involved in the local organizations, the Ukrainian Orthodox congregation which was worshiping at St.
Andrew’s Ukrainian Church, and St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known in Ukrainian as “Oseredok” (the center).
Wolodymyr eventually became president of Oseredok and served several terms until his health forced him to slow down.
Having been keenly tuned in to the processes in his native Ukraine, in February 1990, Wolodymyr organized the Association to Provide Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine, a 501(c) (3) humanitarian entity, for the purpose of raising funds to help Ukraine, at that time just beginning to function as an independent nation. The organization was cooperating with the national Coordinating Committee to Help Ukraine in USA.
During the first week of the North Port organization’s existence it managed to raise $84,684 from approximately 300 donors, 31 of whom donated $1,000 each. The fundraising continued and libraries, orphanages, clinics and other institutions were the beneficiaries until very recently when many of the active members of the organization died or became disabled.
“Panakhyda,” the traditional Ukrainian requiem service for the repose of soul of deceased Wolodymyr was celebrated last Sunday at Farley’s North Port Chapel. Celebrants were Ukrainian Orthodox priests, the Rt. Rev.
John Fatenko and the Rev. Oleh Saciuk, with the Rt. Rev. Mitrate Archpriest Wolodymyr Woloszczuk, retired pastor of Presentation of the Most Holy Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church, who also conveyed expression of sympathy on behalf of Pastor Rev. Vasyl Petriv and the Ukrainian American Catholic congregation.
Other speakers were Dr. Bohdan Bodnaruk on behalf of “Oseredok,” Professor Vira Bodnaruk on behalf of the Ukrainian Language Association, and Dr.
Wolodymyr Motyka on behalf of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Village Condominium and veterans of the Ukrainian National Army.
At the conclusion of the service, veterans of Ukrainian and American armies approached the casket and rendered individual hand salutes.
Solemn Requiem Divine Liturgy (Mass) was celebrated Monday, at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church by the Rt. Rev.
John Fatenko and Rev.
Oleh Saciuk.
The choir under the direction of Anastasia Fatenko responded beautifully at both, the Panakhyda on Sunday and Divine Liturgy on Monday.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at


Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Preparations for Ukraine's Independence Day

The North Port City Commission, at its regular meeting Wednesday at 4 p.m., will issue and present to the Ukrainian American community a proclamation designating Aug. 24 as “Ukrainian Independence Day” in North Port.
This year Ukraine will celebrate the 25th year of restoration of its independence which was officially declared Aug. 24,1991, and confirmed by more than 90 percent in the nationwide referendum held on Dec. 1, 1991. Professor Vira Bodnaruk, president of Coordinating Committee of Ukrainian American Organizations of North Port and vicinity, known in Ukrainian as “Hromadskyi Komitet,” is inviting all members of the community to attend the event at the North Port City Hall and to wear the traditional Ukrainian embroidered attire.
Col. Roman Rondiak, Commander of North Port’s Post No. 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans is asking all members to attend the event wearing Class B uniform with blue scarf.
On Tuesday, July 12, at 9 a.m., the presentation of the Proclamation of the 25th Anniversary of restoration of Ukraine’s Independence will take place at the Robert L.
Anderson Administration Building of Sarasota County, 4000 Tamiami Trail S., Venice, Florida.
Members of Ukrainian American community are invited to attend the ceremony wearing the traditional Ukrainian embroidered clothing (“vyshyvanky”).
Ukrainian American veterans will be in their summer uniform (B with blue scarf).
A group photo will be taken at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Vasyl Slipak, 41, a baritone at the Paris Opera, who gave up his singing career and returned to his native Ukraine to fight for his country in the war against Russian invasion, was killed by sniper fire last week near the town of Debaltsevo in the Eastern Ukraine. Mr. Slipak, born in L’viv on Dec. 20,1974, was recognized early in life as a musical prodigy and, after singing in the L’viv-based youth choir “Dudaryk” won first prize for performing Torreador Song from the opera “Carmen,” and eventually in France won fame for his rendition of the aria of Mephistopheles from the opera “Faust.”
Upon his return to Ukraine and joining the fight against Russian invaders, he adopted a traditional Ukrainian hairstyle, similar to a Mohawk, and the nom de guerre “Meph,” an abbreviation of Mephistopheles from the opera “Faust.” He would often sing for his fellow soldiers at the front.
Mr. Slipak was laid to rest at L’viv’s historic Lychakiv Cemetery, which is reserved for notable local figures and national heroes. His funeral Saturday saw tens of thousands of people attending the services and accompanying his casket draped in the Ukrainian National blue and yellow flag, with people kneeling on the street while the procession was passing, many crying, other singing patriotic songs.
Mr. Slipak’s survivors include his parents and an older brother. May he rest in peace: “Vechnaya Pamyat!” “Heroyi ne Vmyrayut!” (Heroes do not die!)
The Ukrainian American community of North Port and vicinity was saddened by the death Saturday of Dr. Wolodymyr Korol, 94, one of the pillars of the community, former president of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, and other organizations, veteran of the Ukrainian National Army, and communicant of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete at the time of this writing.
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians 

by Atanas Kobryn (