Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Season of activities coming up

The vacation period is coming to an end. The calendar tells us that summer has about three more weeks to go, but the tradition holds Labor Day weekend as the end of summer. The local Ukrainian American community organizations are in the process of setting dates of their activities for the balance of this year and beyond.
Several members of the North Port’s Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post No. 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, the only UAV post in Florida, led by Post Commander retired U.S. Army Col. Roman Rondiak, participated in the Aug. 28 ceremony in St. Petersburg commemorating the 25th anniversary of restoration of Ukraine’s independence.
National Commander Ihor W. Hron of Osprey, Post 40 past post commander, made a speech, Post 40 Color Guard (Baranowskyj, Kompanijec and Maliczyszyn) commanded by PPC Marian Bojsiuk did very well.
Other Post 40 members attending: Czerkas, Pochodaj, Popovich, Radzibaba and Tomashosky.
The ceremonies were also attended by 15 foreign officers representing their countries at the headquarters of U.S. Central Command, including three officers of the armed forces of Ukraine.
Post 40 usually meets on the first Friday of the month, but due to the Labor Day weekend the first meeting of the season will take place at 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9, at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known as “Oseredok” (the center) to Ukrainians. It will be a very important meeting dealing with nominating candidates for post officers for the next two years, electing delegates for the UAV 69th National Convention which will take place Oct. 13 – 15 in Chicago, and other important issues.

The North Port’s 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, which normally holds its monthly membership meeting on the first Tuesday of the month, will have its first post-vacation meeting at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Sept 13, at the Ukrainian Catholic Parish Center, 1078 N. Biscayne Dr., North Port.
The details of the meeting agenda are not available at this time, but the traditional coffee and pastries social will follow the meeting.

News from Ukraine: The Ukrainian National Polytechnic University in Kyiv was given a name of famous Ukrainian and American pioneer in aircraft design Ihor Sikorsky. An appropriate order was signed by Ukraine’s Minister of Education and Science Lilya Hrynevych.
This National Technical University of Ukraine will henceforth be known officially as “Kyivan Ihor Sikorsky Polytechnic Institute.”
Ihor I. Sikorsky, best known for his successful development of the helicopter, was born May 25, 1889, in Kyiv, Ukraine (then part of the Russian empire), and died Oct. 26, 1972, in Easton, Connecticut. He studied engineering in Paris, and then returned to Kyiv to study at the university which now bears his name. His dream was to build a helicopter, which he eventually accomplished in the United States.

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mnohaya Leeta, Ukraine!

Ukrainians, Ukrainian Americans, and Ukrainian Canadians join the people of Ukraine in today’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of restoration of Ukraine’s independence.
It was 25 years ago the Kyiv’s October Revolution Square — later renamed “Maidan Nezalezhnosti” (Independence Square) — was full of people with flags and posters demanding an end to the brutal Soviet Russian occupation.
The “Verkhovna Rada” parliament of the Soviet puppet state known as Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, composed mostly of Communist Party members and their sympathizers, was meeting in a special session in the aftermath of the hardline Communist coup attempt Aug. 19 in Moscow.
After a tense 11-hour session, it overwhelmingly approved the Act of Declaration of Independence.
The text of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine:
• In view of the mortal danger surrounding Ukraine in connection with the state coup in the USSR on August 19, 1991,
• Continuing the thousand-year tradition of state development in Ukraine,
• Proceeding from the right of nation self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other international legal documents, and
• Implementing the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine, The Verkhovna Rada solemnly declares the Independence of Ukraine and the creation of an independent Ukrainian state — Ukraine.
The territory of Ukraine is indivisible and inviolable. From this day forward only the Constitution and laws of Ukraine are valid on the territory of Ukraine.
The Act passed with 321 votes in favor, two votes against, and six abstentions (out of 360 members).
The parliament also approved an act on nationwide referendum to validate the Act (which was held Dec. 1, 1991 and was approved by over 90 percent of voters), created the National Guard of Ukraine, and turned jurisdiction over all the armed forces and military installations located on the Ukrainian territory over to itself. As a result of this act Ukraine became the fourth-largest nuclear power in the world, until voluntarily agreeing to dispose of the arsenal following guarantees against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.
Annexation of Crimea by Putin’s Russian Federation in March 2014 was a breach of its obligation to Ukraineunder the Budapest Memorandum signed by Russian Federation together with the United States and Great Britain.
Canada and Poland were the first countries to recognize Ukraine’s independence, both on Dec. 2, 1991, followed by the President Boris Yeltsin of Russia. The United States did so on Dec. 25, 1991.
That month the independence of Ukraine was recognized by 68 states, and in 1992, it was recognized by another 64 states.
As Ukraine celebrates the 25th anniversary of restoration of independence, its economy is still on shaky ground, and many political and social issues are not fully implemented, as the people of Ukraine are expecting following the Orange Revolution and the Revolution of Dignity, which included over one hundred dead patriots. The Russian annexation of Crimea, the incursion of Russian military personnel and armor into the eastern part of Ukraine’s Donbas and Luhansk regions in support of local terrorists which resulted in close to 10,000 death, and the continuous subversive acts by Russian operatives on the territory of Ukraine united all people of Ukraine, regardless of cultural, ethnic and religious background, like never before.
They feel proud of their free and democratic country, and are valiantly defending it.
May God bless Ukraine and its people for many, many years: “Mnohaya Leeta, Ukraine!”

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Friday, August 19, 2016

Getting ready to celebrate

Ukrainians in Ukraine and Ukrainian communities throughout the world are finalizing their preparations for a rare celebration — the 25th anniversary of restoration of Ukraine’s independence, the longest period of independence in over a century, a week from today, Aug. 24.
On that day, 25 years ago, the parliament of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, a de facto colony of Communist Russia, declared that there will be no more “Soviet Socialist Republic,” but a sovereign, free and independent nation Ukraine.
The parliament’s resolution was solemnly signed by Chairman Leonid Kravchuk, who was elected the first president of the new nation.
The celebrations will take place in various places, from Ukraine’s ancient capital Kyiv, where a military parade will be one of the features, to all other major and smaller cities throughout Ukraine, to the Ukrainian communities in Canada, United States, Australia, etc.
The North Port and Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community will be joined by public officials at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 24, at North Port’s City Hall for a traditional ceremony of raising flags of the United States and Ukraine by members of the local Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, Inc., while the national anthems of the two nations will be played. In addition, a proclamation declaring Aug. 24 “Ukrainian Independence Day” will be read by Mayor Jacqueline Moore and Ukrainian American community “mayor,” president of “Hromadskyi Komitet” Professor Vira Bodnaruk will speak also.
At 9 a.m., Aug. 24, there will be a festive breakfast at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, 4100 S. Biscayne Dr., North Port, to which all are invited.
The Ukrainian American community of St. Petersburg, Florida, will hold the 25th Independence of Ukraine commemoration on Sunday, Aug. 28, starting with an ecumenical Divine Liturgy (Mass) at 10 a.m. at Epiphany of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church.
A commemorative plaque dedicated to the “Heavenly Hundred,” the more than 100 demonstrators murdered by former president Yanukovych’s thugs during the “Revolution of Dignity” (November 2013-February 2014), will be blessed and installed after the liturgy (estimated time: 11:15 a.m.).
Many other activities are planned by the organizers, which include several members of North Port’s Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans. North Port and Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community is invited to the ceremonies, and many are planning to attend.
Ukrainian armed forces officers now stationed at CENTCOM will attend. Officers of NATO countries are invited also.
Congratulations to Pat Zalisko, of Estero, member of the local UNWLA Branch (“Soyuz Ukrayinok” — Union of Ukrainian Ladies), and parishioner of North Port’s Presentation of the Most Holy Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church, for having her art displayed in the August issue of Gulf Shore Life magazine, which is widely available in Southwest Florida.
Pat Zalisko, a successful lawyer from New York City, took up painting after retiring and had several successful exhibits of her art in various New York City and other galleries during the past several years.

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Ukrainian American community organizations

Last week’s brief coverage of North Port and the Southwest Florida Ukrainian American community is being followed today by a brief description of genesis and description of activities of some nonreligious organizations active in our area. There are now three most active organizations — Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, commonly known as‘Soyuz Ukrayinok” (Union of Ukrainian Ladies), Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida and Ukrainian American Veterans.
The UNWLA, a 501(c) (3) tax exempt organization, is the largest and oldest Ukrainian women’s organization in the United States. It was established in 1925 by five Ukrainian women's associations in New York City and vicinity. The goal of the newly formed organization was to inform the free world about the events in Ukraine, then occupied by Communist Russia, masquerading as the USSR, and to promote the preservation of Ukrainian identity, cultural heritage and ethnic traditions in the United States.
North Port Milena Rudnycka Branch #56 was organized in 1991 mostly through the efforts of Maria Nawarynsky of North Port, who became the first president of the branch. Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood is the current president of North Port’s branch of “Soyuz Ukrayinok.”
North Port UNWLA branch holds monthly meetings of members, sponsors dinner-dances like “Embroidered Ball,” with selection of the nicest traditional Ukrainian embroidered attire, and other social and cultural events.
Fundraising is one of the very popular activities, with funds designated for scholarships, assistance for war widows and orphans in Ukraine and other charitable purposes. Over $200,000 was raised by the Branch during its 25 year existence.
The Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida was organized by the late Irene Petryk, its first president, on Jan. 3, 1995.
The club, now headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, meets on the last Wednesday of the month at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, the “Oseredok” (center) to Ukrainians, sponsors cultural exhibits, fundraising dinner-dances and other activities.
The club awards $1,000 scholarships, plus additional smaller stipends, to graduating North Port High School seniors, and for the past two years, Port Charlotte High School. The club’s annual Scholarship Awards Luncheon at Heron Creek Golf and Country Club is one of the very popular social affairs of the local Ukrainian American Community.
Organized in 1948, the Ukrainian American Veterans, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(19) patriotic organization composed of Honorably Discharged Veterans of the United States Armed Forces who are of Ukrainian heritage or descent. The UAV helps provide veterans assistance through welfare programs, scholarships for children of U.S. veterans, a national monument project and other activities. UAV post #40 is the only UAV post in the State of Florida, now headed by retired Col. Roman Rondiak, USA (Ret.) of Osprey. It was organized, following several informative meetings, April 30, 1999, by yours truly, a Past National Commander and Past Post Commander of Pvt. Nicholas Minue Post in New York City, who was elected the first Post Commander.
The City of North Port was in the process of preparation of celebrating its 40th anniversary, therefore our newly formed post petitioned the UAV National Executive Board to be given number 40 in honor of North Port’s 40th anniversary. Our request was granted.
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, August 3, 2016

The Ukrainian American community today

There were many changes in the local Ukrainian American community since my wife, Katrusia, and I settled in our newly built home here in North Port in 1995, just as there are noticeable changes in our city of North Port, with some 12,000 inhabitants in 1995 and more than 60,000 now. There was never a known figure or a percentage of Ukrainian Americans in North Port then, nor is there one now. It is generally agreed that Ukrainian Americans constitute the largest ethnic minority of our city.
Twenty years ago, there were some clubs and organizations that are no longer active, even though some elderly former members, including officers, remember “the good old days” when they were younger and healthier. These were the Organization to Defend Four Freedoms of Ukraine (ODFFU), Ladies Organization of ODFFU and Ukrainian Gold Cross.
The oldest institution of Ukrainian Americans is St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, affectionately known by the Ukrainian name “Oseredok” (center).
It celebrated its 50th anniversary recently.
Membership is open to all regardless of political, religious, ethnic, etc. persuasion, and it is a home to St.Andrew’s Ukrainian Church, Sen Paul Yuzyk Memorial Library, Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, Branch 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA), affectionately known as “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (Union of Ukrainian Ladies) headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, and Cpl.Roman G. Lazor Post No. 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans (UAV) headed by retired U.S. Army Col. Roman Rondiak, of Osprey.
The center is open to other clubs and organizations for the meetings and other activities.
The umbrella organization, Coordinating Committee of Ukrainian American Clubs and Organizations of North Port and Vicinity”, known in Ukrainian as “Hromadskyi Komiter” now headed by Professor Vira Bodnaruk of Venice, meets there regularly.
St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church is the oldest Ukrainian American place of worship in North Port and Southwest Florida. It was established as an ecumenical Church, to serve Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox faithful. As a result, of the influx of more Ukrainian Americans to this area it soon became necessary to build another, larger church.
As a result St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church is now being used exclusively by the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful, now under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. John Fatenko of North Port.
The Ukrainian American Greek-Catholics built a new church, Presentation of the Most Holy Mother of God, or “Vvedenye” in Ukrainian, also known as St. Mary’s, whose current pastor is Rev. Vasyl Petriv.
The local Ukrainian American Baptists worship at the Ukrainian Baptist Church of North Port, located at 3950 Wall Street, North Port, now led by Pastor Vitaliy Bernatskiy.
He newest Ukrainian American place of worship is the Ukrainian Bible Church located at 3840 S. Biscayne Drive in North Port.
The First Slavic Pentecostal Church of North Port has, according to some estimators, more than half Ukrainian Americans, even though it is not a “Ukrainian” church.
Many Ukrainian Americans worship at San Pedro Roman Catholic Church and other local churches.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn