ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF CARPATHO-RUSYN AMERICANA
IN THE EPISCOPAL AND HERITAGE INSTITUTE LIBRARIES:
BY BOGDAN HORBAL - ©1996, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Most of the Carpatho-Ruthenica in the collection of the Episcopal and Heritage Institute and Libraries of the Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Passaic covers the religious and church experience of the Byzantine Catholic Church parishioners in this country. Some of the most important events were captured on pictures, videos as well as audio tapes.
Most of the photographs in the collection can be found in the drawers under the display in the main room of the library. Some of them are located in couple of places in the room, which used to serve as the Bishop's office. Photographs are not cataloged and are not stored in any kind of order. Some of them were described by those who donated them to the library. Some have library labels with short descriptions. Unfortunately there are many pictures which are not described at all. The majority of photographs is black and white. Most of them are in good condition.
Generally, the collection consists of pictures of priests, their families, parishioners, church buildings, church holidays and cultural activity. There is a famous photograph of thirteen pioneer Greek-Catholic priests in the United States of America, taken in 1890.(1) Among the earlier pictures, a couple come from the parish of St.Clair, PA. One was taken in 1911 and shows the priest and trustees of the parish. The other one was taken in 1917 during the First Communion of Children. There is also an early picture of St .Mary's Church in New Salem, PA, which shows the priest, trustees as well as some children. There are two interesting pictures of Bishop Soter Otrynskii (1866-1916), the first administrator of Greek Catholics in the United States of America, with some of his clergy. One was taken in 1913 and includes 14 priests, among others famous figures of: Rev. Joseph Hanulya (1874-1962), Rev.Valentine Gorzo (1869-1943) as well as Rev. (later) bishop Stephen- Alexander Dzubay (1857-1933). The other one shows Ortynskii with thirteen priests.(2) Not dated is a tinted portrait of Msgr. Gabriel Martyak (1859-1934), the American administrator of Greek Catholics from Hungary. The picture of the retreat of Rusyn and Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests at Pocono Manor, PA was taken between 1916 and 1924. Along with both administrators: Msgr. Gabriel Martyak (1859-1934) and Rev. Peter Poniatyshyn (1877-1960), the Greek-Catholic Archbishop of L'viv Andrei Sheptytskii (1865-1944) is also pictured. Another picture of seventeen Greek Catholic seminarians, dated 1918 was taken at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, MD, where Greek Catholic priests were once trained. From the year of his installation (1924), comes a portrait of the first Greek Rite Bishop of Pittsburgh, Basil Takach (1879-1948). The picture of this Bishop, together with 52 priests under his jurisdiction, was taken four years later at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe,PA. There is a 1931 picture of the retreat, which took place at Homestead, PA. It shows 35 priests under Bishop Basil Takach. One of the larger pictures in the collection shows about three hundred delegates of the 23rd Convention of Greek Catholic Union, which was held at Harrisburgh, PA in 1940. There is a picture of the retreat of 64 cantors of the Eparchy of Pittsburgh, which took place in Uniontown, PA in 1947.
The collection possesses several portraits of famous Carpatho-Rusyn figures. Among them there is a picture of the editor of Amerykanskii russkii viestnik Pavel Zhatkovych (1852-1916), as well as an autographed photograph, dated May 19, 1920, of his son Gregory Zhatkovych (1886-1967). Zhatkovych wrote on his portrait: (Shchyroe pozdorovlenie Hr.I.Zhatkovych Gubernator Podkarpatskoi Rusy [Warm greeting. Hr. I. Zhatkovych the Governor of the Subcarpathian Rus']. There is also a portrait of the president of Greek Catholic Union Michael Yuhasz (1865-1944),
There is upwards of two hundred video tapes and reels of film. They are stored in the small room next to the library. Most of them are described, but they are not cataloged. The collection includes both: commercially made tapes as well as non-commercially made unique items, probably available only in a few places. About half of the collection deals with Carpatho-Rusyns. Within this group, the majority covers Byzantine Catholic ecclesiastical and church events, while only a few deal with cultural activity of Carpatho-Rusyns.
Several tapes cover ordinations and installations of bishops. For example:
1987 ordination of the Most Rev.George Kuzma (b.1927) as the Bishop of Van Nuys (2 tps.) and 1983 ordination of the Most Reverend Andrew Pataki (b.1927) as the Bishop of Parma (3 tps.). One tape shows the ordination of a priest, Rev.Michael Kuchma, which took place at St. Nicholas Church in Old Forge ,PA in 1987. The visual record of the press conference of at that time the Bishop of Van Nuys, the Most Rev.Thomas Dolinay (1923-1993) is also available in the collection.
Several tapes cover dedications and rededications of churches. Among them there is the blessing and dedication of the church of St. Therese of Lisieux in St. Petersburg,FL in 1992; the rededication of the Holy Ghost Church in Jessup,PA which took place in 1987. Tapes covering the silver anniversary celebrations of the Passaic Diocese (1994) and golden jubilee of Pittsburgh Ruthenian Province (1974) are also included in the collection.
There is 1985 record of procession, liturgy and heritage display of the centennial of St. Mary's Church in Freeland,PA. The other St.Mary's Church, in Trenton,N.J., was celebrating its centennial in 1991. A part of this big event was the concert of Carpatho-Rusyn songs and dances, which is also available in the collection. The concert of Bethlehem Carols in Slavonic-Rusin, performed by the Male Chorus of the Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church in Philadelphia, took place in 1991 and was taped. Finally there is also a performance of Carpatho-Rusyn Jasliskari-Gubi and Mahoney City Christmas Choir (1980).
Audio tapes are also stored in the small room next to the library. There is about up to a hundred and fifty of them. Similar to video tapes - the collection of audio ones consists of commercially made and non-commercially made items. They are not catalogued and are not stored in any kind of order. Most of the collection deals with the activity of the Byzantine Catholic Church. Generally, the collection includes audio recordings of: liturgies, concerts of religious music, and church congresses,
One of the oldest recordings in the collection dates from 1952. In that year, Rev. Evgenii Martyak celebrated at Hazleton, PA, services of: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection (3 tps).
There is a set of non-commercially made twenty three tapes presenting liturgies. Among them there are recordings of liturgies served by: Archbishop Stephen Kocisko (1915-1995) at Uniontown,PA (1981); Bishop Michael Dudick (b.1915) also at Uniontown,PA (1981); Bishop Andrew Pataki (b.1927) at Hazleton,PA (1983). Divine Liturgy served by Rev.Edward Semko, was recorded with the participation of St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church Choir of Jersey City,N.J, under the cantor George Kmeck. The same choir recorded several carols on a separate tape.
Several tapes include recordings of religious music done by different choirs under the directions of famous cantors. John Kahanic is one of them. He directed 1949 Silver Jubilee Concert honoring the establishment of the Pittsburgh Greek Rite Diocese. Forty one years later (1990), he directed the St. Michael's Cathedral Choir during the celebration of the centennial year of the Byzantine Catholic Church in the USA. He also directed the Mid-West Byzantine Slavonic Choir and St. John's Greek-Catholic Choral Club at Minneapolis, MN. The Byzantine Scranton Deanery Choir under the direction of Andrew Drozdik presents: Christmas Kolady and A Christmas Concert. There is also a recording of St. Michael's Byzantine Catholic Church Men's Choir of Campbell, OH, under the direction of Andrew Jubak.
The set of ten tapes covers the Passaic Diocese Congress held in 1981. Speeches were given by twelve priests. There are also sets of recordings which cover the proceedings of five Byzantine Congresses held between 1982 and 1991. The only set of tapes which does not deal exclusively with the church activity of Carpatho-Rusyns is the set of four Cultural Seminar Cassettes on Carpatho-Ruthenia recorded during the ethnic conference held at Uniontown in 1975 and made available to the public by the Carpatho-Rusyn Research Center (1984).
It is obvious that the Heritage Institute Museum and Libraries possesses a number of interesting and rare photographs as well as audio and video tapes. These items should be preserved for upcoming generations as the example of religious and cultural experience of Carpatho-Rusyns in America.
1.Along with this photograph the library possesses the original Letter of Appointment of the Rev. John Zapotocky of the Preshov Diocese for his Mission Work in America, dated July 20, 1889, which is stored with photographs,
2.Along with these pictures there is also a very interesting document, dated October, 24, 1907. It's a letter from Bishop Ortynskii to Rev. Evgenii Volkay (1864-1950), Chicago,IL. Bishop asks Rev. Volkay to celebrate liturgy once a month in Diamond,IN, because of the request of the Greek-Catholics living there, which is also stored with photographs,