The Lemkivshchyna Society

On April 1, 1989, the Lemkivshchyna Society was established in L'viv by cultural activists Petro Kohutov and Ivan Krasovskij. The L'viv branch voted to become a member of the World Lemkos Federation, a blanket organization of Ukrainophile Lemko societies, based in Syracuse, New York.169 In the Fall of 1993, the World Congress of Lemkos was held in L'viv and hosted by the Lemkivshchyna Society.

A branch of the Society was founded in Ternopil' on January 20, 1990, of which Volodymyr Barna was elected chairman.170 Its objective is to stop the process of assimilation by popularizing the cultural and historical past of Lemkos for the next generations, and by strengthening contacts with Lemkos abroad, especially at the Lemko Regions Vatra folk festival. It hopes to establish a museum of Lemko culture, folk dress, and way of life. It now sponsors the Lemko choral ensembles in Loshniv, Zhovtneve, Hutyns'ko, Pidzamochok, and Ridoduly.171 Its local activities have included a celebration in honor of poet Ivan Rusenko, and its youth section visits member families on the Saint Nicholas and Christmas holy days.172 In an effort to involve more people in its activities, the Ternopil' branch has discussed forming a Lemko dramatic company, organizing new vocal ensembles, and reviving folk traditions.173

The Lemko activist from Poland, Fedor Goch visited Lemkos in the Ternopil' district, including the village of Zhovtneve, most of whose inhabitants were (or are descendants of) former residents of Myscowa/Myscova (Krosno county). He attended a concert of Zhovtneve's Lemko folk choir "Konar Lemkovyny", visited the city of Terebovlja's Lemko community, and addressed the Ternopil' Lemkivshchyna Society, at which a concert was given by a Lemko ensemble from Pidzamochok, Buchach district.174

The Ternopil' branch has been very successful in organizing regional cultural events. One such endeavor was "Lemkovyna, My Beloved Land, We Remember You and Cherish You in Our Hearts", an evening of "Lemko culture" in Jahil'nycja, Chortkiv district. The master of ceremonies opened the program saying:

My beloved Lemkovyna, the verdant Carpathians,
Whenever a Lemko travels, he will remember you,
For the Lemko mountains, the beautiful valleys,
Cannot be forgotten, neither in joy, nor in sorrow.

The emcee then spoke of the 1945-1947 deportations from the Lemko Region. The program continued with folk songs by a choir, poetry readings, and Christmas carols by a children's group. The success of the program and the excitement it generated among those in attendance led to the establishment of a Lemkivshchyna Society village branch in Jahil'nycja.175

The only branch of the Society outside Western Ukraine was formed in Kiev, Ukraine's capital city, in December 1990.176

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