There isn’t much published on the history of the Carpatho-Rusyn residents who dwell along the Carpathian Mountains in today’s Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine and Romania.
There is even less available when the histories published in the Rusyn language are eliminated.
In 2016, the Lemko Association/Carpathian Institute reprinted the 1938 work of Simeon Pyzh, Short History of Carpathian Rus’, which contains both the original Rusyn text and one translated into English.
Remember that this book was written over 80 years ago – pre-World War II – which provides perspective for his thoughts. Political boundaries have changed and it’s necessary for the reader to have a grasp of the Austro-Hungarian empire, its makeup and its boundaries and to understand the influence on the Rusyns from people to the east – Ukrainians and Russians.
Simeon Pyzh: A Lemko Patriot
Notes to the History
A Short History of Carpathian Ru’
The Carpathians: The Ancient Nest of the Slavic Peoples
Slavic States Before the Arrival of the Magyars in Europe
The Carpathian Slavs Are Annexed to Rus’
The Russian Population Beyond the Carpathians
The Position and Role of the Clergy
The Russian Population West of the San River
Popular Revolts Against the Polish Nobles
Carpathian Rus’ After the Imperialistic War: Our “Self-Determination”
The Unifying Work of the Lemkos
Why the Czechoslovak Government Did Not Grant Autonomy to Subcarpatian Rus’
Presov Rus’ (Hungarian Lemkovyna)
Galician Lemkovyna in Bondage to the Polish Pans
The Lemko Association
The Carpathian Institute
Korotka Istoriya Karpatsoi Rusi (Original 1938 Text)
This history was a very interesting read to me for several reasons.
I have read several histories of the Carpatho-Rusyn people. Their origins are not fully known, except that they were Slavic people. Many claim that Rusyns were from Ukraine.
Pyzh makes the case that Rusyns were always in the area and it was their ancestral homeland, not Ukraine or anywhere else. I found that one statement to be fascinating.
The reasons he stated for the Rusyn people struggling through history were also right on the mark. Due to centuries of serfdom and poverty, coupled with no opportunity for education or economic improvement, there were no leaders to unite the people. The geographical restrictions caused by the mountainous region added to difficulties in bringing about any life changes.
The powers-that-be, regardless of who ruled at the moment, had no interest in helping Rusyns, because the serfs provided labor, food and taxes.
Pyzh pointed out that even the lowly clergy had some social standing, which provided benefits for their own families. Thus, those closest to the common people – the priests – did nothing to elevate anyone else’s social, economic or educational statuses either.
His final point is that the official language of the Rusyns shouldn’t be Ukrainian or Russian or even Church Slavonic (a variation of the Rusyn language with Latin and other slavic influences), but that it should be the daily spoken language of the Rusyn people.
I learned a lot from Simeon Puzh’s book. The Carpathian Rus’ people have pretty much been ignored by history and Mr. Puzh has done an excellent job setting future goals, some of which are only now being adopted by the people.
Simeon Puzh’s 1938 sort History of Carpathian Rus’, reprinted in 2016 in both English and Rusyn, can be ordered online for $20.00 from the Lemko Association/Carpathian Institute.