|Carpathian Rus’, 2004. Used with permission.|
|These Olyphant Carpatho-Rusyn businessmen|
identified themselves as both Russian and
Ukrainian (or "Rusyn-Ukrainian"), depending
on the ethnonational orientation of
the organization whose publication their ad ran in.
Regardless of the name they used, the author considers all such community institutions and individuals as rightly in the scope of this study. Indeed, no treatment of this history conducted on a scholarly level can deny that the various ethnonational streams of the Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant community are inextricably intertwined. In fact, many individuals – clergy, community leaders, business owners – moved easily among all the sub-groups and could easily present themselves in one context as a Rusyn or Russian, and in another context as a Ukrainian.
|Shamokin's Ruthenian Band (top)|
later became the Ukrainian Band.
That said, the author’s goal is to reveal the complexity of the identity question as it played out on the local level in the patches, villages, towns, and cities of Pennsylvania from the arrival of the first immigrants through the post-Roots rediscovery of ethnic identity and, in some places, revival of Carpatho-Rusyn consciousness. The primary audience for which the book is intended is Americans of Carpatho-Rusyn descent, whatever they understand or consider their ethnic origin to be, so that they may learn about their immigrant ancestors and the rest of “our people” who came to Pennsylvania. It is not my goal to convert a reader’s ethnic identity to Carpatho-Rusyn if they have strong feelings that they are, for example, Ukrainian, but if that reader comes to better recognize the complex means through which their own family arrived at that ethnic identity, and how others from the same geographic origin arrived at a different identity, then one of my goals will have been achieved.
Catholic, Orthodox, none of the above?
In large part, the story of Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants is the story of their churches. And so the history of the local parishes will make up a large amount of the story of a Rusyn immigrant community. This is not to say that this will be just a book of parish histories.
Furthermore, there are some Byzantine/Greek Catholic and Orthodox (of Ukrainian, Russian, or Orthodox Church in America jurisdictions) parishes in Pennsylvania whose Carpatho-Rusyn membership has been or is totally insignificant. This will be noted where appropriate, just as the history of a given Carpatho-Rusyn community will usually note the other primary ethnic groups who lived in that locale.
Finally, some Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant communities experienced the development of non-traditional religious groups, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses, and those developments will be discussed to the extent possible.
Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.