Russophilism was a common thread in east Slovakia and Zakarpatta (both then part of the dual empire of Austria and Hungary) dating back to the mid 19th century. Fr. Alex Duchnovych - a part ethnic Russian and a Greek Catholic priest was the voice of the Rusyn national movement in the mid 19th century and was something of a panslavist. Given the hatred of the Magyar oppression near the end of their rule, the Tsarists had many agents working both in the region and in America fueling anti-Magyar politics and using the religious turmoil to their advantage by funding Orthodox missions and construction in America as well as in Europe at the time. For their efforts, the OCA has much for which to be thankful to this day.ialmisry said:I would too. Most of the Russophiles ended up in Transcarpathia, for a variety of reasons, and those who followed the Vatican remained in Slovakia, for a variety of reasons, including those that led to the rise of the Greek-Catholic Church in Slovakia.podkarpatska said:I am not defending the EC's, just trying to be accurate regarding them. Outside of Ladimirova, Slovakia and its surroundings, most OCA and ACROD faithful with family there have more EC relatives than Orthodox. I have met Archbishop Jan of the Orthodox diocese of Presov on several of his visits to the states and he would concur that the Orthodox are in the minority on the Slovak side of the border.ialmisry said:I don't know about anecdotal evidence: most of those in the region I know from the other side of the border, where they preferred to worship on the lawn than go back into the church and submit back to the Vatican, when the Czechoslovak seized properties. Would logostvuzhgorod show evidence of a vibrant Orthodox Church in the region? I've dealt with too many of the followers of the Vatican who would play up the slightest evidence of its flock in the former Soviet block, and belittle the most obvious signs of life among the Orthodox (yes, catechesis is in order, but mass baptisms are not nothing, especially when such things would be lauded in the Czech republic, if they happened) to take that at face value. Especially when I've been to Western Europe.podkarpatska said:From anecdotal sources, it would seem that the Muchachevo Eparchy of the Greek Catholics has the upper hand. If you follow the youtube channel of the Eparchy, logostvuzhgorod, (http://www.youtube.com/user/logostvuzhgorod?feature=g-all-u ), one can see evidence of a vibrant Church which has preserved its distinct historical identity notwithstanding great cultural and political pressures during the course of the 20th century. This is not to diminish the work and presence of the Orthodox, but merely to state what appears to be the reality on the ground.
Btw, given their problems with the UGCC, I have far, far less problems with the Ruthenian Eparchy sui juris of Mukachevo, beyond its immediate submission to the Vatican, and its denial of the existence of the Orthodox Ruthenians.
I have to recuse myself.podkarpatska said:Several months back the MP posted a beautiful link to Orthodox churches in Zakarpatia and there are a number of independent videos posted from time to time. But on neither the Slovak nor the Ukrainian side of the border have the Orthodox utilized the internet as effectively as have the EC's. At least we American cousins at ACROD and the UOC-USA have first class websites with many multimedia links and we outshine our American EC counterparts by far in that regard!
WW1 and the Revolution put a lid on some of that and the infusion of Russian funding, but the resettlement of Russian monks and hierarchs to Ladimirova in Slovakia after the civil war did put a Russian spiritual presence in the lands. Many wonderful monks came to Orthoodxy from the region and one became the saintly and honored +Laurus, the leader of ROCOR who led the reunion with the MP some years ago. After the war, many Rusyns willingly relocated to areas of Ukraine, Siberia and the Crimea to substitute for ethnic Germans and other non-slavs who went - well somewhere bad I suppose.
When the Iron Curtain collapsed many of these former Czecho-Slovaks, including a large contingent of my family came back to Slovakia from the former USSR to reunite with their family members who remained in Slovakia or who were relocated to Moravia to replace the Germans following the war. Most of the returnees were fully Orthodox by now and have adapted to their new settings - hence growth within the Orthodox Church there and the reason for why the Orthodox Church in Slovakia has more in common with the OCA these days than with either the ACROD or the UOC.
This history is why I have a second cousin who is a Greek Catholic priest in Plsen, Czech republic and another who is a graduate seminarian and part of the growing Orthodox community in southern Poland, another who is a Sister Servant of Mary nun in Rome, a Greek Catholic cantor in east Slovakia, an Orthodox seminarian in America etc..... So when I seem annoying for reminding all of you that the situation there is nuanced and not all that clear and complicated its because - well, because it's complicated! At least we all sort of get along these days!