Ukrainian Institute of America

Ukrainian Institute of America For seven decades the Ukrainian Institute promotes through educational, professional and social activities, a greater awareness, knowledge and appreciation of Ukraine’s and Ukrainians' rich culture, history and accomplishments
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The Ukrainian Institute of America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the arts, music and literature of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora. The Institute hosts art exhibits, concerts, film screenings, poetry readings, literary evenings, children's programs, lectures, symposia and educational programs, all open to the public.

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Today we celebrate the life of the greatest Ukrainian philosopher and poet Hryhoriy Skovoroda. Born on this day in 1722,...
12/03/2020

Today we celebrate the life of the greatest Ukrainian philosopher and poet Hryhoriy Skovoroda. Born on this day in 1722, he was educated at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Hryhoriy spent over 10 years in Kharkiv, teaching poetics, syntax, Greek, and ethics. After his dismissal from the college he abandoned any hope of securing a regular position and spent the rest of his life wandering about eastern Ukraine. Financial support from friends enabled him to devote himself to reflection and writing. Most of his works were dedicated to his friends and circulated among them in manuscript copies.

Although there is no sharp distinction between Skovoroda’s literary and philosophical works, his collection of 30 verses (composed from 1753 to 1785) titled Sad Bozhestvennykh Pisen (Garden of Divine Songs), his dozen or so songs, his collection of 30 fables (composed between 1760 and 1770) titled Basni Khar’kovskiia (Kharkiv Fables), his translations of Cicero, Plutarch, Horace, Ovid, and Muretus, and his letters, written mostly in Latin, are generally grouped under the former category. Some of his songs and poems became widely known and became part of Ukrainian folklore.

His philosophical works consist of a treatise on Christian morality and 12 dialogues.

For Skovoroda the purpose of philosophy is practical—to show the way to happiness. Hence, the two central questions for him are what happiness is and how it can be attained. For him happiness is an inner state of peace, gaiety, and confidence which is attainable by all. To reach this state, some understanding of the world and oneself and an appropriate way of life are necessary. Skovoroda approaches metaphysics and anthropology not as a speculative thinker, but as a moralist: he does no more than outline those truths that are necessary for happiness. His basic metaphysical doctrine is that there are two natures in everything: the ideal, inner, invisible, eternal, and immutable; and the material, outer, sensible, temporal, and mutable. The first is higher, for it imparts being to the second. This dualism extends through all reality—the macrocosm or universe, and the two microcosms of humanity and the Bible. In the macrocosm the inner nature is God, and the outer is the physical world. Skovoroda’s view on God's relation to the world is panentheist rather than pantheist. In man the inner nature is the soul; the outer, the body. In the Bible the inner truth is the symbolical meaning; the outer, the literal meaning.

From this metaphysical scheme Skovoroda drew a number of fundamental conclusions for practical life. Since the universe is ordered by a provident God, every being has been provided with all that is necessary for happiness. The assurance that what is necessary is easy and what is difficult is unnecessary (for happiness) brings peace of mind. It also serves as a criterion for the material conditions of happiness: we need only those goods that are necessary to health and are available to all people. But to dispel anxiety about material security is not enough for happiness. Active by nature, humans must also fulfill themselves in action by assuming the congenial task or vocation assigned to them by God. To pursue one's task regardless of external rewards is to be happy, while to pursue wealth, glory, or pleasure through uncongenial work is to be in despair. Furthermore, since vocations are distributed by God in such a way as to ensure a harmonious social order, to adopt an uncongenial task leads to social discord and unhappiness for others.

The doctrine of congenial work is the central doctrine in Skovoroda’s moral system. Although it is not metaphysically plausible, it expresses his faith in the creative potential of human beings and the possibility of self-fulfillment in this life for everyone.

Hryhoriy’s poetic style, ideas, and moral example have played an important role in the rebirth of Ukrainian culture in the 20th century. The fullest editions of Skovoroda’s works were published in Kharkiv in 1894. An English translation of his fables and aphorisms, together with a biography and an analysis of the works, was published by D.B. Chopyk in 1990.

Warme Arktische Nächte, a German-language translation of Warm Arctic Nights, the acclaimed novel by Yuriy Tarnawsky, was...
12/02/2020

Warme Arktische Nächte, a German-language translation of Warm Arctic Nights, the acclaimed novel by Yuriy Tarnawsky, was released in November 2020 by Edition Noëma, the belles-lettres imprint of ibidem-Verlag, an important publisher of scholarly literature of Stuttgart, Germany. The book was skillfully translated by Christian Weise in close cooperation with the author who spent his formative years in Germany.

The book was originally published in English by JEF Books of Aurora, Illinois in February of 2019 and launched at the Ukrainian Institute of America on March 8, 2019 on the occasion of the world-premiere screening of Olexandr Fraze-Frazenko's Casi Desnudo, a film about Yuriy Tarnawsky.

A Ukrainian-language version of the book, Tepli polyarni nochi (Warm Polar Nights) in an authorized translation by Maksym Nestelieiev was published by the Kyiv publishing house Tempora and presented at the 26th Lviv Publishers’ Forum on September 21, 2019.

The novel is a fictionalized, semi-autobiographical account of the first ten years of Yuriy Tarnawsky’s life, describing an idyllic childhood in pre-WW II Poland, where he was brought up, the politically and personally tragic war years in German-occupied Ukraine where the family had moved, and the horrific flight to the West, an experience many members of the Ukrainian diaspora have lived through.

#BooksattheInstitute

As we kick off the 2020 holiday season, the Ukrainian Institute of America sends its best wishes for happy and healthy h...
11/30/2020

As we kick off the 2020 holiday season, the Ukrainian Institute of America sends its best wishes for happy and healthy holidays to all.

We invite you to join the #GivingTuesday movement on December 1, 2020 and help the Ukrainian Institute to support its mission! It is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.

Ways to support the Institute: https://bit.ly/3fOnN2z

Many thanks to all of the members and friends of the UIA who have continued to support the Institute during this incredibly challenging time for all. We are humbled by your generosity and are most appreciative of your steadfast commitment to our organization.

For over seven decades, the Ukrainian Institute has continued to promote, through educational, professional and social activities, a greater awareness, knowledge and appreciation of Ukraine’s and Ukrainians’ rich culture, history and accomplishments.

As a National Historic Landmark located in the midst of “Museum Mile,” the building that is home to the Institute plays a significant role in helping draw visitors and heightening general interest in Ukraine and its culture. The Ukrainian Institute is a steward of one of America’s architectural treasures. Through our preservation work, the Ukrainian Institute guarantees that generations of Ukrainian Americans, as well as the global community, are able to enjoy an architectural masterpiece.

Over its existence the success of the Ukrainian Institute has been due to Mr. William Dzus, the founder of the Ukrainian Institute, the Institute’s members and its benefactors.

We continue to depend on generous gifts from our members and friends.

Today, November 28th, marks the Holodomor Remembrance Day and the 87th anniversary of the Holodomor. Since 2006 it takes...
11/28/2020

Today, November 28th, marks the Holodomor Remembrance Day and the 87th anniversary of the Holodomor. Since 2006 it takes place every year on the fourth Saturday of November. On this day people in Ukraine and all over the world are lighting candles in memory of those killed during the genocide of 1932-33.

In 1932-33, Moscow’s Stalinist regime deliberately starved millions of Ukrainians to death in a man-made famine. Known as the Holodomor, the Ukrainian term for killing by starvation, the famine stands as one of the most horrendous genocides of the 20th century.

Targeting principally Ukrainian farmers, in a land that for centuries was known as the “breadbasket of Europe,” Stalin aimed to annihilate those parts of the Ukrainian population that were especially resisting Soviet repressive policies in Ukraine, and to terrorize the surviving Ukrainian population into submission to the Soviet totalitarian regime. While the exact number of victims is not known, many scholars and historians place the number at 3 to as many as 10 million. One third of the victims were children; at the height of the Holodomor, tens of thousands died daily of starvation.

87 years after this unprecedented crime, the Holodomor remains one of the least known genocides. The Ukrainian Institute of America joins others around the world in illuminating this tragic chapter in the history of the Ukrainian nation, the consequences of which continue to reverberate in Ukraine to this day.

Today, November 28, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the brutal murder of Ukrainian artist, human rights activist, mot...
11/28/2020

Today, November 28, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the brutal murder of Ukrainian artist, human rights activist, mother, and wife, Alla Horska. Dubbed “The Soul of the Shistdesyatnytstvo*,” she possessed the rare courage and strength of character needed to resist a repressive communist regime, and with sustained obstinacy defended the consciousness of truth and civil liberties.

Horska is best known for her artistic collaborations on murals, mosaics, stained glass, portrait paintings and the dissemination of samvydav (self-published literature). Due to the nationalistic subject of her art, Soviet apparatchiks and KGB operatives often destroyed, deterred, and even banned her work from public display. She was expelled multiple times from the Union of Artists of Ukraine for it, leaving her professionally blacklisted in Kyiv, seeking paying project work in the industrial Donbas. Horska also dedicated much of her time to supporting fellow artists, writers and journalists who had been arrested and convicted for “anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation,” often giving vehement court testimony on their behalf and offering and raising moral and material support to their families while they were in labor and concentration camps.

Highly intelligent, motivated, and talented, the Yalta-born Horska graduated from art school with honors and later joined the Kyiv Art Institute. It was through relationships developed there, including the meeting of her future husband painter Viktor Zaretsky, that she became involved with the Creative Youth Club “Suchasnist,” the center of Ukrainian culture in Kyiv. In the early 1960s Horska joined the national revival movement in Ukraine which counted numerous intellectuals and artists of her generation, among them, Lina Kostenko, Yevhen Sverstiuk, Ivan and Nadia Svitlychny, Vasyl Symonenko, and Les Taniuk.

Though she had been raised in a Russian-speaking family (her parents were thoroughly russified), Horska embraced speaking and writing exclusively in Ukrainian under the tutelage of journalist Nadia Svitlychna. She was a fiery student of Ukrainian history and its cultural legacy, in particular folk art, academic and monumental painting, and the avant-garde of the beginning of the century. Her many and long correspondences with artist and activist Opanas Zalyvakha led to a close kinship and creative partnership rarely seen in artistic circles. Despite the harassment and artistic limitations in ideologically regimented Soviet society, Horska remained an independent soul with European values.

On November 29, 1970, Alla Horska was found dead in her father-in-law’s house in Vasilkiv, Kyiv Oblast where she arranged to collect an old family sewing machine. The investigation, led by the Kyiv prosecutor’s office, concluded that Horska’s father-in-law had killed her out of personal animosity, and then committed suicide. However, from the outset, friends and acquaintances suspected political murder at the hands of the KGB for her sustained activism. An independent investigation in the 1990s revealed an incomplete criminal file ridden with contradictions carried out with falsifications. Although the case remains officially unsolved, no one has any serious doubt as to who was responsible for Horska’s death.

Alla Horska was buried at Berkivtsi Cemetery in Kyiv on December 7, 1970, under the watchful eye of the KGB. Parting words and eulogies were pronounced by Oles Serhiyenko and Yevhen Sverstiuk. Vasyl Stus read a poem “on behalf of the residents of Lviv” and Ivan Hel spoke a farewell word in memory of “Alla Horska – a patriotic daughter of the 1960s Ukrainian revival.” Afterward, each of the forementioned intellectuals and activists was regularly harassed and threatened for their participation in this “nationalist” funeral.

Horska left a sizeable artistic heritage represented by portraits of major figures of the “Shistdesyatnyky,” in-situ mosaics, and academic studies. Her works are housed in the collections of the National Art Museum in Kyiv, the National Museum in Lviv, the Central State Archive Museum of Literature and Art, the Museum of the Sixtiers, the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art at Rutgers University, and the Checkpoint Charlie Berlin Wall Museum, among others.

* Shistdesyatnyky (literally, those who lived in the sixties) — a group of literati, artists and scholars of the 1960s in Ukraine who, publicly and artistically acknowledged the criminal nature of the soviet communist system and rejected dogmas of ‘socialist realism.’ Their aim was to preserve Ukraine’s culture and language through art, essays, and literature.

Andrew Horodysky
November 2020

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday!
11/26/2020

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

The Ukrainian Institute of America wishes Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak a very Happy Birthday and continued heal...
11/24/2020

The Ukrainian Institute of America wishes Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak a very Happy Birthday and continued health, happiness and success in the coming year. Mnohaya Lita!

On this day, we mark the Day of Dignity and Freedom which commemorates two significant events in Ukraine’s history - the...
11/21/2020
Ukraine marks Day of Dignity and Freedom

On this day, we mark the Day of Dignity and Freedom which commemorates two significant events in Ukraine’s history - the Orange Revolution of 2004 and the Revolution of Dignity of 2013 - the declaration by Ukrainians to live in liberty and democracy.

On Saturday, November 21, Ukraine marks the Day of Dignity and Freedom. — Ukrinform.

Today, on November 21st, we celebrate the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, the supreme angel in Christian belief. U...
11/21/2020

Today, on November 21st, we celebrate the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, the supreme angel in Christian belief. Ukrainians shared many of the Christian beliefs about Saint Michael, particularly about his leading role in the struggle against Satan—hence, the name Arkhystratykh Mykhail ‘the Supreme Commander Michael.’ He was believed to have taken thunder away from Satan and handed it over to Saint Elijah. Michael the Archangel is a guardian angel of all Christians and Ukrainians adopted him as the patron saint of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

The Ukrainian folklore depicts Saint Michael as a victorious knight over evil spirits on Earth. Ukrainians believe that particularly while thundering it is Michael the Archangel who is waging war against the devil.

Artwork: "St. Michael" by Oleg Denysenko

Remembering the HolodomorNovember 21st at 2:00pm ESTLivestream from St. Patrick's Cathedral:https://saintpatrickscathedr...
11/20/2020

Remembering the Holodomor
November 21st at 2:00pm EST
Livestream from St. Patrick's Cathedral:
https://saintpatrickscathedral.org/live

Annually, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America co-organizes an ecumenical commemoration of the Holodomor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on the 3rd Saturday of November. This year, the organizers are strongly advising against traveling to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but are encouraging the community to watch the livestream of this memorial service online.

Read in The Ukrainian Weekly about our first-ever Virtual+ Gala Celebration.
11/20/2020
UIA holds virtual gala to mark its 72nd anniversary

Read in The Ukrainian Weekly about our first-ever Virtual+ Gala Celebration.

NEW YORK – A wedge of cabbage… hanging over a cocktail glass? Yes – but only for a “Borscht Martini”! Conjuring such a rara avis (recipe at close of this article) was one of many prequel videos on the website of the Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA) prior to kickoff for its October 25 ....

Please join the interview with artist Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak in remembrance of the Holodomor genocide in Ukraine. Sunda...
11/19/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a meeting: A Remembrance: Holodomor. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the meeting.

Please join the interview with artist Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak in remembrance of the Holodomor genocide in Ukraine.

Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 06:30 PM

Register for a talk with the artist: https://pitt.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qdOuvrTosH9TIGsvCjc0ru8qrNh_9lyt6

You can see a virtual art presentation "Holodomor: A Remembrance" featuring artworks by Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak on our website: https://ukrainianinstitute.org/event/holodomor-a-remembrance-a-virtual-visual-art-presentation

A virtual exhibition and artist interview with Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak in remembrance of the Holodomor genocide in Ukraine. 87th Anniversary of the Holodomor Genocide in Ukraine A Virtual Exhibition Presentation Artist Talk by Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak | Houston, Texas

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