Today is the 98th anniversary of mass meeting in Florynka which gave birth to the General Council of Lemkovyna that was the beginning of the Rusyn National Lemko Republic.
The day of 5th December is known in Poland to be the holiday of our minority – the Rusyn Day. It was established as a suggestion of the World Rusyn Congress – they suggested that each member country choose the date for celebration of the Rusyn Day. In Slovakia it is 12 June, Ukraine 24 April, the USA 26 October, Serbia 15 January and Croatia 23 May. Each country chose a date related to some important historical event concerning the life of Rusyns in the particular country. In Poland, because of the anniversary of mass meeting of Lemko inteligentsia in Florynka, the day of 5th December was chosen. On this day, on Sunday afternoon of 4th December, delegations from the Lemko Association and Ruska Bursa Association went to Florynka, to the squre where the mass meeting took place. They wanted to have a picture taken in front of the church and the presbytery. The delegation had also an inscription with them, informing about the anniversary. Then, they went to Ruska Bursa in Gorlice to the Hall of Remembrance of Ivan Rusenko and Alexander Duchnovic, an anthem was sang there. The first board for A. Duchnovic in Lemkovyna was presented last year on Rusyn Day which took place in Poland for the first time then. There were speeches on the importance of the mass meeting in Florynka for the Rusyn nation. The spokesmen were: Piotr Trochanowski – the contemporary teacher of Lemkos, Anrzej Kopcza – head of the Lemko Association and Bogdan Gambal from Ruska Bursa Association.
The following part of the day was an authorial meeting with Antoni Kroh – the author of a book entitled За тамтом гором (Behind that mountain) which says about Lemkos. It was one of the first promotion meetings with the author, dedicated to this book. The book includes stories about those who returned home after resettlements, either from Ukraine or the western lands of Poland, about getting used to unfriendly reality of the People’s Republic of Poland, about the first concerts of Lemkovyna ensemble, about Lemko events – Vatras, attachment to tradition, culture, language. These are some of the topics that were raised by Antoni Kroh, at the meeting itself he appeared as an eminent writer to present Lemko life, for several dozens of years he has dealt not only with scientific research on the Rusyn minority, he also built many honest fiendly relations among Rusyns and he is still keeping up with those people.
As the author said – he has been thinking about the book since 1980s, but according to him, it could not have been published at that time – because of the censorship. Over the years following he intened to write it but he was waiting for a good moment. The interview with Antoni Beskid was made by his friend thanks to whom, among others, the author could get to know about the Lemko world – that is Petro Murianka. Both of them are unique persons, gifted with great knowledge and great sense of humour. Therefore, yesterday’s meeting and interview was very entertaining for the audience.