Monday, September 15, 2014

Слава Україні! Героям слава!

sounds right to me

I had a blast at the Ukrainian Festival. Although I didn’t speak to anyone in anything other than English, by the end of the trip, I was confident enough in my accent to shout: “Героям слава!” every time someone said, “Слава Україні!”  (Call: Glory to Ukraine!  // Response: Glory to her heroes!) It’s kinda the Ukie equivalent of “USA! USA!”, if you need context.

The best vendor - and the only one I purchased anything from (!!!!) - was the Toronto Ukrainian Genealogical Group. They were so helpful when it came to giving me pointers on where to start looking for information on my grandparents. Granted, I know all I need to know to get their birth certificates and pursue Ukrainian citizenship, but now I’m curious about the rest of it. It doesn’t hurt, I guess, that I started to read Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and realised that my grandparents’ families were saved because they lived on the Polish side of the border when the holodomor occurred. If they had lived in Soviet Ukraine, it might have been a different story. Then again, they got damn lucky they weren’t swept up in the insanity when Stalin decided he had to kill all the Poles…

It’s sobering to think of all the what-could-have-beens. It’s even more sobering to think that my grandparents lived through this part of history. (The key word there being LIVED.) That’s what got me curious about digging deeper and finding out more about my great grandparents in addition to anything more I can find about my grandparents.

I did learn something else. Something that I wasn’t expecting.

I’m not a Ukrainian (Roman) Catholic. I’m a Ukrainian (Greek) Catholic.

I always assumed that being a member of a Ukrainian Catholic church - and being sent to an American Catholic church for CCD - meant that I was a Roman Catholic. (At heart(?). I’m an agnostic in practice.) It turns out that the reason my American-flavoured religious education didn’t jive with the little bit of Ukrainian-flavoured religion I knew was because they weren’t the same thing. Fascinating.

Does it change the way I view organised religion? No. Does it make me want to go back to the church? No.

It’s just an interesting piece of trivia and something new to research.

So… I’ve managed to come back from Toronto with more questions than answers and yet another kick in the ass to work harder on my Ukrainian.

I was expecting one and not the other.

I’m not discouraged by either.

Posted by Matty on 09/15 at 06:27 PM
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