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Tom Ridge (1945-Present)  Sworn in as the USA's first 'Director of Homeland Security' following the events of September 11. Ridge's Carpatho-Russian mother, Laura Sudimack, was from the Pittsburgh suburb of Munhall, where her father worked with the Greek Catholic Union. In 1982 Ridge was the first enlisted Vietnam combat veteran elected to the US Congress, and was later twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania. Ridgeís father was mixed Irish and Cherokee.
Peter Bondra (1968-Present)  Record setting NHL hockey star, has played for Washington, Ottawa and Atlanta. Born in the Transcarpathian village of Luck, Ukraine, Bondra later became a citizen of Slovakia before coming to the USA.
Robert Urich (1946-2002)  Popular Emmy Award-winning actor. Born to a Carpatho-Russian steelworker father and Slovak mother in an Ohio mill town, where he was raised in a religious environment central to his upbringing, including serving as an alter boy. Even as a famous Hollywood actor, Urich loved to cook Slavic food, even making his own kielbasa and baking his own pascha bread.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)  Famous artist, born as Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, PA in 1928. His parents came from a Carpathian village in the Presov region. Known as the patron saint of post-modernism, Warhol art included common items like Campbell's Soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles, and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Onnasis. Warhol also coined the phrase about everyone having their own 'fifteen minutes of fame'.
Gregory Zatkovich (1886-1967)  Pittsburgh attorney, activist and leader in negotiations regarding Transcarpathia following WWI, including meetings with President Woodrow Wilson. Zatkovich, though an American citizen, was appointed in 1920 as the first governor of the province known then as Subcarpathian Rus.
Fr. Aleksander Duchnovich (1803-1865)  Known as the national awakener and protector of the Carpatho-Russian people. His now famous "I was, am and will be Rusyn" are the simple but profound opening words to the Carpatho-Russian anthem and poem written by Duchnovich in 1851.
Metropolitan Nicholas (1936-Present)  Born Nicholas Smisko in Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Nicholas is the head of 'The American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese', headquartered in Johnstown, PA. Of all churches in the New World, this church has arguably best maintained the old traditions and customs that immigrants brought from the Carpathian Mountains. Carpatho-Russian members form the majority of this organization.
Metropolitan Herman (1932-Present)  Born Joseph Swaiko in Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Herman is the head of the 'Orthodox Church of America' or OCA, headquartered in Washington, DC. Originally part of the Moscow Patriarchate, this is by far the largest Orthodox church in North America with Russian roots, with about 50% being Carpatho-Russian descent.
Metropolitan Laurus (1928-2008)  Born Vassily Skurla in Ladomirova, Czechoslovakia, Metropolitan Laurus was the head of the 'Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia', also know as ROCOR or the Synod, headquartered in New York, NY. Founded by the Russian Diaspora that fled the Russian Revolution, the church remains an Old Calendar, conservative group that viewed itself for decades as the legitimate heir to the pre-revolution church. It has a minority of Carpatho-Russian members.
Archbishop Basil Schott (1939-Present)  Born in Pennsylvania, Archbishop Schott is the head of the 'Byzantine Catholic Church in America',(formerly the Greek Catholic Church). This is the American sister church of the one formed in 1649 in the Carpathians, as a result of the merging of the existing Orthodox Church with Roman Catholic Church of the then ruling Austro-Hungarian empire. Carpatho-Russian members are still the majority of this church, but this is decreasing as the church expands.
Joseph Tkach (1951-Present)  Born in Chicago where his Carpatho-Russian father was converted to the Protestant faith, Joseph Tkach is the head of the Protestant Evangelical 'Worldwide Church of God', headquartered in Pasadena, CA. Founded in the 1930s, the church currently has 870 congregations in about 90 nations.


In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, many talented Carpatho-Russians left their remote mountain homeland to seek their fortunes in the Russian Empire. These men also brought the unstudied Carpatho-Russians to the attention of the Russian scholars and are still mentioned in Russian textbooks today. Although on one hand they were treated as foreigners, on the other hand they were viewed as a people closely related in terms of culture and origin.2 They included:

Ivan Zeikan (1670-1739):  Russian diplomat and teacher, translator in Tsar Peter Iís Vienna Embassy, tutor in Moscow to the tsarís son and successor.

Ivan Orlai (1770-1829):  Court surgeon in St. Petersburg, active in organizing the Russian medical profession, teacher of the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, and a friend of Goethe.

Mikhail Baludiansky (1769-1847):  First rector of St. Petersburg University. Played a leading role in the codification of Russian law. Awarded several imperial orders, appointed a senator, and raised to the rank of the aristocracy.3

Vasyl Kukolnyk, (1764-1829):  Professor in Russia, actively involved in the reforms of the time. Kukolnyk also taught future emperor Nikolai I of Russia, and Czar Alexander I granted him an estate in the Vilno Oblast.

Petro Lodii:  Professor also involved in the reforms of the time in Russia, his books on law and economy were standard texts, and their lectures on law and philosophy influenced liberals in opposition to the then oppressive Russian state.

Pavlovich,Bilevich brothers:  Professors at St. Petersburg and Kharkov Universities.

Dudrovich:  Rector of Kharkov/Kharkiv University.

Nestor Kukolnyk (1809-1868):  Russian playwright and poet born in St. Petersburg, son of Vasyl Kukolnyk (see above). Czar Alexander I was the godfather at his baptism. At one time he was perhaps the top playwright in Russia.

Since the Soviet Union didn't officially recognize Rusyns, there couldn't officially be any famous ones. However, one known Rusyn was:

Igor (Ihor) Hrabar (1871-1960):  Painter and art historian, was a Budapest born Rusyn, whose family was forced to immigrate to Russia (his mother was the daughter of the famous Rusyn political activist Adolph Dobrianskyi). Became Director of the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow and member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.


Viktor Baloha (1963-Present)  Former
Transcarpathian governor, Mukachevo
mayor and businessman. Appointed in 2006 by President Viktor Yushchenko as head of the Presidential Staff (Secretariat Chief of Staff). As a councilor of the Transcarpathian Oblast Council, Baloha backed appeals for the official recognition of Rusyns.

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1 Carpatho-Rusí - Karpatska-Rusí (Yonkers: June 10, 1994), p. 3
2 Petro Kraliuk, Russophilism in Western Ukraine The Day - Ukrainian Daily Newspaper (Kiev: Ukraine, June 2003)
3 Paul Magosci, Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture / (Toronto: 2002), p. 30


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