Rusyn Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rusyn Americans
Русиньскы Америчаны
Total population
U.S. Estimate, 2019, self-reported[1]
Estimate by Paul R. Magocsi, 2012[2]
Regions with significant populations
Northeast, Midwest
American English, Rusyn, Ukrainian, Russian, Slovak
Eastern Orthodox (Carpatho-Russian Orthodox), Eastern Catholic (Ruthenian Greek Catholic)
Related ethnic groups
Belarusian Americans, Russian Americans, Slovak Americans, Ukrainian Americans

Rusyn Americans (Rusyn: Русиньскы Америчаны, Ukrainian: Русинські Американці; known as Carpatho-Rusyn Americans) are citizens of the United States of America, with ancestors who were Rusyns, from Carpathian Ruthenia, or neighboring areas of Central Europe. However, some Rusyn Americans, also or instead identify as Ukrainian Americans, Russian Americans, or even Slovak Americans.[3]

They are sometimes also referred to as Carpatho-Ruthenian Americans, but terms based on Ruthenian designations are often viewed as imprecise, since they have several wider meanings, related to their diverse historical, religious and ethnic uses and scopes, that were encompassing various East Slavic groups.[4][5]

Since the Revolutions of 1989, there has been a revival in Rusyn nationalism and self-identification in both Carpathian Ruthenia and among the Rusyn diaspora in other parts of Europe and North America.[6]


Rusyns began immigrating to the United States in the late 1870s and in the 1880s. Upon arrival in North America, the vast majority of Rusyns identified with the larger state that they had left. It is, therefore, impossible to know their exact number. It is estimated that between the 1880s and 1914 some 225,000 Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants came to northeastern United States.[7] Based on immigration statistics and membership records in religious and secular organizations, it is reasonable to assume that there are about 620,000 Americans who have at least one ancestor of Rusyn background.[2]

At the time of the first and largest wave of immigration (1880s to 1914), the Rusyn homeland was located entirely within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In both parts of Austria-Hungary, the economic situation for Rusyns was the same. Their approximately 1,000 villages were all located in hilly or mountainous terrain from which the inhabitants eked out a subsistence-level existence based on small-scale agriculture, livestock grazing (especially sheep), and seasonal labor on the richer plains of lowland Hungary.[8]

Since earning money was the main goal of the immigrants, they settled primarily in the northeast and north central states, in particular the coal mining region around Scranton and Wilkes-Barre in northeastern Pennsylvania, and in the Pittsburgh and Erie areas of the western part of that state. Other cities and metropolitan areas that attracted Rusyns were Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City and northeastern New Jersey; southern Connecticut; the Binghamton-Endicott-Johnson City triangle in south central New York; Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Gary and Whiting, Indiana; Detroit and Flint, Michigan; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. By 1920, nearly 80 percent of all Rusyns lived in only three states: Pennsylvania (54 percent), New York (13 percent), and New Jersey (12 percent). There were concentrations of Rusyn communities in the coal regions of southern Illinois, including Royalton, Dowell, Muddy, Buckner, Benld, and DuQuoins.[9] [10] [11][12] [13][14] [15]

Like other eastern and southern Europeans, Rusyns were effectively segregated from the rest of American society because of their low economic status and lack of knowledge of English.[citation needed] This was, however, a relatively short-term phase, since the American-born sons and daughters of the original immigrants had, by the late 1930s and 1940s, assimilated and become absorbed into the American mainstream.[12]

Cultural Center[edit]

Carpatho-Rusyn Cultural and Educational Center, Munhall, PA

The Carpatho-Rusyn Society has purchased the historic former Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Munhall, Pennsylvania, to convert it into the nation's first National Carpatho-Rusyn Cultural Center.

The historic structure was the first cathedral in America exclusively for Carpatho-Rusyns. It was built in 1903 at the corner of Tenth and Dickson Streets in Munhall, just outside of Pittsburgh. Designed by the Hungarian-born architect, Titus de Bobula, and patterned after the Rusyn Greek Catholic Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Uzhorod, Subcarpathian Rus. The parish was established in 1897 and the church, the parish's second, was built in 1903. By the 1920s the congregation had more than 700 families. In 1929 it was chosen as the cathedral for the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Exarchate in America.

The congregation, then known as St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic parish, left the building in 1993 when it constructed a new suburban cathedral. In April 2004, the property was purchased by the Carpatho-Rusyn Society to create a home and center for the organization and culture.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "B04006: PEOPLE REPORTING ANCESTRY, 2019 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  2. ^ a b Magocsi 2015, p. 1.
  3. ^ Magocsi 2005.
  4. ^ Magocsi 2011, p. 177.
  5. ^ Magocsi 2015, p. 2-5.
  6. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 313.
  7. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 188.
  8. ^ Magocsi 2015, p. 151-166.
  9. ^ ""Shadows of the Motherland"". Archived from the original on 2012-02-26. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
  10. ^ Terry Alliband (1980). Expressions: Folkways in Southern Illinois. Southern Illinois University Carbondale. p. 11.
  11. ^ Paul Robert Magocsi (30 July 2005). Our People: Carpatho-Rusyns and Their Descendants in North America. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. p. 18. ISBN 978-0865166110.
  12. ^ a b >Smith, David (July 1978). The Russians of Buckner (Master of Arts thesis). Southern Illinois University. OCLC 8044617.
  13. ^ Mary Pat Flaherty (April 25, 1976). "Russian Orthodox Easter is Today". Southern Illinoisan. p. 4.
  14. ^ Barb Leebens (December 22, 1974). "Christmas on December 25th?". Southern Illinoisan. p. 2.
  15. ^ Frances Van Cleve (7 August 1959). "Russian Orthodox Church Unique In Area". Southern Illinoisan. p. 5.