A new exhibit on the history of the area's Carpatho-Rusyns will kick off Sunday at the Monessen Heritage Museum, the home of the Greater Monessen Historical Society, said John Righetti, president of the National Carpatho-Rusyn Society in Munhall.
They also were called Carpathians, Ruthenians and Lemkos, according to Mr. Righetti
, who is in charge of collecting items for the display, which will be a joint effort of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society and the Greater Monessen Historical Society
By 1900, he
said, the Monongahela Valley towns had one of the largest Carpatho-Rusyn settlements in America.
Most Rusyn immigrants in Western Pennsylvania came from southeast Poland, western Ukraine and northeast Slovakia.
Western Pennsylvania now has 60,000 descendents of Carpathian immigrants, he
Many Byzantine Catholic churches and Russian Orthodox churches in the area were founded by Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants, Mr. Righetti
already has collected photographs from Carpathian church groups and fraternal organizations of the Mon Valley for the exhibit.
also has family photos of the group's early immigrants.
Carpatho-Rusyn costumes will be on display at the historical society, including some worn by a troupe of Carpathian dancers from Monessen, Mr. Righetti
Since the immigrants made a living as mountain shepherds in Europe, wool is prevalent in their clothes.
said very colorful patterns and embroidery also are typical.
The saints, who were brothers, are credited by many as having brought Christianity to the Slavic peoples, Mr. Righetti
For instance, Mr. Righetti
said, Rusyn halushki is made with cabbage and dumplings instead of cabbage and noodles.
Other traditional ethnic foods include pagach, a pizza made with dough that is about one inch thick, a layer of potatoes and cheese or fried cabbage, then a thin layer of dough on top.
Palachinky consists of thin crepes spread with cheese sweetened with sugar and vanilla, or a paste made from apricots, plums or strawberries.
"Even though we've been here 120 years, we haven't lost these things," Mr. Righetti
Although Mr. Righetti
has collected a number of items for the show, he
is looking for more, including: audio recordings of Carpathian immigrants speaking their native tongue; crafts such as wood carvings and embroideries; Easter basket covers and decorated Easter eggs; documents from local Carpatho-Rusyn families; family photos; and more costumes.