István Udvari




Rusyns in the Hungarian Kingdom



            In earlier centuries the Hungarian language (both literary and everyday) used the word orosz (Russian) for the denomination of the East-Slavs living in the territory of the Hungarian Kingdom. A change in the semantics of the ethnic name took place in the 19th century. The Rusyns of Hungary called themselves Ruskij, Rusnak or Rusyn. In the terminology of the Rusyn intellectuals already in the 17th century the ethnonym Uhroruskij (Rusyn of Hungary) appears. This word is used in the title of the catechism printed for the Rusyns in 1698 in Nagyszombat. The contemporary Hungarian translation of the ethnonym Uhroruskij, the word Magyarorosz, was first used in the 18th century Hungarian publications (cp. Décsy Antal: Az magyar oroszokról való igen rövid elmélkedés. Kassa, 1797). [For the ethnonym Rusyn the following synonyms can be found in Hungarian scientific literature: Rut(h)en, Kárpátorosz (Carpatho Rusyn, Carpatho Russian), Kárpátukrán (Carpatho Ukrainian), Magyarországi Kisorosz (Little Russian of Hungary), Rusznák (Russnak), Rusznyák (Russn’ak)].

Although there are various hypotheses and opinions about the settlement of the Rusyns in the Carpathian basin, only one of them is documented by the historians. According to this conception the settlement of this nomadic and peasant population was a long and peaceful process which took place in the periodbetween the 14th and 18th century. The settlement was organised by the kenéz and soltész (two names used for the same notion). The earliest immigrants were the Dolishniaks (ie. the Rusyns of the lowlands), who appeared soon after the Tatar-Mongol invasion. At this time the ”gyepü” (wasteland) defence system was liquidated and the settlement moved from the south (from the fields) to the north, to the woods, to the ridges of the Carpathians. According to a romantic theory the ancesters of the Rusyns inhabiting the lowlands were brought to the territory of Hungary by Theodor Koriatovich, prince of Lithuania. The followers of this opinion claim that Theodor Koriatovich founded the Basilian monastery of Munkács-Csernekhegy which later organised the Church in this territory.

After the expulsion of the Turks the destroyed villages in Borsod, Abaúj and the Lowlands were peopled by Rusyns in larger and smaller groups coming from the rather overpopulated counties Bereg, Zemplén and the mountains of Máramaros. Their southernmost colonies were in the regions of Bácska, the Szerémség and Szlavónia.

In the 18th century the Rusyns lived in compact ethnic blocs in counties Máramaros, Ugocsa, Bereg, Ung, Zemplén and Sáros and in scattered settlements, in diaspora in counties Szatmár, Szabolcs, Bihar, Borsod, Abaúj, Szepes and Bács. According to Church administration, the Rusyns lived in the territory of the diocese of Munkács and Eperjes (after 1818). So, up to the 18th century the overwhelming majority of the Rusyn villages were in the territory of the Munkács see. Here in several villages they lived together with Hungarians and Rumanians. The Munkács see consisted of village parishes and was ruled by the provost (ihumen) of the Csernekhegy monastery. According to Antal Hodinka, monographist of the history of the diocese, it was formed in the years 1439-1445. In the first half of the 17th century a ”unionist” movement started among the priests of the see, which in the first half of the 18th century resulted in the “Union” of Munkács with Rome. From the very beginning of this movement, ie, from the middle of the 17th century to the 20s of the 18th century the Rusyns had two bishops at the same time, one Uniate (Greek Catholic) and one orthodox. The acceptance of the Union with Rome had its economic reasons as well. The orthodox priests by accepting the Union with Rome hoped to have equal rights (economic and social) with the Catholic priests and liberation from the power of the local landlords

The Rusyns who settled in the southern region of Bácska first belonged to the jurisdiction of the bishopric of Kalocsa and later to the bishopric of Kőrös (Križevac) established at that time. Their priests, however, during the whole 18th century came from Subcarpathia. Up to 1771, when the bishopric of Munkács was canonized ie. acknowledged by Rome, the see belonged to the jurisdiction of the Catholic see of Eger. In this way the bishops of Munkács were vicar generals, taking oath of allegiance to the bishops of Eger. The Rusyn Church leaders tolerated this dependence with ever increasing indignation and had all the time various legal (canonical) proceedings against the bishop of Eger usually about the

right to celebrate their old feast days, about the ordination of priests and the building of new churches or establishing new parishes – all these in reality symbolized their efforts to reach independence. The bishops of Munkács tried to organize their bishopric and educational system according to the model of the Roman Catholic Church. The administrative language of the bishopric was Latin and a variant of Church Slavic which had elements both of the local Rusyn language and of the Ukrainian language used in the administration of Galicia. This special language, a kind of synthesis of various elements codified and normalized only in the practice of the Church offices of the Munkács diocese, can be regarded as the literary language of the Rusyns in the 18th century.

In the last third of the 18th century the Rusyn language was used in 750 settlements of Hungary by more than 300 000 Rusyns. The Rusyn society was made up by Church-intellectuals, priests, monks, schoolmasters and by a small number of lower nobility, the majority of the population, however, consisted of peasants and shepherds. Up to the beginning of the 18th century there are no reliable data about the training of the Rusyn priests. It is generally accepted that due to the lack of an organized training the requirements for the future priests were not on a high level. The old monasteries of Munkács and Körtvélyes also took part in the training well before the organized training started. The priests could be ordained by the bishop only after a successful exam in church singing, in liturgics and in moral theology. The regular and organized training of priests started only in 1744 when bishop Manuel Olsavszky founded a seminary and a school for cantors in Munkács. At first the seminary founded by Olsavszky had only two-year-courses. When the seat of the bishopric was tansferred from Munkács to Ungvár (1776-78) the seminary also moved to the ancient castle of the Drugeths. The training was extended to four years. In the 18th century in addition to the seminary of Munkács and Ungvár, Greek Catholic priests were also trained in Nagyszombat, Eger, Vienna, Pest and Lemberg. The Rusyns of Hungary not having their own typography with Cyrillic letters bought their church books in Russia and in Poland. The most needed books, however, primer, cathecisms and kazuistics, were published for them since the end of the 17th century in Nagyszombat, Kolozsvár and Buda. The Sockage Regulation of Maria-

Therese also used the Rusyn language. The declarations of the Rusyn peasants in the questionnaires of the Regulations were written in Slovak in counties Szepes, Sáros, Zemplén and Ung but in Rusyn (with Hungarian orthography) in counties Bereg Ugocsa and Máramaros.

            Up to the 18th century the majority of the Rusyn churches were made of wood consisting of usually 3 square places built along an axial and a central line. One of the characteristic features of these churches is the iconostas separating the inner sanctuary from the external one

            The Rusyns always were the champions of the Hungarian cause sharing a common fate in everything. They participated in great number in the war of independence of Rákóczi, making up almost the whole special guard regiment of the prince.

            The Rusyn harvesters worked for centuries seasonally on the Lowlands (Alföld). After having finished harvesting, thrashing and threading out, they returned home with cartloads of wheat enough for their needs in the coming winter. From the sockage regulations it is known that in the 1770s,  from every fifth Rusyn village, the peasants worked in the vineyards of the Tokaj region. From the Middle Ages up to the 70s of the 19th centuries, when the railways appeared, lots of Rusyn villages made a living by felling trees and running timber down the rivers. The fruit from Bereg and the salt from the salt-mines of Máramaros and the wooden instruments were transferred on rafts down the Tisza to the Lowlands (Alföld). On the other hand these seasonal works of the Rusyns, made far from their homeland, contributed to the development of their culture as they got acquainted with new technical methods, instruments and ideas. Their frequent contacts with other ethnic groups is felt in the loanwords of their native language, where the number of Hungarian elements is significant.



ÁCS Zoltán (ed.): Együtt élő népek a Kárpát-medencében. Bp. 1994.

BENDÁSZ István – KOI István: A Munkácsi Görög katolikus Egyházmegye lelkészségeinek 1792. évi katalógusa. Nyíregyháza, 1994.

BONKÁLÓ Sándor: A rutének. (Ruszinok). Bp. é.n.

BOTLIK József: Hármas kereszt alatt. Görögkatolikusok Kárpátalján az ungvári uniótól nagjainkig (1646–1997). Bp. 1997.

HODINKA Antal: A kárpátaljai rutének lakóhelye, gazdaságuk és múltjuk. Bp. 1923.

HODINKA Antal: II. Rákóczi Ferenc fejedelem és a “gens fidelissima”. Pécs, 1937.

LABOS, Fedor: Istorija Rusynox Bachkej, Srimu i Slavoniji. 1735-1918. Vukovár, 1979

LEHOCZKY Tivadar: A Beregmegyei görögszertartású katholikus lelkészségek története a XIX. század végéig. Munkács, 1904.

PIRIGYI István: A magyarországi görögkatolikusok története. I–II. Nyíregyháza, 1990.

MAGOCSI Paul Robert: Carpatho–Rusyn Studies. An Annotated Bibliography. Volumene II: 1985–1994. East European Monographs, NO. 72. New York, 1998.

MAGOCSI Paul Robert: Rusíni na Slovensku. Prešov, 1994.

UDVARI István: Ruszinok a XVIII. században. Történelmi és művelődéstörténeti tanulmányok. Vasvári Pál Társaság Füzetei. 9. Nyíregyháza, 1994.

UDVARI, István: Obrazchiky z istoriji padkarpats’kyx Rusynuv. XVIII. stolitije. Uzshorod, 2000.








The descendents of the Rusyns of the former Hungarian Kingdom now live in 6 different Middle-European coutries and many of them in the U.S.A. The Rusyns of the region Bács-Szerém in Yugoslavia have standardized their literary language already at the beginning of the 20th century. The University in Újvidék has a Deparment of Rusyn Studies.[1]

 The Rusyns in Slovakia managed to do the same in the middle of the 90s but they use it at all levels of the education.[2] Serious steps were also taken in this respect by the Rusyns of Subcarpathia. In addition to the periodic works, several books (scientific, belletristic) were published, and recently a grammar of the Rusyn language.[3]

The sixth world-congress of the Rusyns will be held in Prague, in the Czech Republic, in 2001.[4] I give here the data of the most importante Rusyn works and periodicals printed recently as a short information for specialists interested in this subject.


The Ukraine – Subcarpathia



Християнська родина. Ужгород 1996

                        – Русинська бисіда. Ужгород, 1996–

                        – Русинська газета. Хуст, 1995–

                        – Подкарпатська Русь. Ужгород, 1992–

                        Айно. Крайовий часопис-альманах. Ужгород 1997–99.





Some important publications:

Михайло Алмашій – Димитрій Поп –О.Димитрій (Сидор): Русинсько-украйинсько-руськый словарь. Ужгород, 2001.

– Павло Чучка: Вичурки по баранинські. Закарпатська застільна книга у 2-х томах. (том перший і останній). Баранинці Ужгород, 1992.

– Василь Фантич: Отцюзнино, русинська, християнська! Ужгород, 1997.

– Василь Фантич: Фіглі от дохтора Василя Фантича. Ужгород, 1999.

Владымыр Федынышынець: Карпато- Рутены у ХХІ сторочі. 2-ое выданя.

–Kalendárium 1995 Календарь Культурно-просвітительного Общества им. А.Духновича. ред. С.Броди, В.Сочка Боржавин. Ужгород, 1995.

– Kalendárium 1996 Календарь 1996 Общества им. А.Духновича. Ред.: С.Броди. Ужгород, 1996.

– Kalendárium 1996/a Наш русинсько-словацькый календарь. Ред.: И.Латко, В.Сочка. Ужгород, 1996.

– Kalendárium 2001 Наш чесько-русинськый календар на 2001 рок. Ред. В.І.Падяк. Ужгород, 2000.

– Іван Калинич: Сміється Верховина. Хуст, 1996.

И.Калинич: Поетичні искринкы. Хуст, 2000.

– Тамара Керча: Бобальк? из попрём. Ужгород, 1997.

– І.Керча – С.Попович: Материнськый язык. Писемниця русинського языка. Мукачово, 1999.

– Дмитро Кешеля: Державна копоня, або Листи до пана Презідента. Ужгород, 1993.

– Дмитро Кешеля: Госундрагоші. Всякоє-шіліякоє. Ужгород, 1994.

– Шандор Петевфій: Убрані поезії. Потовмачив Славко Слободан. Ужгород, 1998.

– Іван Петровцій: Діалектарій або же мила книжочка русинської бисіды у віршах. Ужгород­, 1993.

– Іван Петровцій: Наші співанкы. Русинська поезия. Осій-Берегово-Ужгород, 1996.

– Иван Петровцій: Наші и нинаші співанкы. Осüй - Ужгород, 1999.

Иван Петровцій: Битан?üські спüванкы. Русинськый ерос. Ужгород–Осüй, 2001.

Димитрій Поп – Дмитро Поп: Русинськый синонімічный словарь из украйинскыма одповідниками. Ужгород, 2001.

Поп Д.И. – Поп Д.Д.: Подкарпатськы русины, їх історичні былины и ле?енды. Ужгород, 2001.

– Степан Попович: До 60-лїтія од дня смерти Евменія Сабова извістного общественного дїятиля нашого краю та 100 лїтія ёго Хрестоматії. Мукачево, 1994.

–Попович Стефан: Поруналный русинсько-мадярсько-русско-украинськый словарьчик. Ruszin-magyar-orosz-ukrán összehasonlító zsebszótár. Мукачово–Будапешт, 1999.

– Попович С. Цицак И. (ред.):  Памяти А. Духновича. Мукачево, 1995.

– В.Сочка Боржавин : Будителі подкарпатськых русинов. Ужгород, 1995.

– В.Сочка Боржавин: В подбескидных долинах. Ужгород, 1996.

– Szocska Borzsavin   В.Сочка Боржавин: История Общества им. А.Духновича и народных домов Русинов. Ужгород, 1997.

– В.Сочка Боржавин: Зазвонили в сел на вичурню. Проза и вершы. Ужгород, 1999.

– Іван Туряниця: Рудна земле пудкарпатська. Ужгород, 1999.

Удварі Іштван: Образчикы з історії пудкарпатськых Русинув. ХVIII. столїтіє. Изглядовання з історії культуры и языка. Ужгород, 2000.





Periodicals:            Русин. Културно-хрістияньскый часопис. Пряшов, 1992–

                        – Народны новинкы. Културно-сполоченьскый тыжденник

Русинів СР. Пряшов, 1990–


Some important publications:

Євангелія на неділі і свята цілого року. До русиньского языка переложыв: О.Франтішек Крайняк, Меджілабірці вєдно з братами–Русинами в Хрістови. Пряшов, 1997.

– Апостолы на неділі і свята цілого року в русиньскій верзії. Пряшов, 1997.

– Др. Михал Попович: Перекрочены сторіччя. Федор Корятович – русинськый войвода. Пряшов, 1993.

Vasil’ Petrovaj: Rusyny. Pr’ašov, 1993.

Павел Роберт Ма?очій: Русины на Словенську. Пряшов, 1994.

Василь Ябур (ред.): Правила русинського правопису. І.ч. Пряшів, 1994.

Ян Гриб: Букварь про русиньскы діти. Пряшов, 1994.

Юрій Панько (ред.): Орто?рафічный словник русиньского языка. Пряшів, 1994.

Др. Михайло Гиряк (ред.): Співанкы Анны Мацібобовой. Пряшов, 1993.

Михайло Гиряк: Бібліо?рафія народных співанок і народной поезії Русинів выходного Словенська. І. Пряшов, 1994.

Михайло Гиряк – Александер Зозуляк (ред.): Русиньскый народный календарь на рік 2001. Пряшів, 2000.




Periodicals:                Руске слово. Нови Сад, 1944–

                        – Шветлосц. Нови Сад, 1952–

                        – Глас Союзу Руснацох и Українцох Югославиї. Нови Сад, 1999–

                        – Дзвони. Християнски часопис. Нови Сад, 1993–

                        – Заградка. Часопис за дзеци по руски. Нови Сад, 1946–

                        – Християнски календар. Руски Керестур, 1921–

                        – Народни календар, Нови Сад, 1921–


Some important publications: [6]

– Илустрована Библия младих. Преложел и до друку приготовел: Малацко Михал. Загреб, 1989.

            – Святе письмо Нового завита, евангелиї. Преложел: др. Гавриїл Букатко єпископ. Руски Керестур, 1985.

            Михайло Макай. (ред.): Апостол. Руски Керестур. 1977.

            Се?еди Йоаким: Божествена литургия. Св. Йоана Златоустого. Руски Керестур, 1983.

            – Зборнїк богослужебних писньох карпаторуского розшиву. Мелодиї обробел протоєрей ставрофор Йоаким М. Холошняй. За штирогласни мишани хор гармонизовала Мария Холошняй. Дюрдєво; 1997.

            Наталия Дудаш (ред.): Русински //руски писнї. Нови Сад, 1997[7].

            Жирош Мирон: Бачванско-сримски Руснаци дома и у швеце. 1745–1991. І–ІІ. Нови Сад, 1997–1998.





Periodicals:            Нова Думка. Вуковар, 1971 –

                        – Венчик – Vjencic – Віночок. Часопис школярох и младежи Русинох и Українцох Републики Горватскей. Вуковар, 1998–.


Recent publications5:

Такач Гарвиїл (ред.):  Думки з Дунаю. 1991–2000. Загреб–Вуковар, 2000.

– Поезия и проза Русинох и Українцох у Горватскей. Вуковар, 1999.

Се?еди–Фалц Любка: Класки. Писнї. Винковци, 1999.





Periodicals:    Вседержавный Русинскый Вісник. Országos Ruszin Hírlap Budapest, 1999

 – Русинскый жывот. Ruszin Élet. Budapest, 1994–


Some important publications:


?абрєл Гаттін?ер – Клебашко: Заказана звізда. Вірш?. Будапешт, 1994.

?абрел Г. – Клебашко: Сл?з? і море. Вірш?. Будапешт, 1995.

Керча І?орь (ред.): Утцюзнина. Читанка про недїльні школы (на русинськум языкови). Ruszin nyelvű gyermek olvasókönyv vasárnapi iskola számára. Budapest, 2001.

– Юдіта Кішшова: Звук душі. Будапешт, 1997.

– Юдіта Кішшова: Кади сте? Hol vagytok? Budapest, 1999.

– Іштван Удварі: Русинські жерела урбарської реформ? Марії Теризії. Studia Ukrainica et Rusinica Nyíregyháziensia 6. Nyíregyháza, 1999.

Zsirosné Jobbágy Mária: Ismerjenek meg minket. 15 bács-szerémi ruszin nyelvlecke.  Витайце у нас. 15 лекциї бачванско-сримского руского язика. Nyíregyháza, 1998.

Др. Антоній Лявинец (ред.): Календарь–Альманах. Мілленіум 2000. Будапешт, 2000.




Periodicals:    Бесіда. Лемківскій двомісячник. Крениця–Лін?ниця, 1988–

                        – Лемківській календар. Крениця – Лі?ниця. 1990–


Some importante publications:


– Henryk Fontanski – Miroslawa Chomiak: Gramatyka jezyka lemkowskiego.  ?раматика лемківского языка. Katowice, 2000.

            – Miroslawa Chomiak (red): Program nauczania jezyka lemkowskiego (rusinskiego) dla szkoly podstawowej i gimnazjum. Про?рам вч?ня лемківского (русиньского) яз?ка для основной школ? і ?імназиї. Warszawa–Legnica, 1999.

            Петро Трохановскій (ред.): Мамко, куп мі книжку. Антольо?ія діточой поезиї. Nowy Sacz, 1995.


The United States[9]


Periodicals:    – The New Rusyn Times. Pittsburgh, 1995–


Some important publications:


– Magocsi R. Paul: Of the Making of Nationalities There is No End.  I–II. New York, 1999.

            – Magocsi R. Paul: Carpatho-Rusyn Studies. An Annotated Bibliography. Volumene. I. 1975–1984. New York–London, 1988.

            – Magocsi R.Paul: Carpatho-Rusyn Studies. An Annotated Bibliography. Volumene. II. 1985–1994. New York–London, 1998.



The list of Rusyn books and periodicals, grouped according to their place of publication, shows that their number is considerable and the philological analysis of them is the task of the Rusynistics, a new branch of Slavic studies. The postgradual training of Rusynists has already started in Yugoslavia, Slovakia and in Hungary. To sum up the results of Rusynistics or to give a survey of the postgradual Rusynistic studies, is the task of another paper.

[1] Cf: Дуличенко А.Д.: Jugoslavo-Ruthenica. .Нови Сад, 1995; Чурчич Мария (ред.): Библиоґрафия Руснацох Югославиї. ІІ. 1918–1980. Нови Сад, 1990; ?убенкович Стојадин: Библиоґрафия за видаванє учебнїкох. 1965-1985. Нови Сад. 1985. 335-397. A selected bibliography of works in Hungarian see in: Zsirosné dr.Jobbágy Mária: Ismerjenek meg minket! 15 bács-szerémi ruszin nyelvlecke. Nyíregyháza, 1998. 348-349. The review of the book see Русинский–тринадцатый славянский литературный язык. Slavica XXIX. Debrecen, 1999. 257-262.

[2] Magocsi P.Robert (ed.): A New Slavic Language is Born. The Rusyn Literary Language of Slovakia. New York, 1996. Its review see in: Studia Slavica Hungarica 42 (1997). 193-195.

[3] Cf. Керча І. – Попович С.: Материнськый язык. Писемниця русинського языка. Мукачево, 1999.

[4] The earlier world congresses were in Slovaria (1991), in Poland (1993), in Yugoslavia (1995), in Hungary (1997) and in the Ukrajne (1999).

[5] About the  Rusyn publications in Slovakia see my book: Tallózások ukrán,  ruszin és szlovák könyvek körében. Nyíregyháza, 1995. 188-253.

[6] Every year 10-12 works are published in the Voyvodina (Bács-Szerém) variant of the Rusyn language mostly by the publishing house Руске Слово ’Rusyn Word’. Here, due to the topic of the conference, I call the attention to the ecclesiastical publications.

[7] About the Rusyn literature in Voyvodina (Bács-Szerém) in Hungarian see: Világirodalmi Lexikon XII. Budapest, 1991. 310-314.

[8] More about the Rusyns in Croatia see. Udvari, István: Ruszinok a XVIII. században. Nyíregyháza, 1994. 24-30.

[9] In detail about this see: Amerikai ruszin kiadványok. Periodikák és monográfiák. In. Balaskó Mária–Kohn János (ed.): A nyelv, mint szellemi és gazdasági tőke. III. A VIII. Magyar Alkalmazott Nyelvészeti Konferencia előadásainak gyűjteményes kiadása. 1998. április 16-18. Szombathely, 1999. 123-125.