A l e k s a n d e r D u c h n o v i č
Aleksander Duchnovič was born in the Zemplyn County highlands, in the village of Topolja, on April 24, 1803.
He lived his childhood in the village of his birth and in Staščin [Stakčin], where his maternal grandfather,
A. Gerberij, was the cantor/teacher. Here in a family atmosphere he received his rudimentary education.
He went to middle school in Užhorod. When he finished high school he was accepted as a seminarian
student for the Eparchy of Prešov. Since there was no seminary in Prešov at the time, he completed his
theology studies in Užhorod. After his ordination he was assigned as a clerk in the eparchial chancery
office in Prešov. Later he was the pastor in the village of Biloveža, in the region of "Makovicja," where
he worked until 1838. Later he went to Užhorod, where for a short time he was a Notary for the church
consistory. In 1844 in Prešov, Duchnovič was appointed to the Chapter of Canons. As Canon he was elected as
representative to parliament where he served for two years. On his return home he continued living in
Prešov until his death. Duchnovič died on March 30, 1865 and was buried in the Prešov city cemetery.
Although a priest by profession, Aleksander Duchnovič is best known as a national
awakener and enlightener of his people. His initial activities clashed with the Hungarian
Revolution in 1848-1849. During this period, Duchnovič was jailed by the Hungarian authorities when he chose to
remain loyal to his nationality rather than denounce his Rusyn roots. It was there
that he wrote his best-known hymn "Ja Rusyn byl" ….
JA RUSYN BYL
Aleksander Duchnovič (1803-1865)
"Vrucanie" -- 1851 Almanac Pozdravlenie Rusynov
Я Русин был, єсмь, и буду,|
Я родился Русином,
Честный мой род не забуду,
Останусь єго сыном;
I was, am and will remain Rusyn,
I was born a Rusyn,
My honorable lineage I will not forget,
And I shall remain its son;
Русин был мой отец, мати,
Русская вся родина,
Русины сестры, и браты
И широка дружина;
|My father and mother were Rusyn,
As are all my relatives,
My brothers and sisters are Rusyns,
And my large group of friends;
Великій мой род, и главный,
Міру єсть современный,
Духом и силою славный,
Всїм народам пріємный.
|My great and mighty people
Are united in peace,
And with renewed strength and spirit,
Are magnanimous to all others.
Я свїт узрїл под Бескидом,
Первый воздух русскій ссал,
И кормился русским хлїбом,
Русин мене колысал.
|I first saw the light of this world
under the [Carpathian] Beskid range,
The first breath I drew was Russian,
And I was raised on Russian bread,
A Rusyn it was who cradled me.
Коль первый раз отворил рот,
Русскоє слово прорек,
На аз-буцї первый мой пот
З молодого чела тек.
|When I opened my mouth for the first time,
I spoke Rusyn words,
And it was over Cyrillic letters
That sweat ran from my young brow.
|Русским потом я питан был,
Русским ищол расходом
В широкій свїт; но не забыл
С своим знатися родом. --
|Later I was educated as a Rusyn
And as such went out into the wide world;
But I did not forget
My own distinguished people.
|И теперь, кто питает мя?
Кто кормит, кто мя держит?
Самое русское нлемя
Мою годность содержит!
|And now who shows me the way?
Who nourishes me? Who uplifts me?
It is the Rusyn nation
Which upholds my respectability.
|Прото тобї, роде мой,
Кленуся живым Богом,
За печальный пот и труд твой
Повинуюся полгом. --
|It is for you, my people,
I bow down to the living God.
Through sweat and hard work
I pay back my obligation
|И отдам ти колько могу,
Прійми той щирый дарок,
Прійми вот маленьку книгу,
И сей писменный рядок;
|And give to you as much as I can
Accept as a gift and with sincerity
This little book
And its writer's words
|Прочеє же не забуду
Сердца моєго скруху
Пожертвити; -- я твой буду,
Твоим другом и умру.
|I will not forget to sacrifice this repentance
From the bottom of my heart
I will remain your devoted
Friend until I die.