August 2022
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Ukrainian for beginners

Romanian Chernivtsi

003The ancestors of modern Romanians (who called themselves Moldavians until the middle of the 19th century) lived in Chernivtsi since ancient times and practised the Orthodox faith, designated here as «Volos’ka vira» (Vlakh faith). Because in pre-modern times confessional identity was in the first place for Chernivtsi citizens, all Orthodox residents of our city – both Moldavians and Ruthenians (ancient name of Ukrainians) – called themselves «Volokhy» (Vlachs). However, absolutely all Chernivtsi Orthodox clergymen in 1784 knew both Moldavian and Ruthenian languages; this fact brought out clearly that both Moldavians and Ruthenians constituted the absolute majority among contemporary Chernivtsi Orthodox community.
Therefore the only extant monument of folk wooden architecture from pre-Austrian times, the Saint Nikolai Orthodox Church (1607) in Sahaydachnyj St #83, is a common cultural heritage of both Ukrainian and Romanian communities.
Revolution of 1848, called «The Spring of Nations», gave the impetus for the development of modern national consciousness of the Moldavian/Romanian community of Chernivtsi. Already in June 1848 Vasile Alexandri and Mihai Kohalnichanu established «The Society of Chernivtsi Moldavians»; very soon, in October, the first number of Romanian newspaper «Bucovina» was published. Hormuzaki Boyar (aristocratic) family upholded actively the Romanians national movement of Bukovyna; their estate in the suburban village of Chornavka became the centre of this movement. The house of the youngest brother Nicolae Hormuzaki, later the honorary member of the Romanian Academy of Sciences, is situated in Ukrainian St #36; it was rebuilt beyond recognition in the Soviet times.
For the Romanian community Chernivtsi first of all is the city, where the childhood and youth of their national genius Mihai Eminescu passed. In childhood Mihail Eminowicz (this was the real native name of the poet) studied at Chernivtsi District Normal School in School St #4 near the Turkish Bridge, where in 1848 Bukovynian Orthodox theologian Irakli Golebiowski saved the life of a seriously ill political immigrant from Transylvania, the Greek Catholic priest Aron Pumnul. Soon A. Pumnul was appointed a teacher of Romanian language and literature at the newly established chair of these subjects at the I State Gymnasium in Eminescu St #1. Chernivtsi gymnasia pupil Mihail Eminowicz adopted the Romanian national identity under the influence of his teacher and mentor A.Pumnul, subsequently gaining worldwide fame as the greatest Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu. In the Aron Pumnul house in Pumnul St #19 the future poet was managing the library of his teacher, he even was residing there for a while and there he wrote his first verses. Aron Pumnul was buried in the 14th sector of the Ruthenian Cemetery in Chernivtsi.
The «Society for Romanian Culture and Literature in Bukovyna» was established in Chernivtsi in 1862. 30 years later in 1892 this society bought the premises of the former hotel «Weiss» on the Central Sq #9 for the Romanian National House, where several other Romanian public, student and economic organizations as well as editorial offices arranged their residences. A prominent Romanian composer Ciprian Porumbescu, the son of Irakli Golebiowski and student of Sydir Vorobkevych performed in this house.
The establishment of Chernivtsi University in 1875 opened a new chapter in the development of the Romanian community. The chair of the Romanian language and literature was established here already in the first year. Later, teaching in the Romanian language was implemented also in several other chairs of theological and philosophical faculties. Ion Sbiera, the active leader of the Romanian national revival, at the same time a friend of Ukrainian leader Sydir Vorobkevych, became the first professor of Romanian philology. The former house of Ion Sbiera is located in Novikov-Priboy St #5.
In 1919 Romanian power established a Romanian University instead of former German University. The chairs of ejected German and Ukrainian professors were occupied by Romanian professors. Already in the interwar period the Chair of Slavic philology was headed by the famous Romanian scientist Grigore Nandris who lived in the house in Sheptyts’kyj St #1. Mihai Gusuleac was the director of the University Botanical Garden, where he lived in the office house. The known archaeographer Teodor Balan resided in the office apartment in Sheptyts’kyj St #19 (nowadays the Gymnasium #6 with Romanian teaching language is situated in this building). The researcher of Bukovynian church history Simeon Reli resided in Lomonosov St #5; the University Rector, historian Ion Nistor lived in Kobylyans’ka St #16.
An affiliate for Romanian students of I State Gymnasium in March 29 St #2 was opened in 1901. Few years later, in 1906 it became a separate III State Romanian-German Gymnasium – the first Romanian secondary school in Chernivtsi. In November 1918 the Romanian power moved this gymnasium into the building of Gymnasium #1 already as the Romanian «Liceului Aron Pumnul».
In 1906 a Romanian Boarding School was opened in Shevchenko St #38 to allow completion of secondary education for rural Romanian children. «Let the Romanian Boarding School and the «Society for Romanian Culture and Literature in Bukovyna», which had established this Boarding School, prosper for goodness of Romanian people and the whole province!» These words (delivered in Romanian) finished the speech of one of the leaders of Bukovynian Ukrainians Stepan Smal’-Stots’kyj at the inauguration of the Romanian Boarding School.
13440 Romanians resided in Chernivtsi in 1910. They constituted the fourth largest national community of the city after the Jews, Ukrainians and Poles. The most influential Romanian politicians who defended the principle of equal cooperation of different ethnic communities were Aurel Onciul, who stayed at his mother’s Agripina Onciul house in Ukrainian St #25 when visiting Chernivtsi (the Romanian Consulate was located later in this building), and Georghe Grigorovici who lived in the house in Holovna St #133.
Chernivtsi possesses the largest in Ukraine collection of architectural monuments, which give us an idea about the features of the Romanian architecture of the first half of the 20th century.
There are several expressive models of the Romanian architectural style in Chernivtsi. The former «Priests’ House» was built in the Neobrâncovenesc style (1929) in Kotsyubyns’kyj St #7; the former «Agricultural Bank» in University St #15 (1929); the former «Frontiers’ House» in Suvorov St #6 (1934); the stone Saint Nikolai Orthodox Church (new) was built in Neoromanesc style in Rus’ka St #35 (1936-1939). At the same time the «National House of Economics and Culture» was built in Constructivism style on the Theatre Sq #3 (1937-1939). Rich collections of Romanian folk and professional art in Chernivtsi Museums as well as Romanian literary and musical works, written in Chernivtsi are of great value as a cultural heritage of Bukovyna.

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