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Жити (з) мистецтвом
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Ivan Rybaruk

Письменник, парох Церкви в селі Криворівня

The Phenomenon of Kryvorivnia

Father Ivan Rybaruk, the pastor of the village of Kryvorivnia, can not only be proud of two books, but also for the prize of the Taras Melnychuk Pokrova Literary Festival. However, to perceive him as an artist only through the prism of literature is too narrow.

First, because it is not written in the usual sense for most people. Because the books “This is very important” and “The Bride of the Lord” are sermons of Father Ivan. Accordingly, this is an ancient oral tradition, which was resorted to not only by Christian preachers, but also by the first narrators. As the first cheese horse, according to folklore, was made by shepherds on a meadow, so the most interesting stories were told by the fire. Therefore, the manner of Father Ivan’s sermons is a cross between religious and folklore, Biblical (and not only) parables and real stories, theological and friendly, heavenly and earthly. Simple, accessible, vital, and therefore understandable. To be closer to the people, so that the flock could try on the shirt of the saints. That is why the book “It is very important…” is, as those who worked on the publication warn on the first page: “Almost a literal synopsis of Fr. Ivan Rybaruk’s sermons and the presence of the Spirit speaking through the author.”

In one of his sermons, speaking of prayer, Father Ivan says: “Christianity is silence… It is not the text of the prayer that heals, but the condition of the one who prays. It is not the text that heals, because the text is the paper on which the letters are written, and if you read the text and do not live it, nothing happens. These words can be considered as a universal approach of the pastor of Kryvorivnia to the text and to life in general: whatever you have to say and do – you need to live it to the fullest and give yourself to the maximum.

Father Ivan also has another, rather symbolic, involvement in literature. In the late 80’s he managed to work for some time in the Verkhovyna collective farm named after Mykhailo Kotsшubynsky.

Secondly, Father Rybaruk is involved in art in a much broader context, so it is useless to limit it only to literature. If you look at the behavior of the abbot of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin during the recording of the interview, the confidence and ease with which he is behaving in the camera frame suggests that you are working with a rock star. However, this is not surprising, because the abbot of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin is quite a media person. While sitting in a chair, he is trying to remember how many times he was filmed. And it’s not just about interviews, it’s about documentaries and feature films that the priest played.

No less important is the place where Father Ivan happened to be the abbot. In the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, a magnificent example of Hutsul wooden sacred architecture, the scenes of “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” were filmed. In addition, thanks to the church fraternity of the parish, the church was saved from closure in the 60-70s. To protect it from destruction, it was covered with tin at that time, and during the parish of Father Ivan the temple roof was returned to its origin – wood shingles.

Father Rybaruk continues the course started by the previous abbots: he does not only support the traditions, but also returns the status of cultural centers to Kryvorivnia and the church itself. After all, thanks in part to local clergy, the village has become one of the favorite places of the Ukrainian intelligentsia of the early twentieth century, where artists rested and worked, starting with Ivan Franko and ending with Lesya Ukrainka. This village has become a kind of phenomenon that has inspired and continues to inspire the work of artists of all genres.

Even now, the home of his father and his wife, the poetess Oksana Zelenchuk-Rybaruk, often hosts artists and intellectuals not only from local and domestic, but also from the other countries. You can feel the influence of this artistic environment in sermons and conversations with the abbot.

It is worth mentioning the Kryvorivnia icon of the Mother of God “The embodiment of creative ideas.” This Patroness of the Hutsul region should help and assist creative people, who are not in short supply in this region.


“And the first place of Christ’s life again becomes the hinterland. Not the center – Jerusalem and its environs, but the hinterland, where there is purity and sincerity, “says Father Ivan in one of his sermons. And in this case he also tries to imitate Jesus, working to ensure that the small Carpathian village not only regains its former glory, but becomes a powerful cultural and spiritual center for the largest country in Europe.

Author of the text Nazarii Zanoz
Photo author Serhii Havryliuk

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