Spotlight on the Philadelphia Chapter

March 25, 2022

Formally established in 1957, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the United States witnessed a wide array of scholarly activities by outstanding scholars, working at that time in the Philadelphia metropolitan region of Southeastern Pennsylvania, as early as in 1954. Scholars, educators and cultural activists organized public events devoted to their ongoing research and provided updates about scholarship elsewhere in the world, including Soviet Ukraine.

The Philadelphia chapter cordially invites everyone to “A Celebration of the lives and contributions of Drs. Aleksander Lushnycky and Natalia Ishchuk-Pazuniak” on Sunday, April 3, 2022, 3:00 pm at the Ukrainian Educational & Cultural Center (700 Cedar Rd, Jenkintown, PA). The event will feature presentations by Profs. Leo Rudnytzky, Laryssa Onyshkevych and Albert Kipa, Oksana Sokolyk (Toronto), and performances by concert pianist Irene Pelech Zwarych and Kyiv Opera soprano Lidia Bychkova. For further information please contact Ulana Mazurkevych, Program Committee Chairperson at or by phone (215) 858-3006).

The current officers of the Philadelphia chapter are:

President Volodymyr Bazarko,* J.D., and M.S. (Mathematics) and a former NASA Research Scientist,

Vice President Andrij V.R. Szul,* J.D. and Ph.D. (Ukrainian sacred choral music/ Dmytro Bortniansky),

Secretary Dora Vynnytska, M.A., M.Ed. (ESL Teaching Specialist),

Treasurer Ulana Prociuk* (a former longtime Laboratory Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine);  and

Committee Chairpersons:  Ulana Mazurkevych,* M.A. (Program), longtime founding president of Ukrainians for Human Rights and  Lydia Bazarko (Membership), a former long-time corporate Finance Executive.

The three past president of the Philadelphia Study Center are A. Szul, Alexander Lushnycky *  and Leonid Rudnytzky.

Among the Philadelphia chapter’s founding members was Prof. Hryhorij Luzhnytsky, a founding member of the first Board of Directors of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the United States.  Formerly of Lviv University in Ukraine, Prof. Luzhnytsky was a prolific scholar of comparative literature and the Ukrainian Catholic Church (including his treatise on the “elements of Ukrainian liturgy in Ukrainian dramaturgy”), poet, playwright and popular published novelist, with a special focus on the spirituality of Metropolitan Archbishop of Lviv-Halych Andrey Sheptytsky.  Dr. Luzhnycky published widely in four languages under at least ten different pen names, and was an active member of the Philadelphia chapter for thirty years.

His son, Dr. Oleksander Lushnycky, author or editor of more than 20 books and other works, was a historian, with a special interest in the Ukrainian Church and journalism, archival studies, and immigration history.  For many years he conducted research in the archives and library of the Immigration History Research Center for the Study of Immigration, Ethnicity, and Race of the Migration and the Social Services Center’s Collection in the Archives and Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries, in association with the Immigration History Research Center of the University College of Liberal Arts.  He also conducted longitudinal research studies at the oldest cultural institution established by Ukrainians in North America that is dedicated to the collection, documentation, preservation and exhibition of artifacts and publications, the Ukrainian Museum and Library of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, CT; and elsewhere.  Dr. Lushnycky served as President of the Philadelphia Study Center for ten years, and for twenty-three years, until his death, was a co-editor of the U.S. Volume of the worldwide Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Diaspora (EUD).  He passed away on March 12, 2021, within a month of the release of the fourth, and final, book of the EUD, one of many publications of the Shevchenko Scientific Society over the past seventy years.

Other prominent members of the Philadelphia chapter include Professors Natalia Ishchuk-Pazuniak,* Lew Shankowsky, Bohdan Romanenchuk, and Oleksa Bilaniuk.

A leader of the Philadelphia chapter for more than fifty years was Prof. Natalia Ishchuk-Pazuniak of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Macquarie University in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.  Dr. Ishchuk-Pazuniak was the author, among many other publications, of several definitive studies of the works, life and cultural milieu of the premier Ukrainian poet Lesia Ukrainka.  For five decades, she held key positions in the international and U.S. Ukrainian women’s movements.  She was recognized as a dedicated mentor for college students, seeking advancement through individualized studies in Ukrainian literature, Ukrainian language, theatre performance, diction and public speaking.  For twenty-three years Prof. Ishchuk-Pazuniak served on the Shevchenko Scientific Society’s Philadelphia Study Center’s Regional Editorial Committee for the Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Diaspora (U.S. volume).  She was the longest serving Professor in Ukrainian Studies at Manor College, where she created and taught the inaugural courses in Ukrainian language, literature and culture studies, and also was an invited lecturer at Pennsylvania State University.

Prof. Lew Shankowsky was a journalist, newspaper editor, renowned political commentator for numerous periodicals and radio broadcasts, and a prolific scholar of record concerning Ukrainian military and civilian liberation movements in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Prof. Bohdan Romanenchuk, of the University of Pennsylvania and Niagara University, was the author of Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Literature Azbukovnyk (2 vols.), and also founding publisher-editor of Kyiv, an influential periodical that for many years specialized in a unique broad range of comparative literary-cultural studies and analyses, including the various dissident poetry canons and politics in the Ukrainian SSR.

Prof. Oleksa-Myron Bilaniuk of the University of Rochester, and later as the Centennial Professor at Swarthmore College, was a world renown astrophysicist, longtime foreign member (Fellow) of the National Academy of Sciences in Ukraine (Академік Національної Академії Наук України), and President of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. (Українська Вільна Академія Наук в США – «УВАН»).  He also was an invited Co-Founder of the National Atomic Research Center of Argentina, and contributor to the first English-Ukrainian Dictionary of Physics and Technology.  During sabbaticals from his university positions, he spearheaded several international teams of scholars conducting landmark research on nuclear accelerators at research projects throughout Europe and the U.S.  His accomplishments helped to place the Philadelphia chapter on the international map, as his leading collaboration,  –  mastering the proof, that the “possible existence of superluminal particles (tachyons) is consistent with Einsteinian Theory of Relativity” (Am.J.Phys. 1962, Phys.Today 1969),  –  to date, a half century later, is viewed as seminal in that field of study.

Among the current internationally prominent members still active in the Philadelphia chapter are Professors Leonid Rudnytzky and Albert Kipa.

Prof. Leonid Rudnytzky of LaSalle University and the University of Pennsylvania, also is a long-time foreign member (Fellow) of the National Academy of Sciences in Ukraine.  A leading scholar of Ukrainian and comparative Germanic-Ukrainian literature, Dr. Rudnytzky, together with Prof. Natalia Ishchuk-Pazuniak, a fellow professor at the University of Pennsylvania, helped to develop the undergraduate and graduate Ukrainian Studies programs at that university.  For more than fifteen years he served as Dean, and later President, of the Ukrainian Free University (Ukrainische Freie Universität) in Munich, Germany.  Dr. Rudnytzky is a cousin of Dr. Oleksander Lushnycky,

Prof. Albert Kipa, the inaugural Professor Laureate and Saeger Professor of Comparative Literature, has taught at Muhlenberg College for 46 years, where he served as Chairman of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Director of the German and Russian Studies Programs.  He has received awards from the Goethe Institute/AATG in Germany, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and the Ukrainian Free University, where he also served as President with great distinction.  Dr. Kipa has been President of The Ukrainian Academy of Arts & Sciences in the U.S. for more than a decade, and is a Fellow (Академік) of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine.

Another prominent member of the Center is Prof. Renata Holod, an internationally renowned American Art historian, architecture historian and archaeologist who specializes in the Islamic world and other cultures.  She held the prestigious “College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professorship” Endowed Chair in the Humanities in the History of Art of the Department of Art at the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Holod continues to serve as Curator of the Near East Section of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology at Penn, and is a former long-time president of the Ukrainian Museum in New York City.

An active member of the Philadelphia Study Center is Prof. Oleh Tretiak, a Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the College of Engineering of Drexel University in Philadelphia.  He earned an M.S. and Ph.D., at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has also taught.  Prof. Tretiak’s specialty field is image processing and recognition with medical and biological applications.  In the 1970s, his research dealt with the theory and algorithmics of computed tomography, while in the 1980s and 1990s, his research expanded to include image processing for neuroscience.

For more than thirty years, the Philadelphia chapter – initially, in cooperation with the Philadelphia Branch of the Ukrainian Catholic University (founded by Josyf Cardinal Slipyj, Patriarch and Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church) and then, to date, with The St. Sophia Religious Association of Ukrainian Catholics (founded by Patriarch J. Slipyj in 1974) – has co-sponsored an Annual Academic Series of lectures, presentations and book launches by a number of prominent scholars from around the world.

For example, between 2018 and 2021, the Philadelphia chapter organized a wide range of public events, including:

.  Lecture: “Ukrainian “Sitch” Riflemen – A gallery of archival photos,” as compiled with commentary by Dr. Vasyl Lopukh (Full Fellow of NTSh-A);

.  Launch of a new book “Our Lady of Guadalupe – Mother of the Civilization of Love (on the 490th anniversary of apparitions of Our Lady’s in Mexico)” with commentary by Dr. Iryna Ivankovych (translator and editor; a Corresponding Member of NTSh-A);

.  Presentation of Odnovitryl’nyi dim, a collection of new poetry, with readings and commentary by the author, Dr. Vasyl Makhno (Full Fellow);

.  Lecture: “On the 130th anniversary of the sole Galician-Ukrainian parish community in Shamokin, PA” by Yuriy Danyliw; *

.  Viewing of the new film Andrey Sheptytsky – aktual’ne with commentary by Dr. Michael Perun;

.  Launch of new book In three languages about three cultures, with readings and commentary by the author, Prof. Leonid Rudnytzky;

.  Presentation of a new novel, Eternal calendar, with readings and commentary by the author, Dr. Vasyl Makhno;

.  Lecture:  “Retrospective about the legacy of 75 years of service by the Ukrainian American Relief Committee – “UUARC” (Злучений Український Американський Допомоговий Комітет – «ЗУАДК»)” by Osyp Roshka *  (former editor of the Philadelphia-based America newspaper, and longtime radio commentator);

.  Viewing of the film Shoes of the Fisherman, with introductory commentary by Martha Pelenska;

.  Lecture: “St John Paul II and the Servant of God Patriarch Josyf Slipyj  –  Recent apostles of Slavic nations (Оn the centennial of the birth of Pope John Paul II, 1820-2005)” by Dr. Iryna Ivankovych;

.  Presentation with commentary by Dr. Iryna Ivankovych, translator and editor of an new, expanded Ukrainian language edition of Shoes of the Fisherman (Черевики рибалки) based on a 1963 novel by the Australian novelist Morris West which in 1968 became a acclaimed Hollywood film, generating exceptional worldwide attention;

.  Presentation: “An ikonostasis depicting the spirituality of Ukrainian immigrants to America” by Yuriy Danyliw;

.  Lecture: “The case of Vasyl Stus as reflected in KGB documents” by Ukrainian journalist Dr. Vakhtang Kipiani of Mykolajiv State Pedagogical University in Ukraine (former Anchor of TVi Channel in Ukraine, and Editor-in-Chief of the well-known website, Istorychna Pravda);

.  Lecture: “The first political trials in Soviet Ukraine” by Dr. Tetiana Ostashko;

.  Lecture: “Blessed Mykola Konrad – Heroic Virtue in Modern Times” by Yuriy Isajiw, MD;

.  Lecture: “Developing demographic trends in contemporary Ukraine, 2000-2017” by Vasyl Lopukh;

.  Program: “A retrospective about Dr. Bohdan Romanenchuk  —  on the 30th anniversary of his passing” by Leonid Rudnytzky, Oleksander Lushnyckyj and Osyp Roshka;

.  Lecture: “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine from a 333-year perspective concerning its survival and legacy as a center of Ukrainian spirituality, and a perspective about its future” by Osyp Roshka;

.  Lecture: “On the 45th anniversary of founding of the St. Sophia Association of Ukrainian Catholics in the U.S.  —  Events, People, Facts” by Dr. Iryna Ivankovych (current President of this international Society’s Chapter in the U.S.);

.  Lecture: “From an Exarchate to a Metropolia  —  Five defining steps taken by Metropolitan Constantine Bohachevsky” by Dr. Martha Bohachevsky Chomiak (former Director of Fulbright Office Ukraine of the Fulbright Program in Ukraine of the U.S. Institute of International Education.)

* denotes a Member of the Philadelphia chapter’s Regional Editorial Committee of the Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Diaspora (1988-2021).

By Andrij V.R. Szul, Ph.D., J.D., Vice President, Philadelphia Chapter