It seems that the worship of a second rate poet, but talented painter, (it wasn't me, it was that Ukrainophobe Gogol') Taras Shevchenko, has reached new level of idiocy in some circles.
Couple of fools in Poltava decided to create an "icon" of Shevchenko. The "icon" was made by a member of a collective "Poltavian Singers", Ivan Hrytsko. He took a self-portrait of a young Shevchenko, and inserted it into an icon frame. This creation was then presented on a press conference by the president of the association, "Civic Society", Volodymyr Stepanyuk.
This is what Stepanyuk had to say in his defence, I translate:
Remarks have already been made to us that we cannot not make an icon out of the image of Shevchenko. But we believe that he is our prophet and martyr, that's why we can do it.
Prophet they say? Shevchenkologist Oles' Buzina confirms that Shevchenko is often called "a prophet of Ukrainian nation", and his collection of poems, the Kobzar', its bible. Unfortunately for those that make such claims, Shevchenko never spoke about Ukrainians. Never once did this prophet of the Ukrainian nation use the words "Ukrayinets", "Ukrayinka" (English: "Ukrainian" in the ethnic sense, masculine and feminine forms). The primitive village patois that he wrote his poems in simply had no knowledge of such terms.
But if the Kobzar' really is a bible of the Ukrainian nation, what does it teach those Ukrainians that Shevchenko never spoke about?
Maybe bloody class warfare?
Кровi менi, кровi! Шляхетської кровi, бо хочеться пить...
I want blood, blood! Blood of the nobles, because I want to drink...
Or maybe that black people are not humans:
Продаєм; Або у карти програєм; Людей… НЕ НЕГРІВ… а таких; Таки хрещених… но простих
We sell; or we lose in a game of cards; People... NOT NEGROES... and such; Baptised as we are... but simple
Simple Shevchenko certainly was, but was he a martyr? From the point of ecclesiastical martyrology, Shevchenko does not qualify by any stretch of an imagination, just like that creation above cannot be called an icon. But did he at least die for a cause, say the cause of Ukrainian nationhood?
Not at all, Shevchenko died rather young of an illness. Oles' Buzina makes a compelling case that the nature of Shevchenko's illness was venereal. More specifically, he caught gonorrhea from banging prostitutes. He was paid rather well for his work. For paintings shall I say, because his wealthy patrons were not interested in poems about drinking blood of the nobles. Shevchenko happily wasted that money on hookers and alcohol.
Back in the days of Shevchenko, this kind of disease was cured by rather barbaric methods, with mercury, which not only killed the disease, but also killed the treated organism.
So much for Shevchenko's martyrdom, the blog of an icon writer has some interesting comments under the post in question, I translate:
Where I am from, priests from KP (the so called Kiev Patriarchate) cross themselves while passing around the monument to Shevchenko, but do not cross themselves when they pass around our Orthodox cathedral which is 20 metres away.
Pseudo-Orthodox priests who hang around nationalist demonstrations, and who's unrecognised organisation lifted the anathema from Mazepa? Why does this not surprise me? Why would they cross themselves when they pass around a church of an institution that they view only as an imperialist arm of Moscow? They are a proper (from national, but certainly not from an Orthodox point of view) Ukrainian Church, led by an over-ambitious, born again patriot Denisenko.
Further down is a poem from 1965, by a more recent Ukrainian poet, Dmytro Pavlychko, who like Deniseko first obediently served the Soviet government, and when the ideological climate changed, became a big time patriot. Miroslava Berdnik (who runs one of my favourite blogs) called him "shit of the nation" and "former snitch of the KGB." It is a mockery of Lord's Prayer called simply "Molytva" (the prayer in English), perfectly in the traditions of Soviet atheism. The Soviet government also promoted a cult of Shevchenko:
Отче наш, Тарасе всемогущий, Що створив нас генієм своїм, На моїй землі, як првда, сущий,
Б’ющий у неправду, наче грім.Ти, як небо, став широкоплечо; Над літами, що упали в грузь;
Віку двадцять першого предтече, Я до тебе одного молюсь. Да святиться слова блискавиця,
Що несе у вічну далечінь; Нашу думу й пісню. Да святиться; Між народами твоє ім’я. Амінь.
Our father, Taras almighty, who created us through your genius, On my land, like real truth beating into untruth as thunder. You, as heaven, stood up broad-shouldered; Over the ages which have fallen to burden; Forerunner of the twenty-first century, I only pray to you. Blessed be the words of a bright light, Which carries us to eternally far away, Our thought and our song. Blessed be your name among the nations. Amen.
PS: I hate translating poetry, from Ukrainian especially, some translated passages might differ from the original but I tried my best to keep the original meaning. By the way, I have not ordered the verses in a column, because I do not know how to here.