While visiting Lviv in May on a private matter, I telephoned Mr. Volodymyr Ropeckyi and Mr. Olexander Venhrynovych to extend my respects, and requested a meeting with both gentlemen. I suggested we meet for an exchange of views about where the Lemko movement is heading, as well as current issues.
The meeting took place on May 13, 2008. I was invited to the offices of the ” Vseukraiinske Tovarystvo Lemkivshchyna ” (VUTL). Present at the meeting were O. Venhrynovych, president of the VUTL, Mrs. Agnesa Ropeckyi and two members of the newly-created SFULO Executive Board, with Mr. Ropeckyi chairing the meeting. Our discussion was frank; both sides expressed their strong opinions on many topics, especially the issue of Rusynstvo , which is creeping into our Lemko organizations and is being promoted by Mr. Ropeckyi and Venhrynovych.
After a short assessment of the meeting, I made the suggestion that we need to meet with all the SFULO member organizations to discuss the new proposed by-laws for SFULO, as well as the resolution of the issue at hand, which is Rusynstvo . I made the following offer: the World Congress of Ukrainians (CKY) will hold its convention in Kyiv during August 20 to 22, 2008 and, since all the SFULO member countries will be present at CKY, the board of SFULO should convene a Lemko executive board meeting in Kyiv to discuss our issues. Mr. Olexander Venhrunovych and Mr. Ropeckyi agreed that this venue would be the best way to bring both sides to the table. I suggested that they contact Professor Ivan Shcherba (former President of SFULO) for help in organizing this Lemko conference, since Prof. Shcherba has experience in organizing this type of meeting. He organized a similar meeting for all Lemko representatives at the last CKY convention in 2003.
We parted as friends and, to seal our agreement, took an official photo of the participants
– Zane Halkowycz , President of ODLWU, Inc