SUMMARY OF THE
WINTER 2006 ISSUE
Volume 14, No. 4, Winter 2006
A quarterly newsletter
published by Vladimir Linder
Winter issue was published in
January 2007 and it was mailed to 1200 recipients world wide.
FROM THE MAIL BAG
Dear Mr. Linder,
I am submitting this article about our recent visit to Slovakia. We are
all USA cousins of the Gonda family from Orava. My hope is you might
print all or parts you may deem interesting in your Newsletter in the
near future. I’ll pass on copies to the “TEAM SLOVAKIA” members. You may
get some new readers out of it. Thanks from a first generation Slovak
living in the USA.
1014 W. Pine St,
Poplar Bluff MO 63901-4840 USA
Dear Mr. Linder,
Sorry I was behind in my subscription. I do enjoy reading about your
insight on what is happening politically and culturally in Slovakia.
Happy New Year
598 Lorn Ct. Orange Park FL
Enclosed is a check for $25.00 for renewal
of my subscription.
I enjoy your articles and read them straight through when I receive the
newsletter. I would love to be in your shoes to experience Slovakia as
you do. My parents were born in Slovakia. Mother in Ladomírová in
Svidník district and father in Bretejovce, near Prešov. I still keep in
touch via e-mail with relatives there.
God bless you, Zbohom.
6133 Seashore Drive, Lantana Fl 33462 USA
An exhibit of photographs from the church of
St. James in Levoča from photographer Vladimir Linder. Concept of the
exhibit is based in capturing and illustration of emotions in Gothic
statues through the lens of author complimented by quotations from that
era and texts dedicated to the given subject. More than 60 photographs
are on display mostly of portrait character, which attract by remarkable
views of gothic statues from Church of St. James in Levoča. Photographs
are evoking immense survival of emotionally strained moments.
have portrait character and they are possibility for comparison of
common view of monumental works and detailed not much visible and not
very well known looks. Comparison offers also time spectrum of early
gothic up to its late period coming from hands of Master Pavol from Levoča.
Subject matter is abundant. Prevailing is Laying to the grave, Last
supper, Crucifixion, saints and woman saints in moments of torture,
ecstasy, prayers… Selection of photographs was made in consideration of
the name of the whole exhibit: Gothic Emotions, and it tried to pick up
indication of characterization of statue as part of psychologisation of
individual statues, progressed crystallization of portrait features and
using wide palette of gestures.
Text part of the exhibit is complementing medieval texts as inseparable
and important part of medieval perception of work of art, appreciation
of beauty and connecting spirituality with artistic expression. The goal
is presentation of abundant unique cultural heritage-with eye of
photographer and comparison with literary works. The photographs are
complimented by copies of works of Master Pavol from Levoča-plaster
moulds from last supper-from the main altar of the church of St. James
Interesting part of exhibition is so called three of knowledge on which
there are statements and quotations from works of medieval authors.
Component of exhibit is also computer presentation of more than 200
photographs, that were supplied by Vladimir Linder and thus makes
possible even more looks that were unable to be installed. Component of
this exhibit are also whole looks at altars, so we can offer our
visitors possibility to view the complete works. Exhibit was open until
August 11, 2006 in the premises of the Old City Hall.
INSTITUTE OF LANGUAGE AND ACADEMIC PREPARATION FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS
CENTRE OF CONTINUING EDUCATION, COMENIUS UNIVERSITY IN BRATISLAVA
The Institute of Language and Academic Preparation for
Foreign Students, Centre of Continuing Education is the part of Comenius
University in Bratislava, the oldest and largest university in Slovakia.
It is the only
institution preparing international students for their studies at all
Slovak universities both in language and professional respects. We
organize short-term as well as long-term Slovak language courses in our
premises applying 46-year tradition in teaching Slovak as a foreign
language. University studies in Slovakia
attract attention of students from Sweden, Great Britain and USA but
also from Bangladesh, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Yemen, Kuwait,
Thailand, Japan or South Korea. The Institute prepares students from
over 50 countries annually. During the 46-years existence of the
Institute altogether over 10,000 students from 127 countries have
prepared for their university study there.
A COURSE OF LANGUAGE AND ACADEMIC PREPARATION FOR
is intended at mastering Slovak language and intensive
preparation in dominant subjects in the following fields of study:
medical and biological, technical, economic, natural sciences,
humanities, law, architecture, art,
being the first step for foreigners towards university education in the
Slovak Republic. The
students are placed into groups according to the following fields of
study. The learning is aimed at sufficient Slovak language acquisition
to enable international students not to only communicate in the new
surroundings but also to acquire specialized knowledge in the range of
subjects, which will be the focus of their future university studies.
The study is organized in two terms in the period from September to
June. Examinations are scheduled at the end of winter and summer terms
in written and oral forms. Representatives of respective faculties
participate in final exams together with teachers of the Institute.
After successfully completing the course the student is awarded a
certificate for passing language and academic preparation meeting all
the conditions for his/her university studies in the chosen field of
study. Although this certificate does not guarantee admission to the
university, it increases, to a considerable extent, the chances of
successfully passing the entrance exams.
students who wish to enrol in the program need a complete secondary
education. They must submit completed enrolment form, a photocopy of
identification page of their passport and school-leaving certificate.
FIVE-MONTH OR TEN-MONTH INTENSIVE COURSE
Slovak language for foreigners is for those who are interested in
learning the language and about the new country or need Slovak in
his/her job or everyday life. Three-week intensive summer courses of
Slovak language aimed at basic understanding and improving Slovak
language skills as well as learning about Slovak geography, history and
culture via lectures, discussions, extramural and club
activities–sports, culture, sightseeing.
The activities of
the Institute of Language and Academic Preparation for Foreign Students
focus also on Slovak language and cultural promotion abroad. Our
Institute offers the study of Slovak as a foreign language in courses of
varying duration and level of proficiency to applicants from all over
10-MONTH INTENSIVE SLOVAK LANGUAGE COURSES
designed for a very wide range
of applicants: for students preparing for their post-graduate studies at
Slovak universities, for applicants not planning to study at a Slovak
university but having an interest in the Slovak language or needing it
in his/her job or everyday life, e.g. foreign representation officers,
diplomats, international managers, foreign language lectors, etc. We
cannot forget compatriots bound with family ties to Slovakia who would
like to improve their knowledge by learning the language of their
parents or grandparents.
Further interesting program is:
focused on the acquisition of basic understanding or improving Slovak
language skills as well as learning about Slovak geography, history and
culture via lectures, discussions and sightseeing. Teaching Slovak is
with a concentration on communicative principles by experienced staff,
together with the lectures on Slovak Studies and interesting facts of
Slovakia. The students are divided into groups of beginners,
intermediate and advanced. There is no age or education restriction, so
the course is open for everyone. The program includes a variety of
trips, excursions, meetings, discussions, workshops and other activities
such as learning Slovak folk dances or cooking traditional meals
(various cultural activities and trips for
visiting monuments and Slovak natural beauty is very popular). Children
of Slovaks living abroad regularly attend this course, as they do not
want to lose contacts with the mother country of their forefathers.
1 – 4 WEEK STUDY STAYS
organized in cooperation with Departments of the Slovak Language and
Literature at universities abroad and they are designed for Slovak
language students in order to improve their language skills.
SLOVAK LANGUAGE EVENING
designed for those who find daytime inconvenient, i.e. employees, daily
students of universities.
In addition to these courses the Institute is accredited by the Ministry
of Education of the Slovak Republic to hold General State
Examinations in Slovak as a foreign language. This examination is
designed for foreigners interested in Slovak language acquisition
demonstrating the reliable competence in oral and written communication.
In 2003 our project Language Competence testing was labelled as
a “Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for
Along with other study program ÚJOP CĎV UK also issues its own course
books, multimedia and study materials and is engaged in the methodology
of teaching Slovak as a foreign language.
Institute mission is to prepare students for entrance exams and studies
at Slovak universities in the Slovak language. The successful admission
for universities is 85-95 per cent of ÚJOP leavers. After the wide range
of our language courses the participants
will be able to communicate in Slovak and also they will
get acquainted with
information of Slovak history, geography, culture.
THE APOSTLE IN CHURCH AND AMONGST US
STORY OF THE APOSTLE
prof. ThDr. ICDr. PaedDr. František
What shall your message be, o Lord,
in this land,
to us, who obey signs?
... the bard of contemporary Slovak
Christian poetry Milan Rúfus
is asking together with us and in the name of modern people, swallowed
every day by a wave of action coming from every direction and level.
Powered by an unending uproar we envy seek, we snoop in the mosaics of
banal bizarreness. Finally, we resign with a fatalistic sigh: there’s
nothing new under the sun. If we were more humble, receptive, civilized
in spirit, we understood one: the most beautiful, most dramatic and
most heartbreaking stories happened long before us.
Saint James the Great, apostle, fulfilled his earthly fate tragically:
he was decapitated. What more can be added to such a gradated destiny of
a disciple of Jesus'? Gliding on the surface, a storywriter of movie
thrillers would make this point ‑ in the punisher’s hit, to be an end of
the saint’s drama. However, the divine foresight decided differently.
The legacy of the Apostle spreads from the Spanish coast up
a town of population under 15.000. Pilgrimages to Compostella, where
James found his grave, belong to the largest in the world. James remains
as a symbol of the faithfulness to Jesus Christ, and the nations of the
Old Continent chose just this Apostle to be the patron‑saint of' the
Story of' Saint James the Apostle still hasn’t its epilogue. There are
still talented people coming to extend the “James’ epic” by a new
chapter. In the first half of' the 16th century, Master Paul
settled down in Levoča. He surely wasn’t aware of' the future fame he
arranged by his altar to the man, Jesus Christ called to the apostolic
service directly from the fishing net. And he couldn’t guess this
charismatic ingenious woodcarver, that by his monumental work the Church
of' Saint James in Levoča
will become one of the world’s unique pieces of art, everyone admires.
James’ apostolic mission, death as a martyr, cult of' his piety is not
only inspiring, but also gathering many, who want to say a word about
these themes, make a photo report, film sequence, or write a poem. In
this way James got together also creative mind and ways of' Mons.
prof. ThDr. ICDr. PaedDr. František
Diugoš, PhD. and a universal publisher, great
photographer Vladimir Linder ‑ an exceptional esthete of' the
photo lens, supreme supporter and propagator of Levoča. Both authors
want to tell the story of' the Saint in the first place, they want to
re-present the legacy of the phenomenal late‑gothic woodcarver and his
masterpiece. There are also unknown makers of wall paintings,
blacksmiths and other masters of' art. They all added something to the
interior of' the church from the smallest detail to the monument of the
Last Supper. They give us time for a quiet moment with Saint
James the Great, apostle, who lives in Levoča church for centuries, but
mostly, who lives.
PhDr. Jozef LAPSANSKÝ
TEAM SLOVAKIA VISITS
Seventeen cousins and 2nd
cousins of the Gonda family decided to visit their parentage birthplace
this past month. The “team” range in ages from 22 to 82. A few had been
there before but most for the first time. Karen Knipper organized the
visit. Karen’s mother, Anna (Gonda) Shanske had visited Slovakia in 1991
along with her first cousin Bernard Letassy...
The team flew out of O’hare in Chicago to Bratislava and stayed at Hotel
Danube, to visit Staré Mesto, St Martin’s Cathedral, Devín Castle, and
the Opera House. After a few days, they headed for the High Tatras to
stay at Starý Smokovec and some hiking to the Studenovodské waterfalls
at about the tree line of the mountain. Even in mid‑May a few skiers
headed for the remaining snow up higher. On the way to Liptovský Mikuláš
the group toured one of the many caves Slovakia is noted for, Demänovská
Cave of Freedom. When asked for a highlight of the
trip Steve said “the scenery throughout the country was much more
spectacular than I had expected” and Dorothy thought “seeing Grandpa’s
house in Zuberec and meeting the locals and seeing the little villages.
I still can’t believe how beautiful it is there. I thought we would see
a country destitute but it wasn’t. So many TV dishes on rooftops and
the gardens!!!!!!! So reminded me of Grandpa (Victor Gonda).
Interesting how he brought that way of life with him to the US. His
garden in Downers Grove had potatoes and carrots; I remember those most
probably because that’s what I like when I was a kid.”...
PILGRIMAGES TO LEVOČA’S MARIAN MOUNT IN THE PAST
Mons. Prof. PaedDr.
ICDr. ThDr. František Dlugoš, PhDr.
The oldest pilgrimage place in
Eastern Slovakia is Levoča, where the roots of Marian cult go back to
13th century. At the beginning the Marian mount attracted pilgrims from
eastern and central Slovakia. Worshipers of Latin and Greek right came
together with their happiness and their pains. Most of all were coming
here pilgrims from Košice, from behind Magura, from Halíč, Hron region,
but also pilgrims from Poland from the other side of Tatra Mountains.
Simple Slovak people were coming here with their happiness and pains to
Mary as their own mother, and they were singing about it in their
The continuity of pilgrimages to Marian mount didn’t stop even during
the hardest times of religious injustice and belief-in time of
reformation and in the last ten years of communist totalitarian regime
in Slovakia. Worshipers were continuing to visit this pilgrimage place.
Even though people had to suffer for visiting this place, they were
thrown out of schools, work, offices that were even more attracting
people to this place and with time Marian Mount became with the number
of pilgrims the largest pilgrimage place in Slovakia and it was included
between world’s pilgrimage places.
These victims of suffering joined with pilgrimages were rewarded by the
Highest Priest of Catholic Church-Holy Father John Paul II, when he
elevated the pilgrimage church on January 26, 1984 to Basilica Minor.
Holy Father on July 3, 1995 in his address to gathered pilgrims on
Marian Mont beside other things said: “Marian holy places are places,
where Christ witness is becoming extraordinary effective. Surely many
sons and daughters of Slovakia are grateful to Levoča’s holy place for
the truth about God and believe in him were preserved live in their
NATIONAL NATURE MONUMENT
The Belianska Cave is situated on the
northern slopes of Kobylí vrch (Mare Hill) in the eastern part of the
Belianske Tatras, near the village Tatranská Kotlina, in the National
Nature Reserve Belianske Tatras in the territory of the Tatra National
Entrance to the cave is 890 meters above the seal level.
formed in the Middle Triassic Gutenstein limestone’s of the Knižnanský
nappe by the waters penetrating along inter bed surfaces and tectonic
faults. Total cave length is 1,752 meters and vertical range is 160
The newly opened Pension
Karolína, is situated in the beautiful surroundings of Slovenský Grob, a
village famous for its unique and delicious food. This special village
lays only 20 km from the Slovak capital, Bratislava very close to
Pezinok. It will catch your attention first of all with its three
outstanding little houses, which create the image of a traditional
village, using typical elements from the country architecture in
When entering the small hotel you will find a stylish interior with
massive wooden ceilings and other wooden decorative elements. The main
hotel rooms are situated upstairs above the restaurant and there are few
rooms on the main floor as well. They offer a magnificent view of the
Small Carpathian Mountains, which have their own charm at all times of
Delicious food is served in the restaurant, which also has a winter
garden or conservatory. The view from the Conservatory makes clear of
their ambition, not only to fulfill the culinary dreams of their guests,
but also to provide them with a relaxing atmosphere, suitable either for
a couple or for a group of friends. They have also created facilities
for working groups and meetings followed by refreshments from an
extensive and varied buffet table.
The capacity of Pension Karolína is one apartment that can accommodate
up to four persons, two single rooms and ten double rooms. you can come
there for a dinner have a drink of wine from their fantastic and well
stocked wine cellar. The owner Miroslav Jajcay is Slovakia’s best
sommelier and won the second prize in Vinanza Trophy Sommelier Club
2003, Vinum Victory at Grand Prix Sommelier Brno 2003 in the Elite
Kuinart Le Meilleur Sommelier de Slovaquie in 2004, the first price at
Grand Prix Sommelier Brno 2006 in the Elite category, Gurman Award
Waiter-Sommelier of year 2006 and many more too numerous to mention.
You stay overnight as there are strict regulations and penalties for
drinking and driving in Slovakia.
The owners, Miroslav Jajcay and his wife are looking forward to your
You can contact them for reservations and information at:
A TASTE OF GLORY
Reviewed by Clayton C. David,
Secretary, The Air Forces Escape & Evasion Society, 19 Oak Ridge Pond-
Much more than just another war story, this true, first person story
grips the reader from beginning to end with total realism. Those of the
Greatest Generation can relate to the author's childhood and teen years
enjoying Scouting and sports during the Great Depression years.
The author’s vivid memory and ability to write about his determination
to enlist and fly in the Army Air Corps is as if you were there with
him. His unique experience of evading capture by the Nazis for over
three months (only with the Slovaks invaluable help) after bailing out
of his shot-up B-24 over Slovakia December 11, 1944, would make an
excellent book alone. This is especially true because of the author's
awesome description of the Slovak Resistance and Partisans heroism and
sacrifices in protecting downed American fliers.
His eventual capture and harsh treatment by the Nazi Gestapo intensifies
his wartime experiences to a fever pitch, acutely testing his
courage---and his Faith.
Finally, the aftermath of his harrowing prisoner experience and finding
the Love of his Life will move and touch you.
This Soft Cover, 308-page book with over 40 photos is available from:
#4 Arnold Dr. Texarkana, AR 71854;
Price, $19.50 + $3.00 postage
WOODEN WORLD OF PETER
For Peter Zoričák, a professional
historian and archivist who is a long‑term enthusiast for history and a
graduate of the Faculty of Arts of the Jan Evergelista Purkyně‑University
in Olomouc, creative carving is a hobby. As an amateur artist‑beginner,
Zoričák, as many unqualified artists, has concentrated on general
aesthetic rules and academic sculpting. That he is interested in fine
arts, particularly sculpting, was clear from his early work. His
artistic attention transformed into an urge to change wood into talking
figures. Zoričák sought to transform his inner feelings into a
sculpture. Strong handwork distinguishes him from other fellow artists,
past or contemporary, using the same methods of work. Folk art‑inspired
sculptures and relief’s required what Peter Zoričák followed in his
later work-his natural sense of composition. Nativity scenes, Adoration
of the Magi, Adoration of Shepherds and saints are the scenes that
Zoričák treats in his work. These scenes follow rigorous Christian codes
and Zoričák uses a balanced composition to emphasize a single central
line that represents dominant universal truth of a single God in gothic
and iconographical art. Zoričák borrows from folk art. What he borrows
are not folk topics and elements, but methods of work, simplification
and use of folk elements as part of artist’s statement and atmosphere. A
hat is not what makes a sculpture a folk art. It is a component helping
to communicate information about folk art regions, fairy‑tales and
songs. Zoričák avoids descriptive pictures if not necessary and often
uses simplification and condensation. Zoričák has learnt how to work
with simplified expressions, use them wisely, searches for new
opportunities within the limits of folk culture. Foreign visitors see
his sculptures as an original perspective on Slovakia and its people.
The style the artist uses ‑so called “folk‑Zoričák style”‑helps him to
develop his work with wood and colors and transform his perspective on
world, life and his philosophy into pieces of art. Native of the Záhorie
region and close to Tatry and Ždiar, Zoričák is a long‑time inhabitant
of Kremnica, a famous mining town and centre of mining culture. His
nativity scenes and carved sheep shelters are installed vertically, one
after another, similarly to the nativity scenes on gothic altars.
Zoričák carves reliefs with many figures as well as single‑figure
sculptures and sculptural groups. Zoričák makes sculptures that can
speak. You can read their mood and character or a situation they are in.
The sculptures are the embodiment of the author; his attitude and
optimism. They convey author’s energy and forward it to others. Zoričák
is a proficient carver using special means of expression and colors.
Despite repeated artistic expression, his communication with wood and
the communication of a viewer with his sculpture are never the same.
I went to the opening of this beautiful exhibit on July 27. I was very
impressed with his several nativity scenes his birds and angels.
SLOVAK BETHLEHEM POST CARDS
For sample issue of The
Slovak Heritage Live Newsletter, please send US$2.00
together with your postal address to:
3804 Yale Street
Canada, V5C 1P6
TO SLOVAK HERITAGE LIVE MAIN PAGE
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 2005-2006
Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced,
republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without
the express written permission of Vladimir
Linder. All rights