The origins and roots of the Varyag date back to the times of Kievan Rus – the history of the city

Ось як про нього розповідає одна з старожилів Варяжа і небагатьох уже нині свідків виселення з нього українців Софія Федорівна Мельничук

Publication – Vpered newspaper, January 9, 1990. Adaptation – Voice of Sokal region, photos provided by Yuriy Korin

I remember one of the old residents of this village telling me:

– I think that the most important period in the history of our village Varyazha was 1946, when we were forced to move out of it.

These words are not an exaggeration. The course of historical events took place in such a way that in September 1939 the Varangians found themselves in the zone of German occupation.

Therefore, reunification did not take place in this part of the territory. And soon after the war (since 1946) the village under the relevant agreement passed to Poland. It was then that the Ukrainian population of Varyaz faced a difficult dilemma: either to move to other regions of Ukraine, or deep into Poland.

But there was still an unspoken “way out.” Here is how one of the old-timers of Varyazh and a few witnesses of the eviction of Ukrainians from it, Sofiya Fedorivna Melnychuk, tell about him:

– In order for the new government to allow me to stay in my native village, it was necessary to renounce my Ukrainian nationality, that is, to write down that you are not a Ukrainian, but a Pole. Some have done so, but the vast majority of people have not agreed. But they were evicted to Ternopil and Stanislavsk (Ivano-Frankivsk regions). That’s where my family’s road went.

Soon after, in 1947, the sinister Vistula operation began, as a result of which all Ukrainians living in Poland’s new territory were forcibly deported to its western border. The Varangians-Ukrainians, who became “Poles”, did not escape from the destructive waves of the Vistula. She also uprooted them from their native soil, scattering them in Olsztyn, Szczecin, and Koszalin voivodships, which were ruled by Germany before the war.

In 1951, Varyazh would join the Ukrainian SSR and become a Novoukrainka. The depopulated village will be inhabited by people from Stanislavshchyna (Ivano-Frankivsk region) and other places. And a new life will begin here, full of its usual worries and joys, problems and hopes. Paradoxically, the native Varangians will not be allowed here. Therefore, those who rushed from the places of eviction to their native Varyazh will be forced to lose their optimism, which they will gladly accept here, and stop temporarily in the village of Fedorivtsi (Tudorkovych). From here, they will sneak into Novoukrainka more than once to look at their parents’ homes left in 1946, the places where they were born and raised …

– You can’t imagine how after many years of separation I wanted to visit my native village, – Sofia Fedorovna Melnichuk remembers. – But for the fact that I visited here then, the district policeman fined me 25 rubles.

Indigenous Varangians received permission to settle in Novoukrainka only in 1955. But few of them have returned here.

The ill-considered renaming of Varyazh to Novoukrainka seems to break the connection between the historical past of the village and its present, will dilute the centuries-old bridge that connected us with the ancient history of our region. Because, after all, the origins and roots of the Varyag date back to the times of Kievan Rus. There are hypotheses that the settlements of the Varangians and Ruthenians were founded during the reign of Yaroslav the Wise. In his army, as is well known, then served the Vikings. Therefore, it is believed that the Vikings settled in one fortification and our Ruthenian ancestors in another. Hence the names of two neighboring villages – Varyaz and Rusyn.

Historians, local historians and ethnographers have always been interested in the Varangians. Ninety-three years ago (1897) a book by Vasyl Chernetsky entitled The Town of Varyazh was published in Lviv. In it, this famous Western Ukrainian local historian wrote: “… the original Varangian could be built on the site of the village of Horodyshche Varangian, 2 kilometers away from the present Varangian, because there is a pagan cemetery, where various ancient tools and pagan urns are excavated. When the old Varyazh came down from the face of the earth, I don’t know whether it was a time of disagreement or the first Tatar attacks … ».

First, as you know, the village of Varyazh was founded, and then Varyazh-city. They later reunited. Vasyl Chernetsky describes some moments of this period as follows:

“In the first years after the founding of Varyazh, Rusyn burghers (the ancient name of Ukrainians – author) built a wooden church in the city and thus two independent Russian parishes arose, in the town and village of Varyazh, which were later merged into one. For the Latins, who occupied only a wooden church in the village of Varyazhn, a small church was erected by one of their pastors in the market of the town … “.

… After the disintegration of the Galicia-Volyn principality, Varyazh came under Polish rule.

There is information that in 1538 King Sigmund I granted him the Magdeburg right.

At the same time, the problem of its protection from the Tatars became acute, because it was located near the so-called Black Way, which the Horde carried out their so-called devastating campaigns in our region. The city was surrounded by a rampart with deep ditches. It had a defensive castle. It was possible to get to the then Varangian through two guarded gates. One gate was called Sokal, the other – Zamost. In addition, there was a so-called firta, through which it was possible to get to Varyazh from Belz.

In 1676 the owner of Varangian became the stableman of the Polish King Jan 111 Marko Matchynski. In 1693, he built a church at his own expense, which has remained here to this day, and also founded a monastery and a school to teach the children of the poorer surrounding nobility. In some Polish sources this school is called a collegium, in others, such as the book “Sokal County” – an academy. The masters and teachers of this school were PR monks, who later taught some children of the Kristinopol magnate Salesian the Happy Potocki, called in noble circles the little king of Russia.

It should be noted that the Ukrainian Basilian monks were somewhat skeptical of the Varangian Collegium and some of the sciences cultivated here. This is to some extent evidenced by the entry in the “Chronicle of the Basilian Monastery in Christopol …”, which states that on June 28, 1773, PR people from Varangian invited Christian Basilian monks to the so-called “philosophical debate”, but the latter did not want to take part in it and did not come to this event.

When M. Matchynsky died, the Varangians became the property of the Latin bishop I. Lashcha, and after his death he inherited I. Lashcha’s sister Hanna, who soon married the widowed Polish voivode Salesius Potocki. Due to the annexation of the lands and estates of Lashcha to his wealth, S. Potocki became not only the owner of Varyaz, the patron of local colleges, monasteries and PR monks, but also its richest magnate in Galicia. But he was not happy with it for long, because soon the Commonwealth disintegrated, and the helm of power in our lands was in 1772 in the hands of Austria.

In 1784, according to the decree of Emperor Joseph II, many monasteries were liquidated, including the Varangian one. The local college was also closed and scattered. City folk schools were located in the brick monastery houses connected by the church.

The Varangian burned several times during its existence. The greatest damage was caused by a fire that broke out in 1848. After 140 families left their homes, the school and the yard burned down … The temperature of the fire during the fire was so high, the church bells melted. At the end of the last century, only a high church with two towers, a church and a two-story palace of the nobleman Lomnytsky remained here, which from afar showed the following inscription: 1892 ». It is known that S. Lomnytsky came to this sad sentence when he lost cards and drank almost his entire estate.

Apart from Ukrainians and Poles, many Jews lived in Varangia. Many of them were mainly engaged in trade. Ukrainian burghers earned their living mainly by masonry. Therefore, from early spring to late autumn they were working in various cities and villages of Galicia. They returned home only for the winter. Those who had land were engaged in farming.

From November 1918, when the power of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic was established in Galicia, a front between the Ukrainian and Polish armies passed near Varyaz. Its line stretched through the neighboring village of Sulimiv (in Poland) and Peresadiv to the south. The population of Varyazh constantly helped the UGA riflemen, many of whom later fell in battle on the surrounding fields in 1919. One of the most enterprising commanders of the third hundred of the Belz “Reserve Basket”, Ivan Lisetsky, who had successfully defended his occupied positions against the advancing Poles for a long time, also died here.

When Poland, with the help of the Entente and Haller’s armed forces, occupied Galicia, a brutal regime and mass terror against those who sympathized with and helped the UGA was established in Varangian. But it soon stopped for a while, because in August 1920 the Polish administration and the military hastily fled. Units of the First Cavalry Army entered Varyazh. But due to the circumstances, they did not stay here long.
Before World War II, there were many Ukrainian, Jewish, and Polish organizations in the city.

Although in the 1950s and early 1960s Varyazh, who became a Novoukrainka, was no longer called a city but a village, his then social way of life was still closer to urban. The local veterans told me that they once had their own district hospital, maternity hospital, X-ray room in the village, and among the doctors -. surgeon, gynecologist, therapist, pediatrician, dentist.

There were shops of ready-made clothes, shoe, commission, economic, manufactured goods in Novoukrainka. There was a bakery and a confectionery shop … So there was no need to go to Sokal for any trifles.

But all these conveniences disappeared without a trace 15-20 years ago. Young people began to leave the village. A long time (except for production facilities) nothing was built here. And there was a need for a new club, a kindergarten, and a home … And in general, a lot of social problems have accumulated to this day. And it is good that the board of the collective farm. Shevchenko, who is located here, has some plans for their future solution. The construction of a new secondary school in the village in 1986 can be considered a good start.

A few months ago (1989) in accordance with the Decree of the Presidium of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR, the village was restored to its former name – Varyazh. But I would like such villages as Khorobriv (Pravda), Uhryniv (Dibrovka) and others to reappear on the map of our district. Their original names are associated with many interesting stories, legends, names of known and unknown to us today. And, finally, in these names our history, our past. And if we do not know this past, we are not interested in it, then we, as Maxim Rylsky once rightly said, will not be worthy of our future.

However, the return of settlements to their former names requires, first of all, an understanding of those who live in them. At least, as it was in the public of Novoukrainka and its local Council of People’s Deputies.


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