Popovych, Omelian

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Popovych, Omelian [Попович, Омелян; Popovyč, Omeljan], b 18 August 1856 in Vatra Dornei, Bukovyna, d 22 March 1930 in Zalishchyky, Galicia. Community activist, pedagogue, and publicist; father of Oleksander O. Popovych and Ilko Popovych. He graduated (1876) from the teachers' seminary in Chernivtsi and then taught in the city until 1892. He was the commissioner of elementary schools for the Bukovynian Provincial School Board in 1895–1906. Popovych was designated as the first provincial inspector of Ukrainian elementary schools and teachers' seminaries in Bukovyna in 1906, and remained at this post until 1912.

Popovych was a leading Ukrainian civic figure in Bukovyna. He was the long-standing secretary (from 1878) and then head of Ruska Besida in Bukovyna and was involved in Ruska Shkola, People's Home, and other societies. He served as a coeditor or editor of the newspaper Bukovyna (1885–92), the Biblioteka dlia molodezhy, selian i mishchan (Library for Youths, Peasants, and Burghers, 1885–94), later Lastivka (Swallow) series, and the almanacs (1885–1918) of Ruska Besida. A member of the Bukovynian Diet in 1911–18, Popovych emerged in October 1918 as head of the Ukrainian Regional Committee, and then as president of the short-lived Ukrainian Bukovynian state. He was also the Bukovynian representative and then a vice-president of the Ukrainian National Rada of the Western Ukrainian National Republic and head of its school commission. After the occupation of Bukovyna by Romanian forces late in 1918, Popovych emigrated to Galicia, where he was an inspector of elementary schools and teachers' seminaries for the Ridna Shkola society.

Popovych wrote a number of readers and grammars, most notable among which were Hramatyka dlia shkil narodnykh (A Grammar for Elementary Schools, 3 vols, 1893–4) and Ruthenisches Sprachbuch für Mittelschulen (3 vols, 1897–1902). In the 1920s he wrote four Ukrainian grammar texts for Galician schools, which were approved by the Polish educational authorities. He edited Gesetz und Verordnungsblatt für bukowiner Schulwesen and headed the Ukrainian section of Bukowiner Schule. He wrote numerous articles on pedagogy and literature, published the poetry collections Bukovyna (1875) and Dumka (Thought, 1886), and translated various works. He compiled the Rus'ko-nimets'kyi slovar (Ruthenian-German Dictionary, 1904), whose second edition appeared in 1911 under the title Ruthenisch-deutsches Wörterbuch, with 25,000 entries. His memoirs, Vidrodzhennia Bukovyny (The Rebirth of Bukovyna), were published in 1933.

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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