A fighter for equality and a descendant of the Cossacks: the story of the first Ukrainian political refugee in the United States

155 years ago in the US, came the first Ukrainian political refugee, a fighter for human rights, the Agape Goncharenko. This is stated in the video “voice of America”.

Борец за равноправие и потомок козаков: история первого украинского политического беженца в США

Screenshot: Youtube/The Voice Of America. Ukraïnskoyu

With his printing house in San Francisco he was sent to the Russian Empire prohibited literature there. It is believed that he convinced the U.S. government to purchase Russian Alaska.

Subsequently, the Agape acquired a plot of land in California, called it “the Ukraine”. Although he had associated themselves with Ukraine, the Russian community in the U.S. claimed to be its origin.

Ukrainians from California at the state level has achieved recognition Goncharenko, a leading American activist with Ukrainian roots.

About an hour drive from the San Francisco regional Park, going to a California group of Ukrainians. They go on foot to the officially recognized nature reserve “Ukraine”.

On this earth is buried the first political Ukrainian immigrant Agape Goncharenko.

The Agape Goncharenko (real name Andrew Gumnitsky) was born in Kiev region in 1832 in the family of the descendants of Ivan Bohun, Cossack military leader Bohdan Khmelnytsky.

Graduated from the Kiev theological Seminary, the Agape became a priest in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra since then, began fighting for equal rights of people.

“At the time he was an active fighter for the rights of people spoke against serfdom, were opposed to the Church use of serf labour. For this the Russian Orthodox Church was persecuted,” said the former Consul of Ukraine in San Francisco Yury Babkov.

Goncharenko was appointed a priest in the Embassy of the Russian Empire in Athens, but in 1860 he was accused of writing anticarsia literature and arrested with the intent to send to Russia.

Борец за равноправие и потомок козаков: история первого украинского политического беженца в США

Screenshot: Youtube/The Voice Of America. Ukraïnskoyu

Agapia managed to escape to London, and later fate brought him to the US.

“After the Russian Orthodox Church persecuted him even in the U.S. he was forced to leave his parish in San Francisco and nearby to purchase a small piece of land, which is very similar to the hills of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Here he created a Church where married, baptized people for nearly 35 years.” — Babkov says.

He continued to rally opponents of the tsarist regime, called for equality.

It is believed that the Agape was one of those who convinced the U.S. government to purchase the Russians Alaska.

He also issued the first newspaper of the new state of Alaska Herald, which printed the works of Taras Shevchenko.

Since 1966, the Ukrainian community has launched a campaign for the proclamation of the farm as a historic landmark. However, it had to compete, because the origin of Agapia was claimed by the Russians.

“To say that he’s Russian — it’s terrible. It took a while, but now it is a Park “Ukraina”, as Agape and called him,” says activist Mary Cherepenko.

After years of efforts, in 1999 the farm Agapius Honcharenko, who is now in the territory of the regional Park was officially recognized as a historical monument of California. Since then, local Ukrainians come to his grave to honor the memory of a fighter for freedom and equal rights.

Here, the Agape Goncharenko lived for 43 years and was buried next to his wife Albina, which survived for 1 year.

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