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Sabov, Ievhenii, Evmenii/Szabo, Eumen

Sabov, Ievhenii, Evmenii/Szabo, Eumen (pseudonym E. Ivanov) (b. October 1, 1859, Verbiazh [Hungarian Kingdom], Ukraine; d. November 3, 1934, Vynohradovo/Sevliush [Czechoslovakia], Ukraine) — priest, teacher, and cultural activist of Rusyn orientation. Sabov is a descendent of Rusyn patriots: his uncle was the well-known pedagogue Kyryl *Sabov, his godfather the historian Ivan *Dulishkovych. Sabov attended gymnasia in Uzhhorod, Presov, and Levoca (1870-1877) before completing the Uzhhorod Theological Seminary (1877-1881). After ordination as a Greek Catholic priest (1885) he served for a short while the parish of Ardanovo before being appointed an instructor (1887-1898) of Rusyn language at the Uzhhorod gymnasium.

Sabov was active in Rusyn national affairs as a leading member of the *St. Basil the Great Society and an organizer of the *Unio Publishing Company. He wrote several widely used textbooks, including a grammar, Russkaia grammatika i chitanka k izucheniiu literaturnago iazyka ugro-russkikh (1890), and the literary anthology, Khristomatiia tserkovnoslavianskikh i ugro-russkikh literaturnykh pamiatnikov: s pribavleniem ugro-russkikh narodnykh skazok na podlinnykh nariechiiakh (1893). The latter work remained for many years the only source for the study of Carpatho-Rusyn literature. For magyarized Greek Catholic priests Sabov published in Hungarian a textbook of *Church Slavonic, Egyhazi-szlav nyelvtan (1894). From 1898 until his death he served as the Greek Catholic parish priest in Sevliush (today Vynohradovo), and from 1917 he was archdeacon for *Ugocha/Ugocsa county.

Sabov was one of the first activists to call for a distinct cultural development for Rusyns that would not be dependent on either Russian or Ukrainian culture, a thesis he spelled out in Ocherk literaturnoi dieiatel’nosti i obrazovaniia ugro-russkikh (1893). During the period of Czechoslovak rule after World War I he opposed the use of both the Russian and Ukrainian languages for Rusyn cultural life. Sabov preferred a not yet fully formed literary language which, as he said, Rusyn writers “from Dukhnovych to Popradov” had used. This was the “traditional Carpatho-Rusyn language” which in fact was a Subcarpathian variant of the Russian language. In the course of the sharp conflicts between local *Russophiles and *Ukrainophiles, the Grammatika russkaho iazyka dlia srednikh uchebnykh zavedenii Podkarpatskoi Rusi (1924) was published under his name, although it was in fact a grammar of the Russian literary language authored by the Russian emigre teacher in Mukachevo, Aleksandr *Grigor’ev. Sabov himself published numerous articles on Rusyn themes in local newspapers (1922-27) under the pseudonym E. Ivanov. He also wrote memoirs covering the earlier decades of his life (“Vospominaniia,” 1922-26), as well as a general history of Rusyn literature (Ocherk literaturnoi dieiatel’nosti i obrazovaniia karpatorossov, 1925).

Sabov played an active role in the *Dukhnovych Society, of which he was honorary chairman (1923-1934). He argued that there “is no place for Muscophilism, and even less so for Ukrainianism” in the Dukhnovych Society, whose very name symbolized its Rusynness. Sabov’s neutral stance enraged extremists, among whom was a Ukrainophile who made an attempt on his life in June 1930.

Bibliography: Aleksandr V. Popov, Evmenii Ivanovich Sabov: kritiko-biograficheskii ocherk zhizni i dieiatel’nosti (Uzhhorod, 1929); Georgii Gerovskii, “Evmenii Sabov i ego dieiatel’nost’ v oblasti prepodavaniia russkago iazyka na Karpatskoi Rusi,” Russkaia shkola, II, 2-3 (Prague, 1935), pp. 83-85; Stepan Popovych, Do 60-litiia od dnia smerty Evmeniia Sabova—yzvistnoho obshchestvenoho diiatylia nashoho kraia ta 100-litiia eho Khrestomatii (Mukachevo, 1994).

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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