Orest Nestor Matsiuk
Jozef Dabrowski (Lodz, Poland)
On 17 July 1999 Professor Dr. Orest Nestor Matsiuk suddenly died from a heart attack ìn Lvov. The eminent Ukrainian historian-archivist and paper historian was the head of the Central State Historical Archives of the Ukraine in Lvov. On 19 July he was buried there at Lychakov Cemetery.
He was born on 26 June 1932 in Truskaviets near Lvov, as the son of Jaroslav, a teacher, and his wife Rozalia born Hladka. In 1951 he enrolled in the Institute of Agriculture in Lvov, completing his studies in 1956, and later on started work in agricultural management in Zlochov. Earlier, however, his serious interest in history was manifested, resulting in several publications in periodicals. His keen interest in history was the driving force which guided him in 1960 to the Historical Archives in Lvov, where he was active until the end of his life. Having joined the Archives as an archivist he was familiar with practically all the secrets of this field of expertise and further specialized by taking courses in the Moskovskij Istoriko-Archivnyj Institut (Moscow Institute of Archival Studies), graduating in 1972. Finally, he worked his way up to the directorship of the Archives, to which he was appointed in 1991. His research projects resulted in historical publications on towns and rural areas of the western Ukraine. His other studies developed his expertise on the early history of domestic printing.
The academic Ivan Krypiakievych, an outstanding Ukrainian historian, was the scholar who introduced Orest Matsiuk into the realm of paper history in the Ukraine in the early 1960's. Under his guidance Orest Matsiuk was able to begin a continuation and creative development of studies of his predecessors in the area: Ivan Kamanin, Oleksandra Vitvitska, and Karol Badecki. From the numerous publications - over seventy - on paper history, Orest Matsiuk's two watermark albums, published in the Ukrainian language, are the better known. The first, Paper and Its Watermarks in Ukrainian Lands, the XVI c. - beginning of the XX c., published in 1974 in Kiev, presents a history of almost hundred-fifty papermills and 655 watermarks of these mills. (Unfortunately, the censorship removed the detailed map with locations of the papermills prepared by Orest Matsiuk.) His second watermark album, entitled Watermarks of the Ukrainian Archival Documents, published in 1992 in Kiev, presents a rich variety of paper, manufactured in many countries of Europe as well as abroad, extant in Ukrainian archives. It contains reproductions of 714 watermarks made by Orest Matsiuk from papers dated 1722-1937, mainly from documents preserved in the Historical Archives in Lvov. His investigations on paper history are summed up in the monograph History of Ukrainian Paper (186 pages), published in 1994 in Kiev. This publication was accepted as his doctoral thesis, and was successfully defended in 1995 in the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences in Kiev.
In 1996 Orest Matsiuk was appointed Professor in the Ancient History of the Ukraine and Auxiliary Sciences of History at the Ivan Franko State University in Lvov. His knowledge and authority Orest Matsiuk were instrumental in his activities for restoring historical names of towns and places as well as for protecting monuments of history and culture in the Ukraine.
Being a Ukrainian patriot Orest Matsiuk cherished his close friendly and professional contacts with Polish scholars, actively assisting and offering facilities for their researches carried out in the Ukraine. His benign attitude was reciprocated by Polish archivists and historians who readily supported his attempts to get access to historical sources in Poland. In 1998 he was a co-founder of the Ukraine-Poland Society in Lvov and became its first President.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the proclamation of independence by the Ukraine, Orest Matsiuk was able to participate more actively in the activities of IPH, of which he had become a member much earlier. As from the Vienna Congress in 1992, he attended all IPH congresses, presenting papers and making friendly contacts with other paper historians. Within the IPH Orest Matsiuk was respected as an authority on Ukrainian paper history. Our family of paper historians has lost one of its most honourable and modest members.