Village of  Ray / Raj
Commemorative Historical and Informational Page

RAY...RAJ...RAI...meaning "paradise"

old suburbian village
near Berezhany in Ternopil region ofWestern Ukraine

View over Ray
Above: View over Ray. The church is in the foreground.

  "Once, after a great feast, young engaged couple walked around the  palace.  These were Adam Sieniawski with his fiancee Ewa. They were thinking which name should be given to that locality. In the end, fiancee said: "My name is Eve and yours is Adam, so let the name of this settlement be Ray (paradise)"
Citation about village Ray from Chodzko's "Pologne", book published in Paris around 1880

by Roman Zakharii from Berezhany on Ray road (
  created on 29.08.2001

   based also on the recollections of ingeneer Osyp Baran from Ray (Berezhanshchyna u
  Spohadakh Emihrantiv - Berezhany Land in Recollections of Immigrants) as well as
  Litopys Berezhans´koyi Zemli (Chronicle of Berezhany Land), issue 1, 1994

Ray is situated at the distance of 2 kilometers from proper town Berezhany but  now it virtually merged with Berezhany and is called merely "Ray street" of  Berezhany.  It is a walking distance from Lepkykh street (where my parents and family lives, former Raiska) which further continues as Rayivska street (Ray street).

  Population and statistics of the village

IN 1880, Ray had 592 inhabitants. There were 131 dwellers also at the count court area and 461 in the village. Among these 392 were Greek Catholics (Ukrainians/Ruthenians), 165 Roman Catholics (Poles) and 35 others. However the most of these Roman Catholics spoke Ukrainian as their first language. The real Poles were the officials of the central chancellery of Potocki households. At the palace and administration, everything was in Polish and Potocki family considered themselves of Polish aristocracy.

  IN 1900, Ray numbered 676 inhbitants. Among them: 535 Ruthenian (Ukrainian) Greek-Catholics  134 Latinnics or Roman Catholics (Poles, along with some Ukrainians)  and 7 Jews.

  IN 1939, Ray had 820 residents. Among which, 620 were Ruthenian (Ukrainian)   Greek-Catholics, 80 Latinnics (Poles and Ukrainians), 115 Roman Catholics  (Poles) and 5 Jews.

During the First World War, the Administration of Potocki Households in Ray (Raj) managed 23 field-estates scattered all over Berezhany district (Powiat Brzezanski). And also Potocki  administered 32 morgs (a morg =  55 acres) of forests only in Berezhany district. All this administration of Potocki goods required a great number of educated specialists, ingenners, agronoms,  lawyers etc. But there was never a single Ruthenian (Ukrainian) working, only Poles ot polonized Austrian Germans, in Berezhany district that numbered over 70 % of Ruthenian (Ukrainian) population.

In the end of 19th century, the richest person in the village was  MATVIY BARAN. All othershad only a few morgs of field, worked as carpenters, builders, brickworkers, wood-cutters and also as court servicemen.

  Today when Ray virtually merged with Berezhany, it is hard to calculate its  population separately but it should be around 1000 or so.

View over Ray View over Ray
Above: There are dense forests around the village, mainly of beech-trees, pines, oakes, spruces and hornbeams.

  Name, location and historical chronicle:

  Ray is located among very nice and picteresque surrounding - among forests and  hills next to Ray brook. Local people  or visitors used to say that this village  really deserves such a name with its views. The name Ray (Raj / Rai) means "paradise" in Ukrainian (also in Polish and Russian and in most of Slavic languages, I think) .

  Raj is Polish spelling and this is how it should be written in Polish and we can  transliterate it also Raj from Ukrainian but nowadays Ukrainian uses mostly  English transliteration from its Cyrillic, namely Ray (sometimes also Rai). In Cyrillic it is written Pau (I do not have Cyrilic fonts but letters are about  that if one would uses Latin characters for Cyrillic. It is read as "ray"). The
  Polish spelling Raj (which is also read as "ray") appears on most of pre war  Polish / Austrian maps and documents dating before 1939, when the village and  whole Galicia (Western Ukraine) were part of Poland an Austria. Power in this area was shifting from hands to hands during the known history, starting from a  loose Slavic tribal confederations to being part of Ruthenian (Ukrainian) early  medieval states of Kyivan Rus (980 - 1152), first principality, later kingdom of Galicia / Halychyna (1152 - 1375), Polish kingdom (1375 - 1772), Austria / Austro-Hungarian empire (1772 - 1918), ZUNR / Western Ukrainian National  Republic (1918/19), of Poland again (1920 - 1939), Soviet Union (1939 - 1941),  fascist Germany (1941 - 1944), again Soviet Union (1944 - 1991), now idependent  Ukraine (1991 until today).

  Historical documents show that around 1660, a hunting palace was built at the  territory of modern park in Ray. From here Polish noblemen hunted the animals in  nearby forests. Proabbly they had many servicemen who settled in the vicinity to do the job. In this palace, parties and receptions were arranged fot local  nobility.

  Documents from 1668 state that there were 12 household families lived in Ray. Also the higher official of Ray goods chancellery Tarnawski, after having  studied antique acts and chronicles named even all these 12 surnames:

KLETSOR (Klecor / Klezor / Kliecor / Kliezor)
SVERDUN (Swerdun)
BILYK (Bylyk / Bilik)
MATUS (Matus´)
MARUNEVYCH (Maruniewicz / Marunevich / Marunewicz) and a few others.


  As chronicles note, Polish king Zygmont (Sigismund) III granted Berezhany  district to Nichalas Sieniawski in 1530. Since then all settlements in Berezhany  area were owned by this family, until the death of the last one of the family - Adam-Nichalas Sieniawski. He had only one daughter Sophia. She was born in 1711  and married Denhof (Denhoff) and after his death she married duke Awgust  Czartoryski (Czartoryjski). It was here in Raj and Berezhany that her mighty father Adam Nicholas Sieniawski hosted Russian tsar Peter the Great and Rus  (Ukrainian) hetman Ivan Mazepa in May 1707. Sophia Czartoryjska had a daughter  Isabella, who got all the heritage and married duke Stanislaw Lubomirski (Liubomirski). After her husband died, she left Berezhany and ordered to repair  the palace in Ray and moved to live there. Here she lived with daughters  Alexandra and Konstancia. And when Alexandra married count Alexander Potocki (Potocky), all Ray properties became of Potocki family. Alexander ordered to  build a new stylish palace instead of old hunting one and around it he made a  park with exotic trees, expensive bushes and pool in the middle with swans and  fish. Everything remains until today though quite in a desolate condition after  communist years. It belonged to Potockis until the death of the last one - Jakub  Potocki in 1936. Afterwards Ray palace was given to the fund of fight against  cancer.

Palace in Ray Plan of the palace in Ray
Above. Palace of Potocki in Ray and the plan of the palace in village Ray. General view. Click to enlarge. It was built in the last quarter of 18th century on the place of hunting castle (square in plan with four towers on its sides), which was destroyed in 1709.  In second quarter of 19th century, palace was reconstructed in the style of classicism, according to the project of architect J. RUDSKI - WEZYK. It had rachitectural decoratiosn typic for this style, including the balcony and cupola hall on the seond floor. Palace is surrounded with a  landschaft park (1760) and represents the work of palace architecture in the style of classicism in Ukraine.
Cholera epidemic in Ray in 1831

In year 1830, one of Ray dwellers MYKOLA BARAN scythed the hayfields at "Mysiowa", having a big dog guarding him nearby. After a while, dog had been there for about one hour. And when it appeared, Mykola was happy and touched the dog. But again after a while dog disappeared and came back with human hand in its mouth. Mykola understood immediately that dog picked up cholera and that he also touched the dog before. When his wife brought lunch, he warned her to to approach and to go away immediately because he and the dog are already infected with cholera. He died soon at that place, also the dog. Many people died out then . Epidemic scythed them as grass. The dead ones were taken by special Sanitary service (dressed in white dress, cap and gloves) and burried them in deep trenches covering with slaked limestone, to prevent distribution of the epidemic. At that place little grave mound was made near the forest close to "hayivka" at "korchunok".

Road to Ray - road to paradise?

  There was a road from Ray to Berezhany. The road was surrounded by thick, two  hudred years old nice smelling lime trees (non existent today though) . In June  the alley was blooming and a pleasent smell of lime tree blooming and honey was felt even faraway.

  In such days many town people from Berezhany hurried to the alley to enjoy the  air of this surrounding, which was like the lungs for Berezhany. Along the road,  among the trees, there were many benches for convinience of bypassers, who not a once were sitting until late night in such a charming area. But it had not been  always so. There was a time when the road was meant exclusively for the owners  of Ray holdings and only they and their servants could drive the road. That is why there was a big at the beginning of the road, there was a big metal gate (so  called Rajska Brama - Ray Gate) on the way to the village, where Berezhany  quarters were about to end. On sides of the gate, two "micro - castles" were built where the gate keepers stayed who had the gate keys and could open it only  for crossing of court escorts and servicemen (not serfs though!). All other  dwellers, serfdom peasents and workers of the village or surrounding villages walked or drived (a cart at that time)  by the field side little roads.

  Though when Serfdom in Austrian empire (thus in Raj also, which was part of it)   was abolished in the middle of 19 th century, peasents started to use the Ray road as well.

  The house where my parents and family lives (and where I am "registered on  permament basis", though during last 3 years I stay mostly abroad because of  study and work) built by Berezhany Agricultural School (where my father and brother teaches) is located on the same Ray road, at the crossroads, where the  RAJ GATE used to stand. Now it does not exist anymore. It was removed soon after  the war in 50 s, I think. I grew up in that surrounding and know the area "as  five fingers of mine" (yak pyat´ moyikh pal´tsiv) as people say in Ukrainian.

Church in Ray:

Until 1878, there was no church in Ray and people had to go to nearby Berezhany to pray. In 1878 Stanislaw Potocki (the owner of Ray palace and goods) agreed to reconstruct the smith workshop building (that stood next to the park) in order to make a church on its place. Later his son Jakub Potocki granted a greater territory for church erection in the beginning of the village (from Berezhany side) inbetween the Ray brook and road. He also assisted financially to build it. So it stands until today there. Village of ray did not have its own parish and belonged to the Ukrainian Catholic parish in Berezhany (Brzezany). Sometimes, the  parish priest of Berezhany or his assistants were coming to the village for services, or to school to teach religion.


Early 1940 s...

  A FEW TENS OR HUNDREDS OF JEWS from Berezhany were take by Nazis to Ray (name  which means paradise...), where they have been executed in a mass grave in  vicinty to Ray brickworks factory. No sign marks the place of tragedy today in  Ray...


  Ray residents, who became soldiers in the Ukrainian USS (= Ukrainian Sich  Riflemen / Marksmen) Legion of Autsrian Armies during First World War in 1915:

Ivan Baran
MykhayloMarunevych (Marunewicz)
Mykhaylo Yurchyshyn (Jurczyszyn)
Mykhaylo Yarema (Jarema)
Vasyl Kontsevych (Koncewicz / Koncewycz / Kontsevich)
Vasyl Mykhaniv (Mychaniw / Michaniow / Michaniw)

  The USS registration for the legion took place in Lisnyky  (Lesniki/Lasniki/Lisnyki), just behind the mountain from Ray, near Berezhany,  from where they marched to railway station in Pidvysoke (Podwysokie) and futher  to join the Legion.

  From the above list of Ray soldier volunteers, Vasyl Kontsevych died on the  battlefield fighting with Russians at Potutory in 1916.

  Mykhaylo Yarema was the second USS soldier from the list that was killed  fighting with Bolsheviks near Oleksandrivsk (Aleksandrovsk) on the Dnieper, on  April 15th, 1918. He was burried at high cossack grave with a great number of
people and army participating at the burials.

  The third Ray soldier that was killed in battle was Vasyl Mykhaniv (Mychaniw).  In the beginning of November 1918, he arrived in Lviv (Lvov / Lwow), together  with the legion to fight against the Poles, while defending Lviv, where he died in battle eventually. He was burried along with other Ukrainian soldiers at  Yanivsky (Janow) Cemetery in Lviv.

During the First World War, this story happened in Ray:

  When general mobilization and later a war were anounced Ray and whole Austrian  empire in 1914, a great number of Austrian army´s ammunition and guns appeared  to be in Ray Park of Potocki. And one morning, father Theodor Korduba (parish priest of Greek-Catholic Church in Berezhany) had served the Field Service for  the local Austrian troops in Ray park, where all took oath to the emperor kaiser  Franz-Joseph the Ist. In a few days troops moved to the west, leaving some patrol in Ray. A few days later, suddenly Russian younf cossack appeared on  horse in Ray park and demanded from the court guards to deliver him the best  horse from the count-barns. But at this moment he noticed Austrian patrol rider, who fell dead from his first shot. But in a moment, also the cossack fell dead  from the bullet of other Austrian patrol. These were few losses in Ray. In a  short time more Russian patrols arrived in Ray and broke the door to the count cellars. After having seen lots of liquors, vodka and expensive wines, they  started drining and being drunk started destrying everything. But as soon as  civil Russian athorities arrived, peace came and no more robberies. In May 1915, after defeating Russians at Gorlice, Austrians shifted forward the  front line back to Berezhany and Ray. Front stopped over Zolota Lypa (Zlota  Lipa) river in Berezhany. Russians were based on Zvirynets (Zwierzyniec) mountain while Austrian troops were located on  Storozhysko (Storozysko), Ray  mountain and Babyna mountain. There were not so many big fighting here and in  two months Russians were pushed further east stopping at Strypa river.

Those from Ray who died in Ukrainian - Polish Civil War in 1919:

Brothers PETRO and YOSYP PRYSHLYAK (Pryszliak / Pryszlak), first Ray soldiers of Ukrainian Galician Army (UGA), both died in 1919 fighting with Poles. Other Ray sodiers of UGA who died in 1919 were: MYKHAYLO KLETSOR (Klecor / Klezor), PAVLO SEMKIV (Semkiw), MYKOLA PYLYPIV (Ppylypiw), OSYP and MYKHAYLO MYSKIV (Myskiw), IVAN BILYK, STAKH TURKOVSKYY (Turkowski / Turkovsky)


  VOLODYMYR CHAYKIVSKYY(Czajkowski / Czajkiwski / Czajkowsky / Chaykovsky /  Chaykovski) was arrested by Soviet NKVD in second half of 1940. His parents left him with  older sister when immigrating to America. He was 12 then. Therefore parents  found a caretaker for him who had to send him to America. That carataker cared  only about himself and charged dollars from Volodymyr´s parents as if he needed  to arrange the fomalities to send their son to the US. But he didnt allow little  Volodymyr to go, in order to have this income. In the meanwhile, parents got  angry at their son in vain.  When parents stopped sending money, he had to stop  his studies at Berezhany Gimnasia and started to work to survive. He became a mechanic for the sewing machine "Singer" and worked at the same firm in  Berezhany. Eventually, he was also imprisoned by Soviet NKVD and died in prison  in Ternopil (Tarnopol / Ternopol).

  OSYP HANCHEVSKYY(Hanczewski, Ganczewski / Hanchevsky / Hanchevski /  Hanczewskyj) was a musical dirigent of local Ray Choir, former student of Berezhany Gimnasia. He  did not commit any crime against the new regime, but the only fact that someone  was a member of Ukrainian Educational Organization "Prosvita" (Education) or any other peoples society was determining that such a person was a potential enemy  of Soviet "peasents - workers" state. And such one, according to communists had  to be murdered or sent to Siberia to forced labour camp for "reeducation" and "improvement". HANCHEVSKYY was given 10 years imrisonement and was imprisoned in  NKVD prison in Berezhany but at the German invasion, on 29th of June, 1941, on   a third day of murders in Berezhany NKVD prison, he was called from the cellar  and since then disappeared without no trace.

MYKHAYLO MARUNEVYCH (Michal / Mikhail / Michael Marunewicz / Maruniewicz /  Marunevich). He was BORN IN RAY on 19th of December, 1895 in Austrian times. After serving  the Austrian army, he joined Ukrainian Sich Riflemen / Marksmen (so called  "striltsi" or USS-es) which was formed out of Ruthenian (Ukrainian) soldiers from Galicia out of Austrian armies during the First World War. USS-es was a  base for Ukrainian Galician Army (UGA) of newly proclaimed ZUNR (Western  Ukrainian National Republic) when Austria collapsed in 1918. He was a "chetar" (a rank) in UGA. After the war he went to study to Soviet Union in Kharkiv (Kharkov) becoming later a  lecturer (Polish cosnul refused him visa and he could not return home to Ray) at the  Ukrainian Institute of Trade in Kyiv (Kiev), Institute of Peoples Education in  Kharkiv (Kahrkov), Pedagogical Institute in Kursk (Russia), being arrested by bolsheviks and Stalinist NKVD later and imprisoned in horrible Siberian labour  camps, where he died in labour camp Zapolyarye (= "Beyond the Polar Circle" in  Russia) in 1940 far from his native Ray.

Soon Soviets arrested four young persons, teenagers from RAY namely:

  - OSYP YAKYMIV (Jakimow / Jakymow / Jakymiw / Yakymov / Yakimov),  the son of Dmytro and Paraskevia

  - MYKHAYLO PYLYPIV (Pylypiw / Pilipiv / Pilipow / Pilipov / Pilipiw),   the son of Ivan and Tekla

  - ILKO MATUS (Matus´),   the son of Stefan and Slavka

  - SLAVKO BILYK (Bilik),   the son of Mykhaylo and Magda

All of these were murdered or died in NKVD prisons or labour camps.

  After them TOSIA MYRON (the sister of Dmytro Myron) was arrested and murdered in  NKVD prison in Berezhany in June 1941. Her brother DMYTRO MYRON-ORLYK was shot  by Gestapo at the streets of Kyiv (Kiev) later as well.


  There were bitter conflicts in the village. Ukrainian nationalists revenged many  locals who were traitors to them and served the Soviets, among them local Ray  dweller THEODOR KULEBA, whom they murdered. The same way they murdered the Ray village Soviet council head, local dweller KOVBASOVSKYY (Kowbasowski /  Kovbasovski / Kovbasovsky / Kowbasowskyj)

* * *
Other known  people from Ray were REMEZA (teacher), DMYTRO KIZYMA (active member Ukrainian educational oprganization "Prosvita" in Ray), DMYTRO YAKYMIV (Jakymiw) - officer of Austrian armies, YOSYF DIAKIV (Diakiw) - died at the Fisrt World War,  PETRO BORUSEVYCH (Borusewicz / Borusewycz) - senior officer of Austrian gendarmerie and his brother MYKOLA BORUSEVYCH, senior unter-officer of 55th regiment of Austrian infantry (only after the First World War he ruturned home to Ray from the Italian imprisonment), VALERIA ZYELYKOVA (Zielykow / Zelykow / Zyelykov), IVAN TSESELSKY (Ciesielski / Cieselski) - one of the first Berezhany gymnasia students from Ray..

Map of Ray
Street map of village Ray (in Ukrainian). Click to enlarge.

contact info RAY PRIMARY SCHOOL (Pochatkova Shkola v Rayu)
Headmaster, tel. +380 3548 22279

contact info RAY RESTAURANT "ZELENYY HAY" (Green Grove)
tel +380 3548 22260

contact info RAY CLUB OF CULTURE (Klub Kultury)
head, tel. +380 3548 22279

contact info RAY BRICKWORKS PLAN (Tsehelnyy Zavod)
Rayivska (Engelsa) St. 60
Manager - reception, tel. +380 3548 21766
Deputy manager, tel. +380 3548 22095

contact info AVIA TEAM (Avia Zahin)  in Ray
Rayivska (Engelsa), 71
manager, tel. +380 3548 21802

contact info RAY KINDERGARTEN "ROSYNKA" (Little Dew)
Rayivska (Engelsa), 67
Headmaster, tel. +380 3548 21029

contact info BEREZHANY FORESTRY IN RAY (Berezhans'ke Lisnytstvo)
tel. +380 3548 21410

              (Source: Telephone Directory of Subscribers of Automatic Telephone Network of Berezhany district,
Ternopil region. Ternopil: Oblpoligrafvydav, 1988)

Last names in Latin transliterations from original Cyrillic (English / Polish / variants) including first name initial and the last letter stands for the first
name of the father of that person, as it used in Ukrainian:
Street address:
Telephone no, including internationl code:
(Aleksandrowicz / Alexandrovich / Oleksandrowicz /  Aleksandrovich)
St 37
tel. +380 3548 92533
(Dmytriw / Dmitriw / Dmytrov / Dmitriv / Dmitrov)
Rayivska (Engelsa) St. 62 tel. +380 3548 21420
(Liuszniak / Luszniak / Liushniak / Lushnyak / Lushniak /  Lusznak)
Rayivska (Engelsa) St. 30 tel +380 3548 22279
(Perepiczka / Perepitschka / Perepitchka)
Rayivksa (Engelsa) St. 26 tel +380 3548 22715
(Pylypiw / Pilipiw / Pylipiv / Pilypiv / Pilipov)
Rayivska (Engelsa) St. 59 tel +380 3548 22237
If you wish to write to anyone from the list above or below, address it the followong way:
Rayvkska, St. no..., selo Ray, Berezhans'kyy rayon, 47501
Ternopils'ka oblast, Western UKRAINE / Ukrayina


Copyright @ 2000-2020, by Roman Zakharii. All rights reserved.
Page was updated with Netscape Composer 6, at the University of Oslo
by Roman Zakharii (from Ray road in Berezhany, Ukraine) in Oslo, Norway
(where I studied and lived for the last years). Created on 30.08.2001.
Updated on 06.08.2013 in Reykjavik, Iceland (where I am living and working currently)
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