Chortitza Rosenthal (p. 44)


The villages of Chortitza and Rosenthal were settled in 1789. The church,

administrative offices, flour mills, machine factories and secondary schools were located there. The old oak tree in the village of Chortitza provided shelter for some of the first Mennonite emigrants from the Vistula Delta in 1789. Because of its great age and unusual shape, the Zaporozhian Cossacks who lived in that area till 1774 considered the oak to be sacred. The practice of worshipping an oak tree was a carry-over from pre-Christian times (988 A.D.) when Slavic people worshiped Perun and Svantovit. This magnificent oak, was till recently, a natural monument protected by the state and a popular tourist attraction. The tree has a height of thirty-six metres (115 feet), and the crown has a diameter of forty-three metres (137 feet). The age of this tree is estimated to be seven hundred years. The shape of its leaves is very similar though slightly smaller than the leaves of the burr oak common in Manitoba.

Today, however, the tree is in the process of dying. In 1994 there was only one green branch left on the tree.