Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday Service: Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church

Church and Bell Tower

I grew up and lived most of my life in Calgary. I don't recall seeing many Ukrainian Churches in Calgary or southern Alberta, I know there are some but not compared to the number of churches in central and northern Alberta. Once you are about an hour north of where I live, they start appearing on what seems like every other road. One day last year in the span of a couple of hours I stopped at 6 of them and I wasn't even looking. I love their architecture with the unmistakable domes. The amount of domes present on the church all have significance.

Here is some info on the significance of the amount of domes or cupolas: a single dome over the centre of the church represents Christ, 3 is for the Holy Trinity, 5 is for Christ and the 4 evangelists, 7 is the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, 9 refers to the 9 ranks of Angels, and 13 is Christ and the 12 Apostles.

I recently drove by Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church. This area, originally known as Ellswick, was rapidly settled between 1896-1915. Establishing churches and schools was of the utmost importance to these communities. Church services were held in other established churches and homes of the parishioners up until 1910 when a small church was built in the Ellswick area and served 2 congregations, the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Rite Catholics. The 2 congregations eventually split up and private homes were used for the Ukrainian Services until 1921 when construction commenced on the Ukrainian Catholic Church. In 1929 financial help allowed the inside to be completed and for the interior and exterior to be painted.

I am not sure of this church still has regular services, but it is still served by the clergy. It became an Alberta Designated Historic Building in 1988.

3 Domes: The Holy Trinity
Are there churches like this where you live?

31 comments:

  1. This one's a beauty! There are Ukrainian churches here, both of the Catholic and Orthodox types.

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    1. Hi William, so many different ones, all so unique looking!

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  2. No Ukranian churches here, Jenn. Love the domes!

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  3. What a lovely church with its bright blue trim and onion domes.

    Unfortunately there are no Ukrainian churches anywhere down here in the wild west...lol! But, I'm really hoping to see some Ukrainian churches in central/northern Saskatchewan this year (fingers crossed). My mom was Ukrainian and I would like to see the area where she grew up.

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    1. Hi Michael, I have seen photos of many nice ones in Sask. Edmonton and E/NE of there have a lot!

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  4. Only in Montreal would you find a church like that, but honestly the ones I've seen are a good 10x the size. Around here, it's building, steeple and cemetery! That's a lovely looking building!

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    1. Thanks Rain, there are bigger ones in the cities. These country ones sometimes seem very grand for being rural. My favourite one is tiny and the Dome looks bigger than the rest of it.

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  5. 40 odd years ago, I was riding with the folks on some backroad in the middle of nowhere when we came onto a little community with what I think was a Russian Orthodox church. It was surprise to find both the community and the church. It seems to me that it had a tiny dome on its bell tower and the cross with two cross-pieces, the lower one askew.

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    1. Hi Gorges, yes the cross you describe is Russian Orthodox. Neat to see these interesting churches where you don't expect.

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  6. We have a few lovely Ukrainian churches in Winnipeg, and there are many north of the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba.

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    1. Hi Steve! I have seen photos of many nice ones in Saskatchewan also.

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  7. We don't have many Slavic churches around here since there wasn't much immigration from them in these parts.

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    1. Hi Adam, makes sense! Makes my wonder why so many chose to settle in these places in Canada!

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  8. They don't have regular services anymore there, Jenn. But it is available for weddings and funerals, and they have a special day once a year. just sort of a community get-together. According to Ignace, the old farmer I've talked to who lives just down the road from the church. the two towers on the front corners of the church were built in later years and the priest of the church at the time built the domes himself, by hand, out of sheet metal.

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    1. Thanks Tim, sounds like many other churches, I know some do an annual grave blessing. Cool that he built the domes!

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  9. I don't remember seeing a Ukrainian church Jenn, but that doesn't mean there isn't one! Your church here looks amazing surrounded by snow, love the blue trim, it's a really distinctive style. Tres dramatique in black and white!

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    1. Thanks PDP! They are very distinctive and I never get tired of seeing them, I rarely see the insides but the photos are gorgeous! You should see the ones with copper domes...so pretty!

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  10. In the prairie provinces, Ukrainians are always more concentrated in the central and northern areas because that's where the remaining land was waiting to be broken and farmed when the waves of Ukrainian immigration arrived in the early 20th century. By then, the southern parts of the provinces were already in farm production, having been homesteaded largely by people from Ontario and Americans who came up from the USA, along with immigration from traditional British and northern European sources.

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    1. Hi Debra, makes sense! I actually never thought of it that the south was already settled..

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  11. The domes are unmistakable but I had no idea they were significant so thanks for explaining that!
    I love the blue trim around the church.
    Great photos!

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    1. Hi Christine, I was just thinking I should have gone into more detail on the dome significance, I read that 1,3,5,9, and 13 domes or cuppolas all have meaning. I have never seen one with more than 5. 13 would have to be a large church!

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  12. What a beautiful church and the domes are very pretty indeed. I haven't seen any Ukranian churches at all and if there are any, I would think they would be in Dublin and maybe Galway. I like both the colour and b&w versions of your photo.

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    1. Thanks Bill, if I had more time I would have walked around it and checked out the cemetery. Another time!

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  13. I didn't know that about the number of domes. I will have to look more closely at the ones around here.

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    1. Hi RedPat, I had heard the before but I didn't know it went all the way up to 13....that would be an impressive sight!

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  14. I don't think I've ever seen a domed church like that near us; it's very pretty. There aren't a lot of Catholic churches here, though. I think there's only one here.

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    1. HI Danielle, the Domes are specific to Ukrainian Churches. Although there are some ornate Catholic Churches as well.

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  15. This reminds me of the church in lower Kalskag, Alaska - a Yupik village where I spent three years. Russian Orthodox had a big impression on southeastern Alaskan Native villages.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Hi Ol'Buzzard, Alaska seems like an interesting place!

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  16. There’s a beautiful Old Ukrainian church just east of camrose. There’s a cemetery out back with some dates as far back as the 1800’s.

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