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Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Holy Transfiguration

Camrose, Near

Other Names:
Transfiguration of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church
U.C.C of Transfiguration
UCC of Transfiguration
Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Catholic Church of the Transfiguration
Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Holy Transfiguration, constructed in 1925, is a large wood frame church set on a cement and fieldstone foundation, built on a cruciform plan with a central octagonal drum and onion-shaped dome in the Byzantine tradition. It is facing west on a fenced grassy knoll located within a 6.25 acre landscaped site, on south-west quarter of section 24, Township 48, range 19 west of the 4th Meridian, south-west of Round Hill, in Camrose County. The associated square wood frame bell tower with a pyramidal roof is located immediately to its southwest, and a large white cross and three monuments also lie within the fenced area around the church. A traditional privy lies some distance further south west and beyond, the cemetery is at the road. The 1946 parish hall that lies north-east of the church is not included in the designation.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Holy Transfiguration lies in its association with the Ukrainian settlement of the area and with the order of St. Basil the Great and its monastery in Mundare. It has significance for its historical roots in the pastoral mission of Basilian Father Sozant Dydyk, who founded the parish and established of the cemetery in 1903. The first log church built in 1903 was replaced with this much larger one measuring 70 by 40 feet in 1925. The construction of the present Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Holy Transfiguration church signified a period of consolidation, both in the growth of the parish and in Ukrainian settlement in the area.
The Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Holy Transfiguration has architectural value as a representative example of a sophisticated cruciform plan, with a cross gable roof truncated by a distinctive central octagonal drum and onion-shaped dome, which characterizes church architecture in the Byzantine tradition as it evolved in western Canada. It features a distinct vestibule flanked by identical towers each with an octagonal drum rising out of a pyramidal roof flush with the eaves of the nave, and capped by an onion shaped dome with a metal Latin cross with trefoil ends, matching that of the central dome.
The interior, with its spatial arrangement that includes vaulted ceilings in the open dome, side chapels in the transepts and a sanctuary with attached apsidal sacristies, is valued by the parish community for its beauty and aesthetic qualities accented by its scheme of iconic and decorative elements. The work of Alberta’s most prolific and well-known church painter, Peter Lipinski (1888-1975), the canvas icons attached to the walls depicting the birth and death scenes of Jesus and a number of the saints have high artistic value. The icons have deep personal meaning for the descendants of the early congregation as each one was purchased by a parish member whose name is inscribed on the painting. The interior finishing of V- joint tongue and groove was initially painted in a plain dark blue contrasting with the stained wood vertical wainscoting. In 1961 a more elaborate interior scheme of decoration was executed in the Byzantine tradition by a church painter from Saskatoon named Theordore Barons along with his daughter Theresa, and John Homeniuk from the parish. They repainted the walls, lightened and extended the colour palette, replaced the framed icon behind the altar with a larger canvas of the Transfiguration, and added paintings of Jesus on the main dome, the four apostles on the pendentives of the dome, and of Mary on the ceiling of the nave, as well as the series of painted canvas halos for winged angels and stenciled geometric borders and foliate motifs throughout the church. The hand built pews, installed in 1930, have holders for the original religious banners that are still used in processions.
The associated square two-storey wood frame bell tower built at an unknown date, possibly prior to 1925, is typical in its design featuring semi-circular arched openings associated with Eastern Catholic and Orthodox church designs, and is noteworthy for its large bell. The bell was purchased and imported from France by parishioner Peter Stefura in 1905 for use at the earlier church. The bell is valued for the sacred acoustic space it creates around the church.
The Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Holy Transfiguration is a prominent landmark in the Round Hill district expressing religious and ethnic identity and it embodies a sense of family ties and tradition as it remains in continuous use as a place of worship and social fellowship to the present. The symbolic importance of the 1941 monument erected in memory of the pioneers is signified each year during the Pranzk processional celebration when fruit and flowers are placed on it and blessed along with water. The 1978 and 2003 monuments marking the 75th and 100th anniversaries of the parish continue the tradition of recognition of the history of the parish.

Character-Defining Elements
Character-defining elements of The Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Holy Transfiguration that define the church and associated bell tower and landscape as being rooted in the Byzantine tradition include architectural features, such as:
The exterior of the church, particularly
- the cruciform plan, scale and massing, including the cedar-shingled, high-pitched, cross gable roof with return eaves, truncated by the large central octagonal wood-frame drum with an onion-shaped dome—capped by a cupola with faux windows and a small dome, terminating in a ball surmounted by a metal cross with trefoil ends—and flanked by corner structural elements with partial hip roof;
- the twin apsidal sacristies off the sanctuary;
- the vestibule flanked by identical towers with octagonal drums rising out of a pyramidal roof line flush with the eaves of the nave and capped with onion domes with metal crosses;
- tin with aluminum paint cladding on the domes;
- beveled wood siding with skirting and corner boards, fascia and soffits;
- corner stone;
- the pattern of fenestration on all elevations, including the rectangular windows with segments of patterned pressed glass forming the shape of a cross surmounted by a semi-circular transom window with a segmented fanlight that is also repeated over all the entrances, the circular window with radial mullions over the entrance on the west elevation;
- cedar wood shingles;
-the pattern of entrance ways; and
-red brick chimney on the north transept.
The interior of the church, particularly

- the spatial configuration of vestibule, nave, side chapels in the transepts, and sanctuary with attached apsidal sacristies;
- vaulted ceilings articulated in the open dome, nave, transepts and pendentives of the dome with capped columns marking the corners of nave and transept;
- all interior finishes, including V-joint tongue and grove over vertical tongue and grove wainscoting, door and window wood trim, chair rails, wood paneled doors in sanctuary and apsidal sacristies;
- original opening mechanisms for the semi-circular transom windows;
- the scheme of paintings and all decorative elements executed in 1961 and of the framed wall icons painted by Peter Lipinski;
- main and side altars;
- lighting fixtures, including the chandelier, and original metal furnace grates in the floor;
- elevated wood paneled pulpit accessed from the north apsidal sacristy;
- choir loft and stairway accessed from nave;
- original processional cross and religious banners in holders fixed on pews and walls; and
- vestibule, complete with double paneled doors into nave, and fixed crucifix.
The Bell Tower, particularly
- The form and massing, including reinforced wood frame construction, skirt roof delineating second storey, pyramidal roof capped with a Latin cross with additional halo features representing rays of light;
- cedar wood roof shingles;
- the pattern of fenestration, the fixed single sash window with 2 over 2 panes, along with the semi-circular arched openings typically associated with Catholic and Orthodox church designs;
- drop wood siding, skirting, and corner boards;
- the entrance with double board and batten doors;
- ladder staircase to bell-chamber on second storey; and
- bell, with its engraved dedication to Peter Stefura (1911), and its frame, including A-stands, yoke and wheel.
The environment of the grounds, particularly
- the acoustic space around the bell tower and church;
- large white wood cross;
- 1941 monument in memory of the pioneers on north-west side of church site; 1978 monument and the 2003 monument marking the 75th and 100th anniversaries of the parish south-east of the church;
- perimeter wire fencing; wire gate and gateway on the north-east boundary of church site, and entrance posts on west side of church site;
- wood frame privy with gable roof; and
- tree and carragana plantings.


Street Address: 48305 Range Road 191
Community: Camrose, Near
Boundaries: Lot A, Plan 9924795
Contributing Resources: Building: 2
Structure: 7

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel


Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.14985 -112.65816 GPS NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2008/04/08

Historical Information

Built: 1925 TO 1925
Period of Significance: 1925 To 2003
Theme(s): Building Social and Community Life : Religious Institutions
Peopling the Land : Migration and Immigration
Historic Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Current Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0325
Designation File:
Related Listing(s): 4665-0665
Heritage Survey File: HS 45550
Website Link:
Data Source: Camrose County, 3755-43 Avenue Camrose, AB T4V3S8, File Des. 1
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