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Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Holy Transfiguration

Round Hill

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

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place


Heritage Value


Character-Defining Elements


Location



Street Address:
Community: Round Hill
Boundaries: Plan 992 4795, Lot A
Contributing Resources:

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
19
48
24
4 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
9924795

A


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Registered Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2000/04/17

Historical Information

Built:
Significant Date(s)
Theme(s)
Historic Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Current Function(s):
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

This is one of the earliest Ukrainian Catholic parishes to be formed in Alberta. It was established in 1903, only a few months after missionaries of the Basilian Order arrived here from Ukraine. For a year, services were conducted in one of the homes of the parish founders. Then in 1904, the people decided to build a church, using whatever resources and materials they had at hand.

The first was a simple and small structure, constructed of logs. The present one is a structure of more formal proportions with an open dome. It was built in 1925 by the parishioners under the direction of well-known builder, Jarema Janishewski. The bell tower appears to be older, for the bell it contains was acquired by one of the parishioners soon after the first church was built. Today, the church continues to serve the surrounding community as it always has, except that a declining population has reduced the number of times that it is used overall in a year.

The church is a wood frame structure with a cruciform plan and a high octagonal dome on a tall drum of the same plan over the crossing. The exterior is clad in wood drop siding with corner boards accenting the silhouette of the building. The windows are original, with tall round-headed fenestration around the drum of the dome and along the nave, transepts and apse. There are semi-circular transom windows above all the doors and an oeil-de-boeuf window in the gable over the main entrance. Small domes surmount towers located to either side of the main entrance. The interior of the church retains its painted decoration, 1930 pews and circular staircase leading to the choir. In the churchyard is a bell tower (with 1905 bell) in the same style as the church - presumably built at the same time as the church - and a cemetery dating back to the establishment of the parish in 1903. This is a well-preserved example of the second-generation Ukrainian churches in Alberta. It shows how the building type, style and construction were successfully adapted to the new environment, yet retained the essential character and function of the European prototypes.

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HISTORICAL INTEREST

During the 1890s, lands to the east of Edmonton began to be homesteaded by immigrants from the Ukraine. By the turn of the century, a number of these people were settling on lands to the southeast of Edmonton as well. At Round Hill, northeast of Camrose, a number of Ruthenians took up homestead. In 1902, they petitioned the Basilian Fathers, recently arrived in Edmonton, to come and minister to their spiritual needs. In December of that year, Sozant Dydyk, OSMB, celebrated the first Divine Liturgy for these settlers in the home of Makar Sherbaniuk. Next month, Dydyk attended a meeting of these residents with the purpose of organising a parish. He filed for land as a homesteader on the southwest quarter of Section 24, Township 48, Range 19, West of the Fourth Meridian, some of which, the government agreed, could be used for church purposes. A wood frame church was soon constructed, and, on August 19, 1904, it was blessed by Father Dydyk and dedicated under the patronage of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. The first Elders were Makar Sherbaniuk and John Solonika. In 1905, a priest's residence and bell tower were constructed. A cemetery was also plotted behind the church.

In 1906, Father Dydyk left for Winnipeg to become Supervisor of Basilian Missions in Canada. Father Hura who came to Round Hill to conduct services replaced him in Edmonton. Hura was replaced by Father Ladyka and then Father Teodorowitch, under whom, during the 1920s it was recognised that the original church was not sufficient to serve the needs of the growing congregation. Thus, led by Teodorowitch, parishioners banded together and in assistance to contractor Yanishewski, constructed a new wood frame church. It was 72 x 40 feet in the form of a cross. With its high central cupola and two small cupolas in front, it was in typical Byzantine church style. At its sides stood a new bell tower, housing the original bell purchased in France in 1905. Total cost of construction was 9,000 dollars. The old church was then used as a community hall until about 1942. In 1946, a new parish hall was built.

The Church of the Transfiguration has continued in use to this day, serving the descendants of the original Ruthenium settlers. Services are held twice a month. The historical significance of the church and tower lies in their representation of the culture and religion of these people. Though not the dominant ethnic culture of the region around Round Hill, these people can be seen as an extension of the more populous Ukrainian settlement to the northeast. That the 1925 church continues to serve these people signifies their sense of heritage in Alberta.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0665
Designation File: DES 1920
Related Listing(s): 4664-0325
Heritage Survey File: HS 45550
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1920)
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