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Key Number: HS 32000
Site Name: Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church
Other Names:
Site Type: 1603 - Religious: Church, Cathedral or Chapel

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
48 22 4


Address:
Number:
Street:
Avenue:
Other:
Town:
Near Town: Hay Lakes

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style: Ukrainian-Canadian Church Style
Plan Shape:
Storeys:
Foundation:
Superstructure:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Bell Tower
Towers, Steeples and Domes: Dome
Exterior: The Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church is a one storey wood frame structure with a large central dome. It has been used as a church since its construction in 1921. In addition to the church the site also includes a small bell tower which may date from the early 1920s.
Interior: N/A
Environment: It is located in a rural area five miles south of the Town of Hay Lakes. The site has not been formally landscaped.
Condition:
Alterations: In 1957 the narthex was extended and twin towers were added to the front facade. These changes complemented the original architectural style of the building.

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Constructed
1921/01/01
Usage: Usage Date:
Church
1921/01/01
Owner: Owner Date:
The Ruthenian Greek Catholic Parish of the Holy Cross.
1954/04/12
Architect: Philip Ruh
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: Historical Significance:
The Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church is part of the rural community of Ellswick which covers portions of four townships located north of Bittern Lake in the Hay Lakes area. Homestead land in this area was occupied during the period of rapid settlement between 1896 and 1915. The people who established farms in the area came from Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from Poland and from Scandinavia.
As was the case in other rural areas in Alberta during the early stages of the settlement process, schools and churches were the most important social institutions. Ellswick School District 2203 was organized in 1909. The cultural diversity of the settlers gave rise to a number of institutions began in 1881 with the arrival of Father Bellevaire who operated a mission from his residence in Duhamel. He was followed in 1907 by Father Paul Kulawy who operated a mission from Round Hill. By the time of Kulawy's arrival the Catholics of the area included not only Polish Roman Catholics but also Ukrainian Catholics from Galicia who were here in sufficient numbers to re-establish their traditional Byzantine rite. Prior to the establishment of a Ukrainian Catholic Church in the Hay Lakes District, masses were read in the nearby St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church. Homes of the parishioners were used for services until 1910, when a small church in Ellswick was built for the Roman Catholic and Eastern Rite Catholic congregations. When the two congregations split up, the homes of Nichlos Maruschak and George Sych Sr. were used for Ukrainian services.
In 1921, the parish finally commenced construction of a Ukrainian Catholic Church on three acres of land donated by Nicholas Maruschak for the church and cemetery. The Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church was to play an important role in the lives of the early settlers of Hay Lakes as the centre of community activities. In 1929, Rev. Basil Lakyka, O.S.B.M., who was consecrated Bishop on July 14, 1929, got financial help for the church from the Basilian Fathers. This made it possible to complete the church inside and to have the interior and exterior painted. The Basilian Fathers served the people of the Holy Cross Church from the very beginning until November 10, 1957. From January 7, 1958 to the present, the secular clergy have been attending to the needs of the people that belong to the Holy Cross Church.

Architectural Significance:
The designer of the church was the Rev. Philip Ruh who had been involved in the construction of Byzantine Churches in the region east of Edmonton since 1912. Holy Cross church was one of several churches that he was involved with outside of East Central Alberta.
In designing Holy Cross Church, Ruh utilized the triple-zrub plan which consisted of three separate solid timber units, or zruby, formed in a linear progression from narthex to nave and sanctuary. The triple-zrub plan based on a wood construction technique from Ukraine was the simplest of the church plans and the one most frequently reproduced in Alberta.
The modifications to the church in 1957 included the addition of a twin-tower motif to the front facade. The use of this architectural detail on wooden structures was unique to western Canada. In Ukraine the twin-tower motif which is linked to the influence of western European Baroque church architecture was reserved for masonry buildings. The use of this feature in western Canada may reflect the influence of local French-Canadian church designs which were an attempt to reproduce in wood the classical Baroque facades of western Europe.


* * *
DRAFT PRESS RELEASE Edmonton, Alberta
The Honourable Greg Stevens, Minister of Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism, announced today that the Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church near Hay Lakes has been designated a Registered Historical Resource.
The Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church is part of the rural community of Ellswick, which is located north of Bittern Lake in the Hay Lakes area. People from Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from Poland adn from Scandinavia homesteaded this area during the period of rapid settlement between the 1890s and World War I.
The development of Catholic Church institutions began in 1881 with the arrival of Father Bellevaire, who operated a mission from Duhamel. He was followed by Father Paul Kulawy, who operated a mission from Round Hill. By the time of Kulawy's arrival, Ukrainian Catholics from Galicia were present in sufficient numbers to warrant worship according to their Byzantine rite. Houses of the parishioners were used for services until 1910, when a small church was built at Ellswick to serve both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Rite Catholic congregations. When the two congregations decided to separate, the homes of parishioners were used once again.
In 1921 the Ukrainian Catholic parish finally commenced the construction of Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church according to the design fo the Rev. Philip Ruh. Ruh had been involved in the design of Byzantine churches in the region east of Edmonton since 1912, and would design many of the Ukrainian churches of western Canada over a long career. Holy Cross is one of several examples of the work of this outstanding church architect in Alberta.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
signed)

Designation Status: Designation Date:
Registered Historic Resource
1988/09/28
Register:
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/09/08

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0502
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