A Brief History of the All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church
After the early years of its existence, Lloydminster and District began to attract a significant number of people of Ukrainian origin. A good portion of these were believers in the Orthodox (Byzantine) faith, followers of what was formerly known as the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church.
In January of 1960, a small group of these faithful followers decided to arrange for regular church services in their community. In February of that year, the first Ukrainian liturgy was held in the basement of a makeshift location, officiated by Rev. M. Kryschuk, a priest from Myrnam, Alberta.
It was not until April of the same year that the next service was held, and that was followed by an organizational meeting at which an executive council was elected. The first president, and a driving force on the building committee was Mr. Ben Gulak.
The All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Lloydminster was incorporated with the Alberta Registrar of companies on February 8, 1962, and it was on this date that property for the construction of a church building was purchased on 47th St. and 56A Ave., the very location we are all at today. With a congregation of approximately twenty members, construction began in the Fall of 1963. The first mass was held on September 28, 1964, coincidentally and amazingly exactly 50 years ago today. Six years later, when church construction and land costs were finally paid off, official dedication services were conducted on June 21, 1970, by Reverend Archbishop Andrew of Edmonton.
The twenty to thirty families in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Lloydminster congregation are served by a priest from the Vegreville parish as part of the Vegreville District Council - receiving an average of fourteen services per year. Much of the liturgy is now conducted in the English language, unlike the situation in the ‘60’s.
The year 1998 was a significant milestone in the history of the Ukrainian Church. In that year, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church celebrated the 1000th anniversary of the acceptance of Christianity by the people of the Ukraine.
There are so many challenges into maintaining a Church and as like so many other things lack of funds are always an issue. Fundraising has become one of our most vital ways of raising these much needed funds. Our most lucrative method is food sales and we now take advantage of many opportunities throughout the year. We do Canada Day, Colonial Days, the Blueberry Festival in St. Walburg, the CPCA Chuckwagon Races, and most recently the Monster X truck rally. Soon there will be the Craft and Trade Show here in Lloydminster in November.
To facilitate the preparing and sale of food properly, as well as an excellent opportunity to increase our exposure in the community, we recently have purchased our own booth at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds. This is a perfect example of how we all came together for a common cause and made it a reality. The old booth needed much repair, cleaning, and a general revamping. Over the course of a few weeks we had a very useful and substantial facility and it has served us well. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for all you do and have done for our Church. We could not have done it without you.
We also recently have set up our own website to broaden our exposure even more. We have received very favorable responses for this and nowadays in the ‘information age’, people can simply ‘Google’ All Saints Orthodox Church and up we come! Our site contains information like service schedules, contact information, fast and feast information, a large page of useful links to other Orthodox sources and also a parish history page where there are posted pictures from years gone by as well as more recent content. There is a link to Ancient Faith Radio where people can listen to music or the many podcasts of the Ancient Faith Ministries. We have other exciting new ideas for the site.
Our parish has grown over the years to become the vibrant community that it is today. The years have not been without their challenges and obstacles, but like the Orthodox Faith itself, we have persevered and look forward to the future.
On September 28, 2014 the congregation was blessed to be visited by His Grace Bishop Ilarion, Bishop of the Western Eparchy, who joined the congregation for a very special Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. Accompanying His Grace was Fr. Deacon Roman Shiyan and sub-Deacon Petro Kushnir. Also present was Father Taras Udod from North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Following the service was a brief program celebrating this special day. The program consisted of a generous donation from the All Saints Sunday School class to Bishop Ilarion for an orphanage in Ukraine. A brief history presentation was given. A scrumptious meal primarily of Ukrainian and Greek food was followed by the ceremonial cutting of the Anniversary cake.
On the solemn side, this day also marked the departure of Father Michael Maranchuk from the Vegreville Parochial District to a Church in Regina. An emotional farewell speech was given from Father Michael after 9 years of service and pastoral care.
I can say from personal experience that becoming a member of this congregation has been one of the best decisions my family and I have made. We have met so many wonderful people and made many new lifelong friendships. Since the Church is the Body of Christ on Earth, it feels we are truly a community brought together by the mystical beauty of the Orthodox Faith through the Holy Spirit. We pray to God to enlarge, multiply, and keep His Church in peace.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and fellowship and we look forward to the next 50 years with much enthusiasm.
compiled by Philip Kuziak 2014