Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 14, 2003
In search of the Resurrection
Ukrainian settlers created this ornate home to satisfy their spiritual needs
Easter - April 20, 2003
By TED FITZGERALD
Special to the WCR
Christos Vooskres! Christ is Risen!
Voistynu Vaskres! Indeed he is Risen!
From a distance, the five large domes topping the trees along First Street S.W. suggest a structure of some importance. It's Dauphin's Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection, recognized as an historic treasure by three levels of government and a colourful example of Byzantine Kievan architecture.
This magnificent structure is dedicated to the pivotal event in the history of the Christian Church, the appearance of Christ to many of his followers three days after his death on the cross on Good Friday. Easter is the most important annual observance in the Church, celebrated worldwide by Christians of all denominations.
Resurrection accounts by the four evangelists record the familiar story, how the two Marys found an empty tomb and were advised of the event by an angel, how Jesus later appeared to them and to the disciples and convinced "doubting Thomas" that he had risen from the dead.
The Church of the Resurrection is no longer used for regular religious purposes, Easter now being celebrated with joy and enthusiasm by its parishioners in a large modern building of the same name nearby. Nevertheless it's accessible to the public by means of individual or group tours.
Knowledgeable guides will outline the history of the church and how it was built to satisfy the spiritual needs of settlers from Ukraine at the end of the 19th century. This magnificent building was designed by noted Western church builder Father Philip Ruh. Of many churches associated with this outstanding Oblate, this is one of the largest, one of his "Prairie cathedrals."
Contractor for the church was master carpenter Mike Yanchynski, pupil of Ruh, and Church of the Resurrection was his first solo project. A labour of love, it was begun in Depression year 1936 and built by volunteers. Dedication took place a year later with the raising of the large central dome cross and construction was completed in 1939.
All parts of the expansive interior are embellished with symbolic motifs, ornamental borders and marbleization, all with religious significance and all in their appropriate place.
Respected Ukraine-born and trained artist/iconographer Theodore Baran, responsible for the interior decoration of more than 70 churches, painted Church of the Resurrection in 1957-58. Traditional images are all present - the central dome depicting the heavenly world, the four evangelists in their appropriate corners, transepts honouring appellations of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints.
Often the last part of a church to be added, the Dauphin church lacks an iconostasis, the screen separating the nave from the sanctuary, so that here the altar and ornamental apse are visible to the congregation.
And high above the altar, a large icon portrays the Easter story. Christ is shown in his glory, flanked by an angel and rising above the tomb and the Roman guards that "were so shaken, so frightened by him (the angel) that they were like dead men" (Matthew 28:4-5).
An amazing 1,600 piece Czech crystal chandelier dominates the central space of the church.
The church is open daily in June, July and August for cultural and historic tours which are also available year-round by request. Major concerts featuring local talent held at Christmas and during the August Ukrainian Festival help to defray maintenance costs and are organized by The Preservation Committee for the Historic Church of the Resurrection.
The church is available for performing arts festivals. Other fundraising events - pyrogy supper tours, bingos and donations help with current reconstructive projects such as the sealing and shielding of outer dome gutters, sills and corner joints.
Christos Voskres! Voistyna Voskres!