Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 28, 2005
Prairie Byzantine Baroque beauty
The original 1903 church was replaced by this one in 1925
The Transfiguration — Aug. 6
By TED FITZGERALD
Special to the WCR
Round Hill, Alta
The late summer feast of the Transfiguration has been celebrated since the early years of the Church as an important liturgical event, commemorating a milestone in Christ's earthly ministry. The occasion has given its name to many churches in western Canada and is celebrated year-round by the faithful of the Central Alberta parish of the Transfiguration of our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church at Round Hill.
As recorded in three of the gospels, Jesus took his favoured disciples, Peter, James and John, to the top of Mount Tabor. There, he was transfigured in their presence, enveloped in brilliant supernatural light. Jesus' "face shone like the sun" (Matthew 17:1-9), then Moses and Elijah appeared, speaking with him (Luke 9:28-36).
The divinity of Jesus
A cloud formed above them and a voice addressed the disciples, saying "This is my Son, the beloved. Listen to him" (Mark 9:2-9). This was a confirmation of the divinity of Jesus and a sign of the continuity and harmony between the Old and New Testaments.
One of these scriptural readings provides the Gospel at the Aug. 6 feast of the Transfiguration and is also traditionally used for the second Sunday of Lent.
The event is the subject of the fourth Mystery of Light of the rosary.
The hamlet of Round Hill on the CN railroad line northeast of Camrose was established when Emil Bosmans settled on the site in 1900.
Two years later, the Divine Liturgy was first celebrated in a settler's home nearby by Father Sozant Dydyk, and in 1903 a church, dedicated under "the Patronage of the Transfiguration of Our Lord" was completed one mile south and one mile west of the hamlet. The present, cross-shaped church replaced the original one in 1925.
Decoration of the church interior includes many framed icons, created by noted Edmonton church artist Peter Lipinski, each donated by individual parishioners.
In 1961, major repainting of the inside of the sanctuary was undertaken by another noted religious artist, Theodore Baran and his daughter Theresa. An original framed icon was replaced by a larger painting of the Transfiguration behind the altar, dramatically and colourfully rendered despite the difficulty of portraying such a supernatural event.
Prominent too are the four evangelists in their traditional places on the triangular pendentives of the dome. Our Lady of Protection shares the church ceiling with dozens of stars and angels.
Based on criteria such as integrity to its origins, design and compatibility with the landscape, the church was designated a provincial registered historic resource in 2000, an example of an all-wood, Prairie style Byzantine Baroque structure.
Although the parish feast day is observed with enthusiasm each year, 2003 saw an exceptional celebration the parish centennial. Thus, on the Sunday nearest the feast of the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ the weather co-operated for this special community praznyk.
From the ceremonial greeting of Bishop Lawrence Huculak with bread and salt, through a concelebrated Divine Liturgy, a procession around the church, blessing of fruits, flowers and a 100th anniversary monument and a cemetery memorial service, to a sit-down banquet for 300, events ran smoothly and will provide many pleasant memories for those who attended.
Transfiguration Parish is part of an area served by pastor Father Vasyl Nykyforuk from Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Camrose, Divine Liturgies rotate among six district missions so that Mass is celebrated every two weeks at Round Hill in the summer. In wintertime, preparation for Sunday Divine Liturgies will find parish stalwarts, the Gerald Kalawskys, firing up the church furnace Saturday evenings just once a month.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.