Orthodox Churches of Alberta, Canada From a Bird’s Eye View

Photogallery

In the history of Canada at the threshold of the nineteenth to twentieth centuries, the immigration of Slavic peoples was of great significance. The country’s government was trying to attract at many settlers as possible who were familiar with agriculture to settle in the untouched prairies. Peasants from Trans-Carpathia under occupation by the Austro-Hungarian Empire made the long journey—these were Rusyns, Romanians, Bucovinians, and Galicians. The settlers were granted sixty-five hectares per family, equal status with other settlers, and the right to an education. They were not required to pay taxes for the first three to five years, but their duty was to cultivate land overgrown with small trees, bush, and wild roses. Most of the lands were granted around Edmonton, today’s capital of Alberta province, which was at that time no more than a small village of two or three streets.

We have to remark on the severe climate of Alberta. Guarded from the Pacific Ocean by the tall Rocky Mountains, this province is vulnerable to winds from the Arctic Ocean. Night temperatures in winter can drop to –50 C. (–58 F.). Under these difficult conditions the settlers dug earthen huts, warred with wild growth, and in the meantime, built the first churches.

Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountains

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

A lake amidst the Rocky Mountains

A lake amidst the Rocky Mountains

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Monastery of All Saints of America (OCA) located in Dewdney, British Columbia

Monastery of All Saints of America (OCA) located in Dewdney, British Columbia

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

The remains of former settlements

The remains of former settlements

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

The remains of former settlements

The remains of former settlements

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Alberta—one of the leading regions in wheat production

Alberta—one of the leading regions in wheat production

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

The Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, Redwater (Patriarchal parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada)

The Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, Redwater (Patriarchal parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of the Holy Trinity, Smokey Lake (OCA)

Church of the Holy Trinity, Smokey Lake (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of St. Elias, Pakan, Alberta (OCA)

Church of St. Elias, Pakan, Alberta (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of St. Elias, Pakan, Alberta (OCA)

Church of St. Elias, Pakan, Alberta (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Service in the Church of St. Elias, Pakan (OCA)

Service in the Church of St. Elias, Pakan (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, Kysylew-Andrew (OCA)

Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, Kysylew-Andrew (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, Dickie Bush (OCA)

Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, Dickie Bush (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Wasel (OCA)

Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Wasel (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Wasel (OCA)

Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Wasel (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of St. Nicholas, Desjarlais (OCA)

Church of St. Nicholas, Desjarlais (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of the Holy Trinity, Sunland (OCA)

Church of the Holy Trinity, Sunland (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Star (OCA)

Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Star (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

By the Transfiguration Church, Star, Alberta

By the Transfiguration Church, Star, Alberta

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of St. John the Baptist, Chipman (Patriarchal parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada)

Church of St. John the Baptist, Chipman (Patriarchal parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Calmar (Patriarchal parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada)

Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Calmar (Patriarchal parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Church of St. Mary, Shandro (OCA)

Church of St. Mary, Shandro (OCA)

Photo: Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru

Comments
Hal Smith11/11/2019 12:03 pm
Roman wrote: "Your article Rusyns, Bukovinians, Galicians as if they were separate national groups when in reality they were all Ukrainians in modern terms." As I understand it, Rusyns are the East Slavic people who live natively in the Carpathian mountains. Bukovina is a place in the Carpathian mountains, and its people are Bukovinians, and they are one of the sub-groups of Rusyns. Scholars debate whether Rusyns count as a sub-group of Ukrainians or if they are a separate group from the Ukrainians.
Roman11/9/2019 5:02 pm
True, but....My father and his family were/are from Galicia and they were Rusyn before WWI and then called themselves Ukrainians-never Galicians. The same is true of my mother's family from Bukovyna - they all state that they are Ukrainian, never Bukovynians. Ukrainian is a nationality (like French, German, Romanian, Spanish, etc.) as well as a country. Thus all Ukrainians are Rusyns and vice-versa. One can be a Romanian-Ukrainian, Polish-Ukrainian, but not a Galician-Ukrainian, Bukovynian-Ukrainian, Lemko-Ukrainian, Volynian-Ukrainian and so on, any more than a Saskatchewan-Canadian, Albertan-Canadian, Pennsylvanian-or-Southern/Western-American. This conversation can go on forever, so I choose to end it. May God open your eyes and your heart to see the truth, and it will set you free.
Ivan11/8/2019 8:21 pm
Roman: No authority, just common sense. I think the best people to ask about the difference are the Bukovinians, Lemkos, etc. Also, Ukraine is a country but not a nationality, just like America. A person can be an American but still be Hispanic, for example.
Roman11/8/2019 8:08 pm
Might you tell us who made you such an authority on history? No, I wouldn't call Romanians or Moldavians, Poles or Russians Ukrainians just because they live on the territory of present-dy Ukraine. But, my dear friend, there is a great difference between them and Galicians, Bukovinians, Lemkos, Podoliany, etc. The latter are just different parts of one Ukrainian nation, just as Prussians, Swabians, Saxons, Bavarians, etc. are parts of one German nation - different in many ways because of historical circumstances, but still one nation. People like you always seem to enjoy dividing Ukrainians into these parts just so as not to admit they are Ukrainian. By the way, your Metropolitan Ilarion - is he Ukrainian, or is he a Galician, a Lemko, or a Rusyn or a Russian?
Ivan11/7/2019 3:03 pm
Roman, if you hadn't sounded like you don't know history, I wouldn't have offered the lesson. That was the very point: Why not call them Austro Hungarians? All of the people you now call Ukrainians who immigrated to Canada at the turn of the 20th century? And I suppose you call Romanians and Moldavians Ukrainians, too, just because they're living in what is now Ukraine? Why do we have terms for Americans like, "Afro-American", "Mexican-American", "Jewish American" and on and on? Why should people just give up their ethnicity because you've decided they should since they are all living in the same country? Really, I wouldn't think I would have to explain such things to a person with a doctoral degree in history. Might you tell us, where you got that degree?
Roman11/7/2019 2:57 pm
Dear Ivan. All Ukrainians at one point in history were called Rusyns and some continue to use this ancient name. These names were used by the authorities of the different states to designate the Rusyns living under their rule, and to prevent any irredentist ideas from developing. Are Moldavians, Wallachians, Transylvanians Romanian or are they different ethnic groups? Why not then call them Austro-Hungarians? Like it or not, in today's world, all of these regional groups are called Ukrainians. Having a doctorate in EEhistory, I somewhat doubt I suffer from a lack of knowledge of history.
Ivan11/7/2019 12:27 pm
Roman: At the time, yes, they certainly were separate national groups. It says right in the text that these people came from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And just try telling a Carpatho-Russian (Rusyn) that he's just Ukrainian, without his roots! I am afraid you are suffering from a lack of knowledge of history.
damjan11/7/2019 3:55 am
As a former resident of Alberta I thoroughly enjoyed masterful photos of our faith's churches. I truly believe, that Alberta's countryside is the PERFECT setting for God's people worship. They don't call Alberta "God's Country" for nothing. Once again: Spasibo Mikhail and Ekaterina, you made an old man very, very happy!
Roman11/6/2019 10:31 pm
Your article Rusyns, Bukovinians, Galicians as if they were separate national groups when in reality they were all Ukrainians in modern terms. One would not write: Virginians, New Englanders, Pennsylvanians, etc. all joined the great trek westward in the late 18th century. Rather, Americans from all the colonies (or the states) moved west. Thank God at least that you didn't call all of these immigrants "Russians", which they certainly were not. Nice pictures of typical western-Ukrainian-styled churches.
Bob 11/6/2019 7:56 pm
What joy and peace come to the soul from viewing these pictures. Thank you.
Gregory Asvestas11/6/2019 7:26 pm
Mikhail and Ekaterina / Aerialphoto.ru Beautiful work. How did you get all of the photos without snow? Thank you for memorializing the churches Greg
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