The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic church in central Saskatchewan is another example of historic rural churches. Today, rural churches that are still active, are few and far between. Unfortunately, most have been abandoned, demolished, vandalized, burned or in a state where they are still cared for but only used once a year. This Ukrainian church is abandoned but still a historic site. We should clarify, just because its no longer used or abandoned doesn’t mean its still not part of the local eparchy. Many of these rural churches that sit forgotten are still technically part of a local eparchy.
The door was open so we took a look inside, come see what remains!
This church in central Saskatchewan may still stand today as it is listed on Canada’s Historic Places. It doesn’t always save places from demolition but it may help. This one was listed on the registry in 2006. Ukrainian settlers arrived in this area between 1928-1934 from various parts of Canada and the Ukraine. The original parish had 29 founding members.
The church is built of wood with two towers, topped by metal domes and a cemetery on the same property. It was built in 1942 at a cost of $5000 . It was constructed through volunteer labor and finances from the parishioners. The church and cemetery site on a four acre plot of land that was donated. The church is east-west oriented with an east sanctuary and south porch-sacristy and west choir loft. There are two small storage rooms at the entry way at the base of the towers. The church could hold fourteen wooden pews and seat approx. 60 people. Near the church is the metal mission cross commemorating the Holy Mission. The church was blessed in the spring of 1950.
Why does this church get historic status? To get historic status you need to have a few key components and go through the process to apply to get the site registered. This church in particular got historic status for connection to the Ukrainian heritage of the province. As a Ukrainian Catholic church in Saskatchewan it features stained glass windows, domes and unique gravestone. The church is also on its original site, it has never been moved.
Why abandoned the church? Well technically it’s not abandoned. It is under the pastoral charge of the nearest larger town. The church while no longer used, is still cared for. Someone does come and tend to the lawn and cemetery. The church unfortunately does have broken windows and the door is open, so signs of vandalism and looting has taken place. The important decor from the interior would have been cleared out before they boarded the windows and locked the door. The church today sites as a reminder of what life was like in rural Saskatchewan.