Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton celebrates restoration of a spiritual heritage site
Photos and article by Jayne L. Buryn, Communications Coordinator, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton
February 22, 2018: “My heart is filled with joy and pride,” Bishop David Motiuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton stated, “at the highly successful Cathedral Restoration Project!” Most Rev. Bishop David was speaking at the Day of Gratitude and Rededication celebration on February 11, 2018.
“The care and love with which the Restoration Committee undertook in overseeing the project is a testimony to their faith in God and in their respect for the pioneers who built the Cathedral.”
Built between 1939 and 1947, in the Byzantine style, St. Josaphat’s Cathedral has been a landmark gracing downtown Edmonton for close to three-quarters of a century. It first gained recognition as a Ukrainian Catholic church, then, in 1948, as the seat of the Holy See’s newly appointed bishop, Most Rev. Neil Savaryn, in the new Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Alberta and British Columbia.
The brick building was designed and built in the form of a cross (cruciform) with seven cupolas, the largest 100 feet high. The cupolas symbolize the Seven Sacraments and the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The church interior has three main parts: the vestibule, the nave which is the main body of the church, and the sanctuary, the altar area.
St. Josaphat’s “has many fond memories for me,” said His Grace Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak. “From the time of their arrival in Edmonton from Ukraine in the 1930’s my mother and her parents were members of St. Josaphat’s parish. She liked to tell me of the days of her youth where so much of her time was spent at the church, for liturgies, organizational meetings, choir practices, and various events, often fundraisers in support of the church.” Some years later the Huculak family moved to Vernon, British Columbia. “Every year at Christmas time we would hear the proclamation of the birth of Christ through Christmas Carols … on a record album of Ukrainian Christmas music that was recorded with a mixed choir and a men’s choir from this church, directed by Fr. Boniface Sloboda.”
In 1984, St. Josaphat’s Cathedral gained provincial historical recognition, and municipal designation as a heritage site and cultural landmark in 2015. With the municipal honour came a grant of a half-million dollars for the restoration of the structure with a final cost estimated to be close to two million dollars to restore the aging structure to its original beauty and functionality.
On Sunday, February 11th, the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton celebrated St. Josaphat’s venerable history, offered prayerful gratitude for the success of the restoration and rededicated the Cathedral. Beginning with a Divine Liturgy concelebrated by His Grace, Most Rev. Lawrence Huculak, Metropolitan of Winnipeg and Canada; His Excellency, Most Rev. David Motiuk, Eparch of Edmonton; Very Rev. Stephen Wojcichowsky, Protosyncellus and Chancellor; Very Rev. William Hupalo; Rev. Peter Babej, Cathedral Rector; Rev. Andrij Nykyforuk, Cathedral Vice-rector and L. Col. Rev. Terry Cherwick, Chief Air Command Chaplain.
“The Cathedral stands and will continue to stand as a beacon of faith in the heart of the City of Edmonton for years to come,” concluded Bishop David. “May Our Loving Lord bless and reward everyone for their good efforts!”
Prayer of Renewal and Re-Dedication
From “The Great Book of Needs,” an English Trebnyk in four volumes