HILLIARD (farm) – St. DEMETRO Parish – Парафія св. Івана Хрестителя  

Location: Section 15, T. 12, Pl. 15. 40 acres of hilly land donated by P. Seniuk and T. Boyko. Sometimes the church was called Seniuky in honour of the early farmers Peter and Apolonia Seniuk. Matviy and Paranka Gach arrived in Canada in 1899 and the place at that time was called Beaver Lake. The church is located 1.6 km. north, and 3.2 km. east of the town of Hilliard. It was incorporated under the Bishop’s chapter on August 2 nd, 1922 with the Parish executive of that time: Peter Kozak, Clement Kornitskyi, Ivan Pidmurnyi, and Ivan Mayko. In the house of P. Pidmurnyi the first Parish meeting was held in 1902 with Fr. Planotides Filas, OSBM, presiding. The first Parish council members were: P. Seniuk (president), A. Hasij (vice-president), M. Gach (treasurer), I. Pidmurnyi (secretary). Some names of the first members are known to us: S. Ishchak, F. Skulsky, T. Napora, M. Mayko, T. Boyko, N. Muzychka, S. Kachur, V. Samiylo, D. Lazarenko, I. Nay, T. Koliada, P. Pidmurnyi, H. Ivaskiv, H. Kozak, V. Kvasnycia, M. Chmelyk, Kondratiuk, N. Makal, M. Andruchiw, V. Balash, D. Orenchuk, Ya. Struchynsky, P. Kotliarchuk, I. Budakovsky, D. Lazarenko, J. Kulij, V. Zapotichny, I. Lisovy, S. Sadovnyk, Ya. Polovy, Firmaniuk.

A Polish priest, Fr. Jan Zaklinski, in the absence of Ukrainian clergy, blessed the cemetery in 1900. The first chapel was constructed in 1903 for $380.00 ($300.00 for the material and $80.00 for the carpenter Dmytro Woloshyn). In 1925 Fr. Naucratius Kryzanowsky invited the faithful to build a new church. The church was built in 1926 and was blessed by the first bishop in Canada His Excellency Nykyta Budka. (Bishop Budka later returned to Ukraine and in 1945 was imprisoned by the Russian occupation forces in Western Ukraine and died as a martyr of the holy Church in a concentration camp in Siberia.) Shortly before the blessing of the church parishioner Ivan Nay suggested to name the church in honour of St. Nicholas, explaining that in the vicinity (8 km.) there is a church by the name of St. John the Baptist in Chipman. So the church has the legal description, title and the seal under the name of St. Nicholas. Realizing the St. Nicholas church in Chipman was a Russian Orthodox church, the parishioners returned to the original name of St. John the Baptist. The Parish has also a church hall. The church building was destroyed by fire on July 29, 2007.

The Basilian Fathers served the Parish from the earliest days: Fr. Platonid Filas, Fr. Josaphat Tymochko, Fr. Athanasius Filipiw, Fr. Naucratius Kryzanowsky, Fr. Sozont Dydyk, Fr. George Zydan, Fr. Sophron Diakowich, Fr. Porphyrius Bodnar, Fr. Mark Romanovych, Fr. Ignatius Lesiuk, Fr. Juvenalis Slota (1949- ), Fr. Josaphat Skwarok and Fr. Joseph Chraplywy (1952-1954), Fr. Borys Lysak (1955), Fr. Eugene Kushko (1956), Fr. Benedict Hrynyshyn (1957), Fr. Josaphat Konchak (1971- ), Fr. Myron Chimy (1987), Fr. John Sembrat (2003-2012), Fr. Serafym Grygoruk (2012-).