Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Century of Faith 1912-2012 Ukrainian Catholic Church Celebrates

assumption ukrainian catholic church calgaryThe Calgary Ukrainian community, whether newer immgrants, or those of pioneer stock have a wonderful way to celebrate our common heritage this weekend.  In the early years of our Calgary Ukrianian Community, there was a unified community, striving for identity, support and blessings on their work in the new homeland, Canada.  So, if you read the blog from yesterday about the Bridgeland Churches, you will hear how the original Ukrainian church in Calgary was built by joint efforts of all faithful - up in the Tuxedo area.  The church structure still stands, and celebrates it 100th birthday too this year.  More important though is the visit of an important guest to Calgary - this weekend.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church of Calgary is celebrating a Century of Faith on the June 2-3, 2012 weekend with a special Patriarchal Visit.  There will be a Pontifical Liturgy celebrated by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Ukraine, and a Banquet and Reception- surely a worthy celebration of the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Ukrainian Bishop to Canada - Bishop Budka.  His arrival to Canada was greeted with the building of many churches, and Calgary's Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (at 704-6th Street NE) will celebrate their 100th year of Faith and Prayer.  For more information contact www.abvmcalgary.com or call 403-230-7013.

Ukrainian Churches in Bridgeland

Did you know in the early years of Calgary's growth, there was a huge influx of people to Calgary from the Ukrainian immigration group - the railway made it possible for people to come here for the important jobs involved in creating our National Park - Banff.  Logging, construction, and other physical jobs were opportunities for people who didn't have the language, yet needed employment.  So, many people moved to the Calgary area, and settled on the homesteads in the area.  Their "downtown"  was Bridgeland, but their first church was built way up the hill in Tuxedo.  Read a great blog about the two Ukrainian churches in Bridgeland that contains a lot of valuable historical information - stuff that not too many people take the time to know. 


Monday, 28 May 2012

Ukrainian Food - Buckwheat, Yum!

Ukrainians in Calgary adore eating rice filled cabbage rolls and potato pyrogies, but little did you know that, though they are so widely considered a staple among the traditional Ukrainian foods, they are in fact historically a delicacy.  Did you ever consider why the rice cabbage rolls are typically made very small in Western Ukrainian culinary tradition?  I always wondered about those little pinky sized holubtsi - but I loved the tiny ones the best.

Did you ever consider that rice doesn't grow in Ukraine?  Where would one get rice on the Ukrainian steppe land, especially way back in history?  Well, surely you can see that rice was an imported food product from the orient.  So,......what did Ukrainians put into their cabbage rolls before they imported rice? 

Then there is the question of pyrogies.  You know, the meal we all crave, potato pyrogies, that are so widely loved on the Canadian prairies.   Again, why are they so small, so delicately made? 

So, do you know that potatoes are also an imported crop - originally from South America? Way back after Columbus, some potatoes ended up in Ireland, then across Europe, and became a staple part of the diet in Ukraine too. 

So, rice and potatoes?  What did Ukrainians use before then?  One thing for certain, buckwheat!!

I adore buckwheat, whether boiled, baked, ground into flour for crepes, in cabbage rolls,.... buckwheat is such a perfect food.  While many people think it is a cereal grain, it is actually related to rhubarb and sorrel. It is a suitable grain substitute for people who have gluten issues, better for people who have blood sugar and isulin issues, the insoluble fiber helps protect you from gallstones, and buckwheat contains so many trace minerals that it is better for anemia too.  It is a wonder food, at least in my eyes. 

Much loved all over the Slavic world, there is even a song about it - Dance my Buckwheat Pancakes, which says hop! my little hrechaniki, quick, stay white, not like the ones that ended up staying on the stove!! Seems like the delicate buckwheat pancakes require a quick flip!  

So where do you get buckwheat in Calgary?  You can buy the regular stuff from almost any market, but the "good stuff" is something you get from a Ukrainian store, eh!  Try getting to Ukrainian Gifts Europa Express at 202-403 9 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T2E 0V9 or call
(403) 277-2180 .

Roots of Calgary's Ukrainian Spiritual Community 1912-2012

There is an interesting story about Calgary's Ukrainian community and its spirituality.  Complicated, at best.  But very resilient.  I was just listening to an audio clip from CBC's Calgary Eyeopener, and heard Danielle Suchet interviewing Calgary's resident historian Harry Sanders about the Century Old Church in Calgary on 1st Avenue NE.  So way back in 1912, there was an active, growing Ukrainian community in Calgary, with dreams and aspirations that became a reality. With the arrival of the first Ukrainian heirarch - Bishop Budka of the Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church to Canada (to Winnipeg), the spiritual community felt confident in building their own local parish church.  With the combined efforts of all the then recent immigrants, a new structure was built in 1912 and sanctified for this purpose.  Turns out this first Ukrainian prairie church structure was built to last, and it certainly has.  It was originally built to serve the Ukrainian Catholic Community of the time, and in anticipation of a population boom, built in Tuxedo - way up the hill at 23 Avenue and 1St. NE.  With the First World War, and the Internment camps, Ukrainians (those holding Austrian papers) were considered enemy aliens, and essentially removed from activity in the Ukrainian community.  Over time, the changing political and social climate in Calgary, the community decided to move the building to its current location on 1st Avenue NE just east of Edmonton Trail.   Well, if the walls of that church could speak, they would tell an interesting story about Calgary, the hopes and dreams of the earliest Ukrainians to this lovely city of Calgary, and the changing social, economic, political and spiritual landscape over the years.  I hope you have a listen!  Enjoy!


Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Ancient Slavonic Question - “kamo griadeshi, Ukraino?"

For a lot of Ukrainian Calgarians there has always been a desire to know what the politial situation is in Ukraine after the enthusiasm and expectations of Independence some 20 years ago.  The Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Calgary regularly has guest speakers at their monthly meetings, and this week Oleh Havrylyshyn is speaking.  "Quo Vadis Ucraina? (Kamo Griadeshi, Ukraino?)"  will be discussed this Thursday, May 31, 2012 at the Danish Canadian Club, Valhalla Ballroom    at  727 - 11th Avenue SW  Calgary. 

what positive results has Ukraine achieved economically, politically, historically?
why has it fallen behind other post-communist countries, especially in Central Europe?
what harm has oligarch dominance done, and can Ukraine overcome this ?
what are the key reforms /changes needed to correct its wayward path?
for the future, in answer to the ancient Slavonic question, “kamo griadeshi, Ukraino?" -- is the path towards the EU, a new Russian sphere, or a third unknown scenario?

Dr. Oleh Havrylyshyn has had a long and distinguished academic career as a Professor of Economics in leading universities in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and has been a consultant to various governments, the World Bank, and other international agencies.

You can contact UCPBA of  Calgary at www.ucpbacalgary.ca

Metropolitan Constantine

Heard some sad news, so I will extend my condolences to all our North American Ukrainian clergy on the passing of Metropolitan Constantine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of USA.  He fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, May 21 and the funeral was Saturday May 26.  Here is the link if you wish to watch the funeral.  http://www.uocofusa.org/liveservices.html

There a lovely obituary at http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/obituaries/obituary-metropolitan-constantine-ukrainian-orthodox-bishop-loved-his-church-an...

an article from the paper in Pittsburgh at http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/12147/1234881-455.stm

Vichnaya Pamyat!

1988 Celebrations

Way back in 1988, there was a grand and wonderful celebration here in Canada to mark the thousand years since the Christian Baptism of Ukraine in 988.  Back then, the Great Kniaz Volodymyr of Kievan Rus', took his countrymen on a great journey into the Christian world - as an official and Princely decision for his people.  Having studied the great religions of the time, Volodymyr chose for his people.  He commanded all his loyal followers to walk into the waters of the Dnipro River where the people were immersed in the water and received Holy Baptism - which was a game changer for the entire nation.  Taking on a Christian mission proved extremely beneficial for the Rus' society of the time, literacy rose, education flourished, their economic ties with the world flourished, societal norms rose, and the world's royalty sought familial ties with Volodymyr's dynasty.  History is an interesting thing, so much changes over time, but in Canada, in 1988, there were grand celebrations of this historic event a thousand years previous.  Time to take a look back - enjoy!
from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Volodymyr, formerly in Vegreville, but now at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village east of Edmonton (Alberta Provincial)

Monday, 21 May 2012

Euro 2012

Friends of ours are flying to Ukraine soon for the Euro 2012 Soccer Event this spring.   It's actually the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship being hosted by Poland and Ukraine. The entire world will be there, to cheer on the best soccer players.

Our friends sound so excited about the experience! Quite the soccer fans, you know.  I heard they are staying with family friends, but are planning to take the new fast train between tournament events, from Kyiv, and to see the teams play in Donetsk. That new stadium there sounds great - imagine the sea of blue and yellow jerseys and the crowds cheering.  I hope the games go well and everyone has a great time.  Wish I could go. 

Just heard in the news that there is a Friendly Ukraine initiative by some very community minded people there in Kiev.  Hospitality is the main point of their initiative - they want the world to see the friendly, generous nature of the average people there.  They are taking the opportunity to coordinate community efforts to help the games be successful.  In doing so, they hope to bring positive publicity to the efforts of average Ukrainian people to help international guests with their visit plans. Modest room accomodations, airport pickups, translation services and guided tours for fans are being offered by this positively minded group.  They plan to offer these services free -  I hope they have a lot of success and get a lot of publicity for the lovely people doing good things for Ukraine.  Maybe it's not too late to get tickets?  Good luck on the Euro 2012 initiative!!

Cool Euro videos from Ukraina...

Clubs and Organizations

I just found out some surprising information - blew my mind. I'll bet you didn't know either.  Who knew there are 30 Ukrainian organizations in Calgary?  That's a lot of community groups getting together to "foster and continue" the Ukrainian identity thing here in Calgary.  That's a really significant values statement for a smallish city of just over a million people.  Do you know about any of these groups and the good work they are doing in our city?  Needing connections?  just get on to  www.calgaryucc.org for more information.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Language Classes

If you haven't planned for the summer yet, St. John’s Institute in Edmonton is pleased to offer Osvita, their Ukrainian language summer immersion program again this year. It's a unique way to make friends and through their accredited program, kids ages 14-17 can get UKR 10, 20 or 30 credits while also enjoying cultural programming and educational excursions.

An on-line application for students and parents is available at www.stjohnsinstitute.com for the convenience of those who are interested.

Third Annual Calgary Ukrainian Festival June 2-3, 2012

When was the last time you had a great party time with your friends?  When I was a kid there were so many weekends just filled with Ukrainian zabava's.  Friends from all over, dancing to the music of some Ukie band, all crammed into some hall or arena, trying hard not to get stepped on in the crowd.  Kids in their Ukrainian dance outfits, pyrogies, and cabbage rolls served by the hosts, and everyone wearing comfortable dancing shoes, anticipating the great circle dance - kolomeyka.  Are you planning to go to the Calgary Ukrainian Festival this year?  It's at Acadia Recreation Complex this year - lots of room for fun and many displays.  It's June 2,3 with a zabava on Saturday night.  Go to www.calgaryukrainianfestival.ca. for more information.

The Calgary Ukrainian Festival is still looking for volunteers. Their particular need at this point is for food servers on Sunday from 10:30 to 2:30 and ticket sellers for both Sunday shifts: 10:30 to 2:30 and 2:00 to 6:00. If you haven't yet volunteered, please consider donating your time to help ensure that this great event is a success. 
Please go to this link to volunteer: 
Saturday and Sunday, June 2 & 3
Acadia Recreation Complex - 240 - 90 Avenue S. E.

Craft Ideas with a Ukrainian Twist

Walked in a craft store a while ago and saw you can print a photo onto fabric.  Thought what a nice idea it would be to take a Ukrainian folk tale book like The Mitten (Rukavichka), or The Turnip (Ripka), take digital shots, and print them out like quilting squares.  What a nice baby gift that would be?

What do you do?

Whether you are Ukrainian from over there, or a long time North American of Ukrainian ancestry, or somehow attached to the entire Ukrainian thing, this is the place for you.

So how do you keep a touch of that ethnic thing while living in North America (or wherever you may be?).  Besides the big things like language, culture, pyrogies or cabbage rolls or other food, clothing, songs, dance, embroidery, weaving, ceramics, politics, economics, agrarian practices, spirituality, folk art, sculpture, tragedies, wars, Chernobyl, regional issues, braids, .....well,   you get it, there must be some small, less exhausting stuff, so what do you do?

Symbols mean a lot to me, so I have a sunflower plate on my coffee table - it's a start.