Monday, 28 May 2012

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!
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