Description of Historic Place
The Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church, erected in ca. 1926, is a wood-frame building in Sifton. The municipal designation applies to the church and its grounds.
The Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church, with its three onion-shaped domes descending in height, is a rare surviving structure that illustrates the early influence of the Russian Orthodox faith in rural Manitoba. The building, with its narrow form, modest footprint and tall bell tower, displays an eye-catching emphasis on the vertical. It recalls the complex history of religious expression in the province, including the significant role played by the village of Sifton, where the Russian Orthodox Church maintained a monastery, which also served as a nunnery and orphanage and a pastoral school for the training of priests. Only the church remains, on a pleasant large lot, continuing its service by hosting an annual Pilgrimage of Orthodoxy and functioning as a museum and interpretive centre for the faith.
Source: Rural Municipality of Dauphin By-law No. 2877, March 8, 2005
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church site include:
- its location in Sifton with the building's north-south placement on a large grassed and treed plot
Key exterior elements that define the church's Russian Orthodox style include:
- the narrow, compact, vertically oriented wooden form organized in three distinct frames of a tall tower, a wider central volume with shallow transepts and a polygonal apse
- the complex roofline dominated by three onion-shaped domes arranged in descending order over the frames, including a wide central octagonal drum and dome perched atop the main cross-gable roof and a smaller drum and dome over the polygonal apse roof
- the round-arched sash windows of various sizes, multi-paned with modest tracery in their transoms and with the largest openings in the central volume
- the simple entry sequence of an elevated, wood-panelled door with a large semi-circular fanlight and gable-roofed overhang on large brackets
- the unpretentious materials, finishes and details, including wooden shingles on the roofs, metal sheathing on the domes, white-painted horizontal wood siding with dark trim, the three-bar Russian Orthodox crosses on the domes, etc.
Key interior elements that define the church's restrained appointments and liturgical functions include:
- the three-frame plan incorporating a small narthex, compact nave with a wide centre aisle and high exposed dome at the crossing, raised sanctuary, and transepts and loft with round-arched ceilings
- the sanctuary, with elegantly curved wooden steps and an altar set behind a three-opening wooden iconostas with delicate scrollwork, painted icons, etc.
- the choir loft with its enclosed staircase, stained-wood balustrade, painted wood floor and doorway
- the modest materials, finishes and colour scheme, including pale walls, contrasting wainscot, painted wood floors, round-arched double doors in light-stained wood, the wood-panelled dome ceiling and pendentives trimmed with scrollwork, the scrolled trim under the dome windows, coloured glass in the transom windows, etc.