Description of Historic Place
The Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, erected in 1937, is a wood-frame building near Toutes Aides. The municipal designation applies to the church, its adjacent bell tower and cemetery, and the grounds they occupy.
The Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, distinguished by its tall broad dome, is an expressive blend of regional architectural traditions from Western Ukraine, and a grand expression of pioneer Ukrainian religious beliefs. The building's cruciform plan, polygonal sanctuary and round-arched openings contribute to its fine proportions, but it is the enormous, elegantly shaped dome, which opens to the inside, that dominates the design. The church also is noted for icons created by artist Jacob Maydanyk and set within an understated interior that also finds strength in its forms and simple materials. Built under the direction of Michael Sawchuk to replace a 1910 church, this attractive facility, along with a nearby country school, community hall and cemetery, once defined a somewhat isolated Ukrainian settlement in Manitoba's Parkland region. The church's setting close to a small highway makes it a notable feature in the landscape.
Source: Rural Municipality of Lawrence By-law No. 02-98, February 24, 1998
Key elements that define the site character of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary include:
- its location beside Road 276 in the Toutes Aides area and the building's placement on a large grassed and treed plot that includes a hall, cemetery, free-standing cross and stout, two-tiered wooden bell tower
Key exterior elements that define the church's blend of Ukrainian architectural traditions include:
- the high, symmetrical, cruciform massing, of wood-frame construction, including the long narrow main volume, the short transepts, low open entrance porch and ancillary extensions at corners
- the complex roofline, of forward-facing gable, hip and polygonal sections, dominated by the massive, metal-clad central dome
- the unifying Romanesque round-arched motif applied to the main (east) entrance, most windows, the under-gable front trim, the cupola detailing, etc.
- the orderly fenestration, including the dome's cross windows; the openings in the nave and transepts, the fanlight over the double-door entrance; etc.
- the unpretentious materials, finishes and details, including the horizontal wood siding, panelled wood front doors, plain wood window surrounds, etc.
Key elements that define the church's understated interior include:
- the compact traditional layout, including a combined narthex and nave, shallow transepts and a raised sanctuary, all under barrel vault ceilings
- the high, well-lit dome carried over the crossing on wooden pilasters, wood-trimmed arches and pendentives, painted a soft blue and detailed with geometrically patterned woodwork
- the small east-end loft fronted by a concave wooden balustrade, supported by posts and accessed by an open wood staircase
- the centre-aisle nave with a floor sloping gently toward the sanctuary
- the materials, finishes and details, including the muted colour palette, small icon paintings, the fibreboard upper walls and ceilings, the polished and painted wood floors, the pews with a glossy finish, the wood-panelled vestry ceiling, some pale-coloured glazing, etc.