Description of Historic Place
The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption of St. Mary, completed in 1928, is a wood-frame building on a rural plot in the Rossburn area. The municipal designation applies to the church and its grounds.
The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption of St. Mary, the second church built by its pioneer immigrant congregation, displays a fine blend of architectural influences from the old and new homelands. In basic form, details and symbolism, including three prominent domes and a gable-roofed nave, this distinctive wooden building recalls vernacular church designs found in the western mountain regions of Ukraine. In other ways, however, notably through its twin-towered front, the facility represents a transitional style, one that became popular in rural Manitoba as Ukrainian settlers adopted alternative building models, methods and materials. Modestly appointed outside and in, the church, erected by volunteers to replace an outgrown 1905 log structure nearby, and its separate bell tower are well situated on a sheltered hilltop and still welcome a small congregation on special occasions.
Source: Rural Municipality of Rossburn By-law No. 1217, February 14, 1991
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption of St. Mary site include:
- its rural location next to a grid road in the Glen Elmo farming district north of Rossburn
- the building's traditional east-west placement on a large elevated plot bordered by tall evergreens
- the two-tier wooden bell tower, topped by a dome and Orthodox cross, and further distinguished by a round-arched double-door entrance, and by a belfry with louvered round-arched openings and bell
Key exterior elements that define the church's restrained transitional style include:
- the three-frame massing, including a short gable-roofed porch/narthex, a taller, wider, rectangular nave, also under forward-facing gable roof, and a hip-roofed polygonal apse, all of wood-frame construction
- the three metal-clad banyas (onion domes), one over the nave on a high narrow drum and two atop the tall front corner towers
- the orderly fenestration featuring multi-paned sash windows with Y-tracery in Gothic-inspired pointed wood surrounds, oculi over the entrance, etc.
- the straightforward materials and details, including the horizontal wood siding and plain trim painted contrasting colours, the Orthodox metal crosses atop the domes, etc.
Key elements that define the church's simply furnished interior include:
- the typical three-chambered plan of a small vestibule/narthex, an uncluttered nave with a round-arched ceiling and compact west-end loft supported by plain wood posts, and a slightly narrower sanctuary with an angularly vaulted ceiling
- the handsome, well-kept materials and finishes, including the horizontal plank wall panelling (painted white), the slightly narrower panelling on ceilings (painted light blue), the plank flooring, etc.
- the iconostas of white-painted wood panelling, simple and solid save for a decorative border along the top, with three doorways, including a central arched opening flanked by shallow niches with shelves
- details such as the plain wood trim around windows and doors, steep loft stairway, handcrafted wooden benches, altar and other holy tables, a candle chandelier, framed icons, etc.