Description of Historic Place
The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration, completed in 1924, is a wood-frame building in the Menzie area. The municipal designation applies to the church, its bell tower and cemetery, and the grounds they occupy.
The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration is a fine example of a rural Ukrainian Orthodox church, typically modest in its form and detail, but distinguished by twin facade towers, shining banyas (domes) and complex lines gracing the entrance porch. The building's basic design recalls churches in the Boyko region of Western Ukraine, with emphasis given to the front by the addition of corner towers, an adaptation encouraged in Manitoba by Father Philip Ruh, a prominent church architect as well as a cleric. Built on donated land by a congregation that had been worshipping in nearby homes, the attractive structure, set within the quiet formality of its sheltered, well-kept roadside plot, is a dignified expression of the religious architectural traditions introduced to Manitoba by Ukrainian pioneers.
Source: Rural Municipality of Strathclair By-law No. 22/90, October 10, 1990
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration site include:
- its pastoral location northeast of Menzie and the building's east-west placement, removed from the grid road on a large tree-sheltered clearing containing a cemetery
- the separate well-crafted 1930 bell tower, of wood-frame construction, in three tiers with a banya matching those on the church
Key exterior elements that define the church as a fine interpretation of vernacular religious architecture from Western Ukraine include:
- the three-chambered, largely symmetrical massing, each volume squared with the gable-roofed nave the tallest and largest, all of wood-frame construction on a concrete foundation
- the symbolic three banyas, decorative and modest in size over the nave, all sheathed in silver-coloured metal, set on octagonal drums and topped by Orthodox crosses
- the complex, symmetrical facade featuring a steep gable end, squared corner towers and a lower entrance porch with attractive gable-hip rooflines and a prominent wooden sunburst motif over the double main doors
- the orderly fenestration composed of round-arched windows with transoms and wood surrounds and a six-pane oculus in the west gable end
- the unpretentious materials, finishes and features, including the horizontal white-painted wood siding, matching trim, wood shingles, chevron-like insets on the towers' banya drums, etc.
Key elements that define the church's carefully appointed interior include:
- the traditional plan incorporating a small narthex, a centre-aisle nave with a high barrel vault ceiling, a compact raised sanctuary and a west-end loft supported by two turned posts
- the wooden iconostas, painted white with gold trim and elegantly detailed
- the modest materials and finishes, including off-white wall panelling, light blue ceiling tiles set in a diagonal pattern, coloured and pebbled transom glass, wood-panelled porch doors, etc.
- details such as the stencilled dentil motif at the base of the ceiling, the arched porch and nave entranceways, the round-arched opening to the enclosed loft staircase, etc.