St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Bell Tower
Sirko Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Église orthodoxe ukrainienne Sirko
Links and documents
1907/01/01 to 1909/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Bell Tower are log structures built in 1907-09 in an agricultural district near Sundown in southeastern Manitoba. The provincial designation applies to the church, its free-standing bell tower, adjacent cemetery and the large site they occupy.
St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Bell Tower are excellent Manitoba examples of vernacular religious architecture from the Bukovyna region of Western Ukraine. The 1908-09 church, one of only three surviving log churches of its type in the province, is especially noteworthy for its rare, near-original appearance, distinguished by a steep splayed and bracketed gable roof and small rectangular plan with polygonal ends. Built by Bukovynian immigrants under the direction of master carpenter Dmytro Waskul, the Sundown-area facility also is noted for its brilliant iconostas, a major feature of Ukrainian church interiors. The 1907 bell tower, of similar construction and design with a traditional Eastern European-style roof, is of additional significance as the first structure used by the congregation for its services. These buildings, together with an adjacent cemetery, modern church and parish hall, form a community focal point in their quiet, sparsely populated rural setting, as well as an important historical and religious site in Manitoba.
Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minutes, July 7, 1990
Key elements that define the site character of St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Bell Tower include:
- the church's placement on a traditional east-west axis within a large grassed and treed lot surrounded by farmland in the Sirko district
- the cemetery to the church's east and west, including many gravesites marked by tall crosses
- the free-standing square bell tower to the church's southeast, of log and plank construction, with an open pavilion-like hipped roof on bracketed posts, a mid-level overhang clad by vertical shakes roughly laid, dovetailed and pegged joinery, a steel bell, a single-bar cross, etc.
Key elements that define the heritage character of the church's intact Bukovynian vernacular style include:
- the unaltered and compact rectangular plan extended on the short sides by curved polygonal ends
- the steeply pitched gable roof with splayed ends and an overhang that sweeps uninterrupted around the building on brackets and exposed rafters
- the intact openings, including the double south-facing entrance doors and five small windows, each with six panes and simple arched detailing
- the basic materials and finishes, such as the square-hewn log walls, the painted horizontal board siding with contrasting trim, the tall brick north chimney, the roof's three, plainly constructed wooden lanterns bearing metal single-bar crosses, etc.
Key internal elements that define the church's heritage character and liturgical functions include:
- the unobstructed, straightforward floor plan with proportional spaces of a low narthex, barrel-vaulted nave, slightly elevated east-end sanctuary and small west-end loft accessed by a narrow staircase
- the iconostas separating the sanctuary from the nave, accompanied by additional framed Orthodox paintings on church walls, processional crosses, candelabra, etc.
- the otherwise plain materials, finishes and furnishings, including the painted plank walls and wood ceilings and flooring, the wooden benches, etc.
Province of Manitoba
Manitoba Historic Resources Act
Provincial Heritage Site
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Main Floor, 213 Notre Dame Avenue Winnipeg MB R3B 1N3
Cross-Reference to Collection