ST. NICHOLAS UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ST. MICHAEL AND BELL TOWER
Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Nicholas and St. Michael
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael, constructed in 1923, is a brick church on a cruciform plan with three large onion-shaped domes rooted in the Byzantine tradition, located approximately six kilometres southeast of St. Michael in Lamont County, Alberta. It faces west towards the adjacent cemetery on a landscaped site, at the end of a worn grassy trail from the gravelled township road allowance. The associated three-storey square bell tower with pyramidal roof lines is located directly southwest of the church.
The historical significance of the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael lies in its association with early settlement and the establishment of a Greek Catholic congregation in 1896, the consecration of the cemetery in 1898, and the subsequent construction of the first church in 1904.
St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael has architectural value as the only example in Lamont County of a large cruciform church in the Byzantine style that evolved in western Canada, which is built from brick. Constructed by Edmonton building contractor K. Sheremata with volunteer local labour, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael presents a solid profile with three large characteristic onion-shaped domes on a unified roofline clad in distinctive galvanized metal sheeting. The interior is significant for its inclusion of several periods of the work of master carpenter Philip Pawluk (1879-1965), found in the tabernacle (1910), the processional icon (circa 1914-18), both of which were transferred from the 1904 church, along with the decorative main altar, side altars and other furnishings completed in 1927. The interior is also important for the icon of St. Nicholas over the main altar, painted in 1921 by one of Alberta's most prolific and well-known church painters, Peter Lipinski (1888-1975), which adds to the body of his work found in churches throughout the municipality. The associated wood frame bell tower built in 1934 is a good representative example of the design and proportions of bell towers found in the municipality, and illustrates their primary use as a belfry and secondary use as a space for teaching catechism.
The St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael is a distinctive landmark in the district and has value as a symbolic site, not only as a site of worship for over a hundred years, but for its connection with the first settlers in the district, many of whom are buried in the adjacent cemetery and whose descendents still worship in the church.
Source: Lamont County (Research file: St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael)
Character-defining elements of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael that define the church and associated bell tower as being rooted in the Byzantine tradition include architectural features such as:
- the cruciform plan, scale and massing, including cross-hipped gable roof;
- large, central, open octagonal wood-frame drum;
- onion dome terminating in a metal ball with metal trefoil cross, smaller domes on the nave and sanctuary, and the two shed-roofed sacristies on each side of the sanctuary;
- stretcher bond brick walls and brick voussoirs;
- the pattern of fenestration on all elevations and domes that includes the large rectangular windows with mullions enclosing panes of coloured pressed glass in the shape of a cross with fanlights above, and the radially segmented round window on the west wall of the nave;
- the galvanized sheet metal cladding all roof surfaces including the domes;
- the red brick chimney on the east exterior wall of the south transept.
- the interior configuration of nave, transepts and sanctuary with attached sacristies, vaulted ceilings and the three open domes, choir loft with open balustrade and staircase access from nave, interior double panelled doors from vestibule to narthex;
- the interior finishes including white paint on the plastered walls, varnished V-joint tongue and groove flooring, door and window wood trim;
- iconic and decorative elements including the icon of St. Nicholas painted by Peter Lipinski;
- all original liturgical items including the tabernacle built by Philip Pawluk;
- interior furnishings including the main and side altars, the tetrapod, lectern, and flower stands built by Philip Pawluk, and the pews and lighting fixtures.
Bell Tower Exterior
- the form and massing, including pyramidal roof capped with Latin cross;
- the pattern of fenestration including blind windows on belfry storey and two sets of double-hung six-over-six windows on lower storeys;
- bevelled wood siding on upper level and stucco cladding on the lower walls;
- wood roof shingles;
- the structural opening with double panelled doors on north elevation;
Bell Tower Interior
- horizontal V-joint tongue and groove finishing with vertical wainscoting, door and window wood trim, plank floor;
- open staircase to the second floor;
- rotary yoke system for housing the three bells on the third floor;
- benches and blackboard.
- worn grassy trail from Township Road 560;
- tree plantings along the east boundary perimeter and along part of the south side of the trail.
Local Governments (AB)
Historical Resources Act
Municipal Historic Resource
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
Lamont County, Administration Building, 5303 - 50 Avenue, Lamont, AB TOB 2RO (Research file: St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael)
Cross-Reference to Collection