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Elm Springs Roumanian Orthodox Church

Old Post RM 43, Saskatchewan, S0H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/11/12

Looking northeast at the entrance and south elevation, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, James Winkel, 2004.
Elm Springs Roumanian Orthodox Church
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Other Name(s)

Ascension of Our Lord Church
Elm Springs Roumanian Orthodox Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1926/01/01 to 1926/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/03/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Elm Springs Roumanian Orthodox Church is a Municipal Heritage Property located in the Rural Municipality of Old Post No. 43, approximately 30 km southwest of the Town of Assiniboia in the Wood Mountain – Twelve Mile Lake district. Situated prominently on a grassy 3.9 ha parcel of rural land, the property features a cemetery and a small wood-frame church that was built in 1926.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Elm Springs Roumanian Orthodox Church lies in the central place it has long occupied in the spiritual and cultural life of the local Romanian-Canadian community. By the 1920s, a large Romanian community had become established in the district. However, those living near Elm Springs attended church services infrequently as the nearest Orthodox church was some 30 km away, a prohibitive distance to travel in those days. So that they could more easily maintain their traditional religious practices, the people of Elm Springs undertook to build their own church in 1926. “Ascension of Our Lord Church,” as it is officially named, was built with donated funds and labour, and furnished with many fixtures and religious accoutrements that were handmade by parishioners. Purposely sited on high ground, the church has been a highly visible symbol of the community’s cultural heritage and a gathering place for religious and social events for over eighty years. Although regular services have ceased, the church still hosts annual Ascension Day observances and other occasional services. Weddings and funerals are still held in the church, and the cemetery is still used. A focus of community life for several decades, the church continues to be valued as a landmark, an expression of community identity, and a memorial to the district’s Romanian pioneers.

Source:

Rural Municipality of Old Post No. 43 Bylaw No. 43/86.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Elm Springs Roumanian Orthodox Church resides in the following character-defining elements:
-elements that identify the building as an early-twentieth century rural church, including its simple form and massing, wood-frame construction, pointed-arch window openings, windows with tracery, clapboard siding, shake roofing, and interior wainscot and wood trim;
-elements that express the church’s connection to the local Romanian community, including its location on its original site and the open grounds; the grave markers and pattern of interments in the cemetery; the mounted bell from a former free-standing bell tower; and features that are characteristic of a Romanian Orthodox place of worship, such as the building’s east-west orientation; the dome-shaped cupolas; the hand-wrought iron crosses on the cupolas and roof peak; the interior spatial arrangement of vaulted ceiling, rear choir loft, side apses, and sanctuary and altar separated from the nave by a highly decorated iconostasis; the platforms and wood supports along the side walls where parishioners stood in the church’s early days; and handmade fixtures and furnishings donated by early community members.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Saskatchewan

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (SK)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Property

Recognition Date

1986/11/12

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: MHP 1042

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

MHP 1042

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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