St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, July 2018

Urban Sketchers Edmonton are joining me in one of my goals as Edmonton’s 5th Historian Laureate: sketching Edmonton’s architectural heritage (or as much as we can!)

Sketch by Terry Elrod

Sketch by Karen Wall

One of our sketchers had suggested Church Street (96 Street) and our July sketchout happened to be when the Edmonton Historic Festival and Doors Open event took place, including a tour of Church Street on July 7th. Because we always need an indoor venue in case of inclement weather, I contacted the tour organizer, Historian Tim Marriott, as well as Reverend Father Peter Babej, Cathedral Rector for St. Josephat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, which was one of the indoor venues for the tour. Father Babej kindly allowed us to sketch inside the church, which was fortunate because it rained most of the time that we were there.

Sketch by Marlena Wyman

At 10825 – 97 Street, St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral is just one block off 96 Street, but is include in the official recognition of Church Street on Edmonton’s Historical Board’s plaque in recognition of the unusual heritage of the area. As the plaque indicates:

Stretching from just south of Jasper Avenue northward to 111 Avenue, and spanning some seventy years of Church architecture in Edmonton, Church Street features a remarkable collection of thirteen houses of worship built between the turn of the twentieth century and the early 1970s.

Sketch by Merts Belmes

Due to weather, for the most part we stayed inside St. Josaphat Cathedral, sketching and marvelling at the historic beauty of this church and the incredible and abundant artistry of its iconography.

Sketch by Terry Elrod

The cathedral has been designated as both a municipal and provincial historic resource. In Lawrence Herzog’s article about the cathedral on the Edmonton Heritage Council’s City as Museum website, he states:

Built partly by parishioners and volunteers during the dark days of World War II, St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Canadian-Ukrainian church architecture. It was the first building constructed in what came to be known as Prairie Cathedral style.

Construction began in October 1939 with excavation of the footings and the basement dug by parishioners. The war slowed progress, and the project was completed in 1947…

Professor Julian Bucmaniuk was hired in 1950 and brought from Europe to decorate the expansive interior with Byzantine iconography. He and his son Bohdan began the commission in 1951…Their work took five years. In 1967, Bucmaniuk began work on an iconostas but was only able to complete the icon of the Mother of God in the lower corner before his death. Parascevia Ivanec, a former student of Bucmaniuk’s, painted five icons on the lower portions and the small icons on the royal and deacon’s doors. Ivan L. Denysenko, an American artist, painted the icons in the upper portion and completed the iconostas.

Sketch by Joanne Wojtysiak

Sketch by Merts Belmes

Sketch by Karen Wall

Sketch by Marlena Wyman (According to the Lawrence Herzog article, “The dominant colours are blue for heaven and serenity, and yellow for brightness and tranquility.”)

Posted by Marlena Wyman





About Marlena Wyman

Edmonton AB. I am an artist with interests in history, food, gardening, wellness, and the quirky and inspiring things that my fellow beings are up to out there.
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4 Responses to St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, July 2018

  1. These sketches were wonderful – and inspiring!

  2. M Gulka says:

    So very beautiful! My family and I have a long history in this beautiful Cathedral. The sketches are amazing! Will they be published somewhere and available to the public?

    • Marlena Wyman says:

      Thanks for your comment – I’m so glad that we made a personal connection for you and your family with our sketches of your beautiful cathedral! We will be doing more sketches of Edmonton’s architectural heritage over the next year and I am planning an exhibit – likely in in the fall of 2019. Watch this blog and my Historian Laureate Facebook page for details. I will continue to post our sketches on both sites.

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