Blessed Virgin Mary 725 Henderson Hwy, East Selkirk, MB
Blessed Virgin Mary the Protectress Church Using the colours in the Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the central medallion above the chandelier within the church, the colour chips of paint were chosen. With the painter’s assurance of blended harmony, the paint in a beautiful pearl finish was ordered. When the paint arrived and the names of the colours were finally revealed, we felt these were truly meant to be.
The walls are Wheatfield – the wheat fields of Canada and Ukraine
The pillars are White cloud – like those in the skies of heaven
The lighter blue ceiling is Teardrop blue - the tears shed at Christ’s crucifixion
The interior dome is Blue Lake – matched to the heavens surrounding the Blessed Mother in our central altar icon
We hope you enjoy the warmth and serenity of our newly painted church.
Blessed Virgin Mary: A History
The Ukrainian Catholic congregation of East Selkirk started the construction of the present Blessed Virgin Mary the Protectress Church in 1951. This church was preceded by two other smaller churches which were located southeast of the intersection of St. Peter’s Road and Colville Road.
The first of these churches to be built for the Ukrainian settlers of East Selkirk was a small wooden church. This church, known as St. Mary’s Church was built in 1909 under the guidance of Bishop N. Butka, but was destroyed by a fire on Easter Sunday in 1914. The same year a new larger wooden church was built under the direction of John Skrypetz of Libau, Manitoba and assisted by, Mr.Sych, an iconographer (artist specializing in religious topics).
By the early 1950’s, the congregation grew in numbers and the present day site was obtained for the construction of a larger church with a full basement. The newer brick and stucco church has a belfry or bell tower, which eventually housed two bells to announce Sunday and church holiday services. This church is built on a new larger site at the corner or Old Henderson and Colville Road. The church is adorned with two cupolas or dome-shaped steeples on either side of the main entrance into the church. The architectural designer was Reverend Father P. Ruh who was responsible for the creation of many churches across Western Canada with similar layouts.
The churches of Ukraine (Orthodox and Catholic) have evolved from the Greek Byzantine rite churches. The Ukrainian Catholic church, also historically called the Ukrainian (Ruthenian) Uniate or Greek Catholic church, affirms the doctrine taught by the Catholic church with Rome for the most part its governing see. Through the Union of Berestia in 1596, the Ukrainian church entered into a union with the Roman Catholic church. At that time Pope Clement VIII had guaranteed the Ukrainian church to keep its Byzantine rite including all its Liturgical practices and architecture. The interior has a cross shaped floor plan or cruciform. The church entrance is preceded by a large number of steps to symbolize the ascent into heaven. Behind the two front doors is a small vestibule that is closed off from the main area or nave that seats the congregation by two French doors adorned with coloured glass panes. The choir loft is housed above the vestibule and is accessed by a winding staircase near the back wall to the left of the French doors. Beyond the nave is the semicircular recess with a domed roof where the sanctuary is located. This area is known as the apse and the central focus is the main altar. The church lacks a tradition iconostasis or screen of icons that separate the nave from the sanctuary. Instead the parish has placed two icons on two raised decorative stands which are between the altar and the small table called the tetrapod. The tetrapod holds candles, a crucifix and two portable icons.
Easter is one of the most beautiful celebrations in the Byzantine churches. The solemn Holy Week recognizes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and is followed on Easter Sunday by the declaration of the Resurrection of the Risen Christ into Heaven. Traditionally baskets of foods that symbolize Easter are taken to church prior to the Easter Sunday Liturgy to be blessed by the priest. On returning from church on Easter morning the foods are then shared by the families as they proclaim that “Christ has Risen!” and respond with “Indeed He has Risen!”
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