Ukrainian Churches and Their Choirs
The long tradition of choral singing in Canada’s Ukrainian community stretches back to the earliest choirs in Ukraine that were found in monasteries and the princely courts. Especially in the early decades of immigration, conductors who were graduates of Ukrainian musical schools served as church cantors across the prairies, later establishing choirs that sang for religious services as well as secular concerts. This display explores Ukrainian choral music and the choirs performing it in western Canada.
The 1952 Master Farm Family:
John and Mary Skrypitsky
In 1952, John and Mary Skrypitsky were one of five Master Farm Families selected from the more than 90,000 farmers in Alberta. In the opinion of the regional and provincial committees who evaluated eighty-seven factors related to farm operations, farm life, community work, and business management, the Skrypitskys provided “a practical demonstration of how a family can achieve success in farming and live with others in the community.” Just as important to John as the committees’ opinion was that his neighbours had nominated him for the award. He simply said, “It is an honour money can’t buy.”
Women’s Faces, Women’s Places
Ukrainian family matriarchs are remembered for their physical and moral strength, as well as for their preservation of culture and religion within their family units. As pioneers, these women worked alongside their husbands to clear the land, uprooting stumps and seeding the first acres of crops and gardens. At the same time, they also remained the primary caregivers within their families, relying on natural remedies and healing instincts in the absence of accessible medical care; the folk poets, who passed on to their children stories of days gone by and life their native land; and keepers of the families’ religious heritage and cultural traditions.. This display honours these pioneer women, who had the courage and determination to endure through difficult times.
Peter Lipinski: Large and Small Canvases
Peter Lipinski (1888–1975) is credited with having produced possibly more religious works of art than any other painter in Canada. He trained as an iconographer in Galicia and emigrated to Canada prior to World War I. After settling in Edmonton, he began to receive commissions and his work can be found in Ukrainian Catholic, Ukrainian Orthodox, Russo‐Orthodox, and Polish Roman Catholic churches across western Canada. In Alberta alone, he painted the interiors of some forty‐five churches.
Philip Pawluk: Pioneer Carpenter
Prior to emigrating in 1908, Philip Pawluk (1879-1965) had apprenticed to a cabinet maker in his native village. Once in Canada, he combined woodworking with artistic skills to become a respected church carpenter, whose work is recognized in churches across east central Alberta.
Ukrainian born Vasyl Zalucky, an iconographer and art professor from Edmonton, painted the iconostasis for St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church (Rycroft) in 1957. The unique style of the iconostasis combines traditional iconography from the post-war era with Ukrainian folk art elements. When the church closed in 2016, the iconostasis was transferred to the Basilian Fathers Museum.