Taken from the booklet prepared for the parish's 75th anniversery celebration. Prepared and composed by Eugene Kryworuchko, adapted and translated by Fr. Bohdan Hladio.

Our Parish History

Line drawing of St. Vladamir's Church in Hamilton

On January 19th, 1926, a meeting was held to organize a Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Hamilton.

The organizing committee consisted of P. Letwin and I. Shebets. Two weeks later, a second meeting was held, during which 25 founding members chose the first parish council consisting of P. Letwin - President, W. Tulivitrov - Vice-president, O. Dobko - Recording Secretary, W. Festeryga - Financial Secretary, D. Kulpaka - Treasurer, and Z. Kalyniuk - Sexton. The first Divine Liturgy was served on May 16th by Fr. T. Chomitsky of Cleveland, OH.

During the annual general meeting in 1933 it was decided to name the parish in honour of St. Vladimir the Great (click here to see a biography). The first Canonical Visitation was made by Metropolitan Ioann Theodorovich on October 17th, 1937. In April of 1945, a lot was purchased at 855 Barton St. East for $2,500. In February of 1948 the architect B. Bilson was engaged to begin the building of the Church. With the participation of the parishioners and municipal dignitaries, Fr. T. Kisiliuk blessed the lot on April 17th, 1948, and two days later the construction of the lower portion of the Church was begun. The official opening took place on May 22nd, 1949, with a solemn Divine Liturgy served by Fr. Protopresbyter S.V. Sawchuk and Fr. Kisiliuk. In January of 1950 upon the initiative of Dr. S. Klimasko and Fr. Archpriest P. Sametz, four houses across from the Church were purchased.

Image of construction of St. Vladimir's church, Hamilton
Fr. Fedak on site during construction of the upper portion of the church 1952-1954.

At the beginning of September, 1950, Fr. Sametz was transferred to Toronto, and Fr. William Fedak became the new parish priest. In January of 1952 the construction of the upper portion of the Church was begun, which was completed in July of 1954 at a cost of $154,432. In 1957, in conjunction with the parish council, the Hamilton TYC branch sponsored the construction and installation of pews in the Church, covering all costs themselves. In this same year the "Vira" publishing brotherhood was formed, which published the magazine "Our Community". In 1957 the parish also acquired a summer camp, named "Golden Gate". In 1962 the Iconostas was constructed and installed, and blessed on July 22nd by Archbishop Mikhail. In 1966 the school building was constructed next to the Church, and in this same year the parish was honoured with the title "Sobor", which is given to the most important Church in a particular city or district. In 1976 the parish celebrated its 50th anniversery with the episcopal visitation of Metropolitan Andrew, and a contract was signed for the iconography of the Church. On April 19th, 1976, Dobrodiyka Pearl Fedak reposed in the Lord, a great blow to Fr. William, her family, and to the entire parish. In 1979 a farewell banquet was held in honour of the parish's long time and much loved pastor, Fr. Fedak, who had been chosen to serve God as a Bishop of our Church.

Image of construction of St. Vladimir's church, Hamilton
Fr. Fedak discusses building plans during school construction, 1966.

Fr. Mykola Rauliuk was parish priest from 1979 till 1983. In 1981-82 the "Golden Gate" summer camp was moved to its current location, at Winston and Hunter Roads in Stoney Creek, and a new pavillion was constructed. In 1984 Fr. Fedir Leheniuk was parish priest, followed by Fr. Witaly Metulynsky in 1985. During this time improvements and repairs were executed both at the Church, and at the Parish Residence.

From 1986 - 1992 Fr. Michael Skrumeda was the parish priest. In 1988 the Canada-wide celebration of the baptism of Rus'-Ukraine took place in Hamilton, at Copps Coliseum. A new fence was installed around the Church; the Church hall was renovated; and our U.W.A.C. "Lesia Ukrainka" branch sponsored the construction of a museum and office in the Church. The Parish in cooperation with the Hamilton TYC members sponsored the reconstruction of the former printshop - which is now the beautiful TYC and CYMK cultural centre, located behind the school.

In 1992 Fr. Mykolaj Czurak was named parish priest. The 100th anniversary of Ukrainian Immigration to Canada was celebrated this year. Next to City Hall Metropolitan Wasyly officiated at a Moleben', followed by the unveiling of a statue in honour of our Ukrainian Canadian Pioneers. In 1993 the parish marked the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada with an episcopal visitation by Bishop Yurij. Our U.W.A.C. members completed another great project this year, the manufacture and installation of new doors for our Church, artistic images of Ss. Vladimir and Ol'ha, which were made in Ukraine. In August of that year, Fr. Morely Parfeniuk was assigned to our parish.

In 1995 Fr. Bohdan Hladio was named parish priest. Since this time various projects have been completed: repairs to the plaster and iconography in the Church; new washrooms in the hall; renovations to the Church kitchen; a new driveway and new kitchen for the parish residence; new windows for the school; and a new playground for the children at the summer camp. On the occasion of the 2,000th anniversary of the Birth of Our Lord, our U.W.A.C. members sponsored an extraordinary project - the construction of a new Holy Table for our temple. The new Holy Table was consecrated by Metropolitan Wasyly and Bishop Yurij on Sunday, May 20th, 2,000 A.D. The newest project, initiated by our Hamilton TYC members, is the installation of an elevator to mark the 75th anniversary of our parish. The parish is blessed to have such generous help from the local branches of the U.W.A.C. and TYC. This help and cooperation between the parish and organizations is characteristic of our community, and is a great blessing for all of us.

In addition to the U.W.A.C. and TYC locals, we have an active Ukrainian Orthodox Youth/CYMK branch in Hamilton. They are so active, in fact, that they won the Perepeliuk trophy at the 2001 CYC convention in British Columbia as the most active branch in Canada!

Our parish is also blessed with branches of the Order of St. Andrew; a Senior Citizen's Club; and a group of volunteers who financially help the parish by making and selling pyrohy and cabbage rolls.

Our Sobor has always been blessed with an extraordinary choir. Sundays or weekdays, for weddings or funerals, the beautiful sound of our Church choir raises our hearts and souls to heaven. The directors of our Church choir include: Fr. Yu. Cukornyk, Hryhoryj Sapientiw, Nestor Olynyk, Makar Sushko, Anton Yakovenko, Yurij (now Bishop Yurij) Kalistchuk, and Bohdan Radesch. Our current director is Ms. Oksana Sushko.

In 2005 Fr. William (Wasyl') Makarenko was assigned by His Emminince Archbishop John, Metropolitan of the U.O.C.C. to be the parish priest. During the following years the parish met many needs and celebrated several important events, namely:

  1. In the fall of 2005 the construction, blessing and replacement of the cross on the main cupola was accomplished.
  2. In 2006 the parish celebrated its 80th anniversary.
  3. In 2008 the parish celebrated the 60th anniversery of the laying of the church's cornerstone, the 70th anniversary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada and the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine into the Holy Orthodox Faith. This year also maked the formation of St. Stephen's Altar-Boys Brotherhood.

2008 culminated with the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Great Famine/Holodomor-Genocide in Ukraine during 1932-33. The parish specifically commemmorated this event with the establishment of the Holodomor Museum - the first of its kind in Canada - which was inuagurated on Nov 28, 2008. The ribbon was cut by His Worship Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Mrs Halyna Krupitski (a Holodomor survivor).

The heart of any Church community is the Holy Services. Our parish is blessed with a Brotherhood and Sisterhood who look after the cleanliness and order of the temple, as well as helping during services. The Wm. Sarchuk Ukrainian School is associated with our parish, and regular parish activities include Bible studies, book studies, spiritual retreats, a full liturgical schedule, and various cultural and religious lessons. We have an active altar-server group, and many young people who act as readers during the services, reading the scriptures in both Ukrainian and English. The active participation of our children and youth gives the parish a sense of hope for the future, for it is they who will be the singers, servers, teachers and leaders who will organize and participate in the celebration of the parish's 100th anniversary in 2026. May God bless and keep them and all our parishioners under His care, and give eternal memory to all our founders, benefactors and parishioners.

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