This has totally transformed the colour, the image, the beauty and the positiveness of the church.
—Father Bohdan Lukie
St. Joseph's Ukrainian Catholic Church got more than a facelift to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The windows and interior have been completely transformed and beautified with the addition of a new stained glass window and Iconostas, or screen of icons.
Iconographer Sviatoslav Makarenko of Yonkers, New York designed the new artwork. He specializes in all types of ecclesiastical art and is particularly skilled in the exacting demands of Byzantine church art.
The enormous stained glass window above the main entrance represents the Nativity of Jesus. It measures 18 feet by 21 feet and consists of 21 large panes and 18 small panels, depicting various scenes from the nativity story. Fittingly, St. Joseph, patron saint of the church, is included in the scene.
"It's a beautiful enhancement to our prayer," says Father Bohdan Lukie, Pastor of St. Joseph's.
The Iconostas is placed at the front of the sanctuary and features icons of Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, St. Joseph and Blessed Vasil. The design is enhanced by exquisite 24K gold leaf engravings.
"With the icons here, this this forces the whole focus of the people towards the front," explains Father Lukie. "It actually unites the heavenly kingdom with the earthly kingdom and gives us the whole notion of the movement of our faith."
The final phase was to re-do the dome. It is now decorated with symbols of the 12 apostles and the symbol of Christ. "This has totally transformed the colour, the image, the beauty and the positiveness of the church," says Father Lukie.
The project was supported and funded by the parishioners.
This week 45 Ukrainian Catholic bishops from around the world have been gathering in Manitoba to mark the 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada. They will also attend the festivities at St. Joseph's this weekend. St. Joe's will celebrate its 60th anniversary on September 8 with a liturgy at 5:00 p.m. followed by a picnic and pig roast.
St. Joseph's Church is open to the public every day from 10:00 to 5:00.