Inside the Church

Brief Introduction to Ukrainian Catholicism

In 1596, a small part of the Orthodox Church in what is Ukraine today joined with the Roman Catholic Church. This resulted in the establishment of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, one of the family of Eastern Catholic Churches. As part of their agreement with Rome, Ukrainians were assured that they would be able to maintain Eastern Rite or Orthodox practises ~ such as the particular way people make the sign of the Orthodox cross; married clergy; the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Communion) being administered at the same time; and Eastern Rite Liturgies.



Holy Ghost Parish:

Soon after their arrival in Canada, Ukrainian immigrants set about establishing places of worship. In 1912, a liturgy inaugurated the opening of the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Whitney Pier. Before a church could be built, services were held in Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church. Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church was built in 1913, at the corner of West and Swan Streets in the Whitney Pier district of Sydney. The first hall was built in 1928, behind the church. In 1932, a fire destroyed the first Holy Ghost church. A new church was opened in 1933. A new hall was built in 1962 to replace the old one; it stands at 51 West Street, adjacent to the church. The church and its hall provide a place of prayer for the community, a meeting place for a variety of activities, and a performance venue. Another church also served many Ukrainian immigrants and their families. St. George’s Orthodox parish was established in the 1910s; it was open intermittently until it finally closed in 1952. Many families who had participated in St. George’s then became members of the Holy Ghost community.



The Ikonastas:

From inside the church, the ikonastas or icon wall is visible. An older icon wall also existed in the church – but no photos were available for this exhibit. "This part of the exhibit is a recreation of the current interior of Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sydney, Nova Scotia. As you pass through the front doors, you will enter the first room ~ called the prytvor (narthex), traditionally the place of those who are not yet baptized. The second room is the khram (nave), the place of prayer for the faithful. Some Holy Sacraments take place here ~ for instance, this is where people confess their sins and receive Holy Communion.



The Sanctuary:

The sanctuary contains the prestol (altar), on which are placed the kivot (tabernacle), the Yevanheliya (Gospel) and ruchnyi khrest (hand cross). Left of the altar is a Proskomediynyk (Table of Preparation) which holds all that is required for celebration of the Divine Liturgy: chasha (chalice), dyskos (patten), zvisda (star) and pokryvala (veils).