Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ukrainian Church Architecture

When we went to the Easter sale at St. Elias the Prophet Church on the weekend and bought the bread and Pysanky (which you can read about here), we also went upstairs to tour the inside of the church.  Although the church building looks very traditional and as if it has been there for ages - well maybe not there, but in the Ukraine - it was in fact only built in 1995.  

The church is in the style of the Byzantine wooden architecture traditional to the western Ukraine.  I love the wooden shingles covering the domes and all the wood siding - looking a little water-logged in this photo because it was raining.

The front door and carved pillars look so rustic.

Inside the sanctuary there are only pews around the edges with a wide open space in the middle as they stand for their services.

Above the sanctuary is one of the domes all colourfully painted with pictures of saints and scenes from the Bible.

I wasn't expecting to see a Pharaoh's headdress in a Ukrainian church, but it makes sense since Joseph from the Old Testament rose to second-in-command in Egypt.  Don't you love the scrolly grape vines that link the pictures together.

The pretty design in the photo below, was one of my favourite parts of the decoration in the church.  I love the gray-blue with the orange and the touches of gold.

There are no electric lights in the church.  The priest told us that it is because you can't pray with harsh electric lights on, so they only have soft gas lights and candles during services.  I think he may have something there.  I love it when the lights are turned out at a Christmas Eve service and we sing by candlelight and this church must be gorgeous by candlelight with all the gold leaf decorating the walls.

Around the edges of the sanctuary are these candle chandeliers that I thought looked quite striking in their simplicity with all the ornate paintings and decorations.  The priest assured me that they would soon be replaced as they just came from IKEA.  I love it! IKEA decorations can even be found in an ornate Ukrainian Catholic church.  Who would have thought.

It must be Ukrainian heritage month at Sense and Simplicity or something - how else do you explain it!


  1. I love this church and have been there. It is in such a suprising spot, I was really shocked when I saw it, I di not expect this wooden building. The fellow that built it did some work for a client of mine and I had to srop something off for him and he took me through it. What a beautiful place to worship

  2. Well, I am enjoying Ukrainian Heritage Month myself, LOL! The architecture of the church is absolutely *gorgeous*....I just love these educational posts of yours!!!

  3. Thanks for the beautiful photos! Such a pretty church--and the paintings of angels on the ceiling! Wow! Thanks for the lovely comments on my guest post over at Remodeholic! PS, I've been a follower for a while!!!! Nice to bump into you again! Kinda like running into an old friend at the grocery store!

    ~Mikey @ Shabby French Cottage

  4. Quite beautiful. I absolutely love the wood. You must have really had a sense of being there in the Ukraine.

  5. Beautiful church and pictures. I love churches like this.

  6. Stunning! This is where you can get so much inspiration from the lighting to the floors, colors...loved this.