Chipman Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church

12.5 km. southeast of Lamont or 53 km. northwest of Vegreville

Lamont County (NW-18-58-18-W4)

Chipman, Alberta

In the late 1890's, families from Western Ukraine (mostly Kalush, Yaroslav, Sniatyn and Brody areas) settled the area around Chipman. (1)

Vasyl Eleniak, one of the first two Ukrainians to settle in Canada, helped to establish the Ukrainian Catholic parish in this area in 1900-01. A small wooden church was built seven years later, several kilometers northeast of Chipman. (2)

In 1915, there was some dissatisfaction in the parish. Several members expressed a desire for the parish to become part of the Russian-Orthodox faith. To assert their wishes, this group obtained a legal title to the Church. As a result, this matter was then taken to court for resolution. (3)

Based upon a previous legal precedent, (see Star-Peno), the Church was taken away from the Ukrainian Catholics and given to the Russian-Orthodox followers. In addition, $1500 was given to the Ukrainian Catholics as compensation to build a new church. (4)

In 1916, work began on the construction of the present church in Chipman. Yarema Yanyshevsky was responsible for the church construction. In 1918, the church was blessed by Bishop Nykyta Budka. In 1922, Philip Pawliuk of Lamont built the iconostasis. In 1924, land was purchased for a cemetery. By 1928, Peter (Petro) Lipinski has painted all the icons, iconostasis, walls, columns and ceilings. In 1967, the iconostasis was renovated by E. Letwasky. (5)

Oriented on the east-west axis, the church is designed on a central longitudinal cruciform plan following Byzantine traditions. The church has one main dome with two (2) smaller domes in the front. The site is surrounded by fields and homes.

One enters the narthex through a small vestibule under the choir loft. The narthex leads into the nave with north and south transepts and a chancel on a raised floor. Each transept has its individual entrances from the exterior. Within the chancel there is the sanctuary that surrounds the altar. In addition, there are two identical sacristies located north and south of the crossing with individual entrances from the exterior. In addition, there is a four-tier iconostasis.

A large drum fixture rises from the intersection of the roofs over the nave. The structure then supports a high octagonal (onion-shaped) dome. A large wrought iron cross sits on top of the dome.

A wooden bell-tower and the cemetery are located by the church. Vasyl Eleniak (first pioneer and founding member of the congregation) is buried in the cemetery.(6)