South Holden - Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church

13 km southwest of Holden or 50 km northwest of Camrose

Beaver County (SW-10-48-16-W4)

In 1902, many Ukrainian immigrants from the Yaroslaw Region of Halychyna (currently Poland) began to settle the lands south of Holden.

In 1907, these settlers were interested in establishing a church. They approached the Basilian priest, Father Mathew Hura about the idea of establishing a new parish. At this time, Father Hura was serving an established community in Kopernick - about 15 km away. He was afraid that it would be a great financial burden on the people. He strongly encouraged them to join the Kopernick parish which he served.(1)

That same year, Ivan Bobyak donated 2 acres of his land for a church and cemetery. Later that year, a small wooden church was built.

In 1916, work began on the construction of the present church in South Holden. John Sanquist was hired to do carpentery work. In 1917, the church was blessed by Bishop Nykyta Budka. During this time, the parish lands were incorporated. Also, an iconostasis was completed. (2)

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. The site is surrounded by flat arable land, second or third-generation trees.

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. There is a one-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.

The interior is heavily decorated with a variety of stenciling and icons. Peter (Petro) Lipinski did all the artistic paintings and decorations for the Church. By 1919, Peter (Petro) Lipinski painted the iconostasis. By 1942, he had painted all the icons, walls, columns and ceilings.

In 1925; a wooden bell-tower was built. A Mr. Black, a general merchant from Holden donated to the parish a church bell and a crystal chandelier. (3)

The iconostasis, which separates the sanctuary from the congregation, is a particularly fine example of workmanship. The South Holden church is one of the few rural Alberta Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches that has an iconostasis.