All Saints Orthodox Cathedral
A People of Vision – Fifty Years of History
The 50 years of history of All Saints Orthodox Cathedral is one of great sacrifice and accomplishment for God’s glory and the growth of our Holy Orthodox faith. It is to be noted that the first Sunday Divine Liturgy was celebrated (in the present Cathedral Church) on the Feast of All Saints, June 23, 1963 by the Very Reverend M. Andruchow (Memory Eternal), a priest of the Canadian Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church [presently the OCA] under His Eminence, Archbishop +Sylvester, reposed in the Lord.
A small, dedicated and very enthusiastic group of Orthodox faithful – a people of great vision – were intent in establishing an Orthodox Christian presence in northeast Edmonton. The former Bethlehem Lutheran Church was purchased for $33,000.00 with a $5,000.00 downpayment coming from 7 families of the Parish. Church archives indicate that the Parish Board in 1963 consisted of: Very Rev. Michael Andruchow☦, Mr. William Cholak, Mr. Nick Demkiw, Mr. Steve Nikiforuk and Mr. Steve Pooke. Mr. Steve Pooke (one of the founders of All Saints) was tragically killed in a car accident and never attended a Divine Liturgy in the new Church.
Gradually the Church building was transformed to reflect the beauty of our Eastern Orthodox faith. In 1963 – according to Church records – the Parish was named All Saints Russo Greek Orthodox Catholic Church of Canada. The Parish was incorporated and registered as a legal entity under the Religious Societies’ Lands Act of Alberta on August 8th, 1966, some 3 years after its establishment.
Various fund raising efforts were undertaken and a catering service in 1963 (spearheaded by the Ladies Aid) brought in funds of $676.00. To appreciate the amount of work involved, the ladies of All Saints were offering a full course meal at a cost of some 50 cents per plate during these formative years! Registration for Church/Sunday School classes indicated an enrollment of 23 children by September of 1964.
With many young families joining the Parish, several organizations were established to meet various needs. As well as Church/Sunday School a Ladies Aid Society was solidified and a Youth Group formed. As early as 1966, one Divine Liturgy per month was conducted entirely in the English language! The use of English was unheard of in other existing Orthodox Parishes in the city of Edmonton at this time; members of All Saints were looking to not only fulfill their own spiritual needs but those of future generations!
With the untimely and unexpected repose in the Lord of the founding Parish Priest of All Saints – Very Rev. Michael Andruchow+ – the Parish began the process of requesting another spiritual father. Attempts over a 2 year period were unsuccessful in finding a permanent Pastor of souls for the congregation. The Parish Board made numerous requests of other various Orthodox jurisdictions (with Parishes in Edmonton) but to little avail. Several Orthodox Clergy did however(setting aside the politics of Church) periodically respond by serving the Divine Liturgy at All Saints including those from the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox and Romanian Orthodox jurisdictions. It is to be noted that Orthodox Hierarchs were (sadly) unwilling to supply a permanent priest and more intent on amalgamating and/or closing the Parish. The devout Church Faithful were unwilling to allow the very important Orthodox Christian presence in East Edmonton to disappear. As a consequence and (for the most part) without a priest, the Parish continued to gather EVERY Sunday praying portions of the Holy Divine Liturgy and gathering in the Parish Hall for fellowship to keep their community intact.
Eventually a priest was again supplied by the Canadian Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church [presently the OCA] and he served the Parish for a brief period of time (less than 2 years). However, a major divisive conflict arose when the priest insisted on moving exclusively to the use of English in Services, with a blatant and obvious disregard for many of the elderly (and founding) members of the Parish who desired some minimal Salvonic and/or Ukrainian in the Liturgy. Eventually the priest led some of the faithful away, establishing a Mission in South Edmonton – St. Herman of Alaska – worshipping in a converted garage. This Parish, now located in West Edmonton, is known as St. Herman of Alaska Sobor under the OCA.
Please visit this page again soon as we provide some further updates to the history of our Orthodox Cathedral of All Saints!