Cathedral Architecture


St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Edmonton, Alberta, is one of the finest monuments of Ukrainian Church architecture on the American continent. Its architect was Fr. Philip Ruh, OMI. Construction of the church began in 1939; it was consecrated in 1947, as a Basilian Order parish church. It is set in the traditional position, with the apse at the east end, and is located on 97th Street, between 108 and 108A Avenues. It can be seen from a distance of several city blocks.

The church is not designed in any one of the historical architectural styles, but contains elements of several. Thus the cornices on the drums which support the cupolas and part of the façade suggest the Roman style; the shape of the cupolas and drums, set on each of the large cupolas, are Renaissance; and the columns in front of the façade are of the pseudo-classic or American colonial style.

The Cathedral has seven octagonal copper cupolas, each topped with a cross. On the central one is a true open cupola; the others are merely decorative. The walls are of red bricks, with pilasters of darker bricks, and ornamental crosses of yellow bricks in the upper sections.

The cross-shaped cathedral has two stories. The upper story is the church proper, which consists of the sanctuary, the main nave, the transept and four added square areas in each corner where the transepts meet the nave – two of which are sacristies, and the narthex. The spacious choir gallery extends over part of the nave and the narthex. On the lower floor is the parish hall and meeting and utility rooms.

The church is 127 feet long, 105 feet wide at the transept, 100 feet in height (to the tip of the cross on the main cupola). The transept chapels are 30 feet wide and 36.6 feet long; the added transept areas and sacristies are 16 by 16 feet. The façade is 43 feet wide.

Inside the church, the sanctuary is raised three steps above the floor; the first step is three feet wide and serves as the solea; but there is no ambo.

The fine iconostas was designed by Prof. J. Bucmaniuk, who, before his death, managed to paint the icon of the Mother of God. The icons of Christ, St. Josaphat and St. Nicholas, as well as those on the royal doors and deacon doors, we painted by Parasia Ivanec. The
festal icons were painted by Ivan Denysenko.