The Transept Chapel of St. Basil the Great

St. Basil the GreatThe south arm of the transept is dedicated to St. Basil the Great, one of the outstanding Fathers of the Church. In the centre of the ceiling of the transept apse Prof. Bucmaniuk painted an imposing figure of St. Basil in episcopal vestments on a background of rays of the setting sun.

The following symbols embellish Basil’s transept: a pillar of fire – the emblem of the Basilian Order; a triangle – the symbol of the Blessed Trinity, the teaching about which Basil stoutly defended against the Arian heresy; a dove – the symbol of the Holy Spirit, about whom Basil wrote an excellent theological treatise; and a chalice – a symbol of the priesthood.

In the centre of the ceiling on the forward part of the transept St. Basil appears again, but now in the robes of a Basilian monk, in recognition of his role as the patriarch of communal monastic life in the Universal Church.

In addition to these paintings of St. Basil, there are four large paintings in the south transept.

The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan

The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan present Christ standing in the water with His Baptizer. The Lord’s hands are crossed on His chest; His expression is inspired and peaceful. John, wearing a hair shirt, holding a staff in one hand, and with the other pours water on Jesus’ head. A crowd of men, women and children watch on the riverbank. The Holy Spirit hovers above in the form of a dove. At that moment the Fathers’ words are heard: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

Above this Baptism scene appears the town of Mundare, Alberta – the cradle of Basilian monasticism in North America – with the first and later churches, the monastery and grotto. Above it a guardian angel has spread his wings.

Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem was painted by Prof. Bucmaniuk’s son, Bohdan. Its many lively colours give it a feeling of freshness. Mounted on a donkey, Christ has His right hand raised. His face betrays a seriousness, while His eyes turn to sadness. The people are carrying branches of palm, and laying them, and their garments, before Christ.

The Transfiguration of Christ

The Transfiguration presents the ethereal figures of Christ, with arms outstretched, Moses, with the tablets of the Commandments, and Elijah, against a background of blinding light. Below them are the Apostles Peter, John and James in ecstatic admiration and dismay (Luke 9:28, 36).

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