Halifax’s iconic Ukrainian Church to be sold

Ukrainian Church, Lemon Street, off Queens Road, Halifax.
Ukrainian Church, Lemon Street, off Queens Road, Halifax.

Halifax’s only Ukrainian Church will be sold following an extraordinary general meeting last weekend.

The town’s Ukrainian community was asked to attend the meeting on Sunday to make a decision on the future of the iconic Church of the Holy Protection, Queens Road.

Bohdan Kurylak, chair of the Parish Council, and Roman Suchyj, acting cultural officer, said: “Those present, on the whole accepted that the future of the church in Halifax was bleak.

“A declining congregation, lack of donations, structural damage, ongoing repairs, increased running costs and a burglary last year, that caused extensive damage, meant that the church was no longer sustainable or viable.

“There was little enthusiasm among the majority to continue to support and maintain the church.

“The proposal that the church should be sold was put forward and was carried by a majority vote but not a unanimous vote. This was a sad day for the community and discussions continued after the closure of the meeting.”

The Church of the Holy Protection was bought from the Methodist community in 1977, by the first generation of Ukrainians in Halifax.

The Ukrainian community wanted to preserve its religious and spiritual beliefs as in Ukraine, the Eastern Rite Catholic Church had been banned and was being persecuted by the Soviet Russians.

Members of the Ukrainian Community donated money, time and effort to establish the church which is the only one in Calderdale.

The church contains some traditional religious art and folk craft - at one time it was home to the only Markian Shashkevych museum in the country.

Markian Shashkevych was a 19th Century poet priest who led a literary revival and promoted the Ukrainian language. He is commemorated in one of the icons in the church.

Mr Kurylak and Mr Suchyj added: “The Holy Protection Church is just over a year short of celebrating its 40th anniversary, which further added to the sadness of the decision to sell the church.”