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13. St. Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church
SZYPENITZ from St. John's at Morecambe: I mile south, 7% miles west on Highway 45, 4 miles north on Highway 36, 6% miles west on S.R. 637 (SW 27-55-13-W4)


St. Mary's is one of the few brick churches built in the settlement area. As noted under the description of Sts. Peter and Paul Church at Kaleland, the choice of this durable building material is not surprising, as the second church at Szypenitz burned down shortly after it was built. Harry Osiecki built the tripartite structure in 1917, basing it on the design he had used when he built the parish's second church in 1911. It is said that this particular design closely resembled that of the church in Osiecki's village in Ukraine. The relationship of the large central dome to the rest and the presence of the ubiquitous round-headed windows is particularly noteworthy.

The church's interior was painted by Peter Lipinski. It is one of the few Orthodox churches with which he can be credited and it contains all of his characteristic trademarks: walls painted to resemble cut stone, the ornamental borderwork, and the angels on the dome's ceiling. In addition, St. Mary's has a beautiful two-tiered iconostasis painted by Lipinski.

The parish was Russo-Orthodox at the outset. Then, in 1916-17, a disagreement developed within the community and several of the parishioners left to form the Ukrainian Orthodox parish at Kaleland. In 1941, St. Mary's, too, entered the Ukrainian Orthodox fold.

While the other buildings associated with the rural community of Szypenitz have either been abandoned like the hall or dismantled like the school, the church continues to be used. The historical integrity of the church, the belltower, and the neighbouring cemetery reflects the congregation's care in maintaining the site over the years.

St. Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church was designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 1987.