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16. Sts. Peter and Paul Russo-Orthodox Church
DICKIEBUSH from St. Paroskovia's at Downing: mile north, 6 miles west, 3/4 mile north on gravel road (NE 27-58-15-W4)


In a place settlers called "wild bush" stands one of the most impressive structures in the settlement area. Perched high on a hill and visible for miles around, this proud tribute to Ukrainian culture and the pioneering spirit invites all to share in its splendour.

Built in the years 1909-14, Sts. Peter and Paul is one of the most impressive churches in the area for several reasons. Constructed from logs (siding was first applied in 1915), it is one of the region's first cruciform churches and one of the first with a completely open dome (as opposed to a closed dome on an open drum). As well, the dome was not a cautious, small-scale experiment: the ceiling extends a full 20 metres above floor level. The builder was a carpenter named Steve Rosychuk, a man who could neither read nor write but who was able to make plans for Sts. Peter and Paul from the mental image of a church he had seen in his homeland.

Though Ukrainian in terms of plan shape and essential design elements, the church has several features that are distinctive. The belfry, for instance, is positioned on top of the narthex and forms an integral part of the structure. In addition, the arms of the cross in the cruciform shape (i.e., the north and south wings) areapsidal rather than rectangular in shape, thus emphasizing the building's height. Symbolically, the taller the building stood, the closer it was to the heavens.

An opportunity to see the interior of this religious and architectural treasure should not be missed. Reverend N. Leoko, parish priest in 1924, painted Sts. Peter and Paul both inside and out and the congregation has maintained the church's historical integrity to an exceptional degree ever since. Conforming to the ancient tradition in Eastern-rite churches, there are no pews, only a small number of benches along the walls for the very young and the elderly. The beauty of the two-tiered iconostasis and the sheer magnificence of the structure's interior space are simply breathtaking.

A cemetery and community hall are situated in the yard near the church.