Driving to Mundare….

…along the Yellowhead, past Elk Island Park where bison were grazing on both sides of the road, the fields were cold with the first snow. I wanted to to see the derelict Spaca Moskalyk Orthodox church on a range road near Mundare.

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I’d been reading about the church, knew that it had been scheduled to be deconsecrated by ritual burning because it was considered to be too far gone to ¬†restore. But there it was, in its field of graves, with a new foundation –cruciform, the traditional shape of these buildings — waiting alongside. We couldn’t enter the stenciled door

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but I knew from reading that the interior is still lovely, a blue starry ceiling and stenciled wainscotting, spiraling stairs leading to a choir loft. I thought of the families coming to the church in the 1980s and 30s, maybe even the family from this abandoned farm —

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-and I thought of my grandfather, after his arrival in Canada in the early 20th c.,¬†and wondered if he’d have been comforted by the sight of a familiar silver dome. Not that he would have come to this particular church but there are others on the prairies, the sound of an old liturgy still echoing.