Holy Trinity Church MacNutt, Saskatchewa
(Reproduced from Historical Anniversary Album 1929-1979, The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, Jackson, Michigan, 1979).
Bucovinian homesteaders arrived in the area of MacNutt, 159 miles northeast of Regina almost on the Manitoban border, sometime before 1903, and included both Romanians and Ukrainians from the region of Cernaufi. In 1903 about fourteen of these Orthodox pioneers, seven of each nationality, hauled birch logs with teams of oxen from twenty miles away to construct a small wooden church which they named Holy Trinity. It is one of the best examples of the architectural style of the Romanian homeland: Moldavian in design with log walls and a handmade shingled roof curved at the apse as is common in nineteenth century Romanian churches.
The parish never grew large, and some dissension meant that part of the Romanian families and many of the Ukrainians would not long remain with this church, but withdrew to other churches in the region, passing to Ukrainian communities or even to the United Church. Holy Trinity had to depend on occasional visits from priests coming from Regina, or use Russian or Ukrainian pastors for sporadic services.
In 1957 the parish had seventeen families who by now were either all Romanian or Ukrainian-Romanian, most of the Ukrainians having by that time built their own churches. Ambitiously, this little band decided to build a larger house of worship and in true pioneer fashion set about to construct it themselves, under the guidance of a local carpenter Mike Huziak from nearby Kamsak, who worked without salary. Beginning with a twenty-four foot by fifty foot foundation, work began on June 22, 1957, and the fine new church was completed June 8, 1958, at a cost of about $13,000. Of this, Huziak took only $1,500 for his efforts. An iconostas was brought from the Providence Church Goods Company of Winnipeg, for $1,500. The church would hold about two hundred twenty persons, thus it more than met the community’s needs for the future. Soon afterwards, a modest parish hall was added, holding about one hundred people, with a kitchen, which is also used for religious classes and choir practice. This was finished in 1958, along with a shelter for the horses used for getting to church in the wintertime. Moreover, there is an additional happy touch to this complex, for unlike the situation in cities elsewhere, where the former church is pulverized by urban destruction programs, at MacNutt the original church was simply moved to the edge of the churchyard, where it remains today, an historic architectural monument in itself, and a testimony to the strong faith and sturdiness of those who first homesteaded the great prairies.
All of this is situated on a terrain of two acres first given to the parish by one of the founding members long ago, Vasile Calamcea. Part of the old cemetery remains, containing the mortal remains of the first Romanian and Ukrainian pioneers, and after building the new church another cemetery area was laid out on an additional three acres of ground. No mortgages, no debts – all was paid for or given directly by the parishioners.
On Greensunday, June 8, 1958, the attractive new church with its three pyramided towers was blessed by Archimandrites Martinian Ivanovici and Daniel Maxim, and Father Petru Tatoiu. Today MacNutt’s twelve families have a property around $70,000 in value. Since 1968 Holy Trinity has been served by Father Panteleimon Stanciu, originally from Lokve, Pancevo, Yugoslavia, and a graduate of Saint Sava Seminary. He was ordained on December 2, 1962, by the Serbian Bishop of Banat, Visarion, and emigrated to Canada in June, 1968, where he served for two years at Saint George Church in Regina. Father Stanciu also pastors at the churches in Dysart, Canora, and Assiniboia.