Construction of the Holy Trinity Church at 710 Campbell Avenue began sometime between 1937-1940.This task was the painstaking labor of mostly one man, the Russian Orthodox missionary priest, architect and carpenter, the Reverend Archpriest Alexander Kiziun (1892-1953). Lumber for the project was possibly brought by him from the nearby shipyards where according to one source, Fr. Kiziun helped out and worked at one time.
Father Kiziun arrived in Vancouver in December 1931. Previously he had served parishes and constructed churches in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The local parish here, never exclusively Russian, consisted of mostly working class immigrants of the Eastern Orthodox faith from Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Yugoslavia and other places in Eastern Europe. He managed to complete the exterior of the church by 1950.
After he died in 1953, the church was revived by a new wave of immigrants who had escaped from the Soviet Union fleeing Stalinist tyranny. This new wave strengthened the parish community and the interior of the church with the tall icon-screen and other traditional church furnishings, was completed between 1954-1960. These new post-war parishioners also maintained the church in its entire splendor up to the late 1990’s.
This unique church can only be compared to the well known Canadian prairie churches built by Ukrainian settlers at the beginning of the twentieth century in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It also resembles in many ways the Russian missionary churches built in Alaska. Holy Trinity Church stands in the midst of urban Strathcona. Alone, as if on an island, the church emanates peace, harmony and is a symbol of tranquility and spirituality like a refreshing spiritual oasis in the midst of our inner-city neighborhood.
The building survived the Strathcona Redevelopment Project (1958-1963) and was unharmed. Today it stands by itself surrounded by the Raymur-Campbell Housing Project of 1967.
At present, our parish community, since the late 1990’s, with the breakup of the Soviet Union, has grown in number and younger in age. Yet, it does not have the economic prosperity and stability the post-war years gave to the previous older generation before them. The parish receives no formal stipend from our diocese or from any other sources. The income and donations from our parish members do not always fully cover our expenses.
We earnestly hope and invite everyone who shows an interest in our church building and loves our historic Strathcona neighborhood to come to our aid and help us preserve this distinctive landmark.
The majestic and ornate interior of our church has been lovingly maintained over many years by the members of our parish community, never asking for outside help. Presently, the outside of our church building, known by some as a neighborhood “onion domed jewel”, has come to a state of dire need. Given the constant changes of the cold and moist Vancouver weather, a slow deterioration of the roof and cupolas has set in. A formal Restoration Fund of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church has been established by the parish, a registered Charity with Revenue Canada, to collect funds to maintain the exterior of the building. All donations greater then $ 10.00 are tax deductible.
Since we all care about our Strathcona neighborhood and its authenticity and stability, please help us and contribute to the survival of this beautiful and unique feature of our landscape and piece of our city’s history.
Cheques to be made payable to: Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church.
We thank you for your support.
The Rector and Parish Board of
Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church
Vancouver, B. C.
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Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Wonderworker visited Vancouver and served in our Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in 1964