Blessing of the Restoration and Addition at St Aidan of Lindisfarne Orthodox Church, Cranbrook, BC

September 23, 2023 to September 24, 2023

St Aidan Orthodox Church has finally, after more than a year and a half, completed their large addition/renovation construction project and re-opened on Saturday 23 September with a great Orthodox style celebration lasting more than 3 hours!

Archbishop Iréneé, bishop of Ottawa and all of Canada, along with 7 Priests, 5 Deacons and many guests from BC and Alberta and of course Cranbrook, came to celebrate and bless the new/old Church. The Hierarchical Liturgy included the Blessing of the Waters,  the Ordination of Sub Deacon Pavel - a recently arrived Ukrainian from Kiev - to the diaconate, a procession blessing the exterior walls and also blessing the many people in attendance with Holy Water, and a wonderful celebration meal prepared by the talented ladies (and a couple of the men) of St Aidan’s parish family. The typical Sunday service crowd of around 40 people was tripled to more than 120 and had no problem fitting into the new space with the new balcony, however, the basement eating area was a little overrun with a nice chaotic atmosphere but the food was well worth waiting for!   

There has been much local interest over the last couple years as the construction on the historic 1952 Church built by Cranbrook’s Ukrainian community with the iconic cupola has been very visible on the busy corner of 7th Ave. and 2nd St. S.  The historic church building has been completely renovated and restored. Stripped down to the framing on the inside, the Church has been given new life with completely new Plumbing, heating, electrical, drywall and flooring, and a beautiful new Altar area (now on the east end) with arches, a barrel ceiling and some beautiful new hand painted Icons. The entire west wall as removed to properly tie into the new addition and ½ of the old west basement cement wall was removed to give a seamless flow through the old church building into the new addition.

A 3-level 1320 sq. ft. addition with a new main entrance - now off of 2nd St.;  a new 3 stop lift, handicapped bathroom, interior stairs to the basement and loft levels, and a functional Narthex (porch) area are included in the new addition portion. The front and side exteriors, stained glass, and restored cupola were preserved as original to respect the historic character defining elements of the 70-year-old church.

To get some idea of the scope of the construction work check out the photo gallery >

By building during the huge construction inflationary period brought on by covid, the cost far exceeded the initial estimates, and the little parish of St Aidan has taken on a significant extra debt load. We therefore find ourselves extraordinarily grateful for any and all donations.

Our St Aidan parish family has been serving Liturgy at the Cranbrook Boys and Girls club hall down the street for the last year and a half, setting up and taking down every weekend and are very grateful for the use of the weekend use of the hall to Panagiotis Paleologopoulos of blessed memory, and Rasel. We are very excited to finally be able to worship back home at St Aidan! We are also very grateful to Rev. Kevin and the Christ Church Anglican community as we were able to continue our Monday and Wednesday free breakfast program without ever missing a day by using their kitchen and hall during construction. Our Monday and Wednesday breakfasts are now officially back at St Aidan’s!

Cranbrook is situated between the rugged Rocky and the Purcell mountain ranges, surrounded by countless lakes, rivers and beautiful wilderness, with hiking, fishing, biking and skiing all around.  When people want to downsize to a less expensive more rural BC lifestyle (Cranbrook population 20,000) we are the destination for an Orthodox family. We are pretty much the only English-speaking Orthodox Church in all of BC not located in a large city in the Lower mainland! (Kamloops and Kaslo have mission parishes getting established).

If you want a first-hand look at the new St Aidan’s and are interested in checking out an Orthodox worship service without having to fly to Greece or Eastern Europe, you are welcome to come and join us any Sunday at 10:30am for Divine Liturgy, or any Saturday at 5:30pm for a short Vespers service. Be sure to plan to stay for our potluck lunch! If you would just like to have a tour of the Church, please contact Fr. Andrew Applegate at 250-420-1582 or frandrewapplegate@gmail.com to arrange for an individual or group church tour.

View the entire hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Saturday >

Biography of Saint Aidan >