Holy Trinity Church

Smoky Lake, Alberta

Holy Trinity Church

Founded 1900

Diocese: Archdiocese of Canada

Deanery: Alberta Deanery


Junction of Hwys 855 and 28
Smoky Lake, Alberta

Mailing address:

c/o Box 495
Smoky Lake, AB T0A 3C0

Parish Contacts

PO Box 691
Smoky Lake, AB T0A 3C0
Home: 780-656-3828


The church is located one block northwest of the junction of highways 855 and 28 (SE28-59-17-W4).

Schedule of Services

Services are in English and Salvonic, and the parish follows the Old Calendar.

10:00 AM Divine Liturgy, USUALLY ON THE 1st SUNDAY OF THE MONTH. Please call ahead to confirm.
Sunday Morning

Parish Background

In the 1890s, Slavic immigrants began arriving in Canada from Bukovina and Galicia.  The first pioneer to arrive in the Smoky Lake area was Stefan Dwernychuk from the village of Toporoutz, about 15 miles north of the town of Chernovtsi in Bukovina.  He opened a store and operated the post office.

In the years 1900-1910, many families from the village of Toporoutz arrived and settled in the Smoky Lake area.  Families came from other villages, such as Volocha, Ostricha, Molodia and Rarancha, as well as from villages in Halichina (Galicia).  By 1903, there were over 20 families in the vicinity of Smoky Lake.  They became active in organizing a parish.  The Northwest Territories of Canada granted 25 acres of land to the parish which also purchased another 15 acres alongside for a church and cemetery.  Both are located on the the quarter of SE 28-57-17-w4th, which is one mile northwest of the present town of Smoky Lake.  In 1904, a meeting was held and trustees were elected.

In 1905, Rev Jacob Skibinsky from Wostok, AB visited the parish, and consecrated the site for a church.  He served the first Divine Liturgy.  This marked the birth of the Toporoutz parish.  Construction of the church began in 1907 and was completed in 1908.  In 1909, on the feast day of the Holy Trinity, the church was consecrated by Bishop Alexander (Nemilovsky).

The first priest to serve in our new church was Hieromonk Visarion (Shestakov).  The early pioneers believed firmly and held on steadily to their Orthodox faith.  This gave them courage and energy to overcome obstacles and hardships.  Their material goods were few and simple; nevertheless, the people cooperated and helped each other in times of need.

Tragedy struck the parish in 1928, when, on Holy Saturday, fire destroyed this first church.  Construction of a new church began immediately, and the present structure was built.  Harry Holowaychuk directed the plans and the construction of the present church.  VRev Andrew Kokolsky was the parish priest during this time, and today parishioners recall how Fr Andrew lifted the iron cross to the very top of the high dome when it was installed.  To this day it remains a landmark and symbol of Orthodoxy in the Smoly Lake parish of the Holy Trinity.  In the same year the new church was consecrated by Bishop Arseny.

In 1912, a residence for the priest was built on the grounds near the church.  The first resident priest was Rev John Puchalsky who departed to the United States in 1918.  The bell tower was built in 1916, and then a kitchen and dining hall were added to the bell tower.  In 1945, a new four-room residence was built.  It has been modernized with running water, electricity and propane heating.

Records of the parish reveal that 29 priests have served the parish during its history.  The current priest, Rev Wasyl Kolega, has served the parish since 1999.

A highlight in the history of the parish occured in 1966 when the parish requested the late Archbishop Panteleimon to receive it into the jurisdiction of the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox Diocese of Canada.  Another great event in the life of the parish took place in 1969 when Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev and Galicia, Exarch of the Ukraine for the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox Church, visited Canada and the US.  He made a visitation to Smoky Lake where he celebrated a Divine Liturgy.  He was accompanied by VRev Nikolai Redetsky of Kiev, Vrev Vitaly Politylo of Lvov and sevretary John Humeniuk.

In 1970, the arrival in Canada of the young and energetic Bishop Makary of Uman as Administrator of the Partiarchal Orthodox Parishes in Canada gave a new and active interest in Orthodoxy in all the parishes of the Patriarchal jurisdiction.  Two priests came with Bishop Makary, and one of them, VRev John Borcha, was appointed to serve the Holy Trinity Church of Smoky Lake as a resident priest.  In 1972, Holy Trinity Church was highly honored by the visitation of Bishop Vladimir of Chernigov, who came on the invitation of Bishop Makary and was accompanied by VRev John Korol of Lvov, VRev John Chernienko of Kiev, and Protodeacon Anatoli Shapoval of Odessa.  The parishioners greeted the two bishops with the traditional ceremony of bread and salt, as well as flowers and Fr John Borcha welcomed the bishops and priests.  A Molieben was served, and Bishop Vladimir preached a sermon on Orthodoxy and its blessings to those who follow its teachings.

Today, among the ministries of the parish include a sisterhood and parish executive committee.  These 2 organizations are active in directing the parish life.  Please join us when you are in the area.

St Michael Church
This graveyard and old church had always been attached to Holy Trinity Church in Smoky Lake, but was not listed.  The cemetery is called Shevchenko Church or North Kotzman.  It is located at Part of Section 30 Twp 60 Range 16, West of 4th Meridian in the county of Smoky Lake, AB.