Whitebeech – Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (closed)
Church of the Nativity of the B.V.M. constructed 1949, 141/2 miles north ofArran; R.M. 331.
WHITEBEECH — The church of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary is the first church of the parish.
Propam’yatna Knyha, published 1941, on page 244 records the following: “In the forested district north of Arran live several dozen families who are spiritually served by the priest from Arran. Holy services are presently held in a private home. The faithful are raising funds to construct a church and have made plans to begin construction in the spring of 1942. They already have a church and cemetery site”. Based on this information given in the Propam’yatna Knyha this date can be considered as the founding date of the parish. The plans to construct a church were finally realized in 1949; Bishop Andrew Roborecki blessed the church on July 11, 1954.
The wooden cruciform church, 40 x 20 feet, stands on a low concrete basement and has an architecturally complementing shingled roof with a low centrally located blind dome. The dark sheet metal dome is apexed by a decorative cross; similar but smaller in size cupolas grace the frontal towers found on corresponding sides of the main entrance. The exterior and interior walls have narrow wood siding and contain several rectangular windows with semicircular summits.
The church is east-west oriented with a west main entrance sheltered by a low roof. At the east end of the church, the elevated sanctuary contains the main altar and has two adjoining sacristies; the south sacristy exits to the church grounds through a small adjoining porch. In the interior the church is dominated by a vaulted cruciform ceiling with a sealed central dome. The oil on canvas paintings in the church and the stylized flora ornamentation and symbols, painted directly on the walls, were done in 1950 by Theodore Baran.
The church has a choir loft which is entered by a stairway originating at the south wall of the nave; its wooden floor is carpeted before the main altar; lighting is by candles only while heating is accomplished by a wood and coal burning cast iron stove.
The parishioners constructed the church through their private donations and voluntary labour with construction costs totalling $10,000.
Near the church stands a cross with the Crucifixion; adjacent to it stands a single bell belfry which was constructed at the same time as the church. The parish cemetery is two miles south-east of the church.
Ukrainian settlement in this area began in 1907 with settlers predominantly from the Zaiishchyky and Borshchiv counties. Their move to the immediate district of this parish occurred in 1928. In 1961 the parish registered 70 souls (Directory), in 1975 there were 7 families. In 1976 the parish executive included; Rev. Zdzislaw Karcz, MSF, Nick Burtnack and Peter Witow.
The Ukrainian Catholic parish of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Whitebeech, is under the pastoral charge of Arran.
The church was constructed in 1948 in westerly reference to a once existent post office under this name located 14 miles north-east of the church.