Area residents are appalled with the dilapidated condition of the Sadlow Ukrainian Catholic Church Cemetery in Spruce Siding.
By Marianne Curtis
The derelict condition of one of the oldest Catholic churches in the region has upset a pair of area residents so much they’ve contacted the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan in Winnipeg for assistance.
Craig Pauls and his wife Vi have lived in Spuce Siding for a number of years. He says he is appalled with the condition of the Sadlow Ukrainian Catholic Church Cemetery in Spruce Siding.
“My spouse and I take regular day trips throughout Manitoba to learn about our history. A number of people told us to visit the church, but not for the reasons you might think,” explained Pauls. “The door to the church is open, as it should be, but the interior has been neglected. The floors are dirty, the linens are soiled, and this beautiful little building, which should be a part of our heritage, is coming apart at the seams.”
When they returned home, Pauls was compelled to contact the contact Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan in Winnipeg.
“The church is under his jurisdiction. I also sent a follow-up e-mail to him, asking him what would be done now that he was aware of the shameful condition the property was in. Thus far he has ignored me.”
The Sadlow Ukrainian Catholic Church and Cemetery goes back over a hundred years and may even be the first Russian settlement in Manitoba.
“The people resting in the cemetery were pioneers and part of our heritage,” Pauls continued. “We were absolutely sickened by the state it was in. 80 year old trees are growing from the graves. Crosses have been toppled, and the entire area is overgrown. We don’t even know if we found all the graves. We were in tears.”
In his letter to the Metropolitan, Pauls suggested he take a trip to the site and take “appropriate action to stop the desecration of the site.”
“My spouse and I are not Catholic, but we were so disgusted, we decided we would go and clean the place if no one else would,” Pauls offered in his letter. “That would include hand washing much of the linen.
Paul is hopeful that the church and the province of Manitoba will look into this matter further and see the benefit of cleaning up the site and declare it a provincial heritage site.
Grave stones are barely visible amid the overgrowth.