Cranbrook BC Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne Orthodox Church 2006

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Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne Cranbrook BC.jpg Saint Aidan's Church Cranbrook.jpg

Cranbrook, BC, Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne Orthodox Church, 2006


The parish of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne in Cranbrook, British Columbia, came into being as a diverse collection of individuals scattered throughout the East and West Kootenays region of British Columbia, who met occasionally when a priest was available.

From the beginning, an important element has been observed about this particular community. That element is its 2 foci. The 2 cities of Cranbrook and Creston (80 km (50 mi) distant to the west, and over the mountains) contribute to the membership of this mission. Travel along a sometimes dangerous highway (weather) add to the challenge of nurturing all the faithful involved in this community. This travel also presents difficulties to the faithful regarding their sense of being a cohesive community and regarding their witness to their neighbours. Despite the challenges, the faithful parishioners have been perseverant. In the early years, there were difficulties in securing a stable location for worship-services. Eventually, there would be an agreement with the Ukrainian Catholic bishop of New Westminster and British Columbia, regarding a building which they were no longer using in Cranbrook.

Organising the community, 2004

In 2004, and through the following 2 years, there were initial meetings amongst some of the Orthodox faithful people in Creston and Cranbrook. They were exploring the feasibility of starting an Orthodox Christian mission parish in the East Kootenays.

 The founding families included were the Bartletts, the Bassarabas, the Deardens, the Felthams, and the Viers.  

At first, some initial services were provided by the Priest Gregory Horton of the Antiochian Archdiocese in nearby Post Falls, Idaho. This included the bringing in the well-known Archpriest Peter Gilchrist for a meeting and public speaking event. During this period, for 2 years, Father Taras Krochak of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada would travel from Calgary every month or so until health troubles forced him to stop travelling. He then asked the Archpriest Larry Reinheimer (of The Holy Martyr Peter parish in Calgary, Alberta) to try to continue this work. As a result, Father Reinheimer began travelling to Cranbrook and Creston. For about a year, he travelled every 6 weeks from Calgary. He travelled along with some parishioners of Saint Peter’s on a rotating basis. In order to encourage stability and continuity, he encouraged the Cranbrook-Creston faithful to gather together on Sundays when he was not able to be present, and to pray together the service of the Typical Psalms.

In 2005, the Archpriest Larry Reinheimer and the Priest Richard René began to serve the community monthly. They would each drive from Calgary, Alberta, to do this (alternating with one another), and there was some support for this work from the parish of the Holy Martyr Peter the Aleut there. The result of these visits was an increasing sense of cohesion and purpose.

In 2006, the community was officially established as a Kootenay mission station in the Archdiocese of Canada, and the first official services were in January for the Feast of Theophany (6-8 January). On 6 February, there was an official meeting led by Father Larry Reinheimer, in which the community chose its heavenly intercessor. This choice made the mission the second Saint Aidan Orthodox Church in the world (the first is in England). In November, a "mission board" was chosen and established, and the number of services of the Typical Psalms was increased.

On 1 January, 2007, one of the members of the community took an official letter to Bishop Seraphim (Storheim) in Calgary (where he was serving at the time). The letter requested that the community be recognised officially as a mission, and that a priest be assigned to the mission. The request for mission status was blessed. At about the same time, the community decided to offer weekly services of the Typical Psalms. In October of that year, the Priest Richard René was assigned to be the priest-in-charge of the new Mission of Saint Aidan.

Renting and renovating a Temple, 2008

On 2 February, 2008, as a result of Father René's work, the mission entered into an agreement to rent the Ukrainian Catholic church of Saint Mary. This agreement was blessed by the Ukrainian Catholic Bishop of New Westminster, Kenneth Nowakowski.

On 26-27 April, 2008 (the Feast of Pascha), the first services were offered in the new Temple.

On 3 May, 2008, the Priest Richard René was assigned to be the full-time priest of the mission.

On 31 August, 2008, Archbishop Seraphim and the chancellor, the Archpriest Dennis Pihach, arrived and served for the feast-day of the mission.

The Priest Richard René served the community at first for 8 months as a commuter from Calgary, and then for 4 years as the resident priest in Cranbrook. He and his family lived in the house adjacent to the Temple.

In May, 2012, the Priest Richard René and his family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where Father Richard became a chaplain.

From that time, and for more than a year, the mission was served periodically by the Priest Kaleeg J Hainsworth, and by the Dean, the Mitred Archpriest Michael Fourik. However, since they travelled from Vancouver, the Divine Liturgy could be offered only monthly. The community accepted the responsibility of gathering again to serve the Typical Psalms every week during the intervals.

In September of 2013, the newly-ordained Priest Andrew Applegate, remaining attached to Saint Peter's, was assigned to serve the mission as priest-in-charge. He then travelled from Calgary to serve the mission approximately every 3 weeks.

In December of 2014, Archbishop Irénée (Rochon) visited the mission. He ordained Paul Bartlett to be a subdeacon, and David Pasivirta to be a reader. He also gave a blessed gramota (certificate) to Ellen Dearden.

On 18 March, 2015, the Priest Andrew Applegate was assigned to serve the mission as its rector. He and Matushka Sonia moved to Cranbrook. After 28 trips, the commuting ended. Then, on 31 August, Archbishop Irénée came to serve on the patronal feast-day.

Father Andrew and Matushka Sonia.jpg The Priest Andrew and Matushka Sonia Applegate, 2016

The next steps in development occurred first, when Father Andrew and Matushka Sonia purchased their own house in Cranbrook, and they took up residence there in March of 2016. Next, at the annual meeting of the mission parish, the parish by-laws were reworked, and the lawyer Donald Paolini was asked to incorporate the parish for the coming autumn. Then also, Father Andrew began to be available 2 days a week at published office-hours times.

20170221 Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne parish Cranbrook BC s.jpg Archpastoral visit of Vladyka Irénée (Rochon)

Thus, the community has continued to persevere in Christ, and in the same manner they will in Christ continue.

The mission was elevated to the status of a church/parish.

On 13-15 October, 2016, an Orthodox Christian conference, "Healing Earth", was held in Cranbrook. The conference considered Orthodox Christian perspectives on ecology and climate change. The speakers included the Archpriest Michael Oleksa, the Priest John Kaleeg Hainsworth, Mark Sandford and the Priest Nilos Nellis.

In January, 2017, Deacon Dr. Kurt Edward Jordan (who had served earlier in the Vancouver region, and then in New Brunswick, and in Halifax, Nova Scotia) moved to Creston, British Columbia, where he joined a medical clinic and, and where he began his medical practice on 6 February. He was, therefore, attached to Saint Aidan's Church in Cranbrook.

Purchase of the Temple ; restoration of the Temple, 2017

On 31 March, 2017, the parish was able to purchase the building in which they had been worshipping for 9 years. The previous owner was the Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski and the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of New Westminster.

Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski had approached the parishioners and asked whether they would consider buying the building from them if they were to give the parishioners a mortgage for the entire purchase price of $250,000 (including the church and the 3 bedroom 2-story house next door at 1% interest. This made the mortgage payments about the same as the previous lease payments to them. It was a God-sent opportunity and an easy decision. The mission parish was now the owner of a classical historical building.

Within 2 weeks of purchase, by the Lord's blessing, Columbia Basin Trust/Heritage BC and their Built Heritage Grant programme announced a grant programme which seemed tailor-made for the situation of the parish. Upon applying for and receiving a $70,000 grant to do the needed restoration work, the parishioners spent the autumn completely restoring the exterior of the building for a total cost of around $100,000. The building was 65 years old, and it badly needed restoration work done. The work enabled by the grant included new rafters ; a properly double-ventilated “cold roof” system ; extended new cedar soffits and fascia ; completely restored stucco repairs with a new stucco top coat on the entire building ; new cedar front stairs ; a new timber-framed entrance roof. All this was crowned by a beautiful 24-gauge hidden-fastener steel roof with state-of-the-art snow fence system. This means that the building will be “icicle free”.

There had been a fire in 1979. Although the interior of the building had been repaired, some of the rafters had been charred, and the structural strength of the roof system was in question. Immediately upon purchasing the building, the parish hired a local structural engineering expert, and he confirmed that there were substantial and very expensive repairs to be done. In addition, the stucco was original and needed restoration ; the front stairs needed repairs ; the roof ventilation system was defective (thus faithfully producing huge icicles each winter.

Since the restoration work was completed, Father Andrew Applegate has been stopped countless times in the city and congratulated about the amazing restoration of the Temple with the large distinctive silver Cupola (dome). It is one of Cranbrook's treasured historical buildings.

Hierarchical visitation

On 19 April, 2017, Archbishop Irénée (Rochon) visited the parish. He served the Divine Liturgy, and he baptised several persons.

20170419 StAidanparish 2.jpg Parishioners with Archbishop Irénée (Rochon) 2017

In June, 2017, the Archpriest Larry Reinheimer, who had the blessing to reduce his pastoral activities, moved from Victoria to Wynndel, British Columbia. He was assigned to the parish of Saint Aidan.

Most of the restoration work in the autumn of 2017 was accomplished by an Orthodox contractor and his team from the Saint John in the Wilderness mission parish at Birchdale, British Columbia.

The restored entrance S.jpg Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne Orthodox Church restored entrance

Saint Aian restored side S.png Saint Aidan Temple, restored side

Renovations continued in 2018 with the replacement of the former cupola with a new one. During the exterior restoration project, the existing cupola was found to be in much worse condition than was anticipated. It was discovered that it was built with a very basic skeleton framing structure that had thin tin bent around the frame. The tin had many holes and wear from hail and wind over the years ; nails had fallen out, and the caulking had failed. It had far exceeded its useful “service life”. Since there was no structure with which to work, a complete reconstruction of the cupola was required, together with an improvement in the structure and sheathing of the tower so as support the new cupola that was required. Andrei Botezatu and his company “High Standard Installations” in Calgary was commissioned to design, build and install the needed replacement cupola. Andrei is a highly-skilled architect from Moldova who now lives in Canada.

Andrei first carefully designed the perfect shape. He then built the main “onion” dome, sheathed it completely with ¾ in. planking and then smoothed it over with molded ¼ in. plywood. He added 6-sided soffits under the dome to allow for proper drainage and to improve the aesthetics. He then added a beautiful bell-house, topped with a matching roof over it to house the parish's 2 new bells. In keeping with the natural resources of the region (the Sullivan zinc mine), he purchased thick 22-gauge pure zinc sheets, and then he hand-cut and formed the individual diamond shingles to cover the main dome. He hammered out by hand the 10 ft. zinc cap sections between the diamond shingle sections. The 3 roofs over the soffit, the “onion” dome, and the bell-house are also clad in 22-gauge pure zinc. The soffits themselves are done in ¾ in. tongue-and-groove cedar to match the rest of the new cedar soffits, and to keep to the theme of using locally-sourced materials. The crowning touch is a pure aluminum 7-ft.-tall 3-bar Orthodox Cross, re-proportioned from the Cross that used to grace the parish's Mother Church in Calgary, Saint Peter the Aleut, at their original building.

The Cross was very appropriately installed on Saturday evening, 10 March, just as Vespers ended and the 3rd Sunday of Great Lent, “The Veneration of the Cross” began. After Vespers, the parishioners went out and sang “O Lord, save Your people…”. After the Divine Liturgy of the Sunday of the Cross, they again went out, again to sing, and to bless the Cross from the "manlift".

East view of new cupola S.jpg East view of the new cupola from the roof

This parish is a part of the Deanery of Alberta & Northwest Territories, of the Archdiocese of Canada, of The Orthodox Church in America. The dean is Archimandrite Gerasim (Power). The bishop is Archbishop Irénée (Rochon).

The community follows the New (Revised Julian) Calendar.

The Altar Feast-day of this parish is the Feast of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, 31 August.

In 2018, the rector of the parish is the Priest Andrew Applegate. The Archpriest Larry Reinheimer is attached to the parish. The 2 deacons of the parish are Deacon Paul Bartlett and Deacon Dr. Kurt E Jordan.

Address :

Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne's Orthodox Church

201-7th Avenue South

Cranbrook, British Columbia

V1C 2J6

Telephone : 250-420-1582

Web-site :


Directions :

By car :

Cranbrook is 846 km (525 mi) east of Vancouver. Follow the Trans-Canada Highway #1 and BC Highway #3/95 east to Cranbrook. This drive takes approximately 9 hours.

Exit Highway #95 at 2nd Street South and drive to 7th Avenue. The Temple is situated at the corner of 7th Avenue South and 2nd Street South, about 4 blocks from Highway #95 (Van Horne Street South).

Cranbrook is 403 km (240 mi) southwest of Calgary through the Kicking Horse Pass. Drive westwards on the Trans-Canada Highway #1 from Calgary. Follow the Trans-Canada Highway westwards through the pass. At Castle Junction, turn onto BC Highway #93 towards Radium Hot Springs. At Radium Hot Springs, follow BC Highway #95 south to Cranbrook. The drive takes approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Exit Highway #95 at 2nd Street South and drive to 7th Avenue. The Temple is situated at the corner of 7th Avenue South and 2nd Street South, about 4 blocks from Highway #95 (Van Horne Street South).

By bus :

Consult Cranbrook Transit. There is bus service in the city.

Priest Andrew Brent Applegate

912-12th Street South

Cranbrook, British Columbia

V1C 1W7

Telephone : 250-420-1582

E-mails : ;

Archpriest Larry Reinheimer

E-mail :

Reference :

OCA listing, original article

Additional information :

Article about Father Andrew and Matushka Sonia

Parish website

Archdiocese listing

OCA listing

Archbishop Irénée (Rochon)

Archdiocese of Canada

Archdiocese of Canada Facebook

Wikipedia about Cranbrook

"Healing Earth" conference

"Baptisms at St Aidan of Lindisfarne Orthodox Church" 19 April, 2017

"Restoration of St Aidan Orthodox Church in Cranbrook, BC" 28 February, 2018

"St Aidan Orthodox Church in Cranbrook Caps Recent Renovations with New Cupola" 27 March, 2018