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1940-1949

The War Years and Aftermath

After lengthy negotiations in spring of 1940 Archimandrite Aggey (Mazur) of Calgary (formerly of the Pochayev Lavra in the Ukraine) was received from the Russian Church Abroad and appointed Rector of the Holy Resurrection Church. In 1942 the St. Nicholas parish in Vancouver disbanded, most members joined our parish.

When Nazi Germany invaded Russia, this was welcome news to some parishioners who wanted the Communist regime overthrown and their properties restored to them, but the majority of the parishioners were gravely concerned about the fate of their Motherland. A Red Cross assistance group was formed and started fundraising efforts. During 1942-45 the Committee for Helping the Motherland staged shows for the benefit of the Russian Relief Fund. In 1943 the City of Vancouver adopted Odessa (USSR) as a sister city, and members of Holy Resurrection greeted Soviet sailors in the port of Vancouver together with representatives of various Russian organizations. Russian Canadians of different backgrounds, persuasions and political views were joined in the cause of helping their Motherland in her terrible struggle.

During the postwar years, the parish concentrated its charity on helping the Russian refugees in Europe. Shows and collections were performed for their benefit. Many parcels were sent to DP (Displaced Persons) camps in Germany and Austria, many letters received with thanks and requests. Later some of the recipients of the aid made their way to Canada and all the way to Vancouver. The Ladies’ Auxiliary sponsored several refugee families.

In 1946 a new lower floor was built and decorated in the Community House. It housed a kitchen and a dining room. The funds were raised through parishioners’ donations and an interest-free loan. Mr. A. S. Sysoloff restarted the Russian school. The annual Russian Child’s Day was inaugurated. A balalaika ensemble was born. Mrs. S. N. Pashkovsky directed plays, song and dance numbers by children. The leaders of the parish in the 1940s include ROS presidents K. N. Mamontoff, L. A. Krivtsoff, N. E. Shtikoff, N. F. Evaschenko, church wardens V. Y. Podlegaieff, F. I. Atamanenko, E. P. Rozvaliaeff, Ladies’ Auxiliary presidents A. P. Mironoff, O. F. Sysoloff, and choir director E. A. Andreyeff.

In the postwar years, the North American Metropolia’s attempts to restore canonical relations with the Moscow Patriarchate caused the dissolution of the agreement with the Karlovtsy Synod (the Russian Church Abroad). The parish was split by divided loyalties. In 1948 Fr. Aggey attempted to persuade the ROS General Meeting to switch allegiance, and the minority who supported him left to restart the St. Nicholas parish. The Council petitioned for a replacement priest. Bishop John (Shakhovskoy) of Brooklyn came in August to investigate the trouble and removed Fr. Aggey from office. He recommended to the Society that they invite a priest from a DP camp in Europe – archpriest Leonid Kaspersky. Fr. Leonid was paid his way from Germany, arrived in February and was appointed Rector of Holy Resurrection Church. He was youthful, energetic and immediately liked by everyone. A nearby house and plot were purchased for $3,000, and the priest moved in.

Archpastoral visits were rare during the 1940s. Bishop Ioasaph (Skorodumov) of the Russian Church Abroad guided the faithful in Canada from Edmonton during 1938-1946. Metropolitan Theophilus visited in the summer of 1947. In 1949 Bishop John (Shakhovskoy) of Brooklyn undertook a tour of Canada and reported to the Holy Synod on the detrimental effect of the absence of a bishop, the difficulties caused by the lack of priests, and the growing tensions in Canada between the Metropolia and the Russian Church Abroad.