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The Sixties

In 1961 the Canadian Census showed 9,324 Russians in the Greater Vancouver Area – 1.2% of the total population. (In British Columbia it was 1.7%, in all of Canada – 0.7%). A young generation was growing up; the Canadian Russian Youth Club was formed in May as an association of older teenagers and young adults interested in Russian song, dance and social activities. Most of the original members were graduates of the Russian school. Up to 40 people were singing in the church choir, conducted by Mr. A. M. Panofsky and later by Mr. E. A. Andreyev; there was even a separate youth choir. Throughout the 1960s, Cultural Seasons were held in the halls of the Russian Orthodox Society.

Because of a conflict with some of the parishioners, Fr. Peter announced his resignation next year. He left in Sep. 1962 to become Rector of the St. Nicholas Church in Portland. Archpriest Prokopy Powers (Povarnitsyn) accepted the post of interim Rector of Holy Resurrection Church.

Several holy relics were seen here in the 1960s. On Aug. 18, 1963 the wonderworking Kazan icon of the Mother of God, found in 1579, was displayed at Holy Resurrection Church. The purpose of the tour of North America was to raise funds to purchase the relic from its British owners. In 1964 Archbishop John (Maksimovich) of the Russian Church Abroad brought the wonderworking Kursk icon of the Mother of God to Vancouver. In November of 1966 Archbishop John of Chicago brought the wonderworking Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God to Vancouver again.

Bishop Sylvester (Haruns) was appointed ruling Bishop of Montreal and Canada in June 1963. He visited our church for the first time on Sept.3. In November archpriest Oleg Boldireff, the Dean of Quebec, was appointed Rector of Holy Resurrection Church and moved to Vancouver with matushka Natalia and their five children. He immediately started working to strengthen ties with other Orthodox communities in the Vancouver area and to enhance Orthodox witness. The following year, Missionary Day was held at Holy Resurrection Church together with Greek and Serb priests for the first time.

The 40-th anniversary of the parish was celebrated solemnly on Sept. 27, 1964. Archbishop Sylvester celebrated the Pontifical Liturgy; a banquet and concert followed, attended by representatives of the Federal government, City Hall, the Anglican Bishop of New Westminster and many other guests. Fr. Oleg served the Liturgy in English for the first time on Nov. 22 with the youth choir.

The Rectory was reconstructed. The disused Sts Peter and Paul Chapel in Abbotsford was handed over to the ROS by its owners. It was repaired, and the Divine Liturgy was served there once a month in English. The Ladies’ auxiliary, led since 1964 by Mrs. O. P. Fetisoff, raised much of the money for repairs. Mr. E. Y. Fetisoff and Mr. A. E. Portnoff alternated as ROS Presidents.

Metropolitan Leonty fell asleep in the Lord in May of 1965. Fr. Oleg was a delegate to the All-American Council held in New York on Sep. 22-23, where Archbishop Ireney (Bekish) was elected the new Metropolitan of All America and Canada.

November 1966. The Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God brought to Vancouver by Archbishiop John of Chicago.

The first Lenten retreat was held on April 16, 1967 together with Greek faithful. Fr. Oleg undertook other missionary and outreach activities and maintained a high profile in the community. In November he served a panikhida for the victims of the Russian Revolution and Civil War.

Banket 1067, sitting:  Mr. Sergy, Mrs.Fetisoff, matushka Natalia, Fr. Oleg, Mr. Portnoff, Mr. Fetisoff

The Canada Centennial celebration, planned by ROS President Mr. A. E. Portnoff, in the Holy Resurrection parish was a big success. A special service and banquet were held on June 11, a concert on June 3, an exhibit at the Pacific National Exhibition. Metropolitan Ireney visited on Dec. 24 and awarded a gramota to the choir. At the annual General meeting, the ROS changed its bylaw to make the Metropolia receiver of the ROS property in the event of the Society’s dissolution.

In 1968 Archimandrite Joasaph (Antoniuk) was consecrated Bishop of Edmonton, vicar under Archbishop Sylvester. In 1969 Bishop Joasaph visited our parish and substituted for Fr. Oleg who went on vacation in July.