St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral

Because of its size, detailing and impressive profile, St. Josaphat's is the best known of Edmonton's Byzantine style churches.

Until 1902, when the Ukrainian Basilian Fathers arrived in Edmonton, the Ukrainian Catholic population on the prairies was without clergy familiar with their language, culture or liturgy. The Basilians built the original St. Josaphat Church in 1904. However, the parish continued to expand and by the late 1930s the church was deemed too small. Coinciding with the 950-year anniversary of the Christianization of Ukraine, plans were drawn up for an ambitious new building in 1938. St. Josaphat’s was designed by Philip Ruh, the architect responsible for over thirty Ukrainian Catholic churches across Canada. Construction was completed in 1947, and St. Josaphat’s became known as Ruh’s most grandiose example in Alberta.

Built on eighteen city lots in the Byzantine tradition, St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral is an excellent example of Ukrainian-Canadian church architecture. Constructed of red brick walls with dark brick pilasters and yellow brick crosses, the structure is based on the Ukrainian Baroque nine-part cruciform plan and features a grand entrance with wide stairs and columned portico. The church conveys its role as a sacred space through magnificent interior religious murals, and the sacraments are represented by seven octagonal copper domed cupolas. As the sole Ukrainian Catholic church in Edmonton, St. Josaphat’s became the seat of the Bishop when the Ukrainian Edmonton Eparchy was formed in 1948, thus earning it the designation of a cathedral.




Designation Status

Municipal Historic Resource



Year Built



Philip Ruh

Architectural Styles


Character Defining Elements

Brick cladding , Brick structure , Cruciform plan , Cupola , Dome , Intersecting gable roof , Latin cross , Pediment , Pier or Pillar , Pilaster , Portico , Stained glass , String course , Three storeys or more


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