Music: A I loved the fuckin tunes here holy cow. When we came in there were bells ringing, a priest was walking around with the incense holder thing which also has bells on it, and there were three guys upstairs singing. It was a beautiful, minimalist cacophony. Awesome. Eventually there came to be a whole choir and it was very good. Probably the fact that their songs were overwhelmingly in ukrainian helped me like them better. Of course, i could follow it in english in the textbook (i don’t know what they call it?), but i wasn’t doing that half the time. Also, very much like the ukrainian catholic church i went to a few months ago, almost the entire service was sung. It’s just a back and forth ritual in song, between the priest and the audience. Here it was mostly the choir that sang, which made it seem less communal and more professional, but it was made up for by the quality of the songs and the choir.
people who will die in the next 20 years: 10%
pastor charisma: C- He was boring and hard to understand and talked about boring shit.
décor, iconography: Ok. This place was super off the chain. There’s a humongous mosaic on the front face of the building, one of those alpha and omega JC’s. Amazing. Then inside there’s just gold everywhere. Possibly the most impressive object is the gold partition that separates the place where the priests go to be secret from the common area of the church. It was probably 40 feet tall in places and was all golden and had images of people on there and fruit and plants and suns. It was bonkers as fuck. Behind there was all kinds of secret artwork that you can only sorta see, only for the priests’ enjoyment haha. Then there was a very impressive chandelier too, massive. Also lots of large stained glass windows with people on them flanked by wheat. One had two buildings in there too, don’t know what the buildings were but they didn’t look biblical, so they may be choice ukrainian orthodox buildings or something. Anyhow, those were some things that stuck out to me, ultimately though, this is a beautiful culty cathedral, what more can i say?
food/drink: I think they were having a chilling with coffee zone afterwards, but the service was long enough already, so we peaced before finding out about it.
scare quotient: Maybe it was there, but i wasn’t super paying attention to that part.
number of people: 40?
The real story:
So… it was a typical sunday morning: minus a fucking hundred outside, why am i still doing this? I picked jaymie up, and we drive up salter towards the north end. At about william, i see a copper coming my way, and as i pass him i see that stare and two seconds later i see him pulling a uey (youey? u-y? ewey?) and i knew we were getting pulled the fuck over. Stoked that we were running a little early cuz cops are people too and if they gotta pull someone over for a very stupid reason, well, they got mouths to feed too right? lol. pigs.
Anyway, after that incident, we got to the church and right away the first thing i noticed was there were only about 8 cars in the parking lot and it was supposed to have started about 2 minutes ago already. I thought maybe i’d gotten the time wrong which would’ve been huge bummer-time, but when we got in it had already started, some old dude was welcoming us in ukrainian and gave us the church bulletins and everything. There were like 8 people in the pews. for real. They were still turning lights on like they’d just gotten there.
This was sorta shocking for a cathedral, i thought people would be a little more into it, especially since it was almost ukrainian xmas. We went upstairs and chose some seats next to where the choir area was. At that point there was only three people up there singing. We later found out that it was a little weird for us to be in that particular spot…
And yeah, as previously mentioned, there was singing, bells, incense; this was gearing up to be quite a sick service, at least aurally, in my opinion. Things were just getting started and people were finally showing up. A couple kids and their grown-up came in and walked up the center aisle, stopped at the front, stood over of some sort of idol or shrine or whatever, crossed themselves three times and then kissed the picture that was lying flat on this thing. Then a few other people did it too as they came in. People had also been buying candles to plop into these big saucers full of sand (?) which i thought was pretty kewl.
They had a prayer where they legit asked god to grant “two or three” prayers and i couldn’t believe it. Jaymie’s all “You can’t expect him to grant them all” and i think that as honest as that is, it’s not very omnipotent seeming(i actually wrote “impotent” there first, what’s with that) and what if you only ask for 2 or 3 things anyway does that work? Can you play the system like that?
The thing you need to understand about this place was that it’s super kvlt and totally all about sick rituals that throw you right back to the kookoo illuminati shit that you all KNOW is what it’s actually all about. For example, the one priest comes out with a, well, to say it’s a hardcover edition is an understatement, it’s a bible basically made out of gold. And he holds it above his head, there’s 6 people from the parish holding long candles flanking the stage and each one of them kisses the bible, so do the choirboys, it’s straight outta the freemasons or some shit. I want anyone who’s down with the JC to think about going around a room, solemnly holding a golden book and getting children to kiss it. Now tell me how you go home after that and listen to Alanis Morissette or whatever like nothing totally fucking weird happened.
Then they sing that JC “has delivered us from the depths of hades” and that mary’s womb has “proven to be a spiritual paradise”. Right. I guess I thought: “It’s january, they can’t keep hammering me over the head with their monstrous fantasies about virginity and god’s cum and whatever” and i forgot that the ukrainians are on a different calendar and so it came out again. But i’m bored of talking about that now so forget it.
One thing i dug about the rituals they kept doing was that there was more than one thing going on at once. I feel like a lot of churches now have as their main objective to make sure no one feels like there’s any mystery to what’s going on. Here there was lots of unexplained things going on, sometimes more than one at at a time, so your mind is occupied by a few things that you don’t even understand. It makes it more of an aesthetic experience for me. Such as: people are singing in ukrainian, a priest is going around waving an incense burner in all sorts of directions but clearly in a secret order, the head priest is slightly obscured by the partition and has his back to us, who knows what he’s up to, there are people holding candles and we don’t know why they’re there and seem to have been chosen at random from the parishioners. You feel me? It’s like ritual chaos in there! But when they start something they sometimes sing: “Let us be attentive” which i find endearing and cute.
Let me explain how we’re positioned in the church. When we got there we went upstairs and into one of three balconies – the one directly facing the front; there were two others on either side of the church. The one we went into i eventually figured was supposed to be for the choir only, and I progressively got more awkward feeling about it, but twice already people from the choir had come over to either welcome us or help us understand what was going on. But at this point in the service, a middle-aged dude in a suit came and stood, almost within spitting distance of us on the side balcony, and looked in our direction with a concerned or confused look. I didn’t let that intimidate me, i just discreetly wrote “guy looks concerned” in my notebook. At the end though, a person from the choir came up to us to welcome us and jokingly thanked us for joining the choir…
Anyway, back to the service: they talked some more about mary’s fertilization, then went into a part of the service called the “Litany of Fervent Supplication” which sounds like a black metal song. Then there’s a horrible sermon, priest is a mumbler, talks about how basically the church is right about stuff and we should be obedient or whatever, fuck that dude.
I wrote down this one prayer down word for word cuz wtf: “we pray for our god-loving and god-protected country, canada, its people, its government and armed forces, that the lord god protect them from all enemies and adversaries”. Probably don’t need to say much about that, except maybe just to mention that it was sung, that thing was sung.
They do that thing again where there’s singing mixed with the one priest going around with the incense and i just love the sound of it, i even think they might have thrown in a couple real church bells in there, which is so awesome, it sounds like it’d feel right on a drone or doom record, it sounds so grim and medieval it’s incredible.
Another noteworthy prayer: “A christian end to our life: painless, blameless, and peaceful; and a good defense before the dread judgement seat of christ, let us ask.” Sound like they’re asking for a good lawyer when they face JC’s judgement and really i can’t blame them that shit is rigged for sure goddam. Also, they promise not to reveal the mysteries of JC to his enemies. Honestly i love kooky shit like that, how can you not really.
When they sing the lord’s prayer they have only one slight difference from the one i’m used to which is “deliver us from the evil one” instead of “deliver us from evil” which i’m sure is significant if you care to elaborate on it but i just thought it’s worth mentioning, especially since it was the only reference to a personified satan in the whole thing.
Then there’s communion and they actually close the doors of the partition (I later read they’re called the “royal doors”) and draw a curtain for that part, so you can’t see their ritual of turning the bread into flesh and wine into blood maybe? I don’t know why they did it but i thought it was awesome. Imagine if they did the whole service behind that, now that would be some awesome sensory deprivation medieval shit, also separating the parish from the judging eyes of JC’s reps on earth, i think it’s a good idea. When they finally come out with the goods, very very few people actually take communion, like less than 50% of the already tiny congregation. Weird.
They were mostly done the service by then, which was good cuz it was hella long, like almost two hours. We looked through the book where they have all the words for all the singing that goes on for every service, obviously a huge book. There was one cool illustration of the crucifixion where JC is in the middle and the two “common criminals” to his side are actually tied, not nailed to their crosses. It was a medieval drawing, and made me wonder about crucifixion and nails and what the deal is with that depiction… A couple people from the choir greeted us afterwards and were very kind, i’m sure it was obvious we were neither returning as adults, nor church shopping, definitely just there for kicks. So i thought they were being genuinely kind i guess, maybe i’m a sucker i guess.
No cops pulled us over on the way back. But yeah, if you’re into checking out a cool-weirdo-medieval-singing-church in winnipeg this one’s pretty alright.