First Ukrainian-owned church listed for Eurovision

time:2023-06-09 06:02:49source:NBC News author:Press center6

The first church owned by Ukrainian Catholics in the UK has been given listed status ahead of Eurovision.

Liverpool has begun its hosting of the contest after the UK offered to host on behalf of 2022's winners Ukraine.

To mark the event, Salford's Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Dormition of the Holy Mary Mother of God and other sites in Northern England have been listed.

Historic England's (HE) Duncan Wilson said it was a chance to "celebrate Ukrainian heritage" in the UK.

Mr Wilson, the organisation's chief executive, said it was "turning the spotlight on special places which help tell the story of Ukrainian life and traditions".

HE said people from Ukraine had had "a powerful connection to... in the north of England for over a century", with the first recorded population settling in Manchester in the late 19th and early 20th Century.

Ukrainian Catholic priest Reverend Dr Taras Khomych, who is also senior lecturer in theology at Liverpool Hope University, said highlighting the stories of Ukrainian communities in the North was "a wonderful way of supporting our heritage at a time when, once again, it is under threat in Ukraine".

"This is welcome recognition of the role that culture and traditions play in safe-guarding our way of life," he added.

An HE representative said the now-Grade II listed church in Salford, which opened in the late 19th Century as the Sunday school for the nearby Congregational Church, was bought by the Ukrainian community in 1954 to "create their first permanent home in the North".

They said it was "converted by adding traditional features", including an iconostasis, a brightly coloured, highly ornate screen of icons, and "was designated as the 'mother church' - or Sobor - when it was consecrated".

The Ukrainian Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul and All Saints in Northmoor, Oldham, has also been listed at Grade II.

The HE representative said the former late Victorian Anglican church, which was adopted in 1987, was a "fantastic blend of English and Ukrainian religious traditions".

"It looks like a traditional Anglican Church, with a soaring-gothic design, beautifully detailed architecture and stained-glass windows [but] important features have been added to adapt the church for its new congregation," they said.

These include an "elaborate" baldacchino, a metal canopy over the altar, and an iconostasis.

The Ukrainian Community Memorial in North Bierley Municipal Cemetery, Bradford, has also been listed, while the listings for Manchester's Roman Catholic Church of St Chad, the Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Catholic Church of The Most Holy Trinity & Our Lady of Pochaiv in Bradford and Huddersfield's Edgerton Hill Ukrainian Community Centre have been updated to reflect their Ukrainian history.

Mr Wilson said culture and customs were "vital to national identity" and the places listed were "established as safe spaces, over decades, by people who wanted to keep Ukraine in their hearts and their heritage alive".

"They show the resilience and resourcefulness of Ukrainian communities and their dedication to protecting their language, beliefs, and way of life," he added.

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said as excitement was growing for Eurovision, the government wanted "to recognise and celebrate how the people of Ukraine have helped shape our nation over many generations".

"These sites... are important for Ukrainians at home and in the UK," he said.

"Granting them listed status means they can be cherished and protected for years to come."

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