constantin-and-elena-church-edmontonOn May 24, 1948 a few of us “Edmonton Romanians” gathered together to celebrate Mrs. Elena Fieca’s Patron Saint’s Day – Sts. Constantine and Elena. An idea was put forth to get Stefhan Fieca to become our Parish Priest, following in his father’s footsteps (Revering Fr. Dumetro Fieca). Stefan’s Mother’s fervent wish was for him to enter the priesthood, so with his wife’s and all our coaxing, we won him over – he agreed!

Right then and there we chose the name “Saints Constantine and Elena” in honor of the Patron Saints Day. Next, we made a collection of twenty dollars towards his studies and trip to the Semenary in the States. He vas finally Ordained in Detroit on April 10, 1952, under the guidance of Rev. John Margitich, his Spiritual Father. We elected our first Church Board:

President:                   Bill J. Toma

Vice President:            Nick Hutskal

Secretary:                  Stefhan Fieca

Treasurer:                  Nick Romanko

Directors:                   Dan Suprovich

Nick Suprovich

Nick Johnson

Nick Marian

Social Committee:  Nettie Hutseal;   Elena Fieca; Nadia Suprovich

Social Convenor and Fund Raiser: Mary N. Romanko

We had planned a big feast after his first service, but alas, it was not to be. Instead, he had to perform at his own Mother’s funeral. She had watched the clock all morning, so at 11:00 a.m. she said, “Now he is in front of the Holy Altar taking his vows.” It was precisely at that time, Father Fieca confirmed later, that she silently passed away. Her wish had been fulfilled. Services were held at various places – people’s homes, the Jubilee Auditorium, even at Park Memorial, where they were kind enough to loan us their premises; then to the Anglican Church in Riverdale. Father Fieca served us and our Mather Church of St. Mary’s at Boian until left us to go to Akron, Ohio in 1956. In the ensuing years we had visiting priest: Father Toustiuk served us and Boian for a few years – his first Service in our Romanian Center Hall was in 1996.

In 1996 we formed the Ladies Auxiliary and elected to the Executive:

President:                               Mary N. Romanko

Vice President:                         Doreen Axani

Ani Toma

Secretary: Treasurer Emilia Kakhuk

Other Officers included:         Velma Hawka

Mary Hantiuk

Olga Bizovie

Nadia Suprovich

Lena Ostapiuk (Cazacu)

Pearl Demchiuk

Thirty Members signed up.

In 1961 the Men’s Board was also elected. Their Executive:

President:                                Con Tkachuk

Vice President:                        Steve Axani

Secretary:                                Mike Toma

Treasurer:                                Bill Axani

They worked with Ladies Auxiliary at the home of Mike Dubitz, until the next election in 1964. On the new executive:

President:                                Steve Axani

Vice President:                         Alex Hantiuk

Secretary:                                 Mike Toma

Treasurer:                                 Bill Axani

Building Committee:                 Sandy Hawka

Nick Romanko

Dan Bozocea

Mike Dubitz


In took some time to find the land. Several trips to City Hall to confer with Mr. Armstrong of the Land Department for a suitable site, then on to Mr. Roger’s in Town Planning to re – zone it for a Church. I was then able to take the plan to the Board for approval. They did and the deal was made. Arranging the mortgage was our next step, at Edmonton Savings Credit Union. The mortgage was paid off in 1968.

Phase I was the Romanian Center (Hall), which gave us revenue. We were proud owners of property at 9005 – 132 Avenue in the City of Edmonton. The building contract was awarded to our Romanian contractor, Nick Kachuk.

We held many fundraising functions such as bazaars, teas and socials, with catering to follow. To this day, our Ladies Auxiliary is still rolling many a cabbage roll, and making our famous cheese dumplings.

We starting bingos at “Troc 59” in 1958, then moved into our own Centre in 1965. Bingos and lotteries were our prime source of income, plus private donations. Mary Romanko ran the bingos in both places for twenty years and lotteries for 15 and one – half years. Nettie Hutseal was a great help. Hall Managers were Nick and Mary Romanko from 1965 – 1968; Ed Ostapiuk 1968 – 1969; Alex Russ 1969 – 1970 and many more since.

On May 4, 1965 we had our first party in the new Romanian Center, but we had to dance on a cement floor! The first wedding was on August 14, 1965; the first Baptism was in April 14, 1967. Our first bingo in the Center was held Ocober 4, 1965.

We hosted the Romanian Ballet on tours in 1966 and 1968, performing at the Jubilee Auditorium. We heard that nowhere in Canada were they so warmly welcomed.

In 1969 Reverend Father Mircea Panciuk arrived and helped us along in all our endeavors to build a Church. We had raised considerable funds, so in 1970 we started the plans for our Church. A Building Committee was formed:

Father Panciuk

Nick Hutseal

Nick Daniel

Mike Perozni

Bill Lipon

Steve Axani

Nick Romanko

An enthusiastic “turning of the sod” took place on a cool, misty day, March 14, 1971. The Church was built and consecrated on May 22, 1972. Feather Panciuk served us for 19 years.

The Presidents of the Church Boards throughout the years were:

Con Tkachuk

Steve Axani

Nick Hutseal

Nick Romanko

Pat Shewchiuk

Nick Daniel

Steve Iftody

Willis Romanko

Mary K. Romanko

Les Lutic

Len Lutic

George Axani

Art Axani

Con Lutic

Dorene Zawadiuk

Paul Shelemey

Richard Toma

We carried on with religious and cultural activities: Romanian Folk Dance groups included the Fluturasi Dancers, Miorita and Balada; Sunday School and Church summer camps for children; choir and caroling; a tent at the Heritage Festival and a sponsored the Youth Group and the Dance Group with Bingo funds.

Our pride shows when we count our accomplishment: a Romanian record of traditional songs and ballads, and a film, “And So They Stayed.” We held a Christmas Concert at Killarney School and the school in Willingdon, performing “Caluti – The Horse Dance” and the play “Irod – about King Irod and the Christ Child.”

In 1977 for a film on “Memories of Our Culture,” we participated on a television program, “The Village Square”. We performed again in 1979 and 1980 on CFRN – TV; our Choir sang, dancers performed, we had a fashion show and displayed Romanian artifacts. We also went on radio programs and made some tapes. Musicologist Valeriu Apan helped us on many of these productions.

Father Gheorghe Brazgan has been serving our parish for the last 15 years. He teaches the church choir new songs and has started the men’s choir, which sings exceptionally well. He is working very hard and the people are staying faithful. With The Grace of God to give us good health and the strength, may we carry on for generation to come!

Founding Members:

  1. Bill and Katie Axani
  2. Steve and Doreen Axani
  3. George and Olga Bezovie
  4. John and Mary Budnitsky
  5. Dorothy Cochrane
  6. Mike and Sanda Chibree
  7. Mike and Sandra Dubitz
  8. Gheorghe and Pearl Demciuk
  9. Steve and Elena Fieca
  10. Alex and Mary Hantiuk
  11. Alex and Velma Hauca
  12. Steve and Dorothy Hauca
  13. Nick and Dora Hauca
  14. Nick Nutseal
  15. Nettie Hutseal
  16. Jenny Hutzcal
  17. Mike and Rose Hutzcal
  18. Steven Hutzcal
  19. Nick and Sadie Johnson
  20. Nick and Emilia Kachuk
  21. Nick Marion
  22. Mary G.M. Mihalcean
  23. Lena Ostapiuk
  24. Mike and Freda Powell,
  25. Nick and Mary Romanko
  26. John and Victoria Sarafincean
  27. Steve and Mary Seminiuk
  28. Mike and Katie Serbu
  29. Dan and Katherine Suprovich
  30. Nick and Nadia Suprovich
  31. Harry and Helen Svekla
  32. Metron and Mary Svekla
  33. Con Tkachuk
  34. Bill and Katie Toma