Our first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the spring of 1927 by our founding members, in East Windsor. Within 10 years, the vision of a hall and church was fulfilled at a site on Seminole Street Our present Sobor, or Sub-Cathedral, was built in the early '60s and dedicated on October 6, 1963. It is part of a block-long complex at 2000 Tecumseh Road East, and includes the Church, a Parish Residence, the Cultural Centre and a Gymnasium-Auditorium. Throughout these years we have been blessed to have many visionary leaders.
The history of our congregation dates back to that first Divine Liturgy celebrated on April 3, 1927. Within ten years a Cultural Centre which initially served as a place of worship was built followed by the construction of a church. During these early years, the devoted parishoners worked diligently with a further vision of building the spiritual and cultural centre.
By the late '30's the Church and Hall were completed on Seminole Street at Hickory Road in East Windsor.
This facility served the parish well for close to thirty years, and saw the growth of Ukrainian School and Sunday School and other cultural activities. During this period, the energetic and visionary Clergy and equally energetic Executives provided a rich environment for substantial growth.
So much so, that another dream emerged - a larger, more comprehensive facility to serve the growing spiritual and cultural needs of the Windsor Ukrainain Orthodox faithful.
Our present site at 2000 Tecumseh Road was acquired in 1955. A Building Fund Committee provided the leadership, raising the necessary funds and commisioned noted architect Alexander Lasko to design the present facility.
In September 1962 construction began and was completed in time for the October 1963 Visitation of Metropolitan Ilarion and Archbishop Michael. Over 1,000 faithful attended the event. During this period, incredible growth resulted from the devotion and hard work of all parishoners and the combined leadership of clergy and congregation.
There were continuous improvements made to the Church and Hall over the next several years - the adjacent property purchased for a paved parking lot, the donation of a one acre site near Tilbury for a summer camp "Poltava", and numerous Church items were acquired.
In 1966 the wood floor was installed in the upper auditorium. In the church, the beautiful chandelier was added as well as crosses and other religious items, all demonstrating the energies of the parish.
Throughout the '60's there was considerable cultural and religious growth. The Ikonostasis was installed in 1972, and was blessed by Archbishop Michael in May. At that time St. Vladimir's was elevated to the status of a Sobor, or Sub-Cathedral. A new altar, the Lord's Tomb and other religious items were also added.
On October 3, 1976 the Burning of the Mortgage was the culmination of the 20 years of incredible growth and development. The next year, the pastoral residence was constructed between the Church and the Hall. In 1981 a Memorial Monument was dedicated in Windsor Memorial Cemetery, and in 1982 a Memorial Board was installed in the Church foyer.
All during this period of growth at 2000 Tecumseh Road East, the various organizations within the parish worked very hard to provide a steady stream of activities for the parish and community - language schools, Sunday school, choir, bandura, choral, youth dancing, bazaars, bingos, concerts, and carolling. Two major activities that have been instrumental in the community identifying St. Vladimir's - the weekly sale of Varrennyky, and our annual Ukrainian Village during the Carrousel of Nations Festival continue to this day.
Both the Womens' Organization, the Lesia Ukrainka, and the Mens' Organization, T.Y.C. provided the necessary resources to maintain the activities necessary for a vibrant parish. In 1985, the Lesia Ukrainka Ladies Organization commissioned the large stone sign in front of the Church, and also established a library in the board room, as well as creating an impressive Museum.
In 1992 the First Phase of Renovations Plans focused on the Hall and renovations brought it to first- class status as the St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Cultural Centre. The Cultural Centre continues to serve as a focal point for all activities within the parish to this day. In addition, it is available for use by the community for wedding receptions, shows and sports activities.
As a Millennium Project in 1999-2000 and the Second Phase of Renovations, the entire interior of the Cathedral was redone, and the Ikonostasis cleaned, refurbished and gilded by the Makarenko Studios of New York.
A second Millennium Project saw the T.Y.C. Organization remaster and reissue a Commemorative CD featuring the St. Vladimir's Choir and Bandurist Ensemble as a tribute to long-time Choir Director Maestro Eugene Ciura who taught Bandura and directed the Choir at St. Vladimir's for over 40 years.
The 50's and 60's were characterized by steady growth and developments. The 80's and 90's could be characterized as periods of continued refinments.
As the next millennium began, the energies that were directed to Building Projects shifted to People and Program Activities, Phase Three, including many Cultural Events, Concerts, Conferences on Orthodoxy in the Fall of 2000 and 2001, Adult Religious Discussion Classes, and comprehensive planning for the future to meet the challenges of our contemporary congregation. During this period a comprehensive WebSite stvladimirs.com was developed and became an instant source of congregation information up to date through the internet.
On October 6, 2002 our parish celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the first Divine Liturgy in Windsor. The Visitation of Archbishop Yurij and a weekend of cultural, religious and social activities was the culmination of a year-long series of events. As part of the Jubilee Celebration, it was announced the establishment of the Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Frank Kernisky Parish Archives.
On November 10, 2002, two special events were held. A special Plaque was blessed honoring our parishioners with military service, and the Ukrainian Women's Organization, the Lesia Ukrainka Branch, celebrated their 70th Anniversary with a Jubilee Banquet honoring past members. Both events recognized past contributions and present involvement of our parishioners.
During 2005 the Cathedral sponsored a year-long Exhibit at the Windsor Public Library Community Museum showcasing Ukrainian Families in Windsor. Titled Mriya: Ukrainian Dreams, the Cultural Exhibit was a very popular display drawing visitors from all over Canada and the United States to the Baby House Community Museum.
Also, in October of 2005 we hosted the world-class Display "The Legacy Of Vasile Avramenko: The History Of Ukrainian Dancing In Canada". The Exhibit sponsored by the Shevchenko Foundation, and presented by Curator Irka Balan was a very popular event.
In October 2007, a Jubilee Celebration was held commemorating two historic events- the 80th Anniversary of the Congregation, and the 75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada Lesia Ukrainka Windsor Branch.
On September 26, 2009 the Ukrainian Bandurist Choir joined us for a Special Memorial Tribute honoring Maestro Eugene Ciura. The Tribute included a Memorial Panakhyda, Blessing of His Grave Stone, a Banquet, a Concert featuring the Ukrainian Bandurist Choir and was graced by the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Yurij.
During the Archpastoral Visitation, Sunday October 3, 2010, His Eminence Archbishop Yurij bestowed the Special Mitre Recognition for 35 years service as a priest to Fr. Pawlo Berezniak. The Rt. Rev. Mitred Archpriest Pawlo Berezniak and his wife Dobr. Eugenia also celebrated their 35th Wedding Anniversary on this occasion.
January 2011 saw the culmination of years of planing to provide complete accessibility for all into the Cathedral by the completion of the Access Church Project which includes a Front Entrance Enclosed Elevating Lift and a Main-Floor Barrier-Free Washroom.
We celebrated our 85th Jubilee Clebration in October of 2012. The Jubilee Celebration Theme was "Believing ... In Windsor 85 Years 1927 to 2012." We look forward to 2027 when we hope to celebrate our 100 years as a congregation in Windsor.