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Ukrainian church here turning 70

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St. George's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Fort Frances is turning 70 this weekend.

To celebrate the occasion, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, Metropolitan Yurij, will visit and perform a special service Sunday beginning at 10 a.m.

The Metropolitan will be greeted at the church at 9:30 a.m.

Church member Ann Wood is expecting quite a few people to turn out for the celebration.

“We're expecting 60 people out to the service,” she noted, which she said is quite a lot considering fewer and fewer people have been attending the church with each passing year.

Wood also said she's expecting many people from out of town.

“We've got people coming from the States, we've got people coming from Manitoba,” she remarked.

“Most grew up here and attended Sunday school,” she added.

“We're very pleased to have them back.”

Many priests have visited the church from out of town before, but Wood noted this is the first time Metropolitan Yurij will visit Fort Frances.

He will be joined by four students from St. Andrew's College in Winnipeg.

“He will be welcomed into the church,” explained Wood.

“The students will help the Metropolitan out of the car, then they will formally dress him,” she noted.

“He will enter the church, where he is greeted with bread and salt,” Wood added.

“There will be a little girl to give him flowers.”

Following the service, certificates of merit will be awarded and a luncheon will be held at La Place Rendezvous at 1 p.m.

“We've had our 50th and our 60th [anniversary], now this is our 70th and there seems to be less people out every time,” Wood said.

“We used to only have service three times a month,” recalled Wood, who has been attending the church since 1944.

“So the last Sunday [of the month], I would go to church with my girlfriends, either the Catholic or the Anglican,” she said.

“I guess you could say I'm well-rounded,” she chuckled.

“We taught Sunday school as well back then,” Wood added.

“Now there's no kids coming out," she lamented. ”Maybe one or two the odd time.

“It's just nice to see the people get together, whether or not all 60 people end up attending,” she reasoned.

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