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1900 - 1920

St Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church History

1900 - 1920

The settlers of the first 2 decades of the 20th century mainly sought to establish themselves as farmers (mainly dairy and subsistence; poultry farming did not prosper until the 4th decade), and to engage in skilled trades.

During this period, there was no church clearly recognized as Ukrainian in Colchester and environs. However, a social brotherhood of Ukrainian and Polish immigrants formed in 1900, a result of commonality of Eastern European Slavic origins, spirit and cognate language; of similar limited education, training and means; and of having extricated themselves from the oppressions and privations under various aristocracies. The Poles, being historically mostly Roman Catholic in their homeland for a longer period, naturally joined existing Roman Catholic parishes, while the Ukrainians sought to establish their own. This began by the formation of St. Stephen's Society in 1917 by some members of this early Ukrainian community, via. Messrs. Shajda, Semko, Konuch, Malioczka and others, among its aims being to bring the Ukrainian liturgy to Colchester. Church services conducted by a priest Iwan Palij, commuting from New York City, took place in the Congregational Church facing the Colchester town green, the generosity of the Congregationalists gratefully acknowledged