St. Nicholas Church, Narol MB, is a small Orthodox Church on the east side of the Red River, serving the communities of Winnipeg and Selkirk, as well as the municipalities of East St. Paul and St. Clements.
Having being founded over a hundred of years ago by men and women from Western Ukraine (around the city of Brody), this parish community has adapted to life, at first as a small rural community serving new Canadians, and now as a hub church bordering the burgeoning Winnipeg suburbs, all the while bearing witness to 2000 years of Christianity.
Without forgetting their history and traditions, the parish community of St. Nicholas has grown into a multi-generational and ethnic parish, serving in English and on the New Calendar.
In 2009 the parish commenced a renovation project that produced a new church hall, vestibule and elevator (making it a wheel-chair accessible building), making a commitment (as God blesses) to continue serving for another hundred years. The St. Nicholas parish family provides a true haven of rest, encouragement and hope for all who call it home. The members of this parish family come from both the countryside and the city.
St. Nicholas is served by the Archpriest Gregory Scratch. A graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Fr. Gregory attended classes at the University of St. Paul in Ottawa at the Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies. Fr. Gregory was ordained to the diaconate in 2003, serving at the Annunciation Cathedral in Ottawa. Along with his liturgical and pastoral responsibilities, he also worked as an art instructor at the The Perley Rideau Veterans Health Center. In the summer of 2012, he was ordained to the holy priesthood by Bishop Irénée of Quebec City, and moved with his wife Matushka Taesia and their four children to Winnipeg to serve the parish of St. Nicholas, Narol.
The Archpriest Robert Stephen Kennaugh (affectionately known as Fr. Bob) had been an Anglican seminarian student, and then, like so many others, found a home in the Orthodox Church, first as an ordained deacon in the Western rite (under the Antiocian Archdiocese). Later, after a lengthy diaconate, he was ordained to the holy priesthood by Bishop Seraphim of the Archdiocese of Canada (OCA) in 1991, and assigned to the parish of St. Nicholas, Narol, MB. Under his pastoral guidance, the parish of St. Nicholas steadily grew from being a church served intermittently, to a full-fledged parish with a regular liturgical and social life. In the fall of 2012, Fr. Bob’s health necessitated his retirement, and he was attached as the Rector Emeritus at St. Nicholas Church.
In the fall of 2016, St. Nicholas co-hosted the bi-annual meeting of the Archdiocesan council. It was at this occasion that the deacon Matthew Beynon was ordained to the holy priesthood, to assist in the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Deanery, and to serve the English community at Holy Trinity Sobor.
The previous year, Stephen Sharman was ordained to the diaconate to assist in the pastoral and liturgical life of St. Nicholas in Narol.
Fr. Stephen served many rural communities throughout Manitoba as an Anglican priest for over 20 years, before being received into the Orthodox Church in 2012. He earned a PhD degree from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s.with his dissertation was entitled ‘Visions of Light in the Writings of the Venerable Bede’. Taking in to account his calling, his pastoral experience and his desire to serve the Lord, he was ordained to the holy priesthood of the Orthodox Church in the summer of 2018.
Much could be said about Fr. Bob’s wife, Matushka Dianne, and her time as the choir director at St Nicholas. Her tireless work of directing and leading the congregation in singing traditional Galician chant, and her tutelage of new choir directors is all the more remarkable by the fact that she was born blind. Her commitment and perseverance at leading the choir and congregation when she directed, and her new role as a teacher and mentor, is an offering of joy and love to Christ.
In 2014 St. Nicholas started to receive a number of Mennonites from Winkler and Morden, Manitoba, and within a few years, actively supported the development of a mission community to serve them. With the blessing of Archbishop Irenee (Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada), the Mission Station of Christ the Saviour was established in the early winter of 2016 as a mission of St. Nicholas in Narol, served by clergy from St. Nicholas and the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Deanery.