It is not clear exactly when the first Ukrainian settlers came to Sarnia, although it is known that they were here before the First World War.
Attracted by job opportunities. Others continued to settle in the area, particularly during the Second World War when workers were needed here to support the wartime industries such as Polymer Rubber Plant. Many Ukrainian families settled in the nearby community of Bluewater.
The end of the Second World War brought a large influx of Ukrainians from Europe who had been uprooted and displaced from their homeland by the war. Many of them were of the Byzantine Catholic faith.
Before 1949, there was no Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sarnia. Priests from Windsor came to celebrate Divine Liturgy (Mass) in private homes and later in Our Lady of Mercy School auditorium.
It soon became apparent that there was a great need for the establishment of a Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sarnia.
On May 6, 1949, a historic meeting was held at which the groundwork for a Ukrainian Catholic Church was laid. May 6 is the feast day of St. George the Triumphant who was adopted as the patron of our church.
Using Parish funds along with a substantial bank loan vouched for by a number of parishioners, a parcel of land was purchased at the intersection of Shamrock and Chippewa Streets near the community of Bluewater. There, a church basement was completed by the Christmas of 1951.
Finally, our parishioners were able to attend Divine Liturgy (Mass) in their own building. Cultural, social and educational
activities soon fallowed.
In 1957, there was a change in thinking in the church community. It was now felt that the site chosen for the church was impractical. The industrial expansion in the area was forcing established parishioners to move to residential areas. While the basement church had at first served well the needs of the community, there was now a consensus that it would not be reasonable to develop a beautiful church and hall in the midst of a heavy industry.
In 1957, a decision was made to buy property in a more suitable location where a new church could be built. Through the efforts of Mr. George Dzisiak and Mr. Anany Melnychuk, a three acre parcel of land at the corner of Rosedale Avenue and Bond Street was purchased.
Construction of the new church was started in the spring of 1961 and the following feast days in the new year were celebrated in the newly built church.
Some of the people who were instrumental in the building of our present church were: J. Stasiw, G. Dzisiak, A. Melnychuk, M. Gamula, T. Eliasewych, M. Zastawny, G. Palij, J. Zadarko, W. Audowiretz, J. Klimko, P. Zacharia, and D. Makuch.
Some changes were made to the church as time passed. An Iconostas was built in 1977, a new heating and cooling system installed, the parking lot was paved and extensive redecorating of the church hall was completed.
Through the generosity of Mrs. F. McKenna and the help of Phil Hrycak and Harry Sochan, the tabernacle was refurbished with gold leaf. One very important facility, an elevator was also installed. It is with this elevator that our elderly and handicapped persons are able to access the church and parish hall. For this facility, we extend our sincere gratitude to the Smoly/Caruthers families.
Over the 70 years of the church existence, our parish has conducted the following activities: religion classes, preparation of children for First Holy Communion, adult bible study classes, choir, Ukrainian school, Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League, Youth Club, parish family dinners, picnics, concerts, theatrical productions, Ukrainian dance groups, handicraft groups, communal carol singing, annual flag raising ceremony, Malanka Celebration, and fund-raising events in the form of bazaars, teas, catering, bingos, yard sales and dinner-dances.
Although our parish family is relatively small, we are proud that not only do we have parishioners of Ukrainian and Slovak descent, but in recent years we have been joined by people of English, French, Filipino descent. We welcome all who wish to practice in the Byzantine Rite of the Catholic faith.
Pastors who have served St. George's Parish since its establishment
Rev. Fr. Laptuta | May to Dec. 1949 | from Windsor
Rev. Fr. Bodnar | Jan. 1950 to Nov. 1960 | from Windsor
Rev. Fr. Karpinsky | Dec. 1960 to Feb. 1962 | from Chatham
Rev. Fr. Nabereznyj | Sept. 1962 to Sept. 1966 | from Chatham
Rev. Fr. Lewycky | Sept 1966 to Dec. 1967 | Sarnia
Rev. Fr. Nahajewsky | Feb. 1967 to Dec. 1967
Rev. Fr. Bobownyk | Sept. 1967 to Mar. 1968 | from Chatham
Rev. Fr. Stolarchuk | Mar. 1968 to Apr. 1974 | Sarnia
Rev. Fr. Iskat | May 1974 to Mar. 1978 | Sarnia
Rev. Fr. Mak | April 1978 to May 1978 | temporary
Rev. Fr. Kussy | May 1978 to Nov. 1980 | Sarnia
From Nov. 1980 to Dec. 1981 Fathers were serving St. George’s Parish temporarily:
Rev. Fr. Dzurman, Rev. Fr. Leszczyshyn, Rev. Fr. Onufriw,
Rev. Fr. Slobodian, Rev. Fr. Zazula
Rev. Fr. Tataryn | Dec. 1981 to Sept. 1982
Temporary Fathers: Rev. Fr. Bilaniuk, Rev. Fr. Hoshulak, Rev. Fr. Onufriw
Rev. Fr. Kondusky | Sept. 1982 to Sept. 1987 | Sarnia
Rev. Fr. Yarema | Nov. 1987 to Aug. 2014 | Sarnia
Rev. Fr. Bohdan Winnicki – Aug. 2014 – Present