The Studite Monastary in Woodstock, Ontario belonged to the Studite Fathers, a Ukrainian religious group. Studites work for eight hours, rest for eight hours and pray for eight hours. The Studites are one of the oldest monastic orders of the church. They have a board of directors and monastery located near Rome.
The Studites owned hundreds of acres of land in Woodstock, Ontario which over the years they’ve slowly sold off to developers.
The Woodstock monastery was operated by a monk named Reverend Evtimy Wolinski (Herbert Wolinski). Wolinski is the last membr of his order in Canada. An order dating back to AD 500.
In June of 2000, Wolinski was responsible for establishing the Woodstock Peace Lighthouse of Icons which contained more than 100 religious icons and religious paintings. Wolinski hoped to create interest in the monastery and attract tourists. By winter construction had halted on the $2.5 million project as the monastery was unable to pay the bills.
Around June of 2009, a woman named Viktoriya Abelyar was hired by the Studite Fathers to help organize a Ukranian-speaking prayer group known as the “Keepers of the Light”. She volunteered to perform secretarial work and gardening at the church and in return was allowed to live on the property and was provided with food and health care.
In January of 2010 Wolinski and Abelyar began an intimate common-law relationship which resulted in the birth of a child. The church responded by forbidding Abelyar from being on the church property. The church also removed Wolinski from his duties at the monastary. While priests are allowed to marry, monks are not permitted to. Wolinski now survives through his old-age pension.
I’d been keeping a watch on this location. During my second visit in 2014 I walked around the building trying the doors. I thought it was going to be with the same disappointing results until I tried one door and it opened. Adrenaline pumping, I hurried back to the car and gathered my camera gear.
The owners then boarded up the windows and doors. This led frustrated youths to begin throwing rocks through the stained glass windows. Someone then kicked in a ground level window board and the church and hallways sprayed painted with graffiti.
The property was demolished in January of 2018. The developer that purchased the property, PICI Investments, is looking to build a 170 apartment building on the property.
By 2017 word had spread that this gathering place for idiot teenagers was open and the inevitable vandalism began.
The owner of the property plans to build two buildings, one for seniors and one for students and young people.
Demolished January 2018