In 1982 the province of Saskatchewan declared the Doukhobor Prayer Home a Provincial Heritage Building. The Verigin Doukhobor Prayer Home is a landmark of the area, with architecture that can be traced to the mid-1800’s in Russia. Built in 1917, it served as a Prayer Home and residence of the two Doukhobor leaders, Peter V. Verigin and his son Peter P. Verigin. Today it is part of the National Doukhobor Heritage Village.
The National Doukhobor Heritage Village was officially opened June 29, 1980, the day which the Doukhobors celebrate annually as Peter’s Day. It is the day which commemorates the burning of the arms and which led to the Doukhobor emigration from Russia. Cement foundations give evidence of several business and residential structures that were once located there. Of the earlier buildings, only the Verigin Prayer Home, a machine shed and grain elevator exist.
Two buildings, both of which are Prayer homes and facing one another, were the beginning of a Heritage Village Complex. The much larger Prayer Home was symbolic of the earlier community which began in 1899, flourished for two decades, and then saw the majority of its people relocated to British Columbia. The smaller brick prayer home is reminiscent of the prayer homes located in each of the more than sixty villages which sprang up in the first years of the century.
Other buildings, typical of the village dwellings of an earlier age were added in 1981 and 1982. In all, thirteen buildings make up the Heritage Village Museum Complex. The early homes reveal the life and the habits of the pioneer Doukhobors. A ”peche” (a brick oven), a “banya” (bathhouse) and several household articles and utensils can be found in the homes. The brick Prayer Home (built of native brick) serves as the historical or literary area of the Heritage Village. The Museum and Administration Building holds a few thousand Doukhobor artifacts, ranging from photos and handicrafts to clothing and hand tools. Barns, a blacksmith shop, and a collection of agricultural equipment complete the Doukhobor Heritage Village.
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