Chortitz Church & Cemetery


Waypoint Info

Lat Long

(49.546281, -96.830509)

GPS Coordinates

49° 32′ 46.6116” N
96° 49′ 49.8324” W

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Rosenthal Nature Park

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History of the site

This church stands on the site of the original first Mennonite church building constructed on the East Reserve in 1877. It was replaced in 1896-7 by the current building. The designer was Gerhard Schroeder and the builder was John Neufeld. It stood on the south side of the village street which ran parallel to what is now municipal road 37N. All residences lay on the north side of the street, and just so the south over the road allowance was the cemetery, with the headstone of the man most influential in bringing the Mennonites to Manitoba from Ukraine in the 1870s (then “South Russia”), Bishop Gerhard Wiebe. Although all the members of this group were from the Bergthal Colony and not the Chortitz Colony, the name taken here was in recognition of the fact it was the home village of Bishop (Ältester).

Church services were conducted in German, and men and women were seated on either side of a central aisle. There was no Sunday School. Women wore hats in church; men did not. Music was led by four men without musical accompaniment. Singing was done from a hymnal without notes.

Chortitz was the hub of the East Reserve, with the only Bergthaler church, a school, an early post office in 1884, municipal office, general store, telephone exchange, and a bank. The departure of many Mennonites for Paraguay in the 1920s negatively impacted the village, but it continued to function as a small service centre until the store burned down and the school closed in the 1960s. In 1967 the name of the post office changed to Randolph, which was the name of the district school established by the Department of Education in 1919.


This house of worship hosted a congregation until 2010, at which point it was decommissioned by the Chortitzer Mennonite Conference (now Christian Mennonite Conference). In 2014 it was declared a Municipal Heritage Site by the RM of Hanover.

What you see today

Today the Chortitz Heritage Church Committee administers the site on behalf of the RM of Hanover, hosting special events and encouraging people to use the church for weddings and funerals and other special events.

On the church site you will find a shelter with guestbook and benches where you can rest in the shade. On the historic cemetery site you will find composting toilet facilities.

The village of Randolph (formerly Chortitz) no longer offers any amenities, though if you are lucky the Randolph Garage may be open and a peek inside would be most enjoyable and enlightening.