In commemoration of Greek Independence Day, the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the honourary Grand Marshal at the Parade that took place in Montreal.
For the first time in history, a Canadian Prime Minister served as the Grand Marshal of a parade commemorating March 25th 1821.
The Divine Liturgy and Doxology of Thanksgiving for Greek Independence Day was celebrated at Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church in Montreal. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios, assisted by the Very Rev. Frs. N. Mostratos and D. Antonopoulos, and Rev. Frs. N. Andreou and A. Katsikas.
With sincere piety, Prime Minister Trudeau arrived at the Church at 10:30 a.m. Mr. Trudeau is a very faithful Roman Catholic Christian.
During a short homily, Metropolitan Sotirios spoke about man’s freedom from sin, along with Greece’s freedom from the Ottoman yoke.
After the homily, the Doxology of Thanksgiving was celebrated with a plethora of faithful Christians present at Evangelismos Church (which has a 1000-person seating capacity), holding blue-and-white flags of both Greece and Quebec, and red-and-white Canadian flags.
After the final dismissal prayers of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Sotirios led all the faithful in the singing of the national anthems of Greece and Canada, along with the hymn “O Champion General…”
Metropolitan Sotirios then asked the Prime Minister to the soleas, where he offered a warm greeting to all parishioners.
Following the Prime Minister, His Eminence asked the Deputy Minister of External Affairs of Greece, the Hon. T. Quick, to extend greetings from the Motherland Greece.
With the ceremonies concluding at Evangelismos Church, Metropolitan Sotirios asked the faithful to stand as over 100 flags recessed from the Church. During their recession, clergy and laity chanted “O Champion General” until the last flag had departed.
After the services in Church, the Prime Minister was hosted by the Community in an hour-long display of authentic Greek hospitality.
Following this, everyone was taken to Jean Talon St., where the Prime Minister served as the leader of the Parade, which was over two hours long.
Over 70,000 people went to Jean Talon St. to see the Parade, along with thousands more who took part in the Parade.
Students from the Day, Afternoon and Saturday Greek School programs were showered with applause by all at the Parade.
Persons on the VIP Platform included: Prime Minister Trudeau; Metropolitan Sotirios; Deputy Minister of External Affairs Quick; the Hon. G. Marcantonatos, Ambassador of Greece in Canada; the Hon. Archon Hartoularios Mr. N. Pagonis, President of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal; a number of Ministers and many others.
Although it was very cold (-4 Celsius, and -16 C with the windchill), it was noteworthy that Prime Minister Trudeau and all the VIPs stayed until the end of the Parade.
Parades and events commemorating Greek Independence Day happened in Toronto (where Metropolitan Sotirios was represented by Bishop Christoforos), Vancouver, London, and other cities across Canada.
Both the Orthodox and Hellenic phronema of the Greek Orthodox Christians of Canada is truly noteworthy.
A Blessed Feast to all!