This past weekend, Metropolitan Sotirios visited Montreal, Quebec. On Saturday morning, he alone celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the annual Altar Boy Retreat of Montreal and vicinity. Following the Liturgy, His Eminence spoke to the Altar Boys on the theme of the divinity of Christ and that we should confess Him so that He confesses us in front of His Father in Heaven. A full-day program with the area clergy followed His Eminence’s address.
A Clergy Synaxis was held in the evening with the 12 priests of Montreal and Laval. Many topics were discussed, especially the organization of the 20th Anniversary celebrations of the Patriarchal Toronto Orthodox Theological Academy. Following the Synaxis, His Eminence presided at Great Vespers at the celebrating church of St. Dionysios in LaSalle, Quebec, assisted by all the priests.
Metropolitan Sotirios celebrated the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning at the same celebrating parish in LaSalle. Many pious faithful attended both Great Vespers and the Divine Liturgy. The Community offered dinner after Great Vespers and lunch after Liturgy to all parishioners.
On Sunday evening, Metropolitan Sotirios presided over the Opening of the Doors service at Panagitsa Greek Orthodox Church. As we know, this parish was rebuilt after having been destroyed by a fire 2 1/2 years ago. The many pious faithful present, along with the clergy and the dignitaries at the service were visibly moved. Metropolitan Sotirios, gave a very spiritual homily which brought tears to all.
The dignitaries in attendance included: Mary Deros, Montreal City Counselor; Aglaia Revelakis, Laval City Councelor; Archon Hartoularios N. Pagonis, President of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal; and the Hon. N. Sigalas, Consul General of Greece in Montreal.
Outside it was bitter cold, with snow and ice covering everything, yet the Christians had warm hearts, offering up their fervent prayers to the heavens. Metropolitan Sotirios finished his homily with the verses:
Before our small house, in a den,
Our kind mother stands in front of our Lady Panagia.
With tears and in silence, she asks,
God help us! Have mercy on us.