Hundreds of Christian Orthodox faithful Greek-Canadians marched to Koimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church in Park Extension, Montreal, to celebrate the greatest feast of Virgin Mary during the vesper service on August 14, the day before the holiday.
His Eminence Ignatios Metropolitan of Arta officiated the service, having accepted an invitation from His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios (Athanassoulas) of Toronto. Three Archbishops attended the episcopal vesper service, including all Greek-Orthodox priests in Montreal. A large crowd participated in the Litany of the icon of Virgin Mary in a solemn atmosphere as the Greeks of Montreal celebrated the Assumption Day (Koimisis tis Theotokou) in unity.
Metropolitan Sotirios expressed his satisfaction that so many faithful gathered to celebrate Virgin Mary’s greatest feast, noting that She is a symbol of motherhood, love and protection. Metropolitan Ignatios said he was amazed by the response of Greek-Canadians and expressed his joy that Greeks of Diaspora preserve their religious traditions despite so far away from their homeland.
After the vesper service there was a traditional panygiris around the Koimisis tis Theotokou church, celebrated in mild weather. Another service was to be held at the church on Aug. 15, similar to those at other Greek Orthodox churches around Canada.