A Blessed Lent, Holy Week and Pascha at St. Nicholas Church + Montreal, QC
St. Nicholas Church was established by St. Raphael of Brooklyn and is the oldest Orthodox Community in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. To live an Orthodox life in Montreal is a big challenge, and to keep our churches full on Sundays is a bigger challenge for our Montreal clergy. By the grace of God, however, St. Nicholas Church is undergoing a new revival this year: our Church is full, our youth groups are active, new families are joining our parish and we are, as said by one of our parishioners at one of our recent luncheons, “alive and well.”
We received great blessings this Holy Week when, starting from the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, we were visited by His Grace Bishop Alexander, who brought with him an antique cross with a Relic of the Holy Cross embedded inside it to bless our parishioners following the Divine Liturgy.
The next Sunday was the Feast of the Annunciation and we had a fabulous Mid-Lenten luncheon hosted by our very active Antiochian Women. The Sunday after (St. Mary of Egypt), we were visited by His Grace Bishop Luka from our Patriarchate in Damascus. Bishop Luka asked that we pray for the Syrian people and reminded us about Syria’s rich Christian history.
Following the Divine Liturgy on St. Lazarus Saturday, our youth enjoyed weaving palm crosses for our parishioners to carry on Palm Sunday. And on Palm Sunday itself, we were visited again by His Grace Bishop Alexander and we had a police escort around the block for our parish procession. That day we also had our annual bake sale of Arabic sweets prepared by our Antiochian Women, plus we had a sale of handmade goods by the residents of Al-Kafaat (Lebanon).
All of our daily Holy Week services were well attended. On Holy Friday, after watching the movie The Passion of the Christ, we hosted an All-Night Vigil for both our Teen SOYO and our adults. The Vigil lasted the entire night and ended with the Divine Liturgy on Holy Saturday morning. Our volunteer youth directors prepared a Lenten brunch for those who attended the Vigil & Liturgy.
Our Paschal Service was wonderful and extremely well attended. Following the service, one of our active families sponsored a meal for the entire parish. Everyone went downstairs this year and we had a full house ready to eat even at 1:00 a.m. The next day at Agape Vespers, many children came to enjoy the procession around the Church and the reading of the Holy Gospel in 10 languages! All in all, with the joint effort of the Pastor of four years, the Rev. Fr. Mark Wyatt, and a dedicated group of active volunteers with our positive and caring parishioners, we are experiencing a healthy rebirth at St. Nicholas Church.
Following our local Bright Monday tradition, all of the Antiochian clergy of Montreal and Ottawa gathered at St. Mary’s Church in Montreal to serve the Divine Liturgy with His Grace Bishop Alexander. Next year, the Bright Monday service will be held at St. Nicholas Church, God willing.
Please keep us in your prayers and visit us in Montreal!