CANADIAN DIOCESE: April 9, 2012
City Authorities Prohibit the Parishioners of St Nicholas Cathedral from Performing a Procession of the Cross on Pascha
The municipality of Outremont (Montreal), Canada, have forbidden the parishioners of St Nicholas Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia from performing their traditional procession of the cross on Pascha, a practice held regularly for over half a century.
For the first time since the founding of St Nicholas Cathedral in Outremont, Quebec, local authorities have banned the ceremony, as reported on Montreal television.
After some tension between a local Hasidic group and neighborhood residents who were upset by their noisy Purim celebrations, the authorities banned any sort of parades and demonstrations until June 1.
Outremont Mayor Marie Cinq-Mars expressed sympathy for the church, explaining that this ban is part of an attempt to quell rising tensions. Isabel Brunet, a local resident, however, says that the conflict has no connection with the Russian Orthodox parish. “The procession of the cross happens every spring, and it never caused any problems.”
Priest Michael Metni, second priest at the Cathedral, called upon his parishioners to appeal to the authorities in hopes of resolving the matter. “We are not part of that community, and they are not part of ours. The parishioners will still gather for the procession, which has been held regularly for fifty years, though it may not extend past the church property [this time].”
By the mayor’s initiative, volunteers from various communities will form a special committee to find a mutually-acceptable solution to the situation, according to Montrealgazette.com. If they succeed, the parishioners of St Nicholas Cathedral can perform the Paschal procession of the cross around the block as always next year.