Celebrating The Dormition of Mother Mary in State of Pandemic in the heart of Park Extension

Montréal / Park Extension—Tonight, the sacred celebration of the Dormition of the Mother of God began at Église Koimisis Tis Theotokou Church. Many of the local Park Extension members of the community came to pay their respects and pray in memoriam of this sacred event in the Orthodox church. Even Archbishop of Canada, Sotirios Athanassoulas was said to be in attendance this past evening and will be at the church once again Saturday, as I was told.

Église Koimisis Tis Theotokou Church on the corner of De L’Épee and St-Roch (via Domenic Marinelli)


They opened Friday at 7AM. The official celebration is on the 15th, which is Saturday (from 8 to 12PM at this church). I spoke to City Councilor Mary Deros earlier Friday at another event, and she stated that she would also be in attendance that evening.


The Dormition of the Mother of God is considered a feast for the Orthodox Church and it signifies or rather celebrates the “falling asleep” or death of the mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and her own resurrection to Heaven.


For those interested in attending, the church will be open tonight … and all night, as it were, I was told when I visited the church earlier this afternoon. People were already lining up to pay homage to the Icon inside the church doors.


Image of The Icon within the church

In the past, the Icon would be taken out and a procession would follow around the neighborhood, but due to the current state of pandemic, they were not allowed to do so. But those willing to worship can still go inside, and all night, as we mentioned.


The church was selling religious items outside on the street–proceeds going to the church

Local church volunteers made up of members of the community were there, and I spoke to one who chose to remain nameless, but even through her mask, I could see how chagrined she was at how limited they would be because of the constraints of Covid-19, or rather because of the precautions set in place.


She said: “I have faith that next year things will be put right, and we’ll be able to take the Icon out again. In the past, the lineups were very long. Covid-19 has definitely stopped a lot of people from coming.” But yet there were still quite a few. She stated that they wiped down the icon and all other artifacts in the church regularly, and everyone was respecting the rules set up to keep everyone safe.


The much-loved Father Nikolas was and is on hand as always—at that church for 41 years!

The community didn’t let the pandemic stop them. I was told that miracles have happened in the past, and perhaps miracles will happen again, and I think the world needs one right about now.