Priest stabbed during mass at Canada's biggest church

Saul Bowman
March 24, 2019

A man was charged in Montreal court this afternoon in connection with the stabbing of a priest during a mass at Saint Joseph's Oratory Friday morning.

The man chased the priest on the altar scattering candles and the banner before the old man fell down giving the suspect a chance to stab him on the upper part of the body.

No details were available on the identity of the suspect.

Oratory spokeswoman Danielle Decelles says the church's usual security will be in place for Sunday mass, and police will provide an increased presence in the coming days to ensure worshippers feel safe.

"A 77-year-old male patient with stab wounds was brought to the Emergency Department of the Montreal General Hospital at 9:21 a.m. this morning".

A suspect has already been taken into custody and will be questioned by investigators later today, according to CBC.

Grou recovered enough to get to his feet and is seen backing away as security officers surround the assailant, who drops his knife. If any charges are filed, they will be determined by prosecutors, Constable Caroline Chevrefils said.

There was no other information immediately available about why the priest may have been attacked.

Messages of sympathy filled social media.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his support to Father Grou. Here are more details about Father Claude Grou.

"We are all shocked by this act of violence that has taken place in our city", the archbishop said, "in a space dedicated to peace". The oratory said in a tweet just before noon Friday that Grou's life was "not in danger".

"On behalf of all Montrealers, I wish him a speedy recovery".

St. Joseph's Oratory is among Canada's largest churches, and pilgrims from all over the world are drawn to its domed roof and stunning architecture.

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