Demolition begins for Greek Orthodox church devastated by fire
It's been four months since a fire caused considerable damage to a Greek Orthodox church in Park Extension, and parishioners are still mourning their loss.
"It was like the world fell apart for me, it was just catastrophic," said Yiorgos Lemonzoglou.
Onlookers could smell charred wood Friday morning as wrecking crews began knocking down what was still standing of the Koimisis Tis Theotokou (Dormition of the Virgin Mary) church. The demolition is expected to take several days.
The church had a special meaning for many Greeks in Montreal since it opened in the late 1960s.
"This church has been home to many, for marriages, baptisms and funerals, it's not just a church, it's part of our family," said city councillor Mary Deros.
The church caught fire after evening services on Monday April 13, 2015 and the building on de l'Epee Ave. and St. Roch St. was too badly damaged to be repaired.
An outbuilding built of brick called the Tomb of the Virgin Mary survived the fire and was able to host prayer services, but only for a very small number of people.
Harry Babaroutsis of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal said the reconstruction of the church will begin next year.
"This winter we're going to prepare the architectural plans and rebuilding is going to start next year," he said. "Hopefully this time next year we're going to have a nice, brand new church up and running."