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Une cathédrale neuve dans Ahuntsic

Sophie Ouimet-Lamothe

La Presse


Alors que Montréal ne sait plus que faire de ses églises, une cathédrale est en construction dans l'arrondissement d'Ahuntsic-Cartierville. Le 5 août, la communauté grecque melchite catholique célébrera sa messe du dimanche dans une église flambant neuve. Coût du projet: neuf millions de dollars.




Le chantier a commencé en août dernier. Il y a 35 ans, la communauté melchite a acheté le terrain, sis boulevard de l'Acadie, dans le but d'y construire un lieu de culte. Les membres ont commencé par bâtir un centre communautaire. Puis, plusieurs années plus tard, l'église a suivi.


Le financement s'est fait en grande partie par des dons recueillis auprès de la communauté, selon Samir Cassab, membre du comité technique aviseur pour le projet. «Le bon Dieu nous a trouvé de grands donateurs, grâce à qui on a réussi à ramasser une bonne partie de l'argent», précise-t-il.


Sept cent cinquante personnes pourront trouver place dans la cathédrale de style byzantin, dessinée par les architectes Gagnier et Villeneuve. Ses murs sont en pierre naturelle et ses coupoles, en cuivre. L'air y sera climatisé. Un stationnement de 150 places jouxte l'église, qui mesure 27 mètres de large et près de 50 mètres de long.


La communauté loue actuellement l'église Notre-Dame-des-Anges, sur le boulevard Gouin à Cartierville. Auparavant, elle était propriétaire de l'église Saint-Sauveur qui se situe sur l'emplacement du futur CHUM, au centre-ville.


Les melchites catholiques n'ont de grec que leur nom. Ils ont immigré d'un peu partout au Moyen-Orient. Leurs origines sont aussi diversifiées que l'Égypte, le Liban, la Syrie, la Palestine et l'Irak.


Pourquoi ne pas avoir acheté une des nombreuses églises existantes de Montréal? «Nous avons essayé à plusieurs reprises», affirme M. Cassab. Sans succès.


«Quelques églises sont à vendre, mais pas dans ce secteur», confirme Sylvie Lemay, de l'archevêché de Montréal. Parmi les quelque 175 églises montréalaises, quatre ou cinq seraient à vendre, selon elle.


Mme Lemay affirme qu'il s'agit de la seule église en construction à Montréal. «Mais on en a qui tombent en morceaux», relève-t-elle. Certaines sont dans un tel état qu'il coûterait plus cher de les réparer que de les démolir.

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C'est vraiment beau, je l'ai vu la semaine dernière. Je crois que c'est l'Église St-Sauveur. Dommage qu'il n'y ait pas de site web!


Voici un article intéressant du Globe à propos de la construction de temples religieux et de leur impact sur les communautés avoisinantes:



A faith-based windfall

Grand places of worship - such as the new Hindu mandir in Toronto - can bring economic spinoffs




Special to The Globe and Mail


July 31, 2007 at 7:52 AM EDT


TORONTO — Many of the properties in northwest Toronto are what might be expected to be found in an area that is generally zoned for industrial purposes: one- and two-storey warehouses along with equipment and storage yards.


But a notable exception has arisen in their midst that may in its own way have a significant impact on future development in the area.


A Hindu temple with head-turning architectural appeal that was officially opened this month is among some of the grand sacred buildings that have been erected in the Toronto area in recent years. Besides being a place of worship and spirituality, it is expected to bring some economic benefits (along with logistical pressures) to its local community.


With its hand-carved white marble spires topped with gold tips and fluttering red and white pennants, the newly completed BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, which stands near the busy industrial intersection of Highway 427 and Finch Avenue West in Toronto, is an architectural masterpiece.

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Enlarge Image


Workers put the finishing touches to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in northwest Toronto before its grand opening ceremonies this month. (THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

The Globe and Mail


Fashioned from 24,000 blocks of limestone, marble and sandstone, the mandir is a particular kind of Hindu temple, constructed in accordance with ancient Vedic building principles. Based on the longevity of similar structures in India, it is estimated that the mandir will stand for 1,000 years or longer.


That kind of building quality doesn't come cheap. At least $40-million was spent on its construction, and that doesn't include the free labour of 400 volunteers from the congregation. (All of the initial funds for construction were raised from Canada's South Asian community.) These volunteers were joined by more than 100 expert craftsmen, who were flown to the site from India and lived there during the temple's construction.


As with any conventional construction project, the large initial outlay of funds was a boon to local contractors, who assisted with various elements of the project, including landscaping the grounds.


But these initial construction profits may be dwarfed by the spinoff benefits to be reaped by hotels, restaurants and retail businesses in this area of Toronto that will be called upon to house, feed and sell to the large groups of worshippers who will convene regularly at the complex.


"Every Sunday, there will be 2,000 to 2,500 people here," says Charles Sachdev, director of public relations for the BAPS (or Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha) community in the Toronto area.


"On top of that, each month there will be a special event, which will bring 5,000 people. And on major Hindu festivals, we will expect 10,000 people or more throughout the day."


And then there are the tourists.


Although Mr. Sachdev won't guess at how many visitors might come from across Canada to admire the mandir and the Museum of Indo-Canadian Heritage, which occupies the temple's bottom level, he points out that a mandir outside of London attracts approximately one million visitors a year. "[The Toronto mandir] is going to be a major attraction," he predicts. "It will be a huge economic benefit."


Although the mandir has garnered much recent attention - its opening on July 21 was attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper - it is not the only new sacred building that is bringing economic development to its area.


On Woodbine Avenue in Markham, north of Toronto, the imposing green and gold onion-shaped domes of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord soar 65 metres over a now-empty field.


This Slovak Catholic cathedral was conceived and largely financed by the late businessman Stephen Roman, who envisioned it as a tribute to the Slovak community in Canada. Blessed by Pope John Paul II during a visit in 1984, the cathedral is largely complete, although mosaics continue to be installed in the structure's massive central dome.


Already it is making an important economic impact. A developer, Romandale Farms Ltd., has designed a residential and business development called Cathedraltown around the cathedral. "The European cathedral town - that's the inspiration for Cathedraltown," says Michael Mahoney, architectural design and marketing co-ordinator for the development. "[The cathedral] is important to people spiritually, and it is such an important piece of architecture. It is already a pilgrimage site."


The design for Cathedraltown envisions two separate commercial elements. A business park will border Highway 404 to the west of the cathedral, and a variety of businesses will occupy the edges of open piazzas, which will surround the cathedral's front steps. "There will be cafés and restaurants and a market area," Mr. Mahoney says. The businesses will serve the residents of Cathedraltown's 15,000 new homes (Phase 1 of this project has already been built), as well as visitors and pilgrims to the site. These commercial developments are scheduled for completion in three to five years.


But real economic change isn't three to five years away for Gerry and Paula Fagogenis, proprietors of the Sunrise Grill Family Restaurant, which has stood on Woodbine Avenue, a short drive north of Cathedraltown, for 50 years.


They acknowledge that it is difficult to tell which of their customers are from the new developments in the region and which are not. But they do know that the economic growth is helping their restaurant. But for Mrs. Fagogenis, the formula is simple: "More people, more business," she remarks with a smile.


Whether the mandir will provide a similar boon remains to be seen. Already there is at least one challenge to overcome - transportation.


There is no regular public transit service to the mandir. And although officials from the BAPS community have been in consultation with the city government and the Toronto Transit Commission, there are no plans to provide public transit to the mandir in the near future.


Access by a large number of cars also may also prove tricky. Although the mandir's location is well served by Highway 427 and Finch Avenue, and there is a large parking lot at the site, the temple is directly accessible only from a single road, Claireville Drive. But at the moment there is no talk of adding other access. "Let's see how popular [the mandir] becomes," Mr. Sachdev says."

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non la construction est pas terminée. Je vais vous le dire quand ça sera fait, mon ami habite juste à coté et j'ai la chance de la voir souvent.

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When religion means inclusion


Catherine_Leroux.jpg par Catherine Leroux

Voir tous les articles de Catherine Leroux

Article mis en ligne le 2 novembre 2007 à 15:51

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Cathedrale_1.jpg The Saint-Sauveur cathedral can hold 825 people. (Photo: Martin Alarie)


Inaugurating the St. Sauveur Cathedral

When religion means inclusion

At a time when religious accommodations are being debated ferociously, a group of Greek Melkite Catholics are rejoicing over the construction of a new cathedral in the heart of Bordeaux-Cartierville. A remarkable feat, given the rate at which discarded church properties are being converted in condominiums, and one accomplished in a spirit of collaboration and inclusion that is nothing less than inspirational.

The St. Sauveur Cathedral, which sits on the corner of L’Acadie Boulevard and du Liban Street was inaugurated with much pomp and circumstance last Sunday in the presence of religious and political leaders.


"(There were) 70 representatives from diverse religious sects, Catholic and Orthodox alike, that have come," said Samir Cassab, vice-president of the St. Sauveur parish's council.


Grégoire III Laham, patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, made the trip from Syria for the inauguration. Quebec Premier Jean Charest and federal Liberal leader -- and St. Laurent/Cartierville MP -- Stephane Dion were also on hand.

An always-lively history

Contrary to what the name might suggest, Melkites aren’t necessarily Greek; rather, the religion is practiced across the Middle East and the diaspora extends to all the world’s continents.

In Montreal, the first Melkite parish was born in 1891. The St. Sauveur Church, located at the corner of St. Denis and Viger streets, was the longtime heart of the Montreal Melkite community. But as the community spread further and further away from downtown and towards St. Laurent and Bordeaux-Cartierville, the high cost of multiple renovations forced the parish council to sell the church and rent Notre-Dame-des-Anges church for a while.


Monseigneur Coriaty, who was our priest for 35 years, always wanted to build a church and community centre in this area. He bought the land, and started by building a community centre, and then, little by little, we were able to construct the cathedral, which is attached to the community centre by a common entrance," Cassab added.


Because of the community's attachment to the St. Denis Street building, they took care to import some memories from the old place to the new home.


"Most of the community was baptized or married there, and lived a lot of important moments in the old church. So, we kept the sacramental tables, and the stained-glass windows were placed in the cathedral so the past can integrate into the future," Cassab continued.

A diverse architecture

Adhering to the Byzantine style of church architecture, the St. Sauveur Cathedral is dominated by a large cupola and two small towers framing the entrance.


"From the outside, the cupola has been covered in copper so that it fits in well with the other roves of Montreal churches. It's a small nod to the Québécois culture, to let them know we're all the same," Cassab said.

Another nod to Quebec culture is the cross in the church's main window, whose four extremities are shaped as fleur-de-lys. The church's bells will serve as a method of communication and "will add a little bit of life in the community," Cassab explained.


The exterior of the church and the columns were made of stone. The church's capacity is 825 , including the jube. Next to that are two rooms set up to provide children with a view of the action. The basement features an enfeu, an underground graveyard where deceased priests are buried.


Remarkably, the entire building was constructed in a year.


"We must thank God for that. We got to work with wonderful professionals" Cassab exhorted.


The project became a reality thanks to donors from the parish, who Cassab called the "builders," of the parish, and thanks to logistical help from the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville and College Bois-de-Boulogne. The Archbishop of Montreal and Longueuil helped in getting benches for the church.


"And we must underline the inestimable work of Monseigneur Ibrahim M. Ibrahim, the parish priest, who will officiate in the cathedral," Cassab said.

Mass will be held in three languages (French, English and Arab) every night at 7 p.m., and Sunday at noon. A French-only mass will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. The church's doors will be open during the day and a fixed schedule will soon be available, officials said.


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