On Sunday, July 18, 2021, which this year is the celebration of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St. Nicholas in Toronto; he was assisted by Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Apostolos Gkolias.
Following the Liturgy, a special memorial service was performed to commemorate the July 20, 1974, invasion of Cyprus, and to pray for the entho-martyr heroes of the war.
His Eminence delivered an emotionally moving homily, recalling for the faithful his childhood memories and the pain and difficulties experienced by our brothers and sisters in Cyprus, but also in Epirus as well.
The parish was full to the capacity allowed in accordance with current public health guidelines, that is, physical distancing was strictly enforced.
Many dignitaries and leaders from both the Cypriot and Greek communities, nationally and from the Greater Toronto Area, came to St. Nicholas to join in prayer and thanksgiving. Among the honoured guests were His Excellency Vasilis Philippou, High Commissioner of Cyprus to Canada; Aris Babikian, MPP for Scarborough-Agincourt; Nick Mantas, Toronto City Councillor; Archon Dimitri Soudas, Honorary Consul General of Cyprus in Toronto; and, the Hon. Tony Clement, former provincial and federal cabinet minister (whose father is from and currently resides in Cyprus).
Following the dismissal prayer, and with the blessing of the Archbishop, High Commissioner Philippou addressed all parishioners; his remarks were eloquently delivered and emphasized the historical importance of the events in 1974 and the continued need to fight for the rule of law and freedom.
Afterwards, the Community of St. Nicholas organized a wonderful luncheon at the Archdiocese’s Cultural Centre (consistent with public health directives), where a number of Cypriot and Greek community leaders addressed the small gathering.
Next Sunday, July 25th, a similar event is being planned in Montreal at the Church of St. George where both the Archbishop and High Commissioner are expected to attend.