Catholic priest stabbed while celebrating mass in church


The attack happened as the priest of St. Joseph's Oratory at Mount Royal led Mass on Friday morning at the church in Montreal, Quebec, police said.

The visuals of the attack show that the assailant, a tall man clad in jeans and parka and a baseball cap, chasing the priest around the altar and stabbing him.

No details were available on the identity of the suspect.

Grou from the church Facebook page
Grou from the church Facebook page

A spokeswoman for the church says Rev. Claude Grou was released from hospital last night and says he is doing well under the circumstances.

When officers arrived at the landmark church, a male suspect was already detained by security guards.

"The suspect was then taken into custody, transported to a detention center and will be interviewed by investigators", she added. His wounds were superficial as the knife broke during the attack, according to witnesses.

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Vlad Cristian Eremia, who appeared in a Montreal courtroom via videoconference Saturday afternoon, is also charged with assault with a weapon for allegedly attacking the Oratory's 77-year-old rector with a knife.

Montreal police said a 911 call was placed at around 8.40am local time.

Prosecutor Geneviève Bélanger said they requested the psychosocial evaluation to get a sense of the suspect's mental state.

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Messages of sympathy filled social media. Here are more details about Father Claude Grou.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed himself on Twitter, while wishing Fr. Grou a swift recovery. The oratory said in a tweet just before noon Friday that Grou's life was "not in danger".

"We are all shocked by an act of violence taking place here in a place dedicated to peace", Lépine said.

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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.