Among the Easter masses held around the world, a very special one took place in Montreal, where Syrian refugees celebrated the holiday for the first time since coming to Canada, CTV News reports.
“It is the first Easter for them in Canada and we would like to make it as joyous as possible and welcome them in Montreal and in Canada,” said Antranik Sirinyan, chairman of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Outremont.
The service saw 250 Syrian families attending Easter mass. It’s a small piece of normalcy for those whose entire lives have been uprooted.
“Of course it’s difficult, but it needs time and in time I think everything will be okay,” said refugee Shoghig Kochakejian. “I’m happy because we have a great community here and we’re having fun, but you still think that we have relatives and friends still in Syria, so it’s happiness but it’s not complete.”
The newcomers expressed appreciation to their new country and to their fellow parishioners for making a rough transition much easier.
“I’m very thankful that Canada and Montreal gave us the opportunity to be here,” said refugee Hovesp Bogossian. “We’re happy to be serving our church and serving the community.”