A Montreal Church landscape along with a church architecture that both expanded during the last 375 years and that gave rise to many different church building designs and church interior design.
Church bells that still dutifully announce Catholic church services and church stained glass windows that still illustrate our very own religious art work and very own religion and mythology.
A religious culture with historical values, an architectural heritage that still adorn many if not all our main streets, a City of Montreal once called "la ville aux cents clochers" and a new variety of religious philosophy and religion faith.
Christianity is the religion of those who believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God and the Messiah of the Old Testament. In Montreal, the Roman Catholic religion and Catholic church beliefs both play a first and important role in our Montreal church landscape.
A Roman Catholic religion and many Catholic churches and believers now partly replaced by a rather large number of non believers who profess no religion beliefs but who, according to recent church statistics, still attend Christmas Mass on Christmas Eve.
Also according to our religion statistics, the Muslim religion comes third in our Montreal church landscape, after those who profess no religion beliefs. Muslims believe in one unique God, in the angels he created and in the prophets and their revelations.
In the fourth position, Cote-Saint-Luc is home to a rather large population of Sephardi Jews. Large Sephardim groups also live in the Saint-Laurent borough as well as in the West Island. Hasidic dynasties live in the Outremont borough and Cote-des-Neiges of the CDN-NDG borough is home to a fairly important Lubavitch community.
Sephardi Jews descend from Jews who settled in the Iberian Peninsula in the South West of Europe. Hasidism is a Jewish movement founded in Poland in the 18th century and Chabad, also known as Lubavitch, is an Orthodox Jewish Hasidic movement.
Five religions and spiritualities along with the presence of Christian Orthodox believers, especially Greek Orthodox Christians that is quite relevant in Montreal, accompanied by the Protestant religion classified under Other Christians by Statistics Canada.
Finally, the Buddhism religion and faith has been growing in importance in Montreal, along with the teachings of Buddha and of the many deities the Buddhism religion honours.
Interestingly, the history of the Christian church, the Islam Religion and the Religion Jewish have the same origins, they each go back to the prophet Muhammad and to the patriarch Abraham.
The Roman Catholic church is organised in a three tier hierarchy, the Pope, the bishops in their dioceses, the priests in their parishes and the Catholics. The Roman Catholic Church is the social institution that exercised the greatest influence and had the most impact on Montrealers.
The Protestant Religion and the Catholic Religion worship the same God, but they do not share the same faith and the same principles.
Both have different views on the meaning and the authority of the Bible and both have a contrasting definition of the Holy Eucharist. For Catholics, the Host represents Jesus and can be prayed to and, for Protestants, the ritual only serves to commemorate the death and the resurrection of Jesus.
A Mosque is the Muslim gathering place for prayers and for worshipping God. Every Mosque has a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of the Mecca, the direction towards which Muslims must pray. Other common features include minarets and tall towers.
A Synagogue is a building and a Jewish place of worship, also used as a place to study and as a community centre. The main rituals of Judaism are circumcision, bat-mitzvah, bar mitzvah, mikvah, marriage, death and mourning, Kosher foods and daily prayers.
Greek Orthodox churches have fundamental similarities with the Roman Catholic sacraments. They observe the same major rituals such as Baptism, Eucharist, Confession along with what the Greek Orthodox call Chrismation and what the Roman Catholics call Confirmation.
Buddha temples are more modern, but they are still designed to symbolise the five elements. The square base of the the temple represents Fire, Air and Earth and the pinnacle on top of the temple represents water and Wisdom.
Inside a Buddha temple, there may be a worship hall and a meditation hall both decorated with gold warrior type figures, but the statue of Buddha is always the focal point of interest.
The again, more and more Montrealers belong to minority faiths, attendance to religious services is dropping and the number of people with no religious affiliation is rising.
Our parishes are abolished or merged, our churches are leased, sold or shared with other churches and our religious behaviour are now more private than public. Our Montreal church landscape is more and more secularised and Church influence is slowly decreasing.
Montreal URBAN KIT
Montreal Church Landscape by Rachel Louise Barry