A priest who was delivering morning mass early Friday morning was stabbed, is expected to survive the attack, officials with church say.
Father Claude Grou was standing behind a podium about to deliver the morning mass at Montreal's renowned Saint Joseph's Oratory in front of about 50 worshipers, when a tall man stood up from one of the pews and began approaching the priest.
"He walked past the barrier leading into the sanctuary near the altar, and everyone was just initially wondering what was going on, and some people were starting to react a little bit," Phillip Barrett, a witness to the stabbing told CBC.ca. "And he walked directly behind the altar and seemed to strike the priest."
Video of the attack showed the attacker wearing a dark winter coat and baseball cap pull out a large knife as he approaches the altar. The suspect runs up the steps and pushes the priest to the ground, where he appears to stab Father Grou.
The mass was being livestreamed by the Catholic television network, Sel+Lumiere TV, when the stabbing occurred. The footage was removed from the website moments after the attack.
Following the stabbing, attacker dropped the knife after the attack while parishioners began to run at him. Three men were able to restrain the suspect while police were called. The suspect was taken into custody by Montreal police and was taken to the station for questioning.
The priest was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries to his upper torso. The wounds were superficial because the suspect's knife broke during the attack.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Montreal later tweeted out that Father Grou's life was "not in danger" is expected to recover from his injuries. Grou has been at St. Joseph's Oratory for more than 20 years.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante expressed her condolences to Friday morning's attack in a tweet.
"What a horrible and inexcusable gesture that has no place in Montreal. I am relieved to learn that the life of Father Claude Grou, Rector of the @osjmr, is out of danger and that his condition is stable. On behalf of all Montrealers, I wish him a speedy recovery."