Its city council says it has decided to play it safe for fear public events escalate tensions.
The move has upset some local residents who believe they have a right to continue important traditions.
The Russian Orthodox Church has been a fixture on St. Joseph Street in the middle of Outremont since the mid-1960s.
Every year during its Easter service the congregation walks out of the chapel in a procession to parade around the block.
It’s an Easter tradition practised in Orthodox churches around the world.
“Everyone walks out, doors are locked and the Church inside is transformed,” describes Peter Paganuzzi, a member of the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Parish.
This year however, for the first time ever, this procession may not happen in Outremont.
“There were issues elsewhere and because of that we weren’t allowed to do anything,” says Paganuzzi.
“We put a moratorium on everything although we are not a part of any other issues and there are no other problems.”
On Monday night, Outremont’s city council passed a moratorium banning all processions and parades until June 1, 2012.
Marie Cinq-Mars, the borough’s mayor insists the council had no choice.
“We want an Outremont where people want to live and respect each other, not aggravate, not yelling. This has to stop. We have to step back.”
Tensions between Outremont’s many communities are at an all-time high.
Two weeks ago, city councillor Céline Forget, known for past confrontations with the Hassidic community, was the target of invectives by a group of Hassidic Jews who accused her of trying to intimidate them.
The councillor criticizes the borough for not enforcing bylaws that she believes are being flouted by the Hassidic community.
It’s these kinds of tensions that some Outremont residents say are being inflamed by an over-zealous minority in the city council.
“It does seem a little bit drastic as a reaction,” says Outremont resident Nicholas Beattie. “If the city wants time to look at outdoor festivals that’s fine but it seem like they are impacting everybody negatively.”
As for the Orthodox Church, they would just like to find a way to resolve the issue in time for their Easter celebration.
“We want to insist on our rights,” says Paganuzzi, “but we want to do it properly.”
Rights the borough insists they may have to forfeit for the sake of a more harmonious future.
Source: Global Montreal