A man stabbed a priest at the altar during a televised mass in Canada today.

He was filmed running up steps at the front of St Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal to launch the sickening attack on Father Claude Grou.

The priest tried to run away as the knifeman, wearing a dark winter coat and a white baseball cap, pulled out a large knife and knocked over a candle.

Footage shows him catching the clergyman, pushing him to the ground and stabbing him at least once.

Members of the congregation – one brandishing a long pole – are then seen running towards the attacker and challenging him.

Philip Barrett, who was sitting near the front of the church, said he saw a tall man in his 30s rise from a pew and quickly walk to attack the rector.

He said: “He walked over behind the altar and he seemed to strike the priest’s body. I think the priest fell down at that time.

“I do remember the priest was moving away from the man but it happened so quickly there was almost no time to react.”

The 8.40am horror It was live streamed on Sel+Lumiere TV, which airs the religious ceremony daily.

Father Grou got to his feet soon after the attack. He was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital, according to reports.

Barrett said Grou crumpled to the ground after the attack, but he appeared to be conscious and alert about 15 minutes later when paramedics wheeled him to an ambulance.

He said members of the congregation immediately began praying. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Montreal said the priest’s condition was “stable”.

Police spokeswoman Caroline Chevrefils says the victim suffered minor injuries to his upper body. A suspect was held by security guards and arrested when police arrived.

St Joseph’s Oratory, completed in 1967, is Canada’s largest church and claims to have one of the largest domes in the world.


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