NEWS

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery damaged Georgios Rigas's grave, son says

05/02/2015 10:34 EDT | Updated 05/02/2016 05:12 EDT
A grieving son says the keepers of Montreal's Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery have disrespected his father's grave.

Theodore Rigas, his wife and son were shocked by what they found when they stopped by father Georgios Rigas's grave on April 18.

The temporary wooden crucifix used as a place-marker for the senior Rigas's burial plot was broken, and a bulldozer or similar piece of equipment had left deep tire tracks all over the grave.

"To walk there and to see it felt like his grave was violated. I mean, being a Christian, for us the crucifix was sacred and to see that broken in half," Rigas said.

He sent an email to the cemetery's management, describing what he'd seen and including photos (see gallery) of the damage.

"Attached are a series of pictures showing how your groundskeepers not only bulldozed over multiple graves (including my father's), but also broke my father's temporary wooden cross marker in half and discarded the portion that featured his name like it was garbage. I am beyond appalled that it is apparently acceptable behaviour to treat the graves of our loved ones as garbage at your cemetery," he wrote in his email.

No apology

In an email chain forwarded to CBC News, a cemetery employee said on April 24 the message had been passed on to the director of customer service. 

Rigas said he hasn't heard from the director, and he feels no one is taking responsibility for the damage.

He said a simple apology would have been better than nothing. 

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery did not return calls from CBC News.

"You entrust these people to take care of your loved ones, and to see them treated [like] this it was really painful to go through. Losing my father was fresh as it is, we lost him a couple of months ago. But to see this on top of this, it was a little too much," Rigas said.

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