Albertos Polizogopoulous CCN file photo

Pro-lifers lose standard bearer to cancer at 41

By  Jonathon Van Maren
  • May 11, 2024

On May 9, as thousands of Canadians once again gathered on Parliament Hill for the annual March for Life, Canada’s pro-life movement lost one of its greatest champions. Albertos Polizogopoulos, a dear husband to Faye Sonier, father of two, and a friend of many, passed away at the age of 41 after being diagnosed with cancer in September 2020. It is a devastating loss not only for those of us who knew and loved him, but for the Canadian Church that benefited from his commitment, his conviction, and his integrity.

Albertos was a familiar face to everyone in the pro-life movement. For a decade and a half, it seemed he was everywhere: at national pro-life conferences; at ARPA conferences; Christian Legal Fellowship events; Canadian Physicians for Life symposiums; and the March for Life, which he never missed. He was legal counsel for many pro-life groups and spent his career defending the rights of Christians from the federal courts to the Supreme Court of Canada. In recent years, he co-founded the Acacia Group and built a team to focus on the essential work of providing counsel to religious organizations.

It was not Albertos’ original career plan. But in his first year of law school at the University of Ottawa, he met Faye Sonier. She was a Christian, so he got a Bible and began to read. His investigation into Christianity did not end the way he thought it would. Instead of disproving it, he believed it. It changed his life—and the trajectory of his career. He was called to the bar in June 2008. Only four months later, he was representing the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Christian Legal Fellowship at the Supreme Court, defending religious freedom.

When I wrote a profile of Albertos and his work seven years ago, Don Hutchinson, formerly of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, put it this way. “We read stories of ancient England in which royalty select a standard bearer to represent them in jousting competitions,” he said. “The Canadian courtroom is the contemporary jousting arena. Albertos Polizogopoulos has become one of the standard bearers for religious freedom and other interests of Christ’s Church.”

I thought he was indispensable. Many of us did.

It was one of the privileges of my life to be able to work alongside him in the causes both of us hold dear. I wish I could write more. For the moment, I will end with a line from Yeats: “Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.”

 Jonathon Van Maren’s latest book is 'Prairie Lion: The Life & Times of Ted Byfield.'

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