Orthodox primates offer condolences for tragedy in Kemerovo shopping center

Moscow, March 29, 2018

Photo: www.1rre.ru Photo: www.1rre.ru
    

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has received condolences from several primates of fraternal Local Orthodox Churches for the tragic fire that occurred in a mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on Sunday, leaving 64 dead, including 41 children, and another 44 injured, according to the official numbers.

Several letters have been posted on the site of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate:

***

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople:

Most blessed and holy brother!

It is with a heavy heart that we learned of the devastating news concerning the fire in the Winter Cherry shopping center, which took the lives of so many people, both children and adults. We are at a loss for words witnessing the unfathomable tragedy which the mass media has conveyed, and we remain in prayerful contemplation for the victims and their family members. As we journey towards Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, we grieve as our Lord did for the death of His good friend, Lazarus, while holding within us the assurance of the Resurrection and the promise of the life to come.

In this moment of sorrow and mourning, we would like to personally convey our heartfelt condolences, as well as the collective sympathies and prayers of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. May the Lord of life and death grant eternal rest to all those who tragically lost their lives, and may He grant peace and comfort to those whose hearts have been broken and injured by these days’ events. We will continue to stand in a spirit of solidarity with you and those suffering.

Expressing these sentiments of commiseration, we embrace you with a fraternal kiss in the Lord, and we remain with much fraternal love and honor.

Your venerable Beatitude’s beloved brother in Christ,

+BARTHOLOMEW
Archbishop of Constantinople—New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch

***

His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II of Georgia (from Georgia Online):

Your Holiness,

The tragedy in Kemerovo on March 25 has deeply touched the whole world. We have no words to express our feelings, and there remains only to pray.

We mourn together with you, sharing the grief of the victims’ families and loved ones, and we lift up our prayers that the Lord would grant rest to their souls in the mansions of the righteous, and peace and strength of faith to the families of the newly-departed.

+ ILIA
Patriarch-Catholicos of Georgia

***

His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia:

Your Holiness,

With great sorrow we convey to you the most sincere condolences on our behalf and on behalf of the plenitude of the Serbian Orthodox Church over the tragedy in Kemerovo which has already claimed the lives of 64 people, mostly children.

We are praying together with you and our fraternal people of Russia for the recovery of all the injured, for the consolation of all those who lost their relatives and friends in this terrible fire, and for the repose of the souls of the victims.

Memory eternal to the victims!

Your Holiness’ brother and concelebrant in Christ,

+IRINEJ
Patriarch of Serbia

***

His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia:

Your Holiness,

In the season of Great Lent, when the people of God are preparing to celebrate the radiant Resurrection of Christ—and it is already next Saturday that we will commemorate the raising of Lazarus the Four-Days-Dead—we have received the terrible news that in the city of Kemerovo people died and were injured in the fire that broke out in a shopping center. Your Holiness, please accept the most sincere and profound condolences over this tragedy from the plenitude of our Local Church. We are praying for the speedy recovery of the injured, for the consolation of those who have lost their relatives and friends, especially children, and for the repose of the souls of the innocent victims. We believe that the All-Merciful Lord will raise the souls of His servants, granting them life eternal.

+RASTISLAV
Archbishop of Prešov
Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia

***

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada (OCA):

Your Holiness,

Dear brother and concelebrant in the Lord,

It is with sadness and grief that I write to Your Holiness to express my condolences for the recent loss of innocent life in Kemerovo.

On behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops, the clergy and laity of the Orthodox Church in America, I express to Your Holiness, the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives our love, sympathy and condolences. May they find comfort and solace in Christ and His Holy Church.

It is our prayer as we prepare to welcome our Lord and Saviour into Jerusalem, and walk with Him on the path to the cross and glorious resurrection, that the souls of those who have departed this life so unexpectedly are today walking in the resplendent light of Christ’s triumph over sin, death and destruction.

Assuring you of my prayers for your ministry, I remain,

Your brother in Christ,

+ Tikhon
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

***

Yesterday was declared a day of mourning throughout the Russian Federation in honor of the victims, and panikhidas were served for the repose of their souls in parishes throughout the Russian Orthodox Church. Nearly 30,000 people have signed a petition calling for a chapel or park to be built on the site of the tragedy in memory of the dearly departed.

Updated on 3/30 to include Met. Tikhon's letter.

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3/29/2018

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