Kemerovo, Russia, April 16, 2018
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will visit Kemerovo on May 3, the 40th day after the fire that broke out in the Siberian city’s Winter Cherry shopping mall, claiming dozens of lives, reports the administration of the Kemerovo Province.
The patriarch will celebrate the Divine Liturgy, commemorating those who perished in the fire, and will then visit the site of the tragedy and meet with the relatives of the victims.
“With all my heart I empathize with the residents … I express my sincere condolences to those whom this terrible tragedy has touched, and I pray that merciful Lord would, in His ineffable mercy, send grace for the strengthening and comforting of the grieving, and grant a speedy recovery to the wounded,” the patriarch’s letter of condolences to His Eminence Metropolitan Aristarkh of Kemerovo reads.
The details of the primate’s visit were worked out in a meeting on Saturday between regional head Sergei Tsivilev and Met. Aristarkh and representatives of the Kuzbass Diocese.
Tsivilev thanked all the Kuzbass representatives who provided necessary pastoral assistance in the wake of the deadly fire: “I myself was constantly at School No. 7—the priests were with us, they supported us with their prayers.”
The tragedy in the Winter Cherry shopping center began at about 5:00 PM on Sunday, March 25. The blaze claimed the lives of 64 people, including 41 children, with another 44 injured. March 28 was declared a day of mourning for the Russian Federation, and prayers were offered for the victims in all parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church. Condolences from primates of the Local Orthodox Church came in from around the world.
A petition was launched online, calling for either a chapel or a park to be built on the site of the tragedy in honor of the victims, while the nearby village of Treschevsky announced that it would construct a chapel in memory of the victims.
The Holy Fire was also delivered to the Znamenny Cathedral in Kemerovo on Pascha, as a consolation for the suffering city.