Beslan, September 3, 2013
On September 3, 2013, the 9th anniversary of the end of the tragedy in Beslan, Archbishop Zosima of Vladikavkaz and Alania served a Divine Liturgy in the gym of School No. 1 in the town of Beslan, reports Pravoslavnaya Ossetia.
The secretary of the Diocese of Vladikavkaz Priest Savva Gagloev, Rectors and other clergy of North Ossetian Churches concelebrated with the archpastor. Residents of Beslan and other towns of the republic, relatives of the dead, and former hostages gathered on the site of the tragedy to pray together.
After reading the Gospel, Archbishop Zosima delivered a sermon on punishment and forgiveness. "The Lord's punishment always catches evildoers, and we must think of the living and the dead and do our best so that the evil should not be repeated. It is very important, lest our hearts should harden and we should be embittered. If we learn to overcome evil by prayer for bearers of the evil, then the world around us will become kinder".
Addressing those gathered with the words of support, love and consolation, the hierarch stressed that there were no more people in the world who were indifferent to the terrible atrocity that happened nine years ago, and he called upon everyone to contribute to the construction of the Church of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, which is being built near the school.
At the end of the Liturgy most of the worshippers took Holy Communion. Archbishop Zosima noted the significance of joint prayer and Eucharistic communion for the residents of Beslan. "There is nothing more consolidating and transforming of all of mankind and each of us than receiving Communion from the common chalice of Christ. I believe that Divine Grace will strengthen you, through Holy Communion that many of you have taken today," said the archbishop.
The first Liturgy was served on this site in 2012 at the request of the "Mothers of Beslan", a public organization. It was then decided that Liturgy in this much suffering school would be celebrated annually.
On the afternoon of September 3, Archbishop Zosima together with the clergy of North Ossetia took part in the prayer events at the memorial cemetery, "City of Angels". Head of the republic of North Ossetia and Alania Taymuraz Mamsurov, president of the republic of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov, the chairman of the parliament of the republic of North Ossetia Alexei Machnev, prime minister of the republic of North Ossetia Sergei Takoev, and thousands of people from Ossetia and other regions of Russia arrived to share the sorrow.
At the strokes of a metronome, the names of the dead were read aloud and 334 white air balloons were launched up into the sky—this corresponds with the number of the victims of the terrorist act in Beslan.
After that, flowers were laid to the graves of those who perished, to the "The Tree of Sorrow" monument, and to the memorial to the soldiers of the special service unit who had given their lives to save the hostages.
The clergy of the Diocese of Alania laid their wreath at "The Tree of Sorrow". A memorial prayer for the departed was then served at the monument to the special squad soldiers, after which the Diocese's secretary Priest Savva Gagloev addressed the relatives of the victims of the Beslan tragedy. The clergymen walked around the memorial cemetery, speaking to those who had lost their beloved ones in September 2004.