Moscow, December 9, 2015
On October 31, an Airbus A321 passenger aircraft operated by the Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. All 224 people on board the plane, bound for St. Petersburg, were killed. The crash has become the largest civil aviation disaster in Russian history. The Russian Federal Security Service later said that the plane crashed as a result of a terrorist attack.
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, will hold a memorial service for the victims of the A321 crash in a church at the Patriarchal Residence in Moscow.
"On the fortieth day after the death of a person, the church is praying for his or her soul in a special way, so… on the fortieth day after the tragedy in the Sinai, His Holiness the Patriarch will perform a memorial service for all the victims of this devastating catastrophe," Deacon Alexander Volkov, the head of the patriarch's press service, told RIA Novosti.
He also stressed that the Russian Orthodox Church, through its priests and bishops, always strives to "be with its people," and tries to support the people on "the most important thing," when such tragedies hit the nation.
Another major memorial service will take place in St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, the vice-governor of the city, Igor Albin, said in a statement.
He stressed that a number of churches all across Russia are expected to honor the victims, as well.
In the Orthodox tradition, memorial services for the dead are held forty days after someone dies, as it is believed that during this time the person's soul is awaiting God's Last Judgment. This tradition echoes the New Testament of the Bible's description of Jesus' resurrection and ascension into Heaven on the 40th day after his death on the cross.