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Amidst Devastation a Call to Prayer and Action

The tragic events in Orlando, FL early Sunday morning saddened and shocked many people throughout the world. Often when we hear of tragic events such at the one that occurred on June 12, 2016 our immediate reaction is one of shock and disbelief. We are unable to comprehend and process all that has occurred. We are on overload. We simply cannot take it all in that that many people were shot and killed or injured. We are stunned by the magnitude of the devastation.

Since learning of this tragedy, as spiritual fathers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA we have urged all to pray for the victims, the families and first responders. Our hearts and minds are with all of those persons killed or injured, their family members, their friends and their colleagues. Perhaps, among other feelings, we have feelings of grief and sadness, anger, helplessness. Hatred blinded the conscience of the perpetrator of these horrible acts, acts no one must be allowed to excuse or justify. The survival of humanity and life in its purest form, created by the Almighty God, demands zero tolerance towards such acts of barbarism. Hate-inspired terrorism is still a clear and present danger in our world. This is why we call upon the elected officials of our nation and the government agencies to take appropriate steps in order to address the violence through the weapons of destruction and not protection.

We pray that the Lord’s mercy will be upon us during this time of sadness, shock and confusion. We urge the clergy and faithful of our UOC of the USA and people of good will throughout the world to turn their hearts and souls to the Great Physician, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who consoles and guides us through suffering with mercy and tenderness. The healing power of Christ goes beyond our physical wounds but touches every level of our humanity: physical, emotional, social, spiritual. The eternal call of Christ to us all is to remain fervent in our protection of life and human dignity and to pray unceasingly for peace in our world.

With prayers in Christ, the Merciful Savior and Counselor of our souls,

+Antony, Metropolitan of the UOC of the USA

+Daniel, Bishop of the UOC of the USA