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NEW YORK: December 15, 2012 
Statement from the Office of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, in connection with the Attack on the Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut

Dear brethren, sisters and children! 

With horror I followed the tragedy that unfolded yesterday in a school in the state of Connecticut, during which a murderer spared neither children nor even his own mother; and I hasten to express unto all my deepest sympathy amid your common sorrow.  I am praying for the repose of the children and those who suffered with them, and for their bereaved parents, relatives, classmates, teachers and friends.  May the Lord give His people strength and bless their hearts with His heavenly peace.  May Jesus Christ our God bless the self-sacrificing teachers who saved the terrified children and showed them an example of Christian love.  With all my soul I desire that the consolation of Christ and help from heaven be granted you! 

With this statement, I call upon the rectors of our parishes and the superiors of our monasteries to insert the following petition in the Reiterate Litany of the Divine Liturgy:

"To Thee, O Lord, Who art in heaven, we raise up the eyes of our soul, and lift our hands, and sigh from the depths of our heart, and praying with our speech we cry out: give rest to the blest infants and to those who suffered with them in the present trouble and sorrow: hearken to those who weep and are pained, and await Thy consolation, asking Thy goodness; we ask Thy mercy and seek to obtain grace before Thee, and we knock upon Thy doors: open to us the doors of Thine abundant kindness, and abandon us not to the end, for Thy name's sake. Let us say: Lord, hearken soon and have mercy upon all."

Yesterday's tragedy again reminds us that we must cherish the sacred gift of life and one another, following the commandments of God, and thus bring forth the light of Christ in this fallen world, rendering it less dark. 

With love in the Lord and a request for your prayers,

+Hilarion,
Metropolitan of New York & Eastern America,
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.

15 December 2012