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Church

Statement from Metropolitan Gerasimos on the Shooting in Uvalde, TX

SAN FRANSISCO – The shock of the news of the latest school shooting is still reverberating across America. In the midst – once more – of call for politicians to “do something,” clergymen and other Greek-American community leaders are doing their best to offer comfort and perspective.

The message by Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco follows:

Beloved in the Lord, Χριστός Ανέστη! Christ is Risen!

As we continue to celebrate the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our hearts are devastated by the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. At a time when families should be preparing for summer vacations, they now prepare for funerals. We offer our prayers to all those who are suffering, and beseech the Holy Spirit’s comfort upon those whose are grieving the loss of their loved ones. We seek the Lord’s divine guidance to grant us the right words and put them into action so that no family may suffer at the hands of such unconscionable violence.

Innocent children were torn away from their families, who are now left with fleeting memories of their precious angels. And just as Rachel wept for her children “because they are no more” (Jeremiah 31:15), we pray that no one may ever again experience the depth of this pain.

Whether it is a school, church, grocery store, shopping mall or a sporting event, we cannot lock up our entire world to shield it from violence. It will take more than just stricter gun control laws to bring these tragedies to an end. It will also take education, heightened awareness of mental health issues, racial tolerance, patience and love. We must demand action from our leaders, so that the lives of those innocent children and their teachers in Uvalde, Texas will not be forgotten, but may bring forth an urgent solution to a pervasive problem in our world.

The names and faces of those who perished at Robb Elementary School have now joined with others from Sandy Hook, NJ; Columbine, CO; Parkland, FL and so many others. It is time to close that book. It is time to write the final chapter. It is time to say enough!

Beseeching the Lord’s everlasting grace, peace and mercy on our fallen world, and asking Him to keep us under His watchful care and protected by His loving embrace, I remain,

Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco.

 

The statement of Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta follows.

Beloved in the Lord,

Χριστὸς ανέστη. Christ is Risen.

It is with a troubled and sorrowful heart that I greet you today in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Like each of you, I was shocked and grieved to hear of the horrifying attack in Uvalde, Texas, which has resulted in the deaths of 19 elementary school students and 2 teachers.

In the face of such a cruel attack, there is not only shock and sadness, but also numbness. In just the last month our country has also seen attacks in Buffalo, New York, and at a church in Southern California. And after each event of terrible loss, it is only human to feel tired, distressed, and hopeless.

On the Cross, when Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was quoting the 22nd Psalm, in which the Psalmist calls on God to save him. After describing his ill health, and how the world surrounds him, the Psalmist ends his prayer by saying, “For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him” (Psalm 22:24). In this season of the Resurrection, we recall not only the joy that our Lord has brought to us by trampling down on Death, but we can also find comfort that from the Cross, He understands our pain, our struggles, our doubts, and our fears.

So now, let us each pray that our Lord give rest to the souls of those innocent children, that He comfort their grieving families, and that He bring renewed hope to the survivors. Though they may have been unknown to us, all those affected are made in the image and likeness of God, and so we are called to remember them in our personal prayers. Truly, as we continue to experience events of this magnitude and sobering character, it is both good and proper to turn to God. The only other choice – continuing to drive ourselves and our society away from our Creator – is what produces such feelings of terror and helplessness, which in turn lead to horrific actions.

May our Lord bestow upon us the hope and strength to minister and support our grieving brothers and sisters. As we chant during the Great Compline, “Lord of the Powers be with us, for in times of distress we have no other help but You. Lord of the Powers, have mercy on us.”

 

 

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