Death on Pilgrimage: Why?

Why did these people’s lives end so tragically while on a pilgrimage, when it seems they should have been under God’s special care and protection? Archpriest Alexander Iliashenko offers this commentary.
admin | 08 July 2012

A motor vehicle accident took place in Ukraine’s Chernihiv Oblast, as a result of which a bus carrying a group of Russian pilgrims to the Pochaev Lavra was overturned. Fourteen people perished. Why did these people’s lives end so tragically while on a pilgrimage, when it seems they should have been under God’s special care and protection? 

Archpriest Alexander Iliashenko offers this commentary: 

This is, of course, a woeful tragedy. I would like to express my condolences to those afflicted, to their relatives, and especially to the families of those who perished in the accident. 

Why such things take place remains a mystery for us sinners. Life and its end, death, are in God’s hands and the Lord’s ways are inscrutable. We only know that the Lord arranges them according to His knowledge and wisdom. Our human judgment is limited, partial, and biased. 

Each one of us is destined to reach the end of his days sometime. One might ask oneself: which would be better for the salvation of the soul, to die of some illness in a hospital or on a journey of pilgrimage? On such journeys one is in a pious and prayerful disposition, having chosen a time to visit a holy place. One’s soul is in an especially reverent state. Perhaps the Lord called these people to Himself while they were in this most favorable spiritual condition. After all, this is a question not of earthly life, which is temporal, but of the inheritance of eternal life. This is what is most important. 

May God grant that the lot of those afflicted be salvific.            

Translated from the Russian.

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