August 24, PRAVMIR. Following the completion of the Divine Liturgy at the St. Nicholas-Peshnoshsky monastery, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia spoke to those gathered about the terrible tragedy that took place Saturday in the city of Kirovskoe, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
As stated by the press service of the Moscow Patriarchate, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church informed the faithful about the event and commented on the tragedy:
“On August 23, during a shell attack, a missile shell hit the St. John of Kronstadt Church in Kirovskoe. The church was completely destroyed and three people were killed. Several more were wounded and taken to the hospital with serious injuries. According to the church’s rector, Archpriest George Tsyganov, the shelling occurred during the Saturday night vigil at about 4:30 in the afternoon.
“The Great Doxology was being chanted when the projectile hit the church’s roof in the very center and brought down the ceiling on the people praying. The parishioner who sold candles, Olga Radchenko, died on the hospital, as did the parishioners Zinaida Meluga and Viktor Chernyshev. The second priest, Archpriest Sergey Piven, and his wife Lyudmila, as well as the parishioners Tatiana, Nadezhda, Lyubov and one more Lyubov were hospitalized with injuries of varying severity. During the same shell attack, a missile hit the hospital, also resulting in two deaths and serious injuries.”
His Holiness recalled that he had previously addressed the Local Orthodox Churches to raise their voices in defense of the Orthodox Christians in eastern Ukraine. “I am waiting for a response from the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and from the authorities to whom I have appealed to stop the massacre that has resulted in the deaths of Orthodox people,” noted the Patriarch.
“I do not believe that this could have been done by an Orthodox person belonging to our Church, yet I know what rage those who are not a part of our Church breathe,” stated His Holiness.“And it is possible that, by aiming at the church, they targeted all of us, all of Holy Russia, and all of historical Rus’, which has been repeatedly targeted throughout our history.”
“Let us pray that the Lord would bring an end to this terrible bloodshed, stop these horrors, and protect the Orthodox people of eastern Ukraine; and, that as a result of negotiations, a just and lasting peace would begin,”stated the Patriarch.
“We will continue to work hard and to do everything possible to end this clash. Together with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which today is the only peacekeeping force throughout Ukraine that unites east and west, north and south, and that prays for the termination of this fratricidal war, we will together pray and work. And we believe that the Lord will incline His mercy to all of us,” concluded the Patriarch.
His Holiness also commemorated the Moscow metro passengers who perished in the accident on July 15, for this day was the fortieth day following the tragedy.