It is with heavy heart that we continue to witness, together with the entire world, the fateful consequences of the tragic sinking of the South Korean ferry, which cost so many young lives, wrenching from them their innocent dreams and aspirations, while devastating entire families and changing them forever.
At this sad hour, we offer our heartfelt prayer to the survivors and our consolation to the families of all the victims. The unnecessary loss of life is always difficult to comprehend, but it is particularly unfathomable when it comes to young men and women at the very prime of their education and dynamism.
The political and civil authorities in South Korea will undoubtedly discern the painful causes and rightful accountability pertaining to this maritime calamity over the days and weeks ahead. However, our attention and supplication are primarily directed to the victims and their loved ones. No word suffices to describe the stress and suffering of these young students and their teachers – both the hundreds who regrettably drowned and the scores who barely survived. Silence is perhaps the most fitting response in their memory and honor.
Still, we pray for the repose of the dead, the discovery of the missing, the comfort of the rescued, the strength of their kin, the endurance of the teachers, the forgiveness of those responsible, and the solidarity of an entire world that mourns together with the wonderful people of South Korea. Among them all of us at the Ecumenical Patriarchate have been praying from the minute we learned of this tragedy.
In this “bright week” that follows Easter in the Orthodox Church, we take consolation in the fact that the light of the risen Lord shines more brightly than all the darkness that we see around us at this time of sorrow. Christ is Risen!
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 25th of April, 2014