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Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Church prays for victims of Moscow theatre siege
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 Prayers are taking place around the world for the victims of the Moscow theatre siege. During his public address in St Peter's Square, yesterday, Pope John Paul II expressed his concern for everyone caught up in the disaster. He said: "Let us invoke today, in particular, the intercession of the Virgin so loved by the Russian people, who in these last days have suffered so much. "While we pray for the victims of the recent and painful ordeal, let us pray to the holy Virgin so that such events will not be repeated." Vatican spokesman Fr Joaquín Navarro-Valls said that during the Moscow siege by Chechen captors, the Holy Father was constantly informed on the situation by Mgr Celestino Migliore, Vatican undersecretary for relations with states, who was in Russia at the time. The Metropolitan Archbishop Thaddeus Kondrusiewicz, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia, issued a statement yesterday, expressing the "relief and grief, prayer and hope" felt by Russian Catholics in the wake of the siege. He said: "Today, in all Russian Catholic parishes, prayers are being raised to the all-merciful Lord for the repose of the souls of those who have died, for consolation for their relatives and friends, for the speedy recovery of the injured, for spiritual strength for those who survived so terrible a crime, as well as for the restoration of peace and understanding in Russia." Archbishop Kondrusiewicz urged all citizens, especially government authorities, "to do their utmost to stop the escalation of tension in society on the political, interreligious and ethnic levels." He concluded: "May the one and only Creator grant us all wisdom and hope, may he preserve our country from such terrible events, and set us [on] the path of peace and well-being."
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