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Russia - Expression of condolences to victims of the bombings in Moscow

15 September 2003

Letter to H.H. Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, 15 September 1999.

Your esteemed Holiness,

We have received with shock and great dismay news of the bombings of apartment buildings in Moscow in which scores of innocent victims have been killed. On behalf of the World Council, I wish to convey through Your Holiness our most profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of all those whose lives have been taken through these acts of terrorism. Christians in our member churches around the world share a deep sense of revulsion, and hold you, the families, and the Russian nation in their prayers in these difficult and frightening times.

It is one of the characteristics of our time that acts of isolated extremists are used by some to create suspicion, intolerance and even hatred against the religious groups of which they are assumed to be a part. Few churches have been as diligent as the Russian Orthodox Church in building relationships of mutual respect between believers of different faiths in and beyond your own society. You yourself have sustained this long tradition of spiritual leadership, and have spoken out clearly against all efforts to divide Russian society along religious or other lines, or to demonize any group because of the faith they hold. We are sure that you will not fail now, in this time of dramatic need, to renew your call for tolerance and national unity in the face of such adversity.

I assure you of our readiness to assist you in any way you may find helpful in your ministry to the victims and their families, and in the witness you give to your people.

                                                                                                                                     With deep respect,

                                                                                                                                     Yorgo Lemopoulos
                                                                                                                                     Acting General Secretary