Beloved in the Lord,
Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. Las Vegas, Nevada. Paris, France. Parkland, Florida. Woodland Hills, California. Orlando, Florida. Manchester, England. Sutherland Springs, Texas. Nairobi, Kenya. And now, we add Christchurch, New Zealand to this list of places where mass shootings have claimed the lives of innocent people.
We grieve over yet another senseless act of violence which has left 49 people dead and dozens more injured in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack on two mosques has left us once again shocked and saddened that such blatant terrorism remains so pervasive in our world.
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco condemns this violence in New Zealand and remains unified with faith communities here and around the world. While we stand in defiance of such atrocities, we must take action and speak out to our world leaders, endeavoring for freedom to worship in a safe and loving environment. We are all made in the image and likeness of God, and preserving this lifesaving inheritance reflects our resolve to condemn violence against peoples of faith.
We have just entered Great Lent. For us, it is a time of reflection and repentance. In the Gospel we heard on Forgiveness Sunday, the Lord says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”(Matthew 6:21)
. Repentance is changing one’s heart, from violence to peace, from hatred to love, from adversaries to brethren, in the name of the same God and Father of us all.
Praying that God may grant eternal rest to those who perished, and that He may comfort the grieving hearts of those who have lost loved ones, I remain,
With Love in Christ,
+Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco