On Sunday, 5 November 2017, a gunman entered a Baptist church in Sutherlands Springs, Texas, USA, when the service was underway, and opened fire on the parishioners. Twenty-six people died, including children, teenagers, elderly people and a pregnant woman. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill sent condolences to the U.S. President Donald Trump. The text of the message is given below.

His Excellency

Mr. Donald John Trump

President

United States of America

Your Excellency,

Dear Mr. President,

It grieved me deeply to learn about the tragedy that had occurred at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. I offer my sincere condolences to you and to all the American people.

The dreadful crime, which was committed on a Sunday, the day held sacred by Christians, and claimed the lives of dozens of innocent people, including defenseless elderly people, women and children, shocks by its devilish cruelty and guile. I am convinced that there is no justification whatsoever for such acts of violence.

Please convey my words of consolation and support to the families of the victims. I am praying that the Merciful God the Lover of Mankind comfort all those who sorrow and grant the soonest recovery to the injured.

Yours respectfully,

+KIRILL

PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When you are praying, watch over yourself so that not only your outward man prays, but your inward one also. Though you be sinful beyond measure, still pray. Do not heed the devil's provocation, craftiness, and despair, but overcome and conquer his wiles. Remember the abyss of the Saviour's mercy and love to mankind. The devil will represent the Lord's fact to you as terrible and unmerciful, rejecting your prayer and repentance; but remember the Saviour's own words, full of every hope and boldness for us: `Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out'; and `Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden' - with sins and iniquities, and wiles and calumnies of the devil - and I will give you rest.'

St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ