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

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on doing this until the day of your death. For it is written, 'If a righteous man falls down seven times' - that is, repeatedly throughout his life - 'seven times shall he rise again' [Prov. 24:16].

John of Karpathos