Metropolitan Tikhon (OCA) issues Archpastoral Letter, Public Statement on the Orlando shootings

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Sysosset, NY, June 13, 2016

On Monday, June 13, 2016, His Beatitude, Metropolitan
Tikhon issued an Archpastoral Letter to the hierarchs,
clergy, monastics and faithful of the Orthodox Church in
America and a Public Statement in the wake of the tragic
shootings that occurred in Orlando, FL on Sunday, June 12.

Archpastoral Letter of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon
on the Orlando Shootings

June 13, 2016

To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics,
and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,

The hope of the Church is that all people should be saved
and come to know the love of God. It is therefore
heartbreaking to see the triumph of evil and destruction
on this earth. We have witnessed yet another manifestation
of the brokenness and division wrought by the evil one in
the tragic shooting in Orlando, the worst mass murder in
United States history.

While we should weep for the 50 victims and pray for the
healing of the many wounded, our hearts and minds should
not dwell on the motivations of the shooting (which
remains under investigation) nor despair at the darkness
of a humanity that would perpetrate such crimes (which
will never disappear).

Rather we should focus on the hope that we have in the
love of God, which overcomes the world, and ask ourselves
whether or not we have done enough to overcome the
brokenness in the world through our own Christian life.
Have our hearts yearned for union with God as our Lord so
fervently prayed in Sunday’s Gospel reading? (John
17:1-13) Have we quenched the fires of jealousy and anger
in our families by preserving hope and sharing the peace
of God which passes all understanding? Have we pierced
through the walls of fear and condemnation in our world by
pursuing love for our neighbor and love for our enemies?

All of us must take responsibility, not only for this most
recent act of violence and destruction, but for all such
acts in the world. But at the same time, we must remember
that Christ Himself has destroyed corruption and the
impulsive force of death by his life-bringing death
(Saturday Matins, Tone 2). And so we can reflect, along
with one Athonite Elder, on this hope: “Even if
today some people terrorize the world with deadly attacks
and ostentatious displays of butchery, the God-man remains
without change the Almighty Lord of love and
understanding. He is the ultimate solution to all our
problems, however much our superficial view fails to
recognize it” (Archimandrite Vasileios,Apropos
of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church
,
page 28).

May we all take hope in the triumph of life over death
offered to us in the resurrection of Christ, and as we
mourn and pray for those whose lives were tragically cut
short, let us commend each other and our whole life unto
the Christ Who has overcome fear, has trampled down death,
and has granted us eternal life and great mercy.

With Love in Christ,
+ Tikhon
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Statement of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon on the
Orlando Shootings

The Orlando tragedy grieves us all. We grieve for those
who were killed in this act of hate and terror. We ask for
God’s healing power for the wounded. We pray for the
families and communities of those killed and wounded, for
the people of Orlando, for the people of our nation.

The federal, state, and local agencies and officials are
acting to respond to the aftermath of the mass killing. We
pray for them as they apply competence and collaboration
to this human trauma and tragedy.

We join the many religious leaders—Christian,
Jewish, and Muslim—who are raising their voices to
express horror at the violence and the hatred behind the
violence.

Together with many people of faith we repudiate the use of
religion to justify and promote hatred and violence. While
the use/misuse of Islam confronts us with a global
challenge, no religion is exempt from such manipulation.
We join with all those religious leaders who promote and
advance respect for human life. We see in each human being
the image and likeness of God. We decry hatred and
violence as ultimate assaults on God’s intention and
love for each man and woman.

At this time of national trauma and grief, doubt and
questioning, we call on the better angels of our human
nature to guide us toward sanity and sobriety, and the
common ground of mutual support and love.

With Love in Christ,
+ Tikhon
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

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