Memorial Ceremony Held in Moscow for Victims of Sept. 11

Presided Over by Metropolitan Sergius of Church of Christ the Savior

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MOSCOW, OCT. 24, 2001 ( With the blessing of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated for the victims of terrorist attacks, including the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

The ceremony last Saturday was led by Metropolitan Sergius of Solnechnogorsk, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate, at the Church of Christ the Savior. U.S. Embassy personnel in Moscow and relatives of victims attended the service.

«Thousands of innocent people were killed by the insanity of those who want to rebuild the world after their own fashion,» Metropolitan Sergius told the congregation. He recalled the pre-revolutionary period in Russia when high-ranking government officials and Russian emperors and members of the imperial family were victims of terrorist actions.

«Terrorists tried to obtain democratic freedoms from the authorities, but only weakened the state,» he said. «As a result, the country found itself under the Communist yoke for 70 long years.»

«Lying, the basis of terrorism, is always malicious, but nowadays the face of terror has changed,» he added. «Not only individuals and groups are killed but multitudes. Terrorists want to horrify and spread panic, and thus achieve their goals.»

Asked by journalists, Metropolitan Sergius said that all victims of terrorist acts were commemorated at the service, not only the Orthodox killed in the Sept. 11 attacks on the Twin Towers.

«A person who leaves life suddenly deserves our special attention and prayer,» he said. «God is the judge of all, and he will decide the fate of every one, but we ardently pray to him for all the victims.»

He added that the Orthodox Church did not pray for the terrorists because they were suicides as well as murderers of thousands of people.

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