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23 October 2002
Statement of His Holiness Alexy II,
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

Russian version


Bethlehem 2002

         A dreadful and senseless outrage is happening the Russian capital. Hundreds of entirely peaceful and innocent people have been seized hostage by terrorists. Filled with anxiety I am praying for these people so that they may return to their homes and families alive and healthy.

         I hope that the captors will come to reason and avoid any bloodshed. I ask the Islamic leaders both in Russia and the world to exert influence on the conscience of these people and urge them not to kill innocent people. In this utterly complex situation, I call upon our state authorities to act with responsibility and wisdom, to act in such a way that human lives could be saved, and most importantly, that this may never be repeated in our city and in all Russia.

         I beseech my compatriots to keep peace and vigilance. In these days we should not give way to fear, despair, enmity - all that the criminals wish to sow. May the Lord cleanse our land from the blight of terror. May He preserve Russia and her people who at all times have been able to withstand any trial and protect themselves from any affliction.

October 24, 2002


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