July 27, 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The news of today's plane crash during an air show in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv saddens our hearts and our spirits. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are extended to all of our people effected by this tragedy, especially all relatives and loved ones of the victims. We also pray for the safety of those of our parishioners who are in this area of Ukraine at present, visiting family members and friends.

The Lviv region is particularly dear to our church, since many of our faithful, both past and present, originate from the historical homeland of Halychyna. Our people in this area have suffered many trials over the course of time, particularly during the fierce Soviet oppression of the last century, the full extent of which has yet to be revealed and has just been more completely uncovered in recent weeks. Today's sad occurrence adds still another tragedy to the human wreckage brought about by so many atrocities. Even so, our brethren have kept their faith in God and maintain hope in their fellow human beings, despite so many obstacles placed in their paths.

With the events of September 11, 2001 still very fresh in our memories, we Americans certainly understand all of the emotions and suffering that a catastrophe such as this brings. The loss of human life is always tragic, no matter what the circumstances are, but when death and injury occur in such an unnecessary and sudden way, the effects are all the more difficult to bear. We stand in complete solidarity with the people of Ukraine, as they mourn the loss of so many innocent people.

We ask that all of our parishes celebrate a Panakhyda for the repose of the souls of those lost in Lviv this weekend and to offer prayers during the Divine Liturgy, for the consolation and sustenance of the hundreds of people who must now deal with this terrible loss.

As Christians and as citizens of the world, we must promote the utmost respect for human life and human beings, no matter who or where they are. Created in the image and likeness of our God, we ask that He may have mercy on us all.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,



and the
Council of Hierarchs
of the
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
of North & South America

For a news article about the tragedy, click here.

Letter from Bishop of France & Western Europe.

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Back to Ukrainian Page.