UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Bishop Daniel Attends Inter-Faith Papal Gathering at NYC’s 9/11 Memorial
On Friday, September 25, 2015 with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Bishop Daniel represented the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA at the gathering of some 700 people at the site of Ground Zero, led by the Bishop of Rome – Pope Francis, who paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims and those who responded to the worst attacks on US soil that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.
The head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics led a multi-faith prayer for world peace and a somber moment of silence bringing together Orthodox, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim and Jewish leaders.
Reciting a prayer for peace, the Pope in the presence of numerous Catholic and Orthodox hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and the Orthodox Church of America, together with representatives of the Oriental Churches—Armenian, Coptic, Syrian and Indian, as well as numerous representatives of the greater NY City Metropolitan area religious communities stated:
O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and religious traditions,
who gather today on this hallowed ground,
the scene of unspeakable violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here:
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion,
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here fourteen years ago,
continue to suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred
and who justify killing in the name of religion.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.
"Here grief is palpable," the pope said in his remarks at an interfaith service at the 9/11 Museum. "The water we see flowing toward that empty pit reminds us of all those lives which fell prey to those who think that destruction, tearing down, is the only way to settle conflicts… In this place of pain and remembrance I am full of hope.”
Being present and taking part in the Inter-Faith Prayer Gathering, Bishop Daniel, escorted by Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas of the Nativity of the Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox parish in South Plainfield, NJ, met with numerous religious leaders of not only US based Orthodox jurisdictions but also with many hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church, representatives of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh communities.
In unison, the religious leaders represented at the Prayer Gathering stated that they hope “that our presence here sends a powerful sign of our wish to share and reaffirm the wish to be forces of reconciliation, forces of peace, of justice.”
Religious leaders representing each of the major faith communities read brief meditations on peace from their tradition in their respective ‘sacred tongues,’ followed by a translation in English. His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese of America read the Beatitudes in Greek.
"This place of death became a place of life, too," the pope said, according to a translation provided by the Vatican. "A place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division."
In conclusion of his remarks, the pope stated: “For all our differences and disagreements, we can live in a world of peace. In opposing every attempt to create a rigid uniformity, we can and must build unity on the basis of our diversity of languages, cultures and religions, and lift our voices against everything which would stand in the way of such unity. Together we are called to say “no” to every attempt to impose uniformity and “yes” to a diversity accepted and reconciled.
This can only happen if we uproot from our hearts all feelings of hatred, vengeance and resentment. We know that that is only possible as a gift from heaven. Here, in this place of remembrance, I would ask everyone together, each in his or her own way, to spend a moment in silence and prayer. Let us implore from on high the gift of commitment to the cause of peace. Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all. Simply PEACE.
In this way, the lives of our dear ones will not be lives which will one day be forgotten. Instead, they will be present whenever we strive to be prophets not of tearing down but of building up, prophets of reconciliation, prophets of peace.”
In conclusion of the Prayer service, Young People’s Chorus of New York City sang a beautiful rendition of “Let There Be Peace on Earth”, which kept everyone in attendance in solemn reflection and silent prayer for peace, which was followed by the exchange of a sign of peace among the attendees.