UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Sincere Prayers Offered for the People of Canada in Time of Tragedy
As we gather here at the Metropolia Center of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA for our annual St. Thomas Sunday Pilgrimage, we along with all the thousands of faithful participating in the Pilgrimage, are profoundly saddened to read the continued reports about the horrendous fire consuming Fort McMurray and other communities in the oil sand fields of Northern Alberta, Canada. We express our sympathy to our brother hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada – Metropolitan Yurij, Bishop Ilarion and Bishop Andriy – and to the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful and 90,000 other Canadian citizens directly affected by this tragedy. We understand that so many have lost their homes while evacuating the area – some looking back to see their own homes burn to the ground, from which they had departed just 20 minutes earlier. The evacuation has been complicated by the fact that just one road exists to carry out this mass evacuation and that thousands have been airlifted from the scene at a moment’s notice. We have known so many natural disasters here in the United States of America throughout our history, but seldom have we seen a situation when so many people had to remove themselves from danger in such a short time and with limited ability to do so.
Over this weekend, we will most certainly add all our Canadian friends and neighbors suffering this tragedy in our prayers during Divine Liturgy on Saturday and Sunday morning. May our Lord protect them all during the initial shock of having to so abruptly leave all they know behind with little hope of returning to life as it was just hours before. In addition we will pray that they will be blessed during the following days as the grief and realization of what they have lost sets in. May our Lord give them the strength to deal with these tragic times in the sure hope that tomorrow will be a better day and that neither He nor the world will not forget how much they will be in need.
We urge all our fellow pilgrims and all the faithful of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to share in our prayers and to provide whatever assistance they can to the relief funds being established, especially to the Red Cross, as suggested by the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.
With much sympathy and profound hope in our Resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and in Diaspora
Archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy in Brazil and South America
Bishop and President of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA