Epistle to the Orthodox Flock in Christchurch

Beloved in the Lord Fr Arkady and the flock of St Nicholas Church:

The clergy and flock of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, with pain and profound empathy, send their heartfelt Great-Lenten greetings to you.

We experience together with you, our brothers and sisters, members of our one ecclesiastical family, the Body of Christ, the heavy tribulations and losses endured by you as a result of the recent destructive earthquakes.

We learned with sorrow of the tragic death of one of the parishioners, servant of God Tamara Tsvetanova, who died in the ruins of a multi-storey dwelling. Eternal memory to her, and may she abide in the Kingdom of Heaven! We express our genuine sympathies to her husband, children and relatives.

Sharing your sorrows, we pray for the quick recovery from the aftereffects of the disaster. May these tribulations serve to strengthen your spirit and reliance on the All-merciful Lord. May our Lord Jesus Christ send consolation, health and strength to all who suffered, and may He grant the Kingdom of Heaven to all those who perished.

With love in the Lord,

Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York 
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia 
Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand